Assassin's Creed has now become an annual highlight of the gaming calendar, with Ubisoft Montreal producing an always excellent yearly instalment in the ongoing story of the ancient war between the order of Assassins and the Templars.
Mixing sci-fi, stealth, free-running, action, brutal combat, amazing open world historical settings and a overwhelming feel for epic history, the AC series has gone from strength to strength. Yet when the original Assassin's Creed debuted in 2007, the success of the blockbuster franchise looked anything but certain.
So how did Assassin's Creed come to stab its way to success and become one of the landmark gaming series? To find out, we take a retrospective look at AC's most important games as well as peering deep into the Animus to see if Revelations can live up to its name and what the future of the series may hold. Naturally there will be spoilers, oh yes.
The original Assassin's Creed mixed sci-fi and historical adventure to introduce an ages-old conflict between the Assassins and Templars which has run throughout the course of history to the present day. Held by the sinister (is there any other kind?) Abstergo corporation, innocuous barman Desmond Miles was forced to enter the Animus and explore the memories of his assassin ancestor Alta´r ibn-La'Ahad.
Charged with retrieving an ancient artefact known as The Piece of Eden and restoring harmony to the Holy Land, Altair tracks down and kills nine Templar targets on both Saracen and Crusader sides before facing their apparent leader Robert de Sable. However his own mentor, Al Mualim is revealed as the secret tenth Templar and Altair faces him down in a climactic duel at the assassin stronghold of Maysaf, before hurtling back to the present day as a puzzled and still very captive Desmond.
Anticipation for Assassin's Creed had been high following an intriguing build up campaign, but on release its detractors gave it a hard time for its inconsistent and occasionally annoying stealth system and somewhat repetitive structure. Yet for fans, the original AC's many joys outweighed its imperfections and also offered a tantalising glimpse of the series' real potential.
AC laid the foundations for many of the AC systems we take for granted today with key elements like the beautifully realised cityscapes, fluid Parkour based free-roaming, visceral crunching combat and huge set piece assassinations. Climbing your first viewpoint, performing a leap of Faith or just sprinting around Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus, baiting guards and causing havoc, all these and those mysterious eagle vision glyphs in Desmond's cell, still bring back golden gameplay memories.
While the original Assassin's Creed was a flawed gem, it was still a gem nonetheless and to find out why, see our original Assassin's Creed review for the full story.