I have been doing some retro gaming the last few days. I've been playing my copy of Assassin's Creed: The Enzio Collection, which is Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. They are, collectively, the best Assassin's Creed games in the series. They are open world, but they were trying new things and the story was much tighter than the latest games.
If you like AC and haven't played these, they are a super bargain normally, but are on sale in many places for under $15 at the time of this posting.
In playing the game, it brings back fond memories. They really did a good job making you engage with the characters and the story. This was before they want all cookie cutter. Though these 3 games came out one after another, they were more like a really big game, then 3 separate ones, plot wise. In fact, ACII ended on a cliffhanger and Brotherhood picked up right where it left off from a story point of view. I really miss the Ubisoft.
That's not to say it's perfect. It still has the god-awful randomness of jumping into midair, usually to your death. The parkour climbing and jumping has been refined over the years, but it is STILL an issue in Assassin's Creed Valhalla, what 10 games later?
They also have some sweat-inducing climbing and timed events that still drive me batty. Those, thankfully, disappeared in later games. but the games in later years grew to be so bloated. It takes something like 80 hours to get through the story in Valhalla. Yikes. ACII is something you can jump in, enjoy and then move on.
I hope Ubisoft remembers sometime that you can make a game that is fun without requiring you to dedicate your existence to it.