I played through Assassin’s Creed in 17th April - and overall, I think the experience was making me nervous and joyous at the same time. Now here’s a game to which I could really develop a love/hate relationship on; it’s also a game that is not super-stellar, but I have great expectations from the sequel. Simply put, Assassin’s Creed was a paradoxal game.
It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game that I’ve completed without looking at the guides a single time, yet this time, I wasn’t sure if that was exactly a great thing or not. It is a game with a lot of stuff to be done, yet at the same time, there’s no major puzzles and the things don’t get harder all the time - which was a good thing this time. In my opinion, Assassin’s Creed was a refreshing game because I could see from far away that there was absolutely no reason to quit playing because the game was turning overwhelming. True, it’s probably often a good idea to build the game on a slight incline: Start simple, leave the hard parts to the end. It is good if my own skills will build up over the game, but sometimes, I’ve just had to quit playing because the thing just kept getting too difficult for me. But Assassin’s Creed was refreshingly on the level: Things just didn’t get that much easier or harder. When I was mid-way through the game, I just knew that I’d beat the game eventually.

Though not without controversy. I beat every single information gathering task, which was… a sanity-challenging choice. There wasn’t much variety in the mission types; the sequel is said to make things much more interesting in this respect, so that will make me much happier. The missions were fun… as long as they were untimed. I loved the untimed missions, but the timed missions drove me nuts. I didn’t even run out of time. I was just a nervous player. “Do this stuff and don’t blow your cover” is nice enough; “Do this stuff, don’t blow your cover, and be damn fast too” was what made me fail often and loudly. I even had nightmares that the last chapter of the game would be nothing but timed informant missions… fortunately, not true.

The real weirdness of the game was the fact that it was a reasonably immersive game experience while it felt like, well, a game. The theme of the game was already about questioning what was real and what was not. Similarly, one could look at the game scene and just look it in a two different ways: Here we have bustling streets of the crusade-era cities in the Holy Land; squint a little bit, and you see Guards and Benches and Hideouts and Hand-holds and People Carrying Stuff and Those Lepers That You Want To Punch In The Nose and whatnot. On one hand, the game has an immersive world, easily masking the feeling that you are just playing a game. On the other hand, it doesn’t really even try: The environment is pretty, yet the immersiveness is just there to mask how basically simple the game is.

But the good thing is, the “mask” isn’t there to try to hide an awful truth about the pointlessness of the game. No, the game itself has just the right amount of stuff to do to feel complex enough and interesting enough, without - yes - spoiling it with too much detail. The game is there. The plot is there. Everything is in its place; the whole game is a giant analytical exercise. Just not as much as, say, Thief series; at least this time the game does the crunching and filing for you. You’re not piecing 2+2 together and painstakingly getting the 4; you’re just playing the game this time, and leave the math to Altaïr.

In short, I felt Assassin’s Creed was a game experience unlike the games I’ve usually played, yet I’m definitely waiting for the sequel - this game was just on the easy side. The game was just fine, it just needs some variety.

OK, I’m not being very analytical today. Perhaps my rambling about Halo 2 will be better…