This is the game that started it all for the franchise. Ubisoft are the developers and publishers who brought us this wonderfully crafted introduction to the world of Assassin’s Creed. It is their attempt to try and bring something new to the table in the world of gaming. In preparation for this game a new game engine was made just for Assassin’s Creed that was named “The Scimitar Engine”. This helped in creating the open-world environment throughout the game with plenty of interactive characters and to provide wonderful looking graphics (for 2007 of course). It’s a game that I will not forget playing through and was a fun experience with my introduction to the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
The game has two different timelines, one where you’ll play in and another where the game takes place in its story and cutscenes. The part of the game you spend the most time in takes place in the year 1191, when “The Third Crusade” occurred in the cities of Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre. The game’s main story is set in 2012, and starts off with a guy named Desmond Miles who wakes up on a machine called an “Animus”, where he then finds out he has been kidnapped by an organization called Abstergo Industries. The leaders of Abstergo that you end up interacting the most with, Dr. Warren Vidic and Lucy (Kristen Bell), explain to Desmond that he is an assassin, and that they need to look into his memory to find important artifacts from the past. They then try to explain to Desmond that a machine created by Abstergo, The Animus, will allow them to look into a person’s memory and replay the genetic memories of the users ancestors.
In Desmond’s case, Abstergo are looking for information about his ancestor Altair Ibn-La’Ahad, the character you’ll be playing as, an Assassin during the Third Crusade. Inside the Animus, Altair’s memories bring to attention that he was trying to stop Robert de Sable from taking an artifact from a temple, but broke all three of the Assassin Brotherhood’s tenets in the process. Altair fails to complete this task that was essential to the Order in controlling the Holy Land. The leader of The Brotherhood, Al Mualim, is not very happy that Altair failed to recover the treasure back and summons him to an important meeting. Al Mualim points out how Altair didn’t follow the creed the way an Assassin should, and that the Order was disappointed based off these actions of him. The result of this is that Altair is removed of his rank in the Order, and will be demoted to the lowest rank, a Novice. Al Mualim gives you the opportunity to redeem yourself and to regain your status of Master Assassin. In order for Altair to re-acquire the rank of Master Assassin and the respect of the Assassin’s Order, he is given the assignment of going to assassinate nine men who are currently in important roles of trying to take the Holy Land away from Al Mualim and the Order’s religion, and going against his plans to bring peace to the cities of Jerusalem, Damascus and Acre. One aspect that makes the game more intriguing is the face that all the men you end up assassinating in the game were real people during the Third Crusade, with all of them dying in 1191.
There are three major cities that you will travel and explore in the game; Jerusalem, Damascus, Acre and a central large area called The Kingdom connecting each city. Each of those cities are broken into three smaller districts; poor middle and rich. Those smaller districts are locked until you’ve completed the necessary smaller tasks towards the assassination target. Those smaller tasks vary from pickpocketing, eavesdropping, and interrogating. Once enough information is acquired you go back to the Assassin’s Bureau and you can attempt an assassination.
Climbing up and around the many buildings in the cities is very easy and effortless. You can interact with just about anything as long as the buildings you wish to climb up have objects that Altair will be able to grab onto and pull himself up, jump or swing your way to your destination. You can even get lost in what your main task is by just exploring and experiencing the game as it’s pretty fun just climbing and swinging your way around the cities.
The aspect that can become tedious is that of the combat dynamic. After a while it gets fairly repetitive and can lead you to being careful as to not get into some trouble with guards. The camera angles can become quite annoying when in tight areas while fighting a bunch of enemies, leaving you blind in some spots until you move around. The assassinations though are quite refreshing and can be fun, with stealth assassinations can be rewarding.
The visuals in this game are quite spectacular, especially when you’re on top of “view points” and get a bird’s eye view of the city around you. The scenery and backgrounds look great and very detailed. The cities are huge and thanks to that engine there is plenty of detail and citizens throughout. Each city is noticeably different with it’s own setting and environment, giving it their own unique feel to them. It’s surprising how many people they can have populate the environments and still look good and load just fine considering the game’s age. Buildings are meticulously detailed and objects look very good as well. While there is some aging to this eight-year old game it still has some good looking visuals. Animations are great as well. The way Altair moves effortlessly while scaling walls, leaps from view-points, or engaging in a swordfight is so fluid, even the soldiers you fight move effortlessly as well. The only downside to the animations aren’t that of Altair, but of the random citizens roaming around the cities as occasionally they can be a little jerky with their movements. From what I could tell in my experience in playing is that there was little to no framerate drop or texture pop-in.
The sounds that you will hear throughout the game are very detailed and are more impressive possibly than what you see. All this that you hear is just a way to create a better sense of atmosphere and immersion. Just sitting atop a tall tower you can hear many things going on around you that can include; the rustle of wind, a dark barking or even the rustle and bustle of the townspeople. If you’re close enough to them you can even hear their conversations. Even the sounds of your fights are great and the sound of an enemy groaning and moaning as you assassinate them can be oddly rewarding. While the voice acting is quite good, there is one exception and that is that of Altair. While it’s a decent job of voice work, it isn’t up to par of the other voice acting in the rest of the game.
There aren’t that many flaws in Assassin’s Creed in my eyes, aside from the repetitive gameplay towards the end, but overall this is a great game and a great start to this franchise. It was quite innovative for it’s time by trying to offer something new, and I think that was accomplished. For the most part the gameplay is quite satisfying and can keep you entertained for hours in the lengthy storyline. Those are all aspects that I appreciate in a game where I prefer the single-player over the multiplayer aspect of games. This game will always hold a special place in my heart as it’s the game that started my love for the Assassin’s Creed franchise that will continue on.
- Great controls
- Plenty of stealth variety
- Amazing sound design
- Gameplay can become repetitive
- Story could be hard to follow at times
- Altair’s voice acting could have been better