What would you do if you could relive the memories of your ancestors? What if you could see what other periods of history were like without having the point of view of the person who wrote the record? What if things were not the way you remember from the books? It is this idea that is one of the core story aspects of the Assassin’s Creed series as a whole.
In each game, we play a person in a modern setting that has a special connection to the past. Using a machine designed to relive significant world events, a connection is made to someone who lived them. The game that introduced this thought was the first in the series titled Assassin’s Creed.
The story of Assassin’s Creed revolves around a man in the year of 2012. Desmond Miles is forced to relive the memories of his ancestor: Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad. Altaïr is a Syrian Assassin that lived during The Third Crusade. In the year 1191, Altaïr traveled to the cities of Acre, Jerusalem, Damascus, and Masyef. And went so far as take part in the Battle of Arsuf in September 1191.
The three main cities all have different characteristics. Acre is controlled by Crusaders lead by King Richard I. This is shown not only by the guards walking around but in the architecture. The same goes for the other cities in the game. Even though Jerusalem and Damascus are both under Saracen control, each has an individual feel that is similar yet distinct.
Assassin’s Creed has a pretty simple control scheme, setting one button to control each part of Altaïr’s body and a trigger to block and change between high profile and low. It’s these two profiles that keep you from walking through cities or running through them. The system leads to a pretty basic and straightforward fighting mechanic where you can bash one button to attack or sit back in your guard position and wait for a counter.
The biggest thing that this game brought in, though, was not the simple combat. It was the traversal of the historic cities.
Assassin’s Creed gives you the option to run up walls and climb rooftops. It’s this ability that allows you to keep yourself off the ground. If it looks like something that you can grab hold of, you can. Using the highest points in each city, you get to not only scope out the land , but you can also find missions and people that need your help.
In October, we will receive a new installment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and it’s that game that has me running back through the series that I’ve been into for almost the last ten years. Starting with the first in the series after playing the newer games gives a bit of perspective. This game set the foundation for what would come and as it began to build a universe.
When we look back on it, Assassin’s Creed itself is a rough game. From the slow movement to the repetitive missions and the protagonist progression that seemingly comes out of nowhere, there isn’t a smooth flow to it. I would recommend this game be skipped based on those things. And the only people I recommend this game to are the fans of the series as a whole that want to see where it all began.