Assassin's Creed

Series Replay: AC1 Review

I started playing the Assassin's Creed games for the first time about 3 and a half years ago with AC1. I'd always been intrigued by them and I've watched a few of my significant others play various AC games over the years; I was particularly interested in Syndicate and Origins. Once I finally started playing them, I was hooked right off the bat; though I did skip AC3, Unity, and Rogue because I was less interested in them at the time. I've completed all the titles except the three I skipped.

Lately, I've been feeling nostalgic for the earlier games and Origins, and I've been curious about what Unity is like, given that so many people seem to really love it. So I've decided to play through the whole series except for Odyssey, because it's recent enough that I still remember it pretty well and the story was one of the least interesting ones for me. I will be reviewing each game on here as I complete them, because I know many of us forget aspects of the games over time and I thought it would be a fun way to share my experiences with y'all. Hope you enjoy!

Overall Rating and Thoughts

I give AC1 a 5/10. It's an okay game that has a lot of unique aspects to it for the time it came out (and truly, even when I played it in 2017, it was still very intriguing), but there are also many flaws that are difficult to overlook. When I first started playing, I absolutely loved it and got into it right off the bat, but as you get into the middle of the game, it starts to get very repetitive and the frustrating parts of the game start to take a lot of the joy out of it. Overall, still a decent game that did a good job of setting the stage for what I consider one of the best video game series.

If someone wanted to start playing the series for the first time, I think AC1 is skippable. AC2 does a good enough job of filling in the biggest gaps of what happened in the first one (Wikipedia and such can fill in the rest, if desired) and there's not really any important content in AC1 that's worth playing through unless you're stubborn like I am and just want to have the full experience.

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  • Core gameplay is said to take about 10-15 hours and that feels about right for what it took me the second time around (first play through was probably closer to 25 because I was trying to be a completionist about it, but eventually gave up when it became too tedious)
  • Eagle vision doesn't really have much of a use and I went almost the entire game without using it
  • The console achievements are incredibly boring and/or difficult
    • There are 60 Templars to kill and 420 flags (nice) total to collect if you want to 100% the game…and there's no way to find them besides just running around forever down alleyways that all look the same and they don't even show up highlighted in eagle vision
  • The parkour is surprisingly good most of the time, with the exception of trying to climb closed balconies; this is one of the biggest draws of the game that kept it so interesting and fun despite its many flaws
  • Not being able to swim is the worst, especially on the one quest where you have to get the dude out on the boat in the harbor, ugh

Stealth and Combat

  • The stealth aspect isn't really used all that much; when saving citizens, it's impossible, and even the big assassinations aren't stealthy at all
  • Running away from fights is difficult and irritating
  • The constant beeping when you're being watched or chased is annoying
  • Combat is pretty terrible; your only real chance of succeeding most of the time is relying heavily on counter attack (the animations of which mess up the camera angle most of the time), and the timing of it is quite finnicky
  • Unskippable dialogue when saving citizens is super annoying because the camera stays focused on them even if you try to move away, and then the camera pans to the nearest group that can help you avoid detection


  • The mini map is very well done; it gives you the most important information you need and it's very easy to find what you're looking for
  • The main map is kind of boring and the kingdom is a little confusing to traverse at times
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  • The game suffers a bit from coming out as long ago as it did, so the characters' faces are not terribly pleasant to look at, but the clothing is very well done and they paid a lot of attention to detail with it when it comes to the named characters
  • The different areas of the game look slightly different from one another, but it's clear they didn't have a very powerful game engine back then like we do now, so putting in a lot of variety for the landscape was not really in the cards, but the attention to detail on the buildings makes up for it; I love seeing the fading Arabic script on some of the taller buildings and the cast-iron details in the window panes


  • The sound is really well done and one of the aspects that helps the game be as immersive as it is
    • The clacking of your feet on the roof tiles is great
    • The mixture of English and Arabic/French is very cool (I speak a bit of Arabic and French, so that makes it extra fun to hear and understand some of it); fun fact–AlTaïr Ibn La Ahad means "The Bird, son of no one", and Al Mualim means "The Teacher"
    • The sound of water flowing and the noise of crowded areas with more people talking and babies crying were really nice touches
  • I'm not really a big fan of Desmond's voice actor, though it could be more to do with the direction he was given; I don't like how sort of forceful and arrogant he gets with his tone, and I wish they would have had a native Arabic speaker do AlTaïr's voice


  • I like the variation of different ways to gain information, particularly eavesdropping; having to assassinate a bunch of guards for informants was easily the worst thing to have to do, however, as the risk of getting caught and the timed aspect were both very frustrating
  • All of the assassination targets kind of run together and feel pretty much the same
  • It's a very "lather, rinse, repeat" sort of feel that gets old pretty quickly
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Modern Day

  • While the graphics make interacting so closely with Lucy kind of awkward, the modern day aspect of the game is pretty well done
  • The information you gain throughout the modern day interactions keeps you wanting to learn more, and I like being able to snoop by reading the e-mails
  • You definitely have to suspend your disbelief quite a bit to get into the games; when I first started watching my ex playing AC1, I thought the Animus concept was the most ridiculous thing and didn't know how it would be possible to take the game seriously, but really it's enjoyable enough and the characters and story are interesting enough that it ended up not bothering me too much


  • The broad story lines for both modern day and historic are a solid start to the series and make you want to know more
  • The historic story line gets to be pretty repetitive and I had to sort of force myself to care and pay attention after the first few assassinations
  • I enjoyed the exploration of the theme "do the ends justify the means" and contemplating whether the assassins are really that different from the templars; one quote in particular from one the assassination targets stuck with me: "a violent evil for a greater good"


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