I've talked a lot about the game play and the way you control Altair, sub-missions and all that. Now I'm going to spend some time on the other elements of the game:Graphics
Ok, pop up? POP UP in a next-gen game? I'm seriously peeved with certain aspects of the graphics here whilst I think the others are incredible. Assassin's Creed does a massively good job of bringing to life the world of the Third Crusade in terms of staggering long range vistas and some of the most beautiful city and land graphics to date. It's a visual feast for the eyes with subtle light/shadow and texture design that is absolutely breath taking. But it pops into view various objects in a rather jarring manner from time to time, this somewhat breaks the immersion and it's somewhat sad to see.Level Design
I'm really impressed with this area, the buildings and locations have been created with an architect's eye for detail, from historical blueprints and documents. They have been crafted to provide exhilarating parkour throughout the whole city so I can't fault the game on any of that at all. The walls and windows are rife with handholds and features that allow Altair to scale into the highest reaches of the game, coupled with the fluid design of these elements it's a truly fantastic experience to explore the three cities and the kingdom itself.Models
The model for Altair is fantastic, he's been created to have real character and he's unique amongst his brothers. He has several features about him that fit the character they designed, the peaked hood and the flowing garments all of which have been created to fit smoothly around him. The rest of the world is brought to life with the same amount of detail, the peasants and the guards have a visual appeal to them based on the city they come from and the very area they inhabit within that city.Animation
The animation in Assassin's Creed is some of the most fluid and incredible animation in a game to date, Altair alone has thousands of animations that cover his every move. The parkour climbing animations and the combat animations are fantastic to watch in action and the way that Altair interacts with his environment is superb. In combat he's a killing machine and someone who has mastered the combat system can make it appear like it's a deadly dance. The same can be said for his adversaries and the people around him, it all fits together beautifully and has been extremely well done.AI
I also have to sing the praises of the AI, since there are so many different systems running here it's hard to keep track of them all. From the crowd AI that reacts to your social motions to the guard AI that will chase you down across the rooftops taking advantage of ladders and alternate routes to chase areas, jumping and climbing where they can, this has to be the best use of animation and AI combined for a long time. It's truly something and a little scary to see the guard leap from roof to roof and I want Ubisoft to use this engine and design to make a decent free-roaming Batman game!
In combat the AI adapts its tactics based on your actions, if you slaughter them in droves and use the defensive stance a lot, they'll be more cautious. Otherwise if you're losing and they're winning, they become more aggressive and confident, especially if you're not defending. Kill too many of a particular group and they might even make a break for it or cower like the dogs they are!
The crowd AI reacts as well, sometimes it's hostile and sometimes it will fetch the guard based on what you do.Physics
The game has a few issues where a body might appear to bounce the wrong way, but mostly the physics engine is solid with the correct kind of ragdoll applied to a hapless idiot thrown off a roof for example.Sound
Another area where the developers havenít skimped at all, the game brims with gloriously done spot effects, such as the wind when you're high up, the general murmur of the crowds and the clash of steel upon steel. There were times where the sound dropped out during a combat however, especially with a couple of counter kills.