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Assassin's Creed is a strange combination of several different types of game. It has MMO-style quest mechanics that don't overwhelm play time and work well with the story. It has an open-world feel to it that encourages exploration. It has the somewhat convoluted combat system reminiscent of the earlier Prince of Persia trilogy.
While it's all well and good that the mechanics are somewhat fresh, the execution of them leaves something to be desired. The combat is fast-paced, exciting, cinematic, and somewhat difficult to control, unfortunately. While I like the combat personally, it gets very frustrating when you have to defeat enemies that are immune to a certain type of attack.
What really compensates for the slightly clunky combat and movement mechanics is the sense of realism that I get from the game world. It's set in third-crusade era Israel, with soldiers of several nationalities everywhere, and all of them incredibly eager to score themselves an assassin scalp. The atmosphere is tense, and the setting seems incredibly hopeless and dreary, which you don't see in a lot of action games. The story is multi-layered and shows some real thought on what makes a good game story, even if it is pretty close to linear.
The graphics are beautiful. A few collision detection bugs are there, but not common enough to interfere with your enjoyment.
While I enjoyed Assassin's Creed as a whole, the only thing that kept me going through the whole game was the plot. I wasn't drawn in by the open-world aspect sufficiently to complete all of the item-hunting and side quests. I recommend Assassin's Creed if you have a bit of patience, and an eagerness for a good story.
Game Traits applied to Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition (PC) by matrixrunner