A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is very much about violence as you play as a hired hit man, of sorts, to take down key targets with cunning and strategy. This usually involves skulking through the shadows to remain undetected and figuring out how to accomplish the task, such as a knife to the throat from behind. People you kill fall to the ground and some blood is seen.
What's it about?
Ubisoft's ASSASSIN'S CREED, designed for the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and PC, is an intense and near-photorealistic action game that lets you play as a retired assassin who is sent back into action in the late 12th century, when the Third Crusade is raging across the Holy Land. You are Altair, whose task is to suppress the hostilities on both sides with stealth and precision. But how you stalk and approach your target, perform the task at hand, and exit the scene safely will vary from player to player. This is because the authentically re-created cities you'll be visiting -- such as Jerusalem, Damascus, and Acre -- are open-ended and bustling with citizens.
Is it any good?
The game's wide-screen presentation and high-definition graphics are only outdone by its smooth character animation, dialogue (including a female character voiced by Heroes and Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell) and Hollywood-style music soundtrack (composed by British Academy Award-winner Jesper Kyd) that changes depending on what's happening onscreen. Some players, however, might be disappointed that the combat isn't as fleshed out as in past Ubisoft Montreal games. The planning and exit strategies, the action sequences in Assassin's Creed are simply well-timed button presses, rather than deep combat control schemes.
That said, Assassin's Creed is an imaginatively conceived and wonderfully executed single-player adventure that should take a good 10 hours to complete, and more than double that for the optional side missions. Mature gamers in search of a beautiful, exhilarating piece of interactive entertainment will be more than pleased with this hard-to-put-down adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether this game teaches anything about this time period (12th century) in the Middle East or does the backdrop take a back seat to the violence? That is, could a player actually use a game like this one to learn about key moments in history such as the Crusades?
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