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Throwback 10: Assassin’s Creed

With the latest game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Assassin’s Creed Origins, newly available, and the series celebrating the 10th anniversary of the game that started it all, now seems like a good time to take a look back at the original game in the series.

Assassin’s Creed was one for the first games that I picked up when I bought my Xbox 360, along with Gears of War and one of the Ghost Recon games. I didn’t like it the first time that I played it. I’m not sure why, but there was something about the early stages of the game that just didn’t click with me. After a few days of playing it I ended up putting it aside, and even went and traded it in a few weeks later.

It wasn’t until years later, when I played and loved Assassin’s Creed 2, that I thought about going back and trying the first game again. This time, I absolutely loved the game. I don’t know why it didn’t click with me first time round, but I came to realise that it was one of the better early games on the Xbox 360. One of the things that I enjoyed the most about the game was the level of freedom that it gave you. It wasn’t an Elder Scrolls game, you couldn’t just go anywhere and do anything, but it was far from rigid in the way that it let you progress the story or completed your missions.

The game designed itself around this semi-rigid structure, building the world around you as you progressed through the story, yet giving you multiple options on how to traverse the environments, which included the free-running. Thanks to the success of the series, and the fact that many other games have tried to emulate (or outright copy) this, it’s become just another game play mechanic, but at the time the ability to scale buildings and leap from roof to roof was extraordinary, and one of the features that drew many gamers to try out the game simply to see it in action.

Whilst the game hadn’t yet perfected this, or the combat system, these would prove to be very solid foundations that the franchise would build upon over the last decade. Despite some elements that make the game stand out, there are a few areas in which the game really does drop the ball quite a bit. The segments of the game that are set in the modern day are very jarring, not least because there’s very little to do in these moments. This is something that the later games would go on to correct, having you fight people and traverse building sites, yet here the modern day sections simply bring things to a halt.

Whilst the main body of the game doesn’t suffer from this kind of dullness, it does struggle in some other ways, particularly in how annoying NPC’s can get. Within an hour of playing the game you’ll have heard pretty much every line of dialogue that the civilian characters have, meaning that you’ll get annoyed when you hear the same phrases spoken time and time again. If you can overlook some of these design flaws, and some clunky controls that haven’t yet been perfected, there’s a good game to be found here, with some interesting game play elements, collectible challenges, and mysteries to be unlocked.

Possibly overshadowed by some of the later games in the series, Assassin’s Creed is the title that started it all, and well worthy of another look by people both new to the franchise, and veterans of the series.

Are you a fan of the first Assassin’s Creed? Are you enjoying Assassin’s Creed: Origins? Let us know!

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