These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.
Assassin’s Creed Identity isn’t the first mobile Assassin’s Creed game—but it’s the first mobile Assassin’s Creed game that really embodies the open-world, role-playing style of the franchise.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a fan of Assassin’s Creed to play Assassin’s Creed Identity—in fact, you don’t even have to really know what Assassin’s Creed is to enjoy this game. The game’s controls can be tricky, but they’re fairly easy to pick up quickly, and you don’t need to learn an entire battery of skills for sneaking about, dodging enemies, and performing parkour to become a competent mobile assassin.
Assassin’s Creed Identity is a premium title, so it will set you back $5 for the first 10 missions and another $2 for additional content—but it’s one of the most deluxe mobile gaming experiences you’ll ever have. Here’s why:
It’s got console-worthy elements: Assassin’s Creed Identity looks and feels like a real (albeit scaled-down) chapter in the franchise—this game plays more like a port of the original titles instead of a supplementary afterthought. All the elements you love from the console games are present, including relatively open-world gameplay, the ability to scale walls and stealthily take down guards and enemies, and impressively detailed (and beautiful) graphics.
In its attempt to stay true to the original Assassin’s Creed gameplay (scaling walls, jumping from building to building, performing aerial assassinations and leaping into haystacks), Assassin’s Creed Identity does struggle a little with its controller scheme. The game is played with two virtual d-pads—tapping and holding down the left side of the screen gives you a movement pad, while tapping and holding down the right side of the screen lets you look around. All things considered, these controls aren’t the worst I’ve used in a touchscreen world, but they occasionally get confusing (you’ll tap and hold the right side of the screen to look around and end up walking off a building) and that’s enough to cause frustration in a game that requires sneaky finesse. Pairing the game with an external MFi controller improves the experience significantly, though.
It’s been scaled down nicely for mobile: While the regular Assassin’s Creed games are played in an open-world format with ongoing missions and objectives, Assassin’s Creed Identity is divided up into mobile-sized missions.
You still get a relatively open-world experience within each mission, but you don’t have to worry about losing significant progress if you’re playing the game casually while waiting at line in Starbucks or on your commute. It’s not the longest game you’ll play—the initial $5 gets you 10 storyline missions (set in Monteriggioni, Florence, and Rome), and an additional $2 in-app purchase offers 4 extra storyline missions (set in Forli).
While the game’s controller scheme can be a little clunky, the game does offer concessions that make the Assassin’s Creed style more playable on a mobile device. The game automates some of your assassin’s movements—for example, to climb a wall all you need to do is run toward it and follow the white arrow that appears to let you visualize your parkour path—so that the game ends up feeling smooth and effortless.
There’s plenty of content: The storyline of Assassin’s Creed Identity may be short, but it’s well thought-out and deeper than you might expect. Each mission and challenge rewards you with currency, weapons, armor upgrades, and codex entries.
The codex features information on the different characters (including generic NPCs, such as guards and Templars) you encounter, as well as city information and lore told through journal entries.
Your assassin is customizable beyond just weapons and armor, too: Each assassin has a class (Berserker, Shadowblade, Trickster, and the initially-locked Thief), and each class has its own skill tree. If you don’t like your initial choices, you can use the game’s currency to unlock a second class slot or to create a new assassin. Like many mobile games, Assassin’s Creed Identity has both a regular currency and a premium currency, but you won’t feel like you need to spend more money to get the full experience.