Review by CaliGamer25850
"So this is the first game. We've come a long way from then..."
Ah, yes. Assassin's Creed. I must say, Ubisoft has made a great series out of the basic premise that you are part of a secret society dedicated to saving humanity's free will. I have to say that there have been some good games that came of this concept. And this is the game that started it all.
Assassin's Creed was released in November 2007 for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I first played this back in 2008. While I was still living in California, me and my mom flew up to St. Cloud, MN to visit family. I stayed for about a month (thanks, Mom). Anyway, my cousin Kyle brought his 360 and I had my PS3. We played both of them, and one of the games we played was this game. I thought it was pretty good, but then again, I was 12 at the time.
It wouldn't be until 2011, which at that time I was living in Southwestern Minnesota, I owned and Xbox 360. I got both Assassin's Creed 1 and 2, along with a lot of games because it was winter and Minnesota winters are particularly unforgiving. I played both of those games 100% more than eight times each game since then, and I must say. As the series became better, Assassin's Creed 1 in my opinion did not age well. So, with about 2 or 3 years of experience with the series, I believe it is time to chime in my two cents for this game.
Story: 8.5 out of 10
I would just like to say that there are two storylines. One following the main protagonist of the series, Desmond Miles (voiced by Nolan North from Uncharted) and the second following his ancestors.
One day, Desmond got kidnapped by this company called Abstergo Industries, which is a meds company. The guy in charge of development, Warren Vidic, has put you in the Animus, a device that allows a person to view the genetic memories of their ancestors. The first thing you see when playing the game is this hooded man in a garden with women, and Vidic is having a problem trying to access the memory.
After being threatened to be put in a coma, Desmond begrudgingly allows himself to go into the Animus. After a training problem, Desmond is thrusted into the memories of one Altair ibn La-Ahad, a Middle-Eastern man who is a member of this secret society called the Assassins.
Altair accompanies two assassins on a journey underneath Jerusalem to find something called the Ark of the Covenant. Unfortunately, they cross paths with a group of people referred to as the Templars, the enemies of the Assassins, and the grand master Robert de Sable. Altair exposes himself to them (not that kind of exposing you pervert) and after unsuccessfully trying to assassinate de Sable, he is thrown out of Altair's comrades get massacred. Altair has no choice but to go back to Masyaf.
When he goes back to Masyaf, a desert stronghold in Syria during the crusades, Altair is reprimanded by his master, Al Mualim, for failing to retrieve the artifact. One of the comrades, Malik, arrives bloodied, with the chalice and an army of Templars at the door. The Assassins defend Masyaf, but Al Mualim severely reprimands Altair for failing the reconnaissance mission, risking the life of Malik and drawing the Templars to invade Masyaf. Altair is then stabbed.
Surprisingly enough, Altair lives, but Al Mualim demotes him to a mere Novice and has a chance to earn his way back into the brotherhood. After Altair brings to justice a traitor who aided the Templars in the attack, he is given a larger task. Kill nine men who threaten the Holy Land. Altair journeys across the land to cities such as Damascus, Acre and Jerusalem, doing various tasks, gathering information and clues, and killing the nine men.
After each kill, it is slowly revealed that the men were Templars. Additionally, it is revealed that they have gone against their leaders, King Richard of the Crusaders and Saladin of the Saracen army. Such betrayals were plotting to kill King Richard to gain control of Acre, stealing money going to the Saracens for parties, installing a naval blockade to keep Crusaders from sending reinforcements and also even betraying the Templars for personal gain.
After killing six men, Al Mualim tells Altair that the artifact was a Piece of Eden, an ancient yet advanced relic that can bend the mind of humans in order to serve the will of whom wields it. One man later, Altair learns the concept of the assassins' motto, "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted," realizing that the Assassins allow the world to learn the truth whereas the Templars force the truth onto the world.
Meanwhile, between Animus sessions, Desmond converses with both Vidic, and his assistant, Lucy Stillman (voiced by Kristen Bell). While conversing with Lucy, it is revealed that Desmond was an Assassin who lived in a desert commune with his parents, but ran away to New York when he was 16 because he didn't want to live away from the world. Lucy's past is also told, in that she was rejected from universities for her ideas on genetic memory, labeling it as pseudo-science, and was offered a job at Abstergo to do her research. She was once kidnapped and threatened with death by some coworkers which resulted in Vidic saving her life and putting her in his debt.
After a lengthy Animus session, Lucy reveals that a group of people of coming. Those people are assassins. Worse yet, it is revealed that Vidic is a Templar and Abstergo is their company. I suppose that Vidic slowly reveals that fact in his conversations with Desmond. Anyway, after another memory block, Lucy reveals that Vidic is trying to find a Piece of Eden and that the Piece of Eden from Altair's time was destroyed and Vidic is hoping to use Desmond to find out where the others are.
Anyway, back in Altair's time, Al Mualim commands Altair, who at this point is now a Master Assassin again, to go back to Jerusalem to kill Robert, who is there to attend Majd Addin's funeral and to bring peace to Saracen and Crusaders. Altair, as well as bureau leader Malik, who has forgiven Altair for the loss of his arm and his brother, are wary of this motive and believe that Robert has an agenda. Altair goes to the funeral and is exposed. Altair then has to fight his way through both Saracens and Templars before confronting Robert.
Unfortunately, he was a decoy, and she reveals that Robert rode to Arsuf to get Richard and Saladin to broker a truce in order to fight the Assassins, who are a common enemy due to the assassinations of men on both sides. Altair spares her life, then tells Malik that Al Mualim has something to hide and to go back beneath the temple to look for clues while Altair rides to Arsuf.
After fighting his way through both Saracens and Crusaders, Altair makes his way to Richard, informing him that Robert has betrayed him and Altair killed his men because of their motives. At that point, Robert challenges Altair to a fight to the death, Richard agreeing because he believes God will side with the winner. Altair kills Robert who reveals that there were ten men who knew of the treasure, the tenth being Al Mualim himself, who got Altair to kill the other nine in order to keep the Piece of Eden to himself. Altair has a conversation with Richard about free will and if/how humans should be led before going off to Masyaf to confront Al Mualim.
Desmond is pulled out of the Animus because the assassins have arrived to rescue him, but were put down by security. Vidic reveals those will be the last assassins to come for him because Abstergo has been conducting raids to eradicate all assassins and Desmond is the last one. Lucy consoles him by hinting her being an assassin (uh huh...) and then the next day, Desmond goes to access the last memory.
Altair returns to Masyaf and sees that Al Mualim has brainwashes both the villagers and the assassins. After a fight with the brainwashed assassins, Altair meets up with Malik, who confirms that Al Mualim was a Templar. Altair tells Malik and the assassins who are not brainwashed to distract the brainwashed assassins while he goes to confront Al Mualim in the garden. Al Mualim first uses the apple to bring back the nine men Altair killed (who were actually assassins masquerading as the dead men), then splits himself up into nine clones, and then during the one on one fight, blinds Altair with the apple. Eventually, Al Mualim is killed.
Altair says the apple must be destroyed, but Al Mualim says that it will be impossible without the will. As Altair walks to the apple, it projects a hologram of the entire globe, with dots representing the locations of the Pieces of Eden, with Vidic exclaiming, "We've got it!."
Desmond is pulled out to three men who have observed the memory. Vidic is told that Abstergo should collect all the Pieces of Eden and to kill Desmond. However, Lucy steps in, saying that Desmond is still needed in order to confirm there are no surprises at any sites, then tells Vidic that she saved him from a potential scandal. Vidic and Lucy then leave as Desmond gains the ability of Eagle Vision, using it to see several symbols around the lab and then sees a big-ass blood mural on the wall over his bed, ending the game.
Anyway, due to look of what I have typed up thus far, the story is pretty good, and that's pretty much not saying a lot because in 2007, it was expected of every game, regardless of genre, to have a story. I swear that gaming was simpler back in the days of NES. Anyway, I like it.
Gameplay: 7.5 out of 10
The gameplay was okay for 2007 standards. You have five weapons. Your fists, your hidden blades, your dagger, your sword, and your knives you can throw at people. At the start of the game, you have all your skills and weapons taken from you, but with each person you kill, you get back a weapon and an ability.
Your sword skills are pretty basic. Just X to hit and RT to block. You can do combos, which is a little hard to do because you have to press X when the sword taps metal. Counters are done by X while blocking, and this will be second nature by the time you get your second target. Defense Break is done by A then X, pretty good to surprise your foes, especially Templars. Dodging is done by pressing A when not blocking, is useful near the end of the game so don't forget about it. Anyway, this is a very good weapon to have.
Fists are pretty basic, just press X. No combos, poor timing, they always hit you back, and you can't counter. This is only used for interrogations, and trying to use it on anyone else is pretty useless.
Daggers are like the swords, except less damage, less deflect, but more combo speed. Anyway, you use them in tandem with the throwing knives. Lock on with LT and throw it with X. It can take down weak guards and archers with one, but for more stronger enemies, you will get caught. I recommend not using these during Informer missions, as you will most likely expose yourself.
The hidden blade is used for silent assassinations. Unfortunately, you can't use them well in open combat, as you can't strike enemies and the countering window is small. However, countering is always a one-hit kill if you can manage.
For your abilities, you can do free-running, which for the time, was nice. Also, you can do leaps of faith which always looks impressive. This is a great way to get through the cities without too much trouble. Outside of the cities, you can roam around the vast countryside called the Kingdom. It's pretty boring and you can't do very much in it, and if you want to get anywhere, you need to ride a horse. To ride a horse, just move near it. Hold down A to blend, RT to move fast, and RT + A to gallop. They work well, but are pretty weak in term of combat.
Your biggest threats are the guards. You see, there is a notoriety system. White means you are anonymous, and outside of public view, you are incognito. When seen by guards, there is a eye icon, meaning you are being watched. Yellow means guards are both unaware and suspicious, and only attack if you kill someone. Red means they are informed and any actions you take that are not normal will be seen as a threat, so they will attack. The triangle will then open and flash red and blink rapidly. This means you are exposed, so either fight or flee. When you do flee, it will flash yellow and be less rapid, so you need to leave or hide. When you do hide, it will flash blue and be very slow, so guards will try to find you. If they don't, they give up and you are anonymous, showing green and closed triangle.
I only say that it is a 7.5 because playing all the other games in the series and then coming back to this game shows that I have actually grown a little bored of this gameplay. I mean, it has long worn out its welcome at this point. Also, you can't swim. If you fall in water, you will drown.
Mechanics: 7 out of 10
When you go to a city to do your work, you first need to synchronize the map. To do that, you need to scale a viewpoint to the tip and press Y to get a view of the surrounding. This reveals all missions and side stuff.
Your missions are basic. Just do a few of them in order to be able to do an assassination. The missions are eavesdropping, where you sit on a bench and listen in on a conversation to get clues, talking to informers, who wants you to either collect flags or kill people without getting caught, pickpocketing, where you get a letter and/or map from someone's ass, and interrogation, where you follow a herald into a secluded area and beat them up. You also do save citizen missions to kill guards harassing a woman or man. When you save a man, you gain the use of scholars you can use for blending, which will get you into restricted areas without a fight. Saving a woman grants the use of vigilantes that assist you when being chased by guards, slowing them down letting you escape.
You have to do three missions in order to be able to do an assassination. You go to the place, track down the target and kill them. Sometimes, you can kill them without a fight, but regardless, every time you kill a target, the city is on alert and every guard within the walls will be informed. You have to go to the bureau without being exposed. You can't leave the city, as the gate will be closed.
Every time you complete an assassination, you are given another rank. This gives you another skill and/or weapon, as well as one extra synchronization point. You can gain more points by getting viewpoints and saving citizens. You max out at twenty, whereas thirteen are given to you during the main story.
As you kill more targets, there will be more guards, more informed patrols, and stronger guards. In the middle districts, almost every guard is part of an informed patrol, whereas in the kingdom, because every guard is informed, there will be more. Near the end of the game, you are forced to go in the kingdom, and there will be guards everywhere.
There is very little side stuff to do. There are flags and Templars, but that is boring. You can collect flags in Masyaf, the Kingdom, and the cities, and kill all 60 Templars, but the only point to do that are for the achievements. Outside of that, it's meaningless. I just avoid it because they do absolutely nothing at all. No perks, no items, no benefits, nothing. Nothing!
Anyway, the mechanics have not aged well and are very boring. They just don't do it for me anymore. They did it for me back in March 2011 when I first got it, but no. All the other games have does them very well. This one does not, but I do excuse it because this was back before Ubisoft knew what the series was capable of.
Graphics: 6.5 out of 10
They were okay, but they seems to be lacking in the cutscenes. I mean, yes you can interact and change the camera angle, but that doesn't make them any better. They could've done more with it, but I suppose they forgot. Heh......
Anyway, the cities and the countryside look nice, but some areas, such as the Kingdom, are very boring to go through, as many areas are either not fully realized or not explored in the whole game.
So, yeah. Graphics were just okay, nothing more.
Sound/Music: 7 out of 10
The sound was composed by Jesper Kyd, and the sounds seem pretty nice. They have a subtle type of ambiance which gets you in the mood to explore the game, and some tracks have a nice suitable tone to which kind of area you are in.
The voices were, somewhat unemotional. Desmond himself is okay, but Altair is too basic. He does not even emote that much of even at all. He seems boring to listen to. Also, during combat, some people actually speak other languages, which would be nice if they have subtitles that included translation to let you know what they are saying.
Music is good, but the sound quality is lower because of the voice acting and lack of subtitles.
Replayability: 5 out of 10
You can do memory blocks over, but outside of that, no. Collecting flags and killing Templars are boring and nobody wants to do them. Anyway, there is crappy replayability, and you only need to play the game a maximum of twice. It takes 20 hours to beat the main storyline and after the first three hours, you get bored. Apart from the story, there's not much appeal. To collect all the flags, save all citizens, kill all Templars, and activate all viewpoints, it would take 4 days.
Buy/Rent: Just rent it. I mean, if you buy it, fine. As long as the copy you get is less than $15, because any more than that is too much. If you're only playing in once, that's all you need. To me, the game now is only worth $12.89, because the game has worn out it's welcome a long time ago.
Final score: 6.9 out of 10. However, for this review, I round up to 7 out of 10. Okay, but not particularly impressive.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/30/13
Game Release: Assassin's Creed (US, 11/13/07)
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