I really have mixed feelings writing this review, because I desperately want to slap five stars on this and recommend it to everyone. But I can't, because as much as I like the game it doesn't deserve five stars.
Let's start with the positives. Graphically the game is simply stunning. The scope of the graphics, the detail within them, and the animation that joins them is absolutely first class. They help to create a world that is fully believable and absolutely immersive. Combat is a joy to behold and incredibly satisfying, with a countering system that deserves recognition as one of the best of all time. The free running system (essentially the way you jump from building to building and make your way across the rooftops) is also very well done, and feels natural and highly accomplished. All in all, the graphics and core gameplay are exceptional, and make the game a joy to play.
So what's the problem? As much as other reviewers would attempt to side step or dumb down this point, the game is highly repetitive. By that, I mean that the game is largely split into nine different assassinations, and each of those works exactly the same way. Same side missions. Same things to do. As a result there is effectively nothing new to reveal in the game past the second assassination, and this does make the game drag. I found myself wanting to finish the game for the sake of it by the seventh assassination, and whilst I would recommend finishing it, it is certainly a game that the vast majority of people will not replay after finishing it.
The game is fantastic in so many ways, and the core gameplay is superb. But the problem is that it falls short as a single player experience that keeps you interested from start to finish and feels fresh. If the inevitable sequel can address these concerns, then it will surely be one of the greatest games of this generation. But that is something that we will find out in future. For now, Assassin's Creed is a game worthy of recommendation because it hits the heights in so many areas, and at this knockdown price it is well worth a go. But it should have been better.