My Pros, Cons, Overview, and Hopes for the FuturePros
Story: The story is very original, the gist taking place in the future, while stepping back into the past through the main character's memories. There's alot about it you get to uncover yourself through minor investigations, so it's a little more fun than just having it all spoon-fed to you, and even after the game there's plenty of the story to learn about through the codes and messages left on the walls by the previous subject. It may take a little patience, but I found it to be worth it.
Gameplay: The gameplay of Assassin's Creed is simple enough to catch quickly, but at the same time has a tinge of complication that makes it a game better during replay. The basic format is that you go and investigate your targets then kill them before making a getaway. While most of what you do during the first time around ends up being mere child's play, the idea is to go back and re-examine the situation; look for better and more impressive ways to pull off the tasks at hand that don't result in you being noticed instantly which is usually what ruins the whole "Assassin" concept. Free-running is also quite a joy. This is one of the first games I've played to date that's offered the kind of freedom it does. Practically everything around you can be used during locomotion (and it's done far better than Mirror's Edge which was made for that purpose).
Environment: There are four places you get to visit in Assassin's Creed: Jersalem, Acre, Masyaf, and Damascus, as well as the massive area called the Kingdom that separates the four. Each city has its own unique structures and people. It has a massive map and there's alot to explore, so they dropped a handful of flags all over the place to help you remember your way around. And the NPCs respond to you just as they would in real life. Climbing up a wall may get you chastised, while helping a needy citizen will get you praise and allies.Cons
Story: While the story is original and gives you plenty to explore and learn about, I don't think they should have tried smashing together two time periods in such a way. I think this could have been better if the main gameplay took place during the future (using most of the same features) with only flashbacks of the past, or perhaps keeping the story in the past and having premonitions of the future (I think the second choice would have made a great prequel for the second one). Everything just seems too cluttered, like they didn't have enough time to work enough on one story line to make them both epic without leaning on each other.
Gameplay: I've said this many times throughout my A/A gaming history: MULTIPLE COUNTERS! If you have to have a counter attack that takes five minutes to finish the animation, then you are likely (or should be) attacked during all the wasted time. This is not the only game that needs a combat system sophisticated enough to incorporate multiple counters on multiple targets. The combat system also seems to have little consideration for the fact that all enemies aren't the same and can't be handled the same way, which typically leads to rerun fighting. I don't think there were enough stealth possibilites in this game either, just stab with the hidden blade or throw a knife. The information gathering concept, while good in intention, lacked mu
ch depth. Most of the time, the information gained doesn't do you any real good, and you only had a limited number of (very random) events that gave you that information. My only final complaint is that, um... the master assassin hero of humanity... practically melts when he touches water.
Environment: The evironment is typically very detailed and historically accurate from my knowledge of the Third Crusade. My primary complaint, however, is with the interaction of the NPCs. You only really have the option of fighting or pickpocketing them by the end of the game. It lacks any real use for them other than realism. You can only blend with a certain group of people, there's no kind of economy, and while they do react more realistically than in most games, their reactions are typically neutral and lifeless.Overview
Overall, this game is admittedly not perfect. It could be deeper and more environmentally involved and have a better combat system, but in my opinion, the life of the game lies in its replay. Go, discover new places, new abilites, rerun the assassinations and look for quieter, more efficient ways to pull them off. Have fun pissing of the guards running around rooftops and don't look so much into it when you think you don't have anything else to do. They provided such a massive map and so much possibility for a reason (check out youtube.com/ianxofour to see what I'm talking about).Hopes for the Future
Ubisoft is currently very close to completing Assassin's Creed II. They've looked over all of their reviews and willingly admitted their mistakes in the game, but from what I've read, are ready to fix every problem. Wider weapon availibility, more interactive NPCs, more mission types, environment expansion, enhanced combat and enemies, more hiding places, YOU CAN SWIM, trashing the Assassin's Bureau concept, and a deeper insight into both story lines are bound to make ACII much better than the first, and overall, I can still play AC all the time, so I'm ready for this game to hit hard.