From: Dr. Warren Vidic
CC: Lucy Stillman
Subject: Animus Functionality & New Subject
We’ve recently acquired a new subject for the Animus – make sure to change all passwords on our computers. We can’t have him exploring the net and reading his mail from our system, now can we? Also, I’ve received news of a new security employee starting today. Make sure he doesn’t forget to record our sessions and every move the subject makes. Unless, of course, pressing a key when indicated is simply too complex a task. Lucy – with the new subject arriving, I’ll need your latest document on the Animus functionality.
When Assassin’s Creed originally came out I didn’t have a powerful enough PC to run it, so I skipped playing it. About a year later, it was the first game that I tried when I got a new PC, and even then I had to tone down the settings to make it playable. Now, more than ten years later, I’m rediscovering the game in all its glory as it was originally intended, combined with high-definition widescreen and instant loading times.
Assassin’s Creed is also the first game in the successful long-running series spawning multiple games and spin-offs. Contrary to what most other people have said, I quite like the setting of this game. I find the holy land during the third crusade a far more enjoyable theme than running around modern cities, forests, and desert islands. You take the role of Altaïr, who also fits very well with the environment, as do all the other characters in the bustling cities of the middle east. And as an assassin your job is to eliminate political enemies in the name of freedom.
The plot seems to be a little too tangled up, putting you in the shoes of a modern-day assassin who can re-enact his ancestor’s memories through a machine called the Animus by using genetic memory. However, the best action comes during the twelfth-century sequences. These are presented as a third-person action adventure, with good swordplay controls and a lot of climbing. It also introduces the leap of faith action, which would later become a trademark of the series. This action saves the player from having to climb back down towers after the arduous task of climbing up by just jumping from all kinds of crazy heights into a stack of hay below.
In Assassin's Creed, each mission generally starts by scouting the area from a high spot. From there you proceed to save innocent citizens and help fellow assassins, both of which will provide information about your target. Once enough information is gathered, you are given permission to proceed and kill the target. Along the way, the game seems to borrow a few ideas from the Prince of Persia series up till the final boss battle, and Assassin’s Creed can be considered as its spiritual successor.
When Assassin’s Creed was originally released, it also brought forward the idea of freedom as a major aspect of the game, giving players the option to choose the order in which to eliminate their targets. This is topped with the ability to choose which sub-quests to complete for gathering information about the target enemy. Different sub-quests provide different clues about this enemy, and it’s up to you to choose how to eliminate them. Although it is not necessary to complete all of the sub-missions, completing them results in more health available for the later ones.
In Assassin’s Creed there is also an aspect of stealth. Keeping a low profile during any of the player’s actions results in a faster elimination since high-profile actions get you in trouble with the local guards, which you then have to fight. There is also the option to run away into a hiding spot once you are out of sight of your enemies. Hiding among crowds was also a novel idea at the time.
In conclusion, I would say that Assassin’s Creed is a short but unmissable experience even today. It is evident that most of the effort was spent on the game world and the character movement rather than on the variety of the missions. Although the PC version does have some additional mission types which were not available on consoles. On top of this, the difficulty level is mostly constant throughout the game, and does not provide a huge challenge. However, most importantly Assassin’s Creed introduced a new sub-genre and set the way forward for a new mature generation of games that are not afraid to tackle religious questions and conspiracy theories.