By this point, the Assassin’s Creed series is one of the biggest in gaming history. But no franchise begins as a juggernaut; it takes at least one game to kick everything off. In Assassin’s Creed’s case, the first installment came out in 2007 and was met with a fairly positive reaction. While nobody saw it as a perfect game, most players were happy with it.
That was over ten years ago now. Looking at the title through modern-day lenses, there’s certainly a lot of things that haven’t aged well. However, on the opposite end, there are aspects of the game that remain timeless. Here are the things that fall on each side of the spectrum.
10 Holds Up: Makes You Feel Like An Assassin
It’s fair to say that in the most recent games, the Assassin part of Assassin’s Creed has lessened in importance. So much so that in Odyssey, users didn’t even play as one except in the short present-day sections.
The first title, however, really makes players feel like an Assassin. For one thing, the entire game is about hunting and killing a list of targets. And it’s up to the player to discover the best way to murder their prey. This feeling of being a true member of the Order is one of several things fans miss from the Desmond era of games.
9 Aged Poorly: Combat
Combat is something that hasn’t aged well in any of the early games. Yet, it’s most noticeable in the original title. Altair only has a handful of moves and weapons at his disposal, and there’s little variation between each fight.
Most of the time, players are simply waiting to hit someone with a counter-attack or land a basic combo to initiate a finishing move. It gets so repetitive that by the end of the game, most players will just trying to grind through fights instead of actually enjoying them.
8 Holds Up: Present Day Sections
Not only do Assassin’s Creed’s present-day sections hold up, but they arguable look better in hindsight. The story outside of the Animus has gotten so crazy over the years that the simplicity of Desmond’s pen-stealing and e-mail hacking is welcome.
Also, there’s actually enough of them for it to feel like a significant part of the game. In the newer titles, these sections are too few and far between to be important.
7 Aged Poorly: Map
Advancement in technology has allowed developers to make much bigger maps than they could in 2007. Therefore, nobody expects the original game to have a gigantic sandbox world. Although the size of AC1’s recreation of the Holy Land isn’t the problem, it’s the quality.
The map is seriously lacking in memorable locations outside of Masyaf. In fact, the only visual difference between each area is the guards’ outfits. It doesn’t help that there’s a long stretch of pointless terrain between each of the main cities. Most of the later entries include much better maps.
6 Holds Up: Difficulty
Assassin’s Creed games tend to be relatively easy. Titles like AC2 and Revelations are a breeze to play through. Only the occasional tough boss provides any strenuous challenge.
Things are a bit tougher in the first game, though. When guards discover Altair’s presence, they are hot on his tail, and it isn’t always easy to escape. Plus, Altair comes up against some very skilled combatants throughout the game.
5 Aged Poorly: Navigation
Freerunning and climbing have always been a major part of the Assassin’s Creed games. Yet, even though AC1 was the game to introduce those elements, they don’t hold up anymore.
It’s clunky and awkward to climb buildings, and Altair seems to insist on doing it at a snail’s pace. Running around isn’t much better, as sprinting and freerunning are tied to the same button. So, chases tend to lead to plenty of accidental climbing.
4 Holds Up: Strong Protagonist
The series has had many protagonists by this point, and they all vary in quality. However, Altair is still considered one of the best. He might not have the charisma of Ezio or the power of Kassandra, but his development throughout the first game is fantastic.
In the beginning, Altair is an arrogant jerk who makes a mockery of the creed. By the end, though, he has learned from his mistakes and become an honorable man. Plus, Altair’s lack of backstory gives him an intriguing air of mystery.
3 Aged Poorly: Lack Of Features
A big reason why Assassin’s Creed 2 is held in such high regard is that the sequel added a whole lot to the series. It was needed because the first game doesn’t have many features.
There are no items to purchase, no customization options, and a lack of activities. It means that apart from netting achievements, there’s pretty much nothing to do once the story is complete.
2 Holds Up: Story
Good stories are timeless, and the first Assassin’s Creed certainly has a strong one. It follows both Desmond and Altair.
In Desmond’s time, he’s being held prisoner by Abstergo and forced to live out the memories of his ancestor. Whereas, Altair’s early mishap means he has to work his way back up the Assassin Order, killing some evil Templars along the way. Both narratives have nice pacing as things unravel slowly over the course of the game. And nothing gets overly complex like in some of the later installments.
1 Aged Poorly: Repetitive Missions
Repetitiveness is an instant enjoyment killer in most games, and the original Assassin’s Creed is certainly one of them. Virtually every mission in the game follows the exact same pattern: go to a district, gather information by eavesdropping, pickpocketing, interrogating, or helping fellow Assassins, then kill the target.
It makes sense that the Brotherhood would have specific techniques to hunt someone, but it also makes the game a chore to play at times. Thankfully, the later entries learned from this and varied things up.
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