The first part of Assassin's Creed was released 13 years ago. We can safely say that a whole generation of gamers has grown up with her. We've seen games in this series in different guises, settings and even genres. AC is now an Action-RPG and Valhalla is making the right steps towards becoming a full-blown RPG. The other day I decided to go back to my roots and replay the first part, arrange a small retrospective and find out how Assassin's Creed feels after 13 years, but playing without an interface. If you, like me, played the game at the time of its release, then most likely you played it with the HUD enabled by default. Perhaps they did not even really know that she gives the opportunity to turn it off. As it turned out, the first Assassin's Creed was originally designed to go without an interface and was added at the last moment. to render it to the masses. It would seem that the game is more difficult without the HUD, but the result turned out to be the opposite - only in this way it fully reveals itself and gives you an understanding of why things happen in the game that seemed silly before. But let's take a look at everything in order in our Assassin's Creed retrospective.
Hitman of the Crusades
The first thing you feel when you return to the game and spend a few hours in it is how different it is and not like what the last two parts were. While all the games in the series [since Unity] have tended towards RPG-style leveling, the first part does not allow you to develop on your own in principle. You get all the improvements in the story. In the beginning Altair has a full arsenal, until through his own stupidity he loses it.
All your development takes place according to the plot and you will not find any purchases or secret items. We have an open world that is not stimulating at all to explore. There is simply nothing to do in the game except the main story, and you catch yourself thinking that you are flying along the plot. In the literal sense, the game can be completed in one day and this is not an exaggeration, because the entire game loop is quite simple: “get to the city, find the target, kill the target, escape the city” and you repeat it 9 times, circulating between several cities. Between this, you also get the development of the plot from conversations with Al-Mualim and representatives of the brotherhood in different cities.
There is no point in collecting flags and killing the Templars, since these quests do not affect anything, and as it turned out, they were generally inserted into the game a few days before release due to the fact that the child of the Ubisoft director did not like it. You just need to open several towers in the part of the city where the target is located.
Basically, we really got Hitman in a medieval setting - no more, no less. This does not mean that the game is bad, no, it is good, but today it is not what you expect from it. At least until you turn off the interface.
In a few hours of playing, you get to know absolutely all of it and understand how it works. This is a plus and a minus. The downside is that after or 3-4 murders you know the cycle by heart, and it starts to pall. On the plus side, it's still fun to do, thanks to the unique mechanics you do during your loop.
Parkour in 2007 felt as unique and enjoyable as flying on the web in Marvel's Spider Man today. You want to overcome obstacles again and again: use it to get away from the chase or for beautiful murders - even more. And although by 2020 I am spoiled by parkour [not only in the Assassin's Creed series, but in many other projects], I was pleased to do it in the dense cities of the game. Especially when compared to Odyssey and its open spaces.
As for the battles, like when I played the game before, now they feel unusual and based on skill. The best way to kill an opponent is a successful counterattack, and you also need to learn how to do it. The game is structured so that it teaches you to master the mechanics yourself, and this gives each kill the meaning of personal victory and pride.
As for the story, it is good in itself, but how to look at it. The main villain Templar Robert de Sable is a completely cardboard personality, unlike Al-Mualim and the way the ending is formed. Re-educating Altair from an arrogant man who thinks his credo allows you to do what you want to becoming a legend is also interesting. Plus, one feels that the piece in the modern world has much more potential than the one shown.
In Half-Life: Alyx, the developers do not let Alyx move during live dialogues, as tests showed that players began to suffer crap out of boredom. And this problem is clearly seen in the first game, when Desmond speaks to someone and has to turn circles out of boredom. The same problem is in any bureau and Masiafe. And probably the last component of the game is traveling between cities. It's interesting without navigation, but it still feels like the roads are pretty empty, I was planning to insert NPCs there, with whom you can talk, but did not bring the idea to the end.
Moreover, the developers understood this minus, and wanted to implement full-fledged side missions, but they simply did not have time to work them out. Chief designer Patrice Desile of Polygon spoke about this. He also said that the game is actually an RPG.
According to Patrice, RPG is primarily not about pumping or a branched plot, but about playing a certain role. Not all games need to follow the legacy of Baldur's Gate or Fallout in order to carry this title as well. And if you look in this context - Assassin's Creed is a full-fledged RPG if you turn off the HUD. We are becoming a real killer.
Lead me the road
And finally HUD, or rather its absence. For starters, the lack of an interface plays into the hands of immersion and engagement, as you forget that you are inside an Animus simulation. And this gives the game a significant plus. To be honest, this was my third playthrough of the game, although the last ones were about seven or eight years ago, a lot is already familiar to me.
But the lack of icons allows you to feel the environment. Instead of going to a specific icon, you have to navigate literally everything. The horse ride to town turns into a long journey with visual cues that guide you. You pay attention to pointers, rather than stupidly drive forward thinking, "God, how boring."
And the more the lighting changes, the closer you are to the goal, because each city has its own shades. Having made your way into the city - a separate task is to find the brotherhood office. You have to climb the towers and hills for a long time, looking for the sign of the assassins on the roofs. And how to understand where the tower is? Eagle. Honestly, I never understood before why the hell an eagle flies on each tower, but only now I realized that this is a visual clue. And the same with other elements.
From passers-by you can often hear information about your goal - sound design is one of the features of the game. You learn to use the eagle eye and understand what its meaning is. Just like and what is the reason for the seat between two people on a bench. Finding a target also turns into a difficult task
When you don't know where the office is, it is much more difficult to escape the chase, which is why there are so many places to hide.
As a result, Assassin's Creed without an interface makes you study the environment, memorize it and gives you an understanding of your mechanics, teaches you to find visual and sound discrepancies. Desile tried to re-implement almost all of this in his project Ancestors: Humankind Odyssey.
I want the same, but more.
What can I say in the end: the game passes the test of time, and especially reveals itself in a mode without an interface. Despite being wildly repetitive, there is something about her that keeps you from ditching her. There are many games that you want to quit because of boring mechanics or repetitive loops. I would say any game has its own threshold of time when, after a few hours, the player realizes that he is being forced to do the same thing.
Although it happens relatively quickly here, I wanted more of the same, but with some minor, interesting elements. The basics of everything that was ideally developed in the second part was right here.
She keeps the perfect balance between the fact that you still go through it and do not have time to get tired. Assassin's Creed is repetitive but interesting gameplay. Short enough to complete it in just two days and realize that it is totally worth its money, status, and other ingredients. I advise everyone who has not played it to go through the first part, and to those who did it, try to go through it the way the developers wanted.
The Topic of Article: Assassin's Creed 13 Years Later.