A few months ago, I got quite addicted to the VlogBrothers on YouTube. So addicted, in fact, that I felt compelled to watch every episode they posted on all seven of their channels. An arduous undertaking, no doubt, but I was determined.
It’s been a few months, and I’m glad to say that no, I haven’t seen every episode but I’ve seen a fair amount and I’m happy I took on that challenge. If I hadn’t, I might have missed the brilliance that is Swoodilypoopers football, and I certainly have missed watching Hank play Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
Before those videos, I hadn’t heard of Assassin’s Creed. Watching those videos was a unique experience. I’m just getting back into video games after over a decade without them – I didn’t know what I was missing. Watching him play Brotherhood was like watching a television show. I got so invested in the story, in the characters, that I could forget I was “just watching some guy play a video game” (ah, YouTube commenters – don’t you ever change).
I knew, watching Brotherhood and then Revelations, that I was missing a piece of the story. A bit of searching brought me to Assassin’s Creed I & II. I had to play these games for myself.
It took three different computers (to find one with the processing power to keep up (don’t judge)) but I finally got to play Assassin’s Creed I. It took me 24 hours (broken up over three days) to work my way through the game.
First, this game is amazing. The story is compelling. I was surprised that the main character, Altaïr ibn La’Ahad, has a character arc. I honestly didn’t think video games could do that. Mario and Luigi didn’t develop over the course of Super Mario Bros.
The graphics are stunning. The attention to detail in the texture and architecture make for very realistic gameplay. Every time Altaïr climbs his way to the top of a view point, I get vertigo. The landscapes and buildings are just beautiful. In the first half of the game when you first travel to Jerusalem, one of the view points you come to is the Dome of the Rock. It is amazing, from the gold-tiled roof to the mosaics that cover its walls.
The only annoyances I had were with the camera controls. Playing on a PC, I used my mouse to control directional movement of the character when he is walking/running/jumping and to control the angle of the camera when he is fighting. However, when you make a killing blow, the camera shifts from high above the action to a very low angle, invariably behind a bush or someone’s legs. You have to wait for the camera to adjust, and in the fraction of a second it takes to do that, someone is running up behind you swinging a sword. I took a ton of hits because of this little feature. That is almost as annoying as the ‘can’t look forward when you’re standing next to a wall’ problem. For some reason, the wall blocks the movement of the camera so that you can’t see directly in front of the character. Usually it’s just a matter of stepping forward a bit for the camera to correct itself, but that’s not always possible. If you get backed up against a wall during a fight, you can’t see who is coming right at you until they hit you. (As far as I can tell, these issues are fixed in Assassin’s Creed II.)
I really enjoyed this game, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. If you’re a completest like me, or just feel compelled to see how the series started, I highly recommend Assassin’s Creed I. However, if you’re just looking for a really great game to spend a few hours with, start with Brotherhood or Revelations – same great story and gameplay without all the annoying stuff.