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Rebooting the Animus

Jeff's review of Assassin's Creed (PC) gets its throat cut by an even greater assassin: crippling crash bugs.

Well, I sat down this weekend with grand plans to play the heck out of Assassin’s Creed on the PC for the purposes of a review. It’s been awhile since I played either of the console versions, and the addition of four new mission types into this “Director’s Cut” release sounds like it can at least put a dent in the game’s repetitive nature, my one real knock against the previous releases.

Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this story if things had gone smoothly. On my PC, the game likes to just sort of forget to load up the next sequence. So, for example, the game begins with a tutorial that is constantly fading from one scene to the next as you transition from one lesson to the next. I kept getting to spots where the game should fade out, but it wouldn’t–leaving Altair stranded in cloudy not-The-Matrix land forever. After several stabs at getting through this, I finally managed to get into the main game, only to have the same thing happen immediately following the first cutscene featuring Altair’s master.

So, yeah. I give up. I’m not running super-fancy non-standard hardware, it’s all regular, brand-name stuff that is totally supported, according to the game’s minimum and recommended requirements. I went off on a driver hunt, trying three different video drivers, among other things. Still, no change.

In lieu of a full review, here are the things I gleaned from my repeated takes on the game’s first ten minutes, bolstered by some things I heard from our intern, Josh, who isn’t having any technical issues at all.

- The game runs in 16:9 at all times. So if you have a 4:3 or a 16:10 monitor, expect to see some letterboxing. None of the video options I saw appeared to make any difference in that department.

- I definitely prefer the Xbox 360 gamepad to the mouse and keyboard controls, though without engaging in any heavy combat, I can’t be sure the mouse doesn’t improve in high-stress situations.

- The materials provided with the game describe the four new “investigations,” but I don’t know that I’d call any of them actual investigating. Rooftop Race Challenges have you run from one informer to the another in a set amount of time. Archer Stealth Assassination Challenges make you clear a zone of archers without being seen. Merchant Stand Destruction Challenges force you to bust up a set number of merchant stands. Escort Challenges make you help an assassin get from one point to another. I don’t know, most of those sound like they fall more into the “collect a bunch of flags for no good reason” category, rather than pick-pocketing or actually, you know, investigating your target.

Perhaps we’ll see a patch that fixes my particular issues. Until then, I guess I’d recommend sticking to either console version, though the problems I’ve experienced might not actually happen on your PC.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
5 Comments
Posted by Jeff
Well, I sat down this weekend with grand plans to play the heck out of Assassin’s Creed on the PC for the purposes of a review. It’s been awhile since I played either of the console versions, and the addition of four new mission types into this “Director’s Cut” release sounds like it can at least put a dent in the game’s repetitive nature, my one real knock against the previous releases.

Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this story if things had gone smoothly. On my PC, the game likes to just sort of forget to load up the next sequence. So, for example, the game begins with a tutorial that is constantly fading from one scene to the next as you transition from one lesson to the next. I kept getting to spots where the game should fade out, but it wouldn’t–leaving Altair stranded in cloudy not-The-Matrix land forever. After several stabs at getting through this, I finally managed to get into the main game, only to have the same thing happen immediately following the first cutscene featuring Altair’s master.

So, yeah. I give up. I’m not running super-fancy non-standard hardware, it’s all regular, brand-name stuff that is totally supported, according to the game’s minimum and recommended requirements. I went off on a driver hunt, trying three different video drivers, among other things. Still, no change.

In lieu of a full review, here are the things I gleaned from my repeated takes on the game’s first ten minutes, bolstered by some things I heard from our intern, Josh, who isn’t having any technical issues at all.

- The game runs in 16:9 at all times. So if you have a 4:3 or a 16:10 monitor, expect to see some letterboxing. None of the video options I saw appeared to make any difference in that department.

- I definitely prefer the Xbox 360 gamepad to the mouse and keyboard controls, though without engaging in any heavy combat, I can’t be sure the mouse doesn’t improve in high-stress situations.

- The materials provided with the game describe the four new “investigations,” but I don’t know that I’d call any of them actual investigating. Rooftop Race Challenges have you run from one informer to the another in a set amount of time. Archer Stealth Assassination Challenges make you clear a zone of archers without being seen. Merchant Stand Destruction Challenges force you to bust up a set number of merchant stands. Escort Challenges make you help an assassin get from one point to another. I don’t know, most of those sound like they fall more into the “collect a bunch of flags for no good reason” category, rather than pick-pocketing or actually, you know, investigating your target.

Perhaps we’ll see a patch that fixes my particular issues. Until then, I guess I’d recommend sticking to either console version, though the problems I’ve experienced might not actually happen on your PC.
Staff
Posted by MookieFL

I had the same problem with the game on the 360--anytime I entered the Animus, I had a hell of a time getting it to actually load the level.  I wondered if I was supposed to be running somewhere, or pressing a certain button...I assumed that it was just loading the level, but sometimes it took 5 seconds, and others it nearly a minute. 

I still made through the game, although I did get the doppleganger bug near the end, and I had to search the net trying to solve that one.  Still, I enjoyed the game a lot, despite its repetitive quests, and I'm embarrassed to admit how compulsive I was about scaling all the high viewpoints.

EDIT: Ha, I just got this post through my RSS reader, and only noticed it was made in April when I finished commenting--I suppose this is some sort of artifact from the new site launch.

Posted by damswedon

Wait who is Josh?

Posted by TehFlan

I thought Vinny was the intern?

Posted by Hot_Karl
@TehFlan said:
I thought Vinny was the intern?
My name is Vinny!