Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Assassin's Creed Review

Last response: in Video Games
Share
December 6, 2007 5:10:26 PM

Review written by Rob Wright.

Ubisoft's ambitious title recreates the Crusades and 12th Century Middle East with gorgeous graphics and a rich story. But poor gameplay and frustrating repetition shatter the bold vision of Assassin's Creed.

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2007/12/06/assassins_creed_review/

More about : assassin creed review

December 6, 2007 6:36:33 PM

Everyone here in the dorms is going crazy about how cool this game is. I haven't played it, but can tell from what I've see others playing that the gameplay would annoy the crap out of me. On another note this game reminds me a lot of Prince of Persia in a more realistic setting.
December 6, 2007 8:37:54 PM

wow 5.5?
i have the game and understand that some repetition occurs but most games are like that and i did stop playing after few hours
but also when i started playing i could not stop!
and after a couple a days i play some more.
and it looks real nice in dream mode any way , when he is awake plz very bad enviroment.
gameplay and story is nice, and its cool to get new weapons and regain the trust in our "gang" of assasins lol
people out there , take it from Rafael
try this game , ok its a vey poor Oblivion or Thief , and i mean very poor but its also new and different and in no way 5.5 even if the ending is that bad is see later. its still fun to play and easy to find objectives because god dam i hate looking all over for hours to find what i need to do.

peace all gamers and ill rate this latter but for now 7.5
just my opinion but if all are getting tired of the same old thing with better grafics as me
at least lets try to promote attemps to make something new so the sequel is possible and maybe give us that extra the game needs!
But realy 5.5 wow... i can hardly write...
Related resources
December 6, 2007 10:35:21 PM

"It became apparent that the third assassination mission was going to be almost exactly the same as the second one (and the first, for that matter)."
It kind of reminds me of MMO's, except instead of only a few repetitive missions, MMO's have days and days of game play filled with repetitive missions(the hunting quests in stranglethorn vale anyone? or was that Nagrand?). Maybe that's why the repetitive missions on assassins creed didn't really bother me. I thought the game was great.
December 7, 2007 12:20:44 AM

"Muslim Assassin" ?!?? are you sure you didnt mean to say Suicide bomber..... geez man, the Hashashins were not Muslim, they were a mixed sect of various religions where obviously Islam played the most important role, but they werent Muslim
December 7, 2007 1:16:23 AM

I agree with the review. I'd compare this game to the Gran Theft Auto series. It's the same thing over and over and over; and while they have their moment, it's just to repetitive to be considered "fun" in my eyes.

The game is amazing though looking from a story line perspective. I LOVE the idea of an Assassin who takes on the Crusaders. Brilliant idea, and I think they did a good job at that. While I personally feel the sci-fi aspect of it is a bit far fetched, I won't say it's bad.

I think Ubisoft will take a lot from this game, all the pros and cons, put it all together, and create the sequel to it, and THAT is the one that will blow people's minds. Kind of like Splinter Cell. As I recall the first in the series was good, but could be improved upon, but Pandora Tomorrow was just a much better version (to me at least). I think Assassin's Creed is going to be similar to that series, in the terms of learning from your mistakes and than designing a sequel that will be fantastic.
December 7, 2007 1:45:48 AM

Adon said:
"Muslim Assassin" ?!?? are you sure you didnt mean to say Suicide bomber..... geez man, the Hashashins were not Muslim, they were a mixed sect of various religions where obviously Islam played the most important role, but they werent Muslim


I'm quite sure I didn't mean suicide bomber, and I take issue with your insulting remark, sir. At no point in my review did I politicize the story or the religious themes of Assassin's Creed. In fact, I saluted Ubisoft for crafting a bold story with a main character who is Arabic, which could have been viewed by some as controversial. So I'm not really sure what your point is.

Altaiir is an assassin and he is Muslim (at least half Muslim, according Ubisoft). And as far as the Hashshashin are concerned, I can only go off the research I've done on the subject. Here's an excerpt of that research from Encyclopedia Brittanica:

Arabic Hashshash , plural Hashshashin in Middle Eastern and Asian history, any member of the Nizari Isma'ilites, a religiopolitical Islamic sect dating from the 11th to the 13th century and known, in its early years, for murdering its enemies as a religious duty.
December 7, 2007 8:19:38 AM

The Hashashins are muslims though not of the main muslim sect. The are all part of the Isma'ili sect, which as a slightly different interpretation of the Coran (much as christians can be seperated in anglican, orthodox, catholics ect...).

If you are interested on more informations on that subject, please check this webpage :
http://ismaili.net/mirrors/26_alamut/alamut.htm

On a side note, if the subject of Hashashins really does interest you, I highly recommend the book Alamut by Vladmir Bartol, an historical novel that recounts the birth of the first Hashashins and of the old man on the mountain :
http://www.amazon.com/Alamut-Vladimir-Bartol/dp/1556436...
December 7, 2007 12:05:46 PM

590117,1,39763 I would have liked to have seen more details about the Crusades, because gamers who aren't history buffs or who haven't seen "Kingdom of Heaven" recently may have a tough time figuring out what's going on in the battle for Jerusalem.[/quotemsg said:


LOL. Looking to "Kingdom of Heaven" to try and figure out what is going on is not going to give you much insight into what went on during the Crusades either. It was a good yarn, but the story line was totally ficticious (not to mention impossible).

Too bad Ubisoft did not see fit to at least put the story in context, although I would not be suprized if the series storyline ends with the Illuminati being responsible for the Crusades! :lol: 
December 7, 2007 12:53:22 PM

I was warned a few weeks after it was released that it was a rental, so I picked up a Gamefly subscription to give this game a shot. I couldn't read your entire review because it seemed to be a bit revealing of the story elements, as I'm only on the 5th assassination mission, but I am having a fun time playing it. The game is so gorgeous, the only qualm I have with the game is the way they are progressing this story. Right now I am at a point in the game where I don't know what's going on in the 2012 world still, and there is a lot of mystery there, where in the old world it is as you say a very repetitive mission after similar mission campaign that leaves me feeling like I'm in the middle of some conspiracy and that I'm being used; but frankly, I don't really care about it because there really isn't any context. So I find myself more curious about this future world story when the entire game is really in the old world.. This game could have been ingenious had they given me incentive to care about both characters. Repetitive gameplay can always be played through and enjoyed if it gets you to a nice chunk of the next part of a very intriguing story. I just don't find that as strongly here, hence why it is taking me several days to beat it.

Maybe it is because I play MMOs that I can handle and enjoy repetitive games. (WoW, UO.. etc..)
December 7, 2007 2:50:42 PM

Oh man, that feeling you talked about in the review, well I just got it from just reading the review. I was really looking forward to playing this game when it finally gets released for the PC (I don't do consoles). Dang, that really sucks. Maybe they will fix the glitches before it is released, but I am sure they aren't going to change major design aspects like mission variety and level redesign.

I guess I will have to stick to Crysis/SupCom/S.T.A.L.K.E.R./X3 for my gaming addictions
December 7, 2007 3:42:55 PM

thanks for a real unbiased review of the game, too many magazines now-a-days seem like they're in the pockets of the developers
December 7, 2007 3:45:47 PM

Ditto. When I first heard about it, I was gutted it wasn't going to be on PC. Now I don't mind at all. Back to replaying Hitman and Thief...

PS Does anyone know if there are any plans to do a third NOLF game?
December 7, 2007 4:31:57 PM

Rob,

Thank you for your honest appraisal of Assasin's Creed. I am a PC gamer exclusively. Howewver, I have been considering purchasing a console due to the media extender/blu ray incentives coupled with the fact that itr seems more and more games are being released only to consoles. However, being a father of 3, amrried, and a responsible adult, I have to carefully budget my gaming time and money. I don't have much time for gaming, so it is very important for me to spend as much of it as I can playing the best content. I rely on reviews to help me with my purchasing decisions, and there have been quite a few media outlets that have praised Assassin's Creeds virtues while offering no negative feedback whatsoever. In my view, this is poor journalism at best, and in the worst cases (as can be seen in the recent GamespotGate hubbub) selling out. Thank you for your honest opinion, however dissappointing it may have been. Honesty in reporting of this kind realy does benefit everyone in the long run. Publishers will begin to demand better products from the developer, the gaming community will recieve a better quality product, and you will get a big, fat raise for your integrity ;)  (well, maybe not that last part). Thanks again, and keep up the good work.

Edit: By way of making my point:

From Gamespot:"The voice acting of the supporting cast is similarly remarkable. Conversations are completely believable and delivered with the perfect amount of solemn dignity. "

This amount of gushing prose can also be found in the worst preteen lifestyle magazines...its like someone produced a mash-up of THe last High School Musical "Expose'" and Gamespot's review. Yikes!

From THG :"Another dreadful part of the game involves the audio and voice acting; when a citizen is in trouble and in need of rescue, they regurgitate the same dialogue again and again, as do the harassing guards. There's little to no variety in this regard."

How much further apart can those two points of view be? I recognize the fact that this is a subjective field, but it doesn't even sound like THG and GS are talking about the same game. This discrepancy and others (there are many) make me have serious reservations about the Game reviews I see online. I would rather be disappointed by a review than be dissappointed by the $50.00 game I just purchased.
December 7, 2007 11:56:04 PM

It's been a while since I've seen a game like this polarize both critics and players alike. I love the game, haven't put it down since I got it. Poor Ubisoft Montreal, they can't catch a break. Price of Persia - critics loved it, nobody bought it...Ok we'll dumb it down...rockin' soundtrack and a badass hero - critics hate it, gamers - meh... Ok we'll combine what the critics loved about PoP and Splinter Cell, sprinkle in some violence and beautiful scenery - reviews 5.5, 6.4, 9, 7....wtf

They just need to figure out how to make a game with a historically based, yet completely over the top theme combined with grit and violence for the adults and magic and wimsey for the kids. Maybe it could be a stealthy..actiony..adventure FPS set in historic France..with aliens of course.... focusing around Joan of Arc's secret mission to rid France of the invading Fraggles and send them back to Fragglerock...all of this occurring from the viewpoint of a modern day comedian...like Dane Cook....yeah that sounds like gold to me.
December 8, 2007 11:05:56 AM

Adon said:
"Muslim Assassin" ?!?? are you sure you didnt mean to say Suicide bomber..... geez man, the Hashashins were not Muslim, they were a mixed sect of various religions where obviously Islam played the most important role, but they werent Muslim


What wrong with you?? if you want to be ignorant dont be proud of it!!!, islam is free from terrorism and those who bomb them self in the name of islam! simply they are not muslim!!!, a verse in the quran says him who kills an innocent person is if though he killed whole mankind!!, SO how the "£*&*&£" can u make that comment in public? sorry man go increase ur knowledge, and dont make insulting comments!, because you wouldnt like it( i hope) if some one made an insulting comment on you. peace
December 8, 2007 1:27:52 PM

Wow, Rob, you sound like you are in a bad mood! First off, let me say that I really enjoy your reviews and videos and we seem to have similar likes and dislikes. I sold probably 10 copies of TF2 to people that like modern-day team combat games like BF2 and COD4 and were very skeptical, and they all love it. TF2 is the most fun I have had in a long time.

But were you that disappointed in Assassin's Creed, really? I would agree that some things did seem to be repetitive, and if I was rushing through the game (not saying you did, but many times reviewers do), or just wasn't in the mood for this style of game, this probably would have bothered me more. Yes, the crowd voices can get repetitive and annoying, but the unique interactive dialog, in my opinion, was very well done. But I hate the !@#$ beggars.

This game isn't for everyone, but I think most people that are inclined to purchase it will enjoy it more than the 5.5 you gave it if they take their time, break things up and try different things: do some flag collecting, find the Templars, etc.

I think this is a love-it or hate-it game. Technically it is quite an achievement and is visually stunning, so most people will like that part. The gameplay is one of those things that you have to find a way to like, which I think I did, and would give it at least an 8.5 myself (I played the PS3 version in HD). At least I have a few good games for my PS3 now.
December 8, 2007 5:19:11 PM

I agree 100% with the review. Great write up, and such a disappointment. The game has so much potential...
December 10, 2007 4:28:08 PM

Ugh, when I posted my little tidbit I was still on the third part of the 4th Assassination memory, I am now on the 6th assassination memory and the repetitiveness of this game has me taking two-three day breaks between each mission. Mainly because now instead of killing one person per level, I have to kill two and three, which essentially means I have to do the same thing three times to get through to the story elements rather than one.

Summary of Assassins Creed: (Ascetics Aside)
Climb tower, hope for a little blip on your map.
Then do 3 or so of the following to progress:

Pick Pocket someone
Sit on a bench to eavesdrop
Kill two or so people for a fellow brother
or collect flags

The controls while intuitive become frustrating when you are fighting and miss the timing by a split second to dodge or counter.

That's the game for me so far up to the 6th Level - I still only really care about what is going on in the 2012 world and it takes about an hour+ of the aforementioned to glimpse at about 1 minute worth of information out of the future story plot line.
December 10, 2007 6:03:28 PM

dostanio said:
What wrong with you?? if you want to be ignorant dont be proud of it!!!, islam is free from terrorism and those who bomb them self in the name of islam! simply they are not muslim!!!, a verse in the quran says him who kills an innocent person is if though he killed whole mankind!!, SO how the "£*&*&£" can u make that comment in public? sorry man go increase ur knowledge, and dont make insulting comments!, because you wouldnt like it( i hope) if some one made an insulting comment on you. peace


Hmmm, how many innocent Muslims were killed or tortured by other Muslims today in Iraq or Afghanistan?

I appreciate your point, but the response of moderate Muslims to fundamentalism and terrorism around the world is pretty muted and often is qualified. And there is no doubt that radical fundamentalist groups (Taliban, Hezbollah, AQI, Chechins) enjoy substantial support in the Islamic world.

It is also hard to overlook the lack of tolerance for other religions in the Muslim world (e.g. if you openly wear a cross in Saudi Arabia you go to jail - period, allow a child to call a teddy bear Muhammed in Sudan, you go to jail ...).
December 10, 2007 6:41:23 PM

Busto963 said:
Hmmm, how many innocent Muslims were killed or tortured by other Muslims today in Iraq or Afghanistan?

I appreciate your point, but the response of moderate Muslims to fundamentalism and terrorism around the world is pretty muted and often is qualified. And there is no doubt that radical fundamentalist groups (Taliban, Hezbollah, AQI, Chechins) enjoy substantial support in the Islamic world.

It is also hard to overlook the lack of tolerance for other religions in the Muslim world (e.g. if you openly wear a cross in Saudi Arabia you go to jail - period, allow a child to call a teddy bear Muhammed in Sudan, you go to jail ...).


See, this is why I gave Ubisoft a lot of credit for making Assassin's Creed. It's so very easy for political/cultural/religious discussions to get messy.

Let's keep this discussion civil and on point, please. What do you say, guys?
December 11, 2007 10:25:53 AM

We say; Death to the Infidels!

Sorry, couldn't resist. :)  I think the note in the Civ4 manual sums it up nicely -"we're game developers, not theologians."
December 11, 2007 11:40:54 PM

Busto963 said:
Hmmm, how many innocent Muslims were killed or tortured by other Muslims today in Iraq or Afghanistan?

I appreciate your point, but the response of moderate Muslims to fundamentalism and terrorism around the world is pretty muted and often is qualified. And there is no doubt that radical fundamentalist groups (Taliban, Hezbollah, AQI, Chechins) enjoy substantial support in the Islamic world.

It is also hard to overlook the lack of tolerance for other religions in the Muslim world (e.g. if you openly wear a cross in Saudi Arabia you go to jail - period, allow a child to call a teddy bear Muhammed in Sudan, you go to jail ...).


fair points, as a sudanese my self, i have to say that was very harsh for the women in sudan. it should of not been delt with it that way, informing the lady about the fact would simply be enough!. islam has it self a very bad name now! i totally agree, but lets not blame islam it self. if you want to judge a religion you do so by the means provided, in islam its the quran and the way the prophet mohammed pbuh practised islam. these are your 2 means,, you dont judge islam by some lunatics(minority of muslims) or by bad people who so called practise islam, and the thing with saudia arabia the way the live in most cases is just the culture of saudia arabia. like the fact that women cant drive, nowhere in islam does it say that etc..
cheers
December 12, 2007 5:02:02 PM

After trying to get registered to this forum, I managed to lose my entire post. Let me summarize by saying that your score is neither objective nor fair. It's FAR out of scope with the reviews from other sites and you apparently let your own expectations exceed a reasonable level. 5.5 puts this into a category of games that are simply unplayable - and this is nowhere near that bad. It's actually quite good and enjoyable. Your review sounds like a jaded reviewer who is short on time and patience. You need to consider a new line of work.

My esteem for Tom's gaming reviews has never been lower Rob. It's time to to take a step back, and maybe a break from this line of work to see if perhaps you are no longer capable of giving a fair and unbiased review.

I'm appalled at the number of people who will not even buy/rent this game because of your review. You have done a great disservice to the gaming community, and gaming in general. There is certainly room for improvement, but your review is so jaded and off-putting - you leave little encouragement or incentive for a company to try and improve upon a game. If the sales are lacking, it won't have a successor - and we can all thank you for that. To take such a wonderful and unique story and put such a negative spin upon it is selfish and short-sighted. Until I hear that you have submitted a more thoughtful review of this game, I will never subject myself to another of your pithy, depressing, and utterly worthless reviews.

Luckily for you, I already caught your GamespotGate monologue which actually had one salient point in the whole conversation. READ OTHER SITES' REVIEWS!!!
December 12, 2007 6:15:02 PM

thorlos1974 said:
After trying to get registered to this forum, I managed to lose my entire post. Let me summarize by saying that your score is neither objective nor fair. It's FAR out of scope with the reviews from other sites and you apparently let your own expectations exceed a reasonable level. 5.5 puts this into a category of games that are simply unplayable - and this is nowhere near that bad. It's actually quite good and enjoyable. Your review sounds like a jaded reviewer who is short on time and patience. You need to consider a new line of work.


First, thanks for taking the time to register and post your thoughts, Thorlos, and I mean that sincerely. But I have to say, your comments are puzzling. You claim I am neither objective or fair, yet you suggest that I should have tailored my review of Assassin's Creed to fit what "other sites" are scoring the game. Is that objective? Hardly.

Second, I know that other gaming sites and critics have given this game high scores, even 10s. I vehemently disagree with their opinions, but that's what critics do -- they offer opinions. I'm not going to piggyback what other reviewers have written about this game if I don't believe it. That would be dishonest and would be an incredible disservice to the readers, wouldn't you agree?

Third, I never wrote that this game was unplayable. And a 5.5 in Tom's Games may not mean the same thing as other sites' scores. A 5 or 5.5 on Tom's Games means the game is about average, because if you use a numerical 1 to 10 scale correctly, then a 5 would be in the middle. Again, I never wrote that the game was unplayable or not worth playing. I said it was a rental and buyer's need to be warned about the repetitive nature of the game. And in fact, if you read the review, I went to great lengths to commend Ubisoft for coming up with an original premise, compelling story and excellent design. I don't believe that makes me jaded, impatient or unfair.

Quote:
My esteem for Tom's gaming reviews has never been lower Rob. It's time to to take a step back, and maybe a break from this line of work to see if perhaps you are no longer capable of giving a fair and unbiased review.


I'm sorry you feel that way, especially since we haven't been reviewing games for all that long at Tom's Games. I encourage you to re-read (or read) the Assassin's Creed review again, because I think perhaps you're focusing on the score and not the rest of the review.


Quote:
I'm appalled at the number of people who will not even buy/rent this game because of your review. You have done a great disservice to the gaming community, and gaming in general. There is certainly room for improvement, but your review is so jaded and off-putting - you leave little encouragement or incentive for a company to try and improve upon a game.


I'm quite certain now that you jumped to page 3 of this review and read the score, but not much beyond that. And here's why:
1. I never wrote that Assassin's Creed shouldn't be rented or even bought. Direct quote: Assassin's Creed is a rental. The game is worth playing if you're eager to try something totally different, but buyers are warned.
2. I made a point of writing in the review that if Ubisoft can improve upon Assassin's Creed for the next installment and correct some of the big flaws, then I'd give it a try. Did you really read the entire review?

Quote:
If the sales are lacking, it won't have a successor - and we can all thank you for that. To take such a wonderful and unique story and put such a negative spin upon it is selfish and short-sighted. Until I hear that you have submitted a more thoughtful review of this game, I will never subject myself to another of your pithy, depressing, and utterly worthless reviews.


Jeez, I'd like to think that my reviews were that widely read and influential, Thorlos. But you're getting a little carried away here. Was the review really that negative, pithy, depressing? Did I not praise the story and premise? Did I not commend Ubisoft for the positive aspects of Assassin's Creed?

Seriously, are we talking about the same review, Thorlos?

Again, I appreciate you registering on this forum to share your thought, but this review will not be changed because other well-known sites have given it 9s or 10s. It will not be changed because the Metacritic or GamesRankings averages are higher. My review, and my opinion of this game, stands as is. You're welcome to offer up an alternative take on this forum.

December 13, 2007 11:43:59 AM

Thorlos

Thanks for taking the time to register, in order to waste everyone else's time with your completely unconstructive rant about a review you clearly hadn't bothered to read.

Let me know once the Gamespot cheque has cleared your account.


Rob - fair play to you for posting a civil response. I'd have just banned his ass.
December 13, 2007 5:48:48 PM

I did in fact read the entire review and found it to be agreeable on many points. Your statements that I am focused on the score is absolutely true. How did you arrive at the score of 5.5? Was it an average of values using a normal set of game review criteria such as Gameplay, Graphics, Combat, Sound, Difficulty, Concept, etc.? If so, I’d be interested to see what criteria you used, and what values you assigned to each to get an average score of 5.5 on a scale of 10. Seriously, you seem earnest in your response so I assume you have this data available.

I took your comments and tried to decipher a score from each.

Visuals
“the developers absolutely nailed it with the visual style and graphics.”

“If nothing else, I could sit back and marvel at how the 12th Century Holy Land was brought to life with beautiful realism”.

I agree! Surely they get 9/10 for Visuals?

Combat:
“Sadly, the combat gameplay is only average.”

Ok, let’s just go with a 5/10 for combat since a 5 is average by your standard.

Gameplay:
“More than a few times I pulled an attack move only to have the screen obscured by a poorly positioned camera. Design flaws like this should have been removed long ago,”

Camera zoom angles are a problem for many games. I didn’t find it to be that big of a deal.

“There are some aspects of gameplay that work quite well. For example, Altaiir is also quick and extremely dexterous”

“The artificial intelligence for enemy NPCs is terrible - you can evade soldiers by hiding in a stack of hay or sneaking into a rooftop gardens, which is absurd and seems like it was born out of a lazy design choice.”

This was a design choice and I honestly did not find it to be a distraction. You can’t have enemies chase you for years, so this was the design direction chosen. It’s not perfect, but I wouldn’t say its terrible.

Your review of the overall gameplay was some good some bad. I’d say 6/10 here is a reasonable interpretation.

Sound:
“Another dreadful part of the game involves the audio and voice acting; when a citizen is in trouble and in need of rescue, they regurgitate the same dialogue again and again, “

The sound is repetitive at times and I think it could be improved on. But the quality of sound in general is not bad. As far as voice acting goes, it could be a LOT worse.

4/10 for Sound?


Concept:
“Where I'm Coming From: I put a lot of value on games that provide new ideas and original stories”

“However, the plot and narrative are superior to most games in recent memory.”

Ok, so 8/10 for Concept seem fair enough?

“What I Liked: the set-up and premise for Assassin's Creed, which is fresh and bold; an excellent storyline with a complex plot and rich themes about morality and faith; savory graphics that feature brilliant-looking environments and vivid recreations of 12th Century Middle East;”

“Value Meter: Assassin's Creed is a rental. The game is worth playing if you're eager to try something totally different, but buyers are warned.” Final Score: 5.5

In the end, I am bewildered with how you arrived at a 5.5. Perhaps if you had broken out each criteria used and explained its score I could at least understand where are coming from. Even if you wish to separate from your game reviewing peers, it seems odd that your review is so far from everyone else’s and you chose not to show your criteria. Is everyone else on the take and you are the lone voice of reason crying in the wilderness? If I hadn’t played the game for myself I would be inclined to believe the latter.

ps: as for the comments of llama_man - please grow up. Respect is earned, and any critic must be willing to defend their own work. Banning would be far easier than defending an opinion - so I give props to Rob for at least having the guts to defned his work.
December 13, 2007 7:38:47 PM

Thorlos, I'm confused. You say you agree with many of my points, yet you were pushing for my resignation in that first post.

Second, I don't particularly like the review score system that other sites use, which measure Gameplay, Graphics, Story, Audio, etc. and then base the score on that average. Why? To me, that puts equal weight on every aspect of each game, which turns reviews into a scientific process and forces you to play a numbers game. Take for example Half-Life 2. To me, it's a great game worthy of a 10. But the story on its own is by no means a 10. It's fairly weak, actually. But I don't really notice how thin the story is when i play HL2 because pretty much everything else makes up for that shortcoming. To me, games are art, and despite the technical nature of games, I resist the notion that titles should be quantified the same way every time. A reviewer must trust his or her impression of the experience rather than dissecting each and every detail of game to get numbers.

Ultimately, what my AC review came down to was a simple -- the flaws got in the way of me enjoying the good parts of the game, like the story and the visual design (hence, i put more weight on gameplay and level design than the story). I trusted my feelings, not data or numbers. And in the end, my feeling was that AC was an ambitious effort that ends up delivering an average experience. I think my review illustrates that well enough.

Quote:
In the end, I am bewildered with how you arrived at a 5.5. Perhaps if you had broken out each criteria used and explained its score I could at least understand where are coming from. Even if you wish to separate from your game reviewing peers, it seems odd that your review is so far from everyone else’s and you chose not to show your criteria. Is everyone else on the take and you are the lone voice of reason crying in the wilderness? If I hadn’t played the game for myself I would be inclined to believe the latter.


Thorlos, I take issue with that suggestion. I'm not trying to be a messiah of game reviews or grab headlines by giving Assassin's Creed a lower score than most sites. And I'm certainly not suggesting that those other sites are on the take, as you say. Again, I think you are reading too much into the score and comparing it to what others have done. But aren;t reviewer's expected to have some differing opinions? Or are we all just automatons whi will view a particular title almost exactly the same way? In fact, I'm not sure why, when it comes to game reviews, we feel that scores and review processes have to conform. Why aren't we allowed to have the same level of interpretation as reviewers of books or film? Games are art, too.

Quote:
ps: as for the comments of llama_man - please grow up. Respect is earned, and any critic must be willing to defend their own work. Banning would be far easier than defending an opinion - so I give props to Rob for at least having the guts to defned his work.


I had no intention of banning you, even though you basically advocated me being fired/forced to resign. Seriously, go back and read your first post -- does that perhaps seem a little reactionary?

December 14, 2007 6:05:14 AM

I do agree with many of your points, especially the positive comments on the game. I’m a reasonable person, and I believe you are too. After some thought, my comments for asking you to step back were harsh and uncalled for – please accept my sincere apology.

However, I do not agree with the score you gave the game as it is interpreted on the established ten point scale . Let me explain. When I asked to know your criteria and scores for each, you stated that you did not like to use the standardized criteria for rating the game. Fair enough, but most people assume this is based on industry standards where a 5.5\10 is simply not a good or even average score.

If you want to use your own scoring system, then so be it. But surely you realize a 5.5 in the gaming industry as a whole is considered far below average? If you look at the reviews from other sites you will see anywhere from 7.7 to 9.6 for Assassin’s Creed. A score of 7.5-8 is generally considered an “average” game using the 10 point scale. If I saw a 5.5\10 on another site I would’ve freaked there too.

Your score says it’s a bad game, apparently not by Tom’s Gaming Review standard, but by the widely accepted and generally used public standard of the 10 point scale.

Here are a few scores from other sites.
Gamespot 9.0/10
gametrailers.com 9.1/10
IGN 7.7/10
GamePro 4.7/5

I was surprised to see IGN’s,along with many other's, comments mirrored yours quite closely (take a look for yourself http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/834/834676p4.html) but notice that their score – even though they also considered this an average game, just as you did – was 7.7.

This allowed me to finally understand the problem. You rated this game similarly to other sites, but your interpretation of an "average" scroe is a bit different on the 10 point scale.

To me, a 7.7(or thereabout) says “average” game, 9.0 says “good” 9.5 says “great”. The 10 point scale isn’t perfect and probably reflects improper scores by too many review companies taking money from game developers in hopes of getting a higher score. Still, it is what it is.

After reading some other sites reviews, it seems you are certainly not alone in your assessment of the game. I do like the game, but since I bought it – it is probably hard for me to be unbiased. Apparently, I am in the minority who find the game enjoyable in spite of the flaws.

Finally, as much as I hate to admit it, your review was pretty much dead-on technically. Beautiful game, somewhat flawed game-play – has tons of potential in my book. The fact that I still like the game probably has a LOT to do with the fact that I own it. As I do intend to keep reading your reviews, I hope you will seriously consider tailoring your game scores to reflect the status quo as it pertains to quality rating. This will ensure that your review scores are meaningful to the average guy who doesn't know to interpret 5.5\10 as "average".

December 14, 2007 6:43:38 AM

I agree with much of the review. I would like to add that I completed the PS3 version, which is plagued by freezing / hanging and glitches. I completed the game prior to the patch release.

Graphically, the game was stunning. The visual settings were believable.
The gameplay had similarities with Spiderman 3. The Eagle Vision... similar to Spider Sense. Both games feature climbing buildings. In AC you collect flags, SM3 you collect coins. Both games have you save citizens on the street from being attacked. Both games are visually outstanding, but I find Assassin's Creed landscapes and setting more interesting. The cities (Jerusalem, Damascus, Acre, and Masyaf) look fantastic. The AI in Assassin's Creed reminds me of Far Cry (characters react to your movements). The rotating aerial shots when Altair acquires a viewpoint look great.

Collecting flags in the PS3 version adds nothing to the gameplay. Complete flag sets and, nothing.

Reading other comments about the game, most agree that the anti-climatic ending must be setting up Assassin's Creed II.
December 14, 2007 5:36:34 PM

thorlos1974 said:
Finally, as much as I hate to admit it, your review was pretty much dead-on technically. Beautiful game, somewhat flawed game-play – has tons of potential in my book. The fact that I still like the game probably has a LOT to do with the fact that I own it. As I do intend to keep reading your reviews, I hope you will seriously consider tailoring your game scores to reflect the status quo as it pertains to quality rating. This will ensure that your review scores are meaningful to the average guy who doesn't know to interpret 5.5\10 as "average".


See, this is why I'm concerned about scoring game reviews. I would think common sense dictates that a 5, being right in the middle of 1 and 10, would indicate average. But for whatever reason, many people don't see it that way. That's fine, other sites can judge and rate games as they see fit. My issue is that I don't want to follow that norm, and I don't think we at Tom's Games should be required to do so. It's not that I don't respect the status quo -- it's just that I think there's maybe a better way for Tom's Games.

I think one thing that would help would be to have some type of review guideline/scale, which we've been working on here. That way readers can understand better what the scores mean.
December 14, 2007 6:44:51 PM

Rob, thanks for listening and keeping an open mind throughout. Not that one more reader will make or break you - but you have at least one convert. You definitely earned my respect throughout and helped me see that game reviewing is actually quite difficult. The industry as a whole seems to be at a cross-roads with the whole Gamespotgate - so maybe this is the time to push for change.

I know myself, and its hard to be objective on a game you want to like. The fact that you were able to overcome that yourself says a lot. I applaud your desire to take your own path on how the 10 point scale is interpreted - it certainly won't be the path of least resistance. For me personally, a published scale would really help to ease the transition. Good luck on shaping TG's reviewing future - I'm anxious to see some more reviews!

PS: While I'm pushing my luck...any chance you can review Drake's Fortune? It is sitting under the x-mas tree - but the demo was pretty darn cool. I'm hoping it will be the game that AC was supposed to be as far as living up to all they hype.
December 14, 2007 11:37:26 PM

robwright said:
See, this is why I'm concerned about scoring game reviews. I would think common sense dictates that a 5, being right in the middle of 1 and 10, would indicate average. But for whatever reason, many people don't see it that way. That's fine, other sites can judge and rate games as they see fit. My issue is that I don't want to follow that norm, and I don't think we at Tom's Games should be required to do so. It's not that I don't respect the status quo -- it's just that I think there's maybe a better way for Tom's Games.

I think one thing that would help would be to have some type of review guideline/scale, which we've been working on here. That way readers can understand better what the scores mean.


Perhaps the dominating factor here is that the vast majority of sites view 7/10 as on the border of pass and fail, and your 5.5 comes off as a pretty big fail when viewed from this standpoint - even though it isn't.

You are, of course, free to scale your scores however you see fit, but why bother pushing for non-conformity when it confuses the hell out of everyone?
December 15, 2007 12:12:11 AM

SEALBoy said:
Perhaps the dominating factor here is that the vast majority of sites view 7/10 as on the border of pass and fail, and your 5.5 comes off as a pretty big fail when viewed from this standpoint - even though it isn't.

You are, of course, free to scale your scores however you see fit, but why bother pushing for non-conformity when it confuses the hell out of everyone?


But that's just it -- I'm not sure a lot of people are happy with the status quo. I hear and read a lot of complaints about the myopic 7 to 10 scale, so what we decided to do here was ditch the bell curve and expand the 1-10 scale so that a 5 would actually be middle ground.

And I understand your point, SealBoy, but 1) what fun is conformity? and 2) is it really that confusing when the meaning of the score is literally spelled out in the individual review?
December 15, 2007 12:38:08 AM

I don't see why Thorlos is so obsessed with YOUR opinion on a game. Annoucning you should resign because of a reasonable score of 'Average'. If I could put all the 'Average' games together and then throw AC into that pile, Thorlos would clearly see that AC and the 5.5 score go hand in hand. HL2, some consider great, I myself consider "OK" at best. Team Fortress 2 is "Average" in my book, that would throw that in the same pile as AC. Along with Crysis.

Rob did a fine review, with a lot of things covered and in-depth. For that I'm one happy reader, and the time spent reading the review was time well spent. Couldn't agree with it more.

Debate a 5.5 all you want, but here's what the deciding factor is - Will you buy it or Not? If you buy it, good for you, if not, than spend that $50 on something else. It's really simple.
December 15, 2007 1:39:51 AM

robwright said:
But that's just it -- I'm not sure a lot of people are happy with the status quo. I hear and read a lot of complaints about the myopic 7 to 10 scale, so what we decided to do here was ditch the bell curve and expand the 1-10 scale so that a 5 would actually be middle ground.

And I understand your point, SealBoy, but 1) what fun is conformity? and 2) is it really that confusing when the meaning of the score is literally spelled out in the individual review?


Then it's probably a good idea to put a rating scale on the reviews for the time being with a "5" being labelled as average just so that confusion is avoided. I know it's a little tough to deal with this kind of heat, I've read that people got pissed off at GameSpot because someone there gave an 8.8 to what a lot of users were giving 10/10.

As far as reading the whole review, well I know as well as you do that a lot of people just skip to the end and read the summary. I'm not saying that's a good idea, some people are just lazy and some don't want spoilers, but it happens. And when they see 5.5/10 they think "Screw that!" when they really shouldn't. Hence my idea for a labelled scale at the end of the article perhaps with other recent games of the same genre listed for comparison.
December 15, 2007 2:20:55 PM

Yes, I did call for Rob's resignation in a moment of frustration. I also sincerly apologized and retracted my statements, so I hope we can put that to rest. At the heart of the issue is not the score itself, but how it is interpreted in the general public. After Rob has taken the time to explain his reasoning and intrepreted his final score - I understand where he is coming from. A posted scale would help to ensure future readers are not confused by, what seems to be at first-glance, an unusually low score.

As for the 10 point scale, it has many issues. How many times has a game actually gotten a 10/10? I don't think I've seen it. Everyone is reluctant to set the bar there because it might be viewed as failure if a better game comes out. So in essence, 10 is never used, but neither is anything below a 7. So the separation between Deer Hunter and Half-life is 2-2.8 points. With such close tolerances, ratings really can make or break a game these days.

Maybe it is time to "fix" the scale and reset it back to normal - but like SEALboy says - it will be confusing during the transition.
December 18, 2007 10:19:57 AM

Mmmm Christmas Spam! Pass the bread sauce.
December 19, 2007 7:40:06 PM

Bread sauce? What the foo is bread sauce, Llamaman? And last I heard, Spam is best either with pineapple or green eggs...
December 20, 2007 11:42:56 AM

Err, it's a sauce. Made from bread. The name is a bit of a hint...

It's traditionally served at Christmas with roast turkey (like cranberry sauce).
!