Replaying Assassin’s Creed 1

Assassin's Creed

This week I’ve mostly been an Assassin in the Holy Land. There were also periods where I was Nolan North, but the less said about them the better.

I shall, for now, pretend that my assault on PC gaming has started with the start of the alphabet, but in reality I grabbed all the Assassin’s Creed games cheaply on Steam and decided to have a replay through them all as a preparation for the next game, which comes out later this year. I think I was one of the only people who actually liked the first game before it because a popular franchise (hipster warning) but I can really understand where people had problems with this first game.

Going back to the first game in a series is always a risk, especially when it’s one that is notorious for having an initial installment that lots of people disliked. It seems that I may be OK this time as although I’m only as far in as having just completed the two assassinations, the first of which was a low key wrist blade to the target in a crowded square as he walked past followed by my patented “leg it!” maneuver rather than anything with any real finesse. The controls on PC are causing me a bit of trouble so that’s going to need a bit of effort before I can reliably panic and not draw my sword instead of hiding. This, as you can imagine, results in a lot more running away. At least my character is getting a workout while he’s at it.

The only really annoying bit so far is the way that they implemented cutscenes, which are from a fixed point of view until you click the mouse at appropriate times. It does make them a bit more interactive, but not in a good way. On Xbox you even got an achievement for doing a certain percentage of those swaps, but thankfully the game is early enough that it’s only that version has any achievements. Saying that I did 100% it on Xbox, something that should be an achievement in itself.

Another moment that I had which I’m sad went away from later games occurred when I was running away from a bunch of guards who were rather irate that I had randomly drawn my sword yet again. Running along the rooftops I reached a point where I ran out of ways to go and a risky jump straight into the street was called for. I knew I would take damage, but the guards would be slower to hit the ground than me because they prefer the less direct route that doesn’t rely quite so much on gravity.

Usually it’s a good trade off, but this time I landed right next to a Templar. In the first game these heavily armoured, quite tough knights were a collectible of sorts as you had to find them all at specific points on the map and then kill them. It was much easier to instakill them silently, but in this case I was forced to dispatch the poor man (Although Poor isn’t really a good description for the Templars at that time) using the traditional death by pointy metal thing. I’d forgotten how much I had enjoyed the small puzzle that trying to stealth kill them presented and wish the later games had a similar feature. I suspect I was making content for myself there and everybody else just hit them with a sword until they stopped moving.

So far I’m quite happy with the game, although I do have a vague recollection of more annoyances towards the end, but being back in these cities really is as refreshing as it was back when it released. I seem to have been in dystopian futures way too much recently, and so a bit of good old fashioned murdering in the past is a nice change.

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