tl;dr – The sense of freedom and style of the world made Assassin’s Creed my favorite videogame franchise.
Whenever I ask my friends who their favorite videogame franchise of all time would be, a lot of them will mention Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Halo, Call of Duty or even Beyond Good & Evil (if you’re a hipster, in a I like it before it got big kind of way), but somehow, and out of nowhere, Assassin’s Creed stuck on me.
You see, I’ve always had a fascination with stealth games. From Tenchu to Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell to Batman: Arkham Asylum from 2008, I’ve always loved playing in the shadows. I like to be absorbed in this environment where the only way to proceed is by performing a calculating set of moves, as if a cleverly disguised chess match. To be able to see the enemy without them seeing me, my hair is standing on end just thinking about it.
Living in the shadows
Image from Gamershell.com
But there’s something that Assassin’s Creed has that none of the other stealth franchises do. May it be the historically accurate architecture and characters or the medieval art style, the franchise has slowly but surely captured my heart.
Maybe unlike Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, I don’t have to rely on guns (or specifically, aiming) to enjoy the game. Even when you fail at a clean kill and find yourself surrounded by guards, the only options you have are to either outrun them and hide in a haystack or to strategically fight your way out through a balanced fighting system. There’s no button bashing and there’s no random gunfire in hopes they’ll just go away. You really have to know what you’re doing.
And then there’s the sense of freedom in Assassin’s Creed. The very fact that you can go to any building you see from a viewpoint is simply amazing. The world is also set up in a way that the player has enough freedom to choose between wandering in the city or diving straight to the main storyline. The sandbox-esque feel to the game humbles the character and empower the world around him simultaneously.
If you can see a building, you can go there
Image from Brake For Frogger!
I remember there were a lot of complaints for the first Assassin’s Creed, but despite all the flaws and repetitive gameplay (a lot of which has since been fixed in the sequel), it wasn’t until the game’s ending (or lack thereof?) did I realize the impact the game had on me. The sense of freedom and power overwhelmed me like no other, and it was then that Assassin’s Creed crept on in becoming my favorite videgame franchise.