Although Assassin’s Creed, the first installment by Ubisoft to this franchise has been out for quite a few years now, there has been a lot of negative banter posted around the web about this game. I am writing this review simply to share my opinion on the matter and to try and give this game the commendations it deserves.
If you were to compare this game with its sequels then sure, it looks pretty weak, but considering how long ago it was developed and how fresh the idea was at the time, Assassin’s Creed is a breakthrough.
2007 was a year where first-person shooters really took off, with highly popular games such as Call of Duty 4 and BioShock being released. Assassin’s Creed could have easily been pushed down gamers’ wish lists in favor of these more intense shooters but because of its fresh gameplay and storyline, it earned platinum status in less than a year.
The game takes place in modern day and at the start you play as Desmond Miles, a bartender who is captured by worldwide corporation called Abstergo Industries. He is forced to relive the memories of his assassin ancestors with the help of a machine called the Animus and although he is the underlying main character, you will play as Altaïr for the majority of the game. After a small prelude, you are released into the giant free running playground and things really start to become enjoyable. Compared to other previous games of this genre, the animation and graphics are simply stunning. The recreation of historical locations is very well done and looking out across the urban vistas from eerie heights was a great experience for me. The free running is really smooth and fast paced for the most part and the stealth and fighting elements are reasonably good although a lot of work has been done to improve this in the following games.
Although the gameplay mechanics are solid, the missions were met with a negative response because of their repetitive nature. Basically, Altaïr has to redeem himself by assassinating nine targets in three cities during the time of the Crusades and each one is a Templar, sworn enemies to the Assassins. The missions consist of talking to the bureau leader in the city, gathering Intel on the target and then killing the target with your trusty hidden blade. When you look at it this way, its understandable that people could become bored, but if you actually follow the plot the missions become a bit more interesting and escaping from the scene of the crime is also good fun. Something that annoyed me though was the fact that you could only assassinate the targets with the hidden blade, which limits any creative deviation when approaching the missions. As well as this, the combat is also quite limited because all you can really do is wait for the attack and then counter, but this is partially redeemed by the impressive kill moves that the assassin can perform.
All in all, Assassin’s Creed is an impressive launch title on Ubisoft’s part and although there are a few shaky gameplay mechanics and small mission variety, this game has provided a massive foundation for the sequels that have been released so far. If you take this game by itself at the time it was released, it incorporates a few fresh concepts and overall is a solid third-person action game. You can get this game for dirt-cheap these days and if you like wonderfully realized open world environments to explore then this game is a bargain.
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