Assassin's Creed is a stealth action-adventure game set during the Third Crusade in the late 12th century. You play as Altaïr, an assassin who tracks and kills templars throughout the cities of Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus.
Pro Interesting story of Assassins versus Templars
The story in Assassin's Creed is full of intriguing ideologies and philosophies. It's a familiar tale of liberty and freedom on the Assassin side and law and order on the Templar side, but it still feels fresh. Playing as Altaïr, it's up to you to assassinate certain templar targets who oppress the masses and horde power for themselves. As you take them down, you learn about their views on controlling the populace, encouraging you to question if the assassins are truly on the right path. Thankfully, the game doesn't tell you what to think, leaving you to draw your own conclusions.
Pro Intuitive stealth gameplay
The stealth mechanics feel natural and fluid in how strategic they are.
While tracking your targets, you blend in with each city's citizens or climb up to the tops of buildings to perch there and avoid getting spotted by the templar or their guards. You can either wait for the perfect opportunity to strike with a hidden blade up your sleeve that silently assassinates your target, or you can go all-out and have a sword duel with them if you'd rather take a more aggressive approach. After they're dead, you make your escape and become incognito again.
Everything goes together nicely in a way that feels satisfying.
Pro Excellent soundtrack
The game's soundtrack is top notch. It has a blend of medieval-sounding instruments with modern sci-fi synths, making the tracks unique. The echoing choruses and unsettling backtracks give a sense that you're on a tense, but mysterious mission to assassinate the templars in the Holy Land that the game takes place in. There's a measured thoughtfulness and caution that you pick up on as well, almost like the songs themselves mimic you as you stalk your targets while you blend in with the crowd. It's such a cool experimental sound that the composer, Jesper Kyd, manages to pull off well, keeping you engrossed as you play and listen.
Pro Impressive cities to explore with buildings to climb freely
The medieval locations of Jerusalem, Damascus, and Acre are beautifully done. The levels are massive for their time, with well-designed areas from the era such as towers, open plazas, and religious buildings. You can climb anything, anywhere, and run along the rooftops as much as you want. Scaling the tallest places gives you an amazing bird's eye view of the city and the mountain ranges beyond, along with a vantage point to plan out how to assassinate your targets. The realistic architecture makes Assassin's Creed feel like a true period piece set in the Holy Land.
Con Repetitive main missions
The main missions are all structured the same without much variety. You're assigned a target to kill, you go to the specified city, you get a few means of tracking them down, and then you assassinate them. It's the same formula for every single target until the final mission. The only thing that breaks the monotony is that you get to choose your approach on how to kill your target. Pretty much everything else falls into the same routine that drags on for too long.
Con Confusing ending that lacks closure
The ending is weird. There's a sudden twist that happens with no real explanation, and it seems to happen just to shock you. The final wrap up also leaves out a lot of information about this twist, leaving things open for a sequel. You more than likely will end up confused by the whole thing.
Con Altaïr isn't all that compelling
As the main protagonist, Altaïr is kind of boring. His voice acting is emotionless and he doesn't really grow as a character. He does what his superiors tell him to do and just goes along for the ride in the story. You won't get to know much about him as a person, only the things that revolve around his role as an assassin. Getting to see more of him beyond the main story would have helped to flesh him out some more.