Desmond Miles is a 25-year-old boy held against his will in a building housing a machine capable of making you relive the past of your ancestors. In this case, it will be that of Altaïr Ibn La-Ahad. Present and past are therefore intertwined for an adventure rich in revelations, denunciations and reflections. If no comments are made on the scenario to avoid spoilers, let's admit that it, although strange at first glance, turns out to be cleverly put together. So much so that the player is already immersed and has only one desire: to progress in the adventure.
The animus allows the subject who uses it to relive key moments of his ancestors' thanks to what is called genetic memory. When science and unreason join madness for some disturbing experiments, we obtain an explosive cocktail rich in explanations. If these sometimes strange scenes do not find meaning at the beginning of the adventure, each time they become more and more interesting since they carry many messages related to our contemporary world.
The rags of the poor, the armor of the crusaders and the clothes of the Saracens are very realistic. We dive headfirst into this fascinating and intriguing world. While the most slanderous will say that some textures leave a little to be desired, that a few collision bugs are also part of the game, etc., but when we know that our hero can cross an entire city from roof to roof or while running in the streets, and without loading, we can only applaud the technical feat. Especially since all the houses, all the characters, the inhabitants and the soldiers are extremely well modelled and detailed. This is also one of the strengths of this Assassin's Creed with the freedom of action.
For each "assassination" mission, it will be necessary to complete a few objectives to collect information on the next victim, but it is still essential to find them. If wandering the streets may be enough to find a few souls in distress to rescue, it will often be necessary to climb on the roofs of buildings to reach high perched towers to have an overview of the part of the neighborhood that is in our field of vision, to locate the objectives. This ascent also precedes an emotional sequence: that of the leap of faith. With his belief in some god, our assassin throws himself into the air by resuming the postures of raptors to land a few tens of meters lower in a haystack. You have to see it to believe it. Moreover, this session, which is often repeated for fun, is accompanied by a small hissing sound strangely reminiscent of the cry of an eagle.
A touch of modernity accentuated by the lock system during combat, the targeted opponents being surrounded by a sort of non-homogeneous halo reminiscent of a data flow. If the title offers to live a great adventure, it does not forget to provide its share of intense emotions with a very pronounced action and infiltration side. In the first case, you will have to take out your sword or dagger, except for the craziest who will only use their fists to face hordes of soldiers. In the second case, it will be necessary, a bit like in Splinter Cell, to take out its hidden blade and to go with a decision but a light step towards a soldier. If he does not recognize or see you, all that remains is to drive the metal thorn into the body or the back of his neck to eliminate it in one fell swoop. Clean, fast and discreet. But this special blade carried by assassins is much more practical than that since it will be used at any time to finish off a wounded enemy on the ground - end his suffering without warning the other guards. Because yes, if an isolated guard turns out to be weak enough, it must be recognized that they, challenged by a noise, a whining or a suspicious movement will not take long to surround you to attack you all at the same time. Suffice to say that in such situations, you have to know how to keep a cool head to take your legs at your stroke or to face. In the first case, the goal will be to scatter them to take refuge in a hiding place until they lose your track. In the second, it will be necessary to use up everything you have learned in training to intelligently vary your attacks and deliver the finishing blows at the right time.
Note also that the game mechanics are very repetitive: go to the office of the assassins, collect information on the places to visit, climb on the "perches" to discover an area, complete three objectives (steal documents, listen to traitors who talk to each other, use violence to extract clues from a few illuminated), return to the assassins' office to retrieve the feather then go to the place of the party to take the life of the target. This is all it will take tirelessly to do and redo to complete almost every mission. Despite everything, the adventure is so gripping, the settings so sumptuous and Altaïr so majestic, so charismatic, that we forget this slight defect. Some might well be put off, but the vast majority of players will then be content to visit the premises and accomplish the few side missions (rescue the innocent, find flags, find all the perches, etc.) to break up the monotony. And then the pleasure of seeing his hero climb so quickly the facades of buildings, of seeing him jump without fear of falling from one roof to another, of seeing him climb monuments by clinging to everything he can, is so good that you want more. It is both realistic and spectacular.
In the end, Assassin's Creed is quite simply an explosion of flavor, a constant intoxication, a charm that operates for fifteen, thirty or even forty hours depending on whether or not you take the time to visit. It's a kind of candy that we savor every second even if sometimes we feel a slightly bitter taste, linked to a few slight defects or to a game mechanic that is far too repetitive. The past/present, real/fictional mix, elements as useless as they are essential such as a visit to the kingdom on horseback, all the possible interactions, all the possibilities offered to us; this is what constitutes the great strength of this game. Excellent gameplay, a well-crafted storyline and a unique atmosphere make this title that all players secretly hoped for.