Wednesday 11 July 2007
The word from our man onsite at this morning's Microsoft conference is dismaying - Assassin's Creed is looking bad. And, having watched the walkthrough on video-powerhouse GameTrailers, we can see what's worrying our frontline-camping chap.
First to tick us off are the hordes of cloned water-jug-on-head women idly milling around at the start. Seriously, in some shots you can see six or seven of exactly the same person. Then there's the much-lauded crowd-pushy-system. The collisions look anything but smoothly animated, more like robots bumping into one another than people. Or, by contrast, sometimes there's too much reaction, with the otherwise graceful Altair windmilling his arms like a seven-year-old on an icy playground.
Later, a man pushed from a roof hangs in mid-air - while erstwhile producer and narrator Jade Raymond makes a sort of squeaky, strangled 'Ooops!' noise. While we're on that, what is it with guards facing the wrong way in these games?
Okay, that's the bile done with. On second viewing, if you ignore the irksome bug and oddly clunky collisions, there's actually good reasons to be positive here. Altair's acrobatics look satisfyingly fluid and easy to perform. And the climbing, well, we love the go-anywhere climbing stuff.
We're also pleased to see a gigantic draw distance, and probably the best visuals of any game so far seen at this year's E3. There's also some one-hit-kill combat to enjoy. It reminds us of the counter-attacks in Pirates of the Caribbean, only done properly and with far more variety in killing moves.
It is a bit worrying that the guards seem to take turns to attack - even when they have you surrounded - though quirks like this can be ironed out in the later stages of development. But Assassin's Creed needs plenty of other tweaking too if it's to avoid becoming a great big let down. Fingers crossed.