Despite being both bandied about as a true son of "next-gen" and "the biggest disappointment of 2007", Assassin's Creed certainly doesn't fail at first impressions. The "virgin" kill, the first gawk at the beautiful medieval vistas, and every time you select your retracting "Hidden Blade", Jade Raymond's baby is a shoe-in for the talent show.
Which is, unfortunately, where the spotlight grows a tad dim. Taken as an "assassin's game", in the vein of the seminal Hitman and other puzzle-like action-adventuring titles, our young, hot-selling IP repeats the chorus a tad often. The game's structure is rigid, starting from the briefing and stepping to the venue, to between two and six investigations, to the assassination, to the next briefing. About the only thing that changes up the action are the environments (those gorgeous environments) and the exposition that accompanies every step. And here is where those mixed reviews come in.
As today's gamer (or a reviewer on deadline), skipping through the cutscenes and chomping at the bit for when the stick-waggling or button-mashing can start, Assassin's Creed's storytelling can seem like a regression, sticking the player in semi-interactive conversations and having him go through the same set of steps in a relatively repeating fashion.
In a sense, Assassin's Creed's gameplay fares much more favorably compared to Spider-Man 2 on the PS2. As anyone who's played that title knows, the glory isn't in the story mode (though AC's story is great, and is clearly set up to be a winning franchise), it's in the web swinging