Assassin's Creed Hands On - Altair Comes to the PC

We dive into this high-flying action-adventure game just before it makes its leap of faith onto the PC.

Last year's Assassin's Creed from Ubisoft combined an unusual high-tech mystery, a medieval stealth adventure, and spectacular free-running acrobatics to offer a unique experience. The game is now headed to the PC and looks set to offer all the same high-flying action and challenging stealth gameplay, translated from the gamepad to your keyboard. We took a hands-on look at the early part of the game to get a sense of what you can expect. If you haven't played any of the other versions of the game and are unfamiliar with the story, please be advised that this preview contains spoilers.

The medieval assassin known as Altair is set to make his debut on the PC.

Though you might've seen early glimpses of Assassin's Creed that showed the hooded protagonist Altair swinging his way through Crusades-era Europe in search of his next target, the game's story actually involves an entirely different protagonist, Desmond Miles--a bartender who was apparently raised to be a career assassin, but who escaped from his upbringing at a young age. It seems that Miles has been kidnapped by a mysterious group that is performing experiments on his psyche because they need to access certain memories trapped inside of his head. Unfortunately, his only choice is to cooperate or die.

This is where Assassin's Creed's main gameplay comes into the picture. Most of the action sequences require you to play as Altair, who was apparently an ancient ancestor of Miles and whose past life and actions hold the key to what his captors seek. Given that you play as both Altair and Miles--who exists in the present tense, long after Altair's existence--the gameplay moves at an extremely brisk pace as you relive Altair's exploits and switch from memory to memory, autosaving after various key moments rather than having to revisit save points.

The control scheme of Assassin's Creed has been translated to the PC to make use of the keyboard. The default layout takes some getting used to, but it affords the same level of control that the console versions do. You move using the W, A, S, and D keys like you would in a first-person shooter, though the A and D keys cause Altair to walk in that direction, similar to what you'd expect from a gamepad. You also use the E key to go to Altair's eagle-eye first-person view, and the space bar to activate Altair's leg functions, such as walking slowly to blend into a crowd. The shift key serves as your multipurpose low-profile key to shove people out of your way, grab people when used with the attack command, or enable your acrobatic free-running abilities when pressed with the space bar. Your mouse can be used to control your camera (along with separate camera controls tied to the arrow keys, and the first-person eagle-eye view). Your left mouse-button attacks your enemies, and your right-mouse-button lets Altair break into a sprint.

Like the console version, the PC version of the game begins with a brief tutorial and a handful of starter missions that generally go easy on you. These introductory escapades let you familiarize yourself with the control scheme and Altair's impressive acrobatic skills. Fortunately, even though Altair's missions often require him to leap across rooftops, run across catwalks, and run up the faces of walls (not unlike a certain Persian prince), the PC version of the game, like the console version, seems to gives you a good amount of leeway when navigating tricky cityscapes. Altair can maintain his balance in tight situations, and he teeters to one side to let you know he's about to fall, which gives you enough notice to step back from the brink. At his very best, using his most advanced assassin's skills, he can hop and skip across rows of ledges and flagpoles as if he were running on solid ground. Nevertheless, some of his most advanced skills are held only by high-ranking members of his assassin's guild, which requires him to maintain the tenets of stealth, not harming innocent bystanders, and eventually attempting to bring peace to the world.

Using the free-running ability, Altair can leap across tenuous footholds with ease.

Although we had a chance to play through only the first few missions of the game, all of the content from the console version of the game seems to be making it to the PC intact, including the in-game cinematic sequences that help tell the story. Likewise, all of Altair's various abilities seem to be included, such as fighting openly with his sword (and instantly executing his enemies with combo-kill abilities that can be triggered by left-clicking your mouse again immediately after making contact with your sword), as well as assassinating enemies with his wrist blades while sneaking up on them. You can pick the pockets of specific marks, and you maintain your level of stealth around hostile guards by managing their alertness levels, ducking out of sight into a booth or a haystack, onto an occupied bench, or into a crowd of pilgrims to hide. From what we've seen, the PC version of Assassin's Creed looks primed and ready to offer all of the action and intrigue of the original console game when it ships in April.

Written By

Want the latest news about Assassin's Creed?

Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed

Follow

Discussion

68 comments
big_mr_a
big_mr_a

good game but i think the end wasnt good enough

MatrixtheNEO
MatrixtheNEO

lots of Arabic and Persian words in there kinda cool

nunes123
nunes123

i think that assassins creed is cool on ps3 and pc or what ever other platform they have for it

djohano
djohano

I love this game a lot! right now I'm done with Monferrat and the two other guys, and I'm about to move up to the next target but I still can't get over the fact that this game's truly breathtaking in sight, sound and gameplay (despite a lil' repetitiveness), all this with an 8500GT card I could crank up the resolution up to 1024x768 with a lil' OC-ing as well... :) I just watched the TDK trailer again a while ago, and I thought to myself, "damn, wouldn't it be cool to see a Batman game like AC?"

jonex
jonex

Yeah..i live in Poland and simply can't afford this game :(

sade_G
sade_G

hey guys whats up, this game is amazing even though i haven't played it, but I got a FREAKING PROBLEM - why does it say that i need a procesor thats 2.5GHz when mine is 1.80 2x ? (1.80 * 1.80 = 3.60GHz) mine processor is the twice speed then 1.80... help pleaze - email me at kawesh13@hotmail.com thnk u

Gammit10
Gammit10

Wish I could have read it without the spoilers. At least you warned us, though. :(

EgyCheETah
EgyCheETah

i looooooooooooooooove this game niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice playing

EgyCheETah
EgyCheETah

i looooooooooooooooove this game niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice playing

EgyCheETah
EgyCheETah

i looooooooooooooooove this game niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice playing

GamesBond505
GamesBond505

"With awesome games, comes awesome reviews! Keep up da good work.......whoever u are dude!!"

greyzhaze
greyzhaze

Played the PS3 version recently, and it is awe inspiring, apart from a few barely noticable glitches. This game justifies the need for a decent dual core and g-card, the game world is definitely alive. I cant wait to get my hands on the PC version (only own a PC :) )

knux15
knux15

hatefull is right, and there are even articles to support it... That version, was for previewing purposes only, as today is the release date the embargo on that release is also up so we can state that yes in fact it was kind of a crap copy of the game... new full release is much much better

graavigala
graavigala

little demo version of this game would be nice to get before buying it on PC, so that one could see how well it runs on you comp. I for one needs one cause i dont understand crap about those numbers :D well i do understand lot from them but you know what i mean :P

hatefull
hatefull

the leaked version was a beta or so.. stop saying it crashed because it was not the final build, and some people wont buy it based on what some cheapass pirates said about the leaked version expect a final version with much less bugs in it.

Babak2005
Babak2005

Is there any nightfall in this game?because in that time sneaking and killing is sweet.

broca
broca

A lot of talk of keyboard and mouse control but doesn't the PC version offer the exact setup for a 360 controller as the Xbox? It doesn't mention that it can be played exactly the same way as on consoles and I think that's misleading. But then, so are most Gamespot reviews :)

Xorium
Xorium

If this game will be anything like playing it in Ps3 we will have a good time playing it in the pc :)

BloodMist
BloodMist

System requirements are WAY too high for this game, sorry to say.And there's no excuse for that.

russian_takeout
russian_takeout

i played the leaked version of the game... so far its ok. in the begining i was impresed of the fights, movement and graphics. but later on, after 2-3 missions, the game became way to repetitive. i also expected way to much of this game. preview movies were amazing. i catch myself matching them over and over again:) still, nice release...worth checking out

islandboisl
islandboisl

Watched the videos on youtube and I've got to say this is a masterpiece. It may have it's glitches and crashes but ............masterpiece.

g3n3r41xan
g3n3r41xan

hmm I really want to get this game but unfortunately my computer is not good enough for it. once i do an upgrade ill buy it. i hope Ubisoft has optimized is well.

Gethlein
Gethlein

The game is not released yet. The one people talk about is a nuked version. (you can say beta). Original game will not crash wait for the game. I played the beta version and will definitely buy this game when it is released. I recommend everyone.

Hector_01
Hector_01

@arkadiyk I agree with 100% on that one about Double Agent. Gosh that was a shocking port. I havent played this yet but i watched it heaps of times when my mate was playing it on his ps3. Kinda looked repetitive and boring but an interesting concept. Might give it a go if it turns out to be a good port.

thenewau25
thenewau25

if i say that i got this a month ago.... bah i diddnt like it much it crashes too!

ibanezdropd
ibanezdropd

did the ever release a patch to fix the slowdown and such on consoles? i don't have a PC so i can't get it for computer, but was thinking of gettign it for 360 if they fixed it.

exigo89
exigo89

Hm-mmm, don't know about you guys waiting but I've been playing a cracked/leaked version of the game. It's pretty impressive, even though its leaked and it has a lot of bugs and stuff. It's worth the money spent on it.

HP495
HP495

Assassin's creed was over all a ok game apart from having to sneak around

DanielDust
DanielDust

Awesome game which sadly i expected too much from, i thought it will be awesome but all the waiting made me expect too much from it, i got it on PS3 (will get it on PC too because i wanted it on PC but i got sick of the waiting and i bought it on PS3 too:() and i was kinda disappointed, not what i expected, :( if only they would release the games on time and not delay them :(, but anyway a very good game from Ubisoft that deserves a place among their elite :) Prince of Persia (a game that i can't wait for the next series of the hopefully trilogy :D Prince of Persia (1,2,3D), Prince of Persia (Sands of Time, Warrior Within, The Two Thrones) and the future one .... :D) Babak2005: You are partially right but Assassin's Creed is not Dress up Barbie, why do you need new clothes?, the game is already too big and to go search for food every time is annoying, look at GTA SA who actually gives a @*&% about food in it ? it actually bothers me when i have to interrupt a mission something to get food and it's really annoying when you lose muscles because you don't eat (sure it is real but that's why it's a game, to not be real they put a lot in int but still, it sounds great at the beginning but nobody actually wants that) about the weapons part i agree but still those that he has are pretty much enough and you have lots of fun with them. An expansion? :)) you do know it will be a trilogy, right? just wait for the next one which rumors say that it will be with samurais and ninja and another possibility that it will take place in Central America :D if it will be like that it could have the potential to became RPG of the Year :D why not Game of the Year, samurais and ninjas hold very much potential in the zones of assassination, gameplay, story and FUN.

world69star69
world69star69

Ahh...can't wait! Damn, I pre-ordered this game months ago! Finally some fine stealth action gameplay!

Tharros89
Tharros89

Stalker700 you are so right... I still have a few more things to buy for my new rig...

Aurora268
Aurora268

AT lasttt dude this took agess soo gna get this :)

Stalker700
Stalker700

Only 2 weeks away!!! I can't wait!!!!! I'll have to get a Dual Core in those 2 weeks,and fast!

RonTorque
RonTorque

Let's just have the game and play it shall we ? Coz i am bored of waiting...Enough is Enough! *Waiting since the announcement* The irony of all times is that my machine wont be able to handle it....ROFL!

mkreku
mkreku

So.. how much were you paid for this preview? And did they pay you enough for a 90+ review later? How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you fire a bunch of reviewers for speaking their minds? So the ones that are left now are the ones that have no problem taking money for biased reviews or what?

PhantomRoy08
PhantomRoy08

i dont care because i already have it for 360. haha.

Babak2005
Babak2005

I hope that they will add some RPG on it just like Oblivion because you are playing same uniform and you can't change it and there is nothing to buy in markets like foods,weapons,...and he never gets tired,hungry,bloody and...Ubisoft should release a expansion pack for this game.

angelcar
angelcar

Sounds like the same game with some added stuff. I've been waiting for this one. Sweet.

arkadiyk
arkadiyk

this better be a good port . because double agent sure was not.

Atwixtor
Atwixtor

to simboes. this game will be a lot harder to run than fear, expect similar framerates to 40-80ish if you got a close to top notch pc

WizengamotX
WizengamotX

Okay well coming from someone with a Panasonic Th-50Pz700U and amazing Electrostatic speakers, I don't see anything better about the PC version. For anyone with an available 360 and large plasma television with surround sound system, the PC version would be in fact more costly (ignoring the fact most people may not be able to run the game to the quality required to match the 360 version). To those who can - have fun. This is exciting news for the PC crowd.

simboes
simboes

my pc plays on absolute full graphics, and i can only run crysis on less than half graphics!!. prob uses the same as FEAR. if you can play FEAR on full, then you can play this on full! ;) cannot wait to get the full game!!!!