It’s finally arrived. After much hoopla, Assassin’s Creed is here and waiting to be reviewed. Luckily I’ve finished up Call of Duty 4 recently so I’ve been able to give Assassin’s Creed my full attention. Having said that, let’s move on to the reason you’re reading this…. the review. Assassin’s Creed is a rarity, it’s one of those games that comes along and brings gaming to the next level. It sets a new bar in various aspects of gameplay, visuals, storytelling and controls. It’s deep, engaging and surprising right from the start. It’s unique and audacious, but most of all it’s plain old good fun.

I’m going to keep this a spoiler free review so expect very little information when it comes to the story. There are just too many surprises to ruin and it would be a bit unfair of me to do so since it would definitely take away from the enjoyment of playing the game. Once you get into the action you’ll find yourself wandering through a huge open world of the Holy Land in the 12th Century. You’ll visit massive cities like Damascus, Acre and Jerusalem, and explore a rich and vast countryside. Each city is beautifully rendered from top to bottom and looks like it’s something straight out of history with the minarets and towers that reach for the sky, bustling markets, winding alleyways and people bustling about. Ubisoft has really excelled with the meticulous historical recreation and totally open level design. Everything is interactive, you can climb and jump just about anywhere, often times leading to surprising results.

Not enough can be said about the living, breathing world that you’ll find yourself immersed in as Altaïr, an assassin looking to reclaim his status among assassins.Particularly impressive are the controls. You can designating all actions as high or low profile, making you standout and garner attention or blend in and move about freely and unnoticed. Each face button is like a part of the body that changes depending on the situation. In a fight, the button could be used to grab a foe, where as when your exploring the same button allows you to grab ledges. While seemingly a minor variation on a familiar theme, this approach to control is one of the game’s greatest triumphs.

Charged with your assassination list, you’ll play through what might be loosely called levels. This gameplay type is split into several components. First you journey to and exploration a location, followed by an investigation of the target. Once that’s complete you’ll finally make the attempt on your targets life. The great thing about Assassin’s Creed is that once you’ve assassinated your target you still have to get out of dodge. Part of the challenge is making it away unharmed. The only downside is that while it’s a lot of fun, it can get a bit repetitive, especially the investigations. When you’re ready for a break from the story, there are a huge number of collectibles scattered throughout the various cities and countryside, with over 400 hard to find flags and 60 secondary assassinations. It’s a great way to immerse yourself into Altaïr’s world and doesn’t effect the gameplay, it only enhances it.

Ubisoft has a bona-fide hit on their hands. With stunning visuals, a good story, and wildly open level designs unseen until now you’ve got a game that will make you want to give it untold amounts of hours playing it. Assassin’s Creed is one of the most fun and innovative games to come out in a while and it’s definitely worth a pick up.