This fall, Assassin’s Creed II comes to us as a sequel to certainly one of 2007’s most popular games. After reading about many other’s opinions about the original Assassin’s Creed, it has come clear to me that my opinion on the game is unique and unusual. Most who have played the game simply do not like it for its repetitive missions or for various other reasons. Recently, I played the game through again and I am going to share with you why I love the game so much. There are going to be spoilers here so proceed at your own risk.
As Assassin’s Creed starts, I am reminded of one of the few things I dislike about it: The Sci-Fi thing. I remember first playing it and seeing this and exclaiming “WHAT!?” It was pretty interesting at the time considering no preview that I had seen showed this part of the game at all. I consider it to be throwaway as I do not consider it to be an integral part of the game. I want to play as a bad ass assassin from the middle ages, not some french nosed doofus in the present time. The whole premise is that you’re some dude who’s captured because his ancestor, Altair, from the middle ages has memories that need to be accessed in order to find this thing for the present time. It’s safe to say I do not like the sci-fi aspect of the story at all, but I do enjoy the story moments accessed in memory very much.
Once in the middle ages, I’m playing as Altair and within the first few moments, he makes a large mistake by crushing enemies when not told to. Altair is a member of a group of assassins, and there’s certain rules within the assassin’s creed that must be followed. Altair has broken one of the rules, is stripped of most of his abilities and must prove himself all over again. From then on, the game proceeds in a ‘hit list’ fashion. You’re given specific targets to assassinate, and can dispose of them however you please.
Now that I’ve set the game up a bit, I’d like to start describing what I love about it. Well, first off, the immersion. When playing it, I do not feel as if I’m playing a game, I am Altair. Not only that, but I feel all powerful and that I own the kingdom in which the game takes place. Not only is it extremely difficult for me to die, but I can go around killing just about whoever I please. I guess you could say this is a super hero game without the actual superhero part. I enjoy climbing to the next watch point so I can reveal the whole map, I enjoy saving citizens that are being harassed, and I enjoy assassinating targets.
One of the main things that really sets off the immersion factor for myself is the combat system. It is one of the most fluid combat systems I have ever seen. Each sword slash has weight, each knife slash has focus and don’t even get me started on counters. Counters are very simple to pull off and have heaps of rewards. Countering with swords sometimes has you just simply sending someone to the ground dazed, as is the same with the knife. With the hidden blade, though, a single counter is certain death for a foe. Altair will shove a knife in your throat with no remorse. The downside to the hidden blade is that missing a counter results in quite a bit of damage taken. Risk reaps reward in most cases, and Assassin’s Creed is no exception.
The assassinations themselves are also pretty amazing. In each town, there are sects of the Creed. Within them, there is an informant there to tell you about your target. The informant however does not tell you everything, and you must seek out the rest of the information regarding your target yourself. This is set up in many different ways: informers will give information by completing tasks for them, collecting flags, or assassinating targets for them. I enjoy assassinating the targets more than collecting flags, but these missions are still pretty straight forward and easy to do. Another way to collect information is through interrogation, in which you follow a person into a dark corner and punch them into submission. Altair is cold blooded in that after each interrogation, the interrogated is then put to the death with a chilly knife to the throat.
One thing that should have been mentioned much earlier is the graphics. To put it quite simply, they are stunning. Each section of the kingdom is highly detailed and breathtaking. The most thrilling part of this is when scaling a high point. From this view, it’s easy to see the entire city. I remember first seeing this and being blown away by it. Nearly two years later, it has the same effect as it did then. I am taken back due to the level of detail put into this world.
I think it goes without saying at this point that I love Assassin’s Creed. Many dislike it for many things I love it for, but this is okay. I only hope that with the second game, the things I mentioned are not tossed out the window. I have very high hopes for it, and if it can at least match the quality of the first game, we’ll be in for quite a treat. I imagine the sci-fi story stuff will return, but I can only hope it’s in a limited capacity. I realize this whole write-up sounds like a gushing review for the game. However, this is not a review, but rather a recollection of my thoughts on Assassin’s Creed.