For almost a decade, Assassin’s Creed has been the marquee series that has bolstered Ubisoft as a company. Sure, the series has suffered in the recent past from trying to keep up with an annual cycle, but there was a time when the next AC game was the most exciting release of the season. But it’s easy to forget that the series didn’t start out a smashing success. No, because to get to the greatness of Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood, there first had to be an Assassin’s Creed.
The first AC game suffered greatly from what is nowadays one of the greatest follies of open-world games: repetitiveness. Though it was an incredibly pretty game that sported incredible crowd tech for the time, playing it quickly revealed itself as a thin experience. Combat was wonky and stiff, climbing every building around was cool but sluggish, Altair was a boring character, and the side missions were awfully monotonous. It was an okay game with a lot of issues and all the potential in the world, and Ubisoft knew it.
Ubisoft took all of the lessons learned from the feedback of AC and created an amazing game in Assassin’s Creed 2. AC2 was deeper, longer, more colorful, had a variety of missions and deep systems, and introduced us to a much more interesting character in Ezio Auditore da Firenze. And now, seven years later, it’s widely regarded as one of the best sequels of all time.