Assassins Creed has taught us many things since the first game was released in November 2007 such as – Yes, you can jump off a very tall building and land in a very small bail of hay and survive without a scratch. However, the story is quite lengthy and can be confusing. So with the impending release of Ubisoft’s 5th Assassin’s Creed game “Assassin’s Creed 3” set for release on October 31st I thought what better time to get everyone up to speed on the story of Assassin’s Creed so far so that you’re all ready to take on the Knights Templar in all new assassin-y (yes I just made that word up!) ways.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin….
Assassin’s Creed released in November of 2007 and the story followed a bartender named Desmond as he was kidnapped by a corporation called Abstergo Industries for use as a test subject in a device called the “Animus,” a device that can stimulate the recall of ancestral memories. Abstergo intends to use Desmond to recall the roll of his ancestor Altaír lbn-la’Ahad, a member of the Assassin Brotherhood in the year 1191 as part of the Third Crusade in the Holy Land.
Once Desmond gets put into the Animus you take control of Altaír as he is first shown trying to retrieve an artefact known as “The Pieces of Eden” from Solomon’s Temple with the help of Malik his brother, but is stopped by the Grand Master of the Templars – Robert de Sable. As the mission unfolds, Altaír breaks all three cardinal rules of the Assassin’s Brotherhood – “Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent”, “Hide in plain sight” and “Do not compromise the brotherhood.” – and as a result Malik’s brother is killed and Malik’s left arm is crippled and later amputated. When Altaír later returns to the Assassin’s stronghold at Masyaf with apologies, Malik, comes back with the artefact and curses Altaír’s arrogance.
A retaliation by the Templars then follows and after Altaír and the rest of the Assassin’s survive the attack, Al Mualim – the leader of the Assassin Brotherhood – demotes Altaír and makes him a novice assassin once again, but he also gives him one last chance to rise again through the ranks of the order. Al Mualim assigns Altaír the task of assassinating key figures across the Holy Land in Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus (all based on actual historical figures from the Third Crusade), aiming to bring peace between the Crusader and Saracen forces. Altaír completes each task learning how each target is connected to the Templars and how together they aim to end the Crusade and place the Holy Land under their own control. He then discovers that de Sables last plot is to attempt to unite Christian and Muslim against their new common enemy – the Assassin’s themselves. Altaír then defeats de Sable, however before de Sable dies he tells Altaír that Al Mualim is himself a member of the Templars and has used Altaír to kill the other members so he could keep the artefact for himself and become all powerful.
After learning this Altaír quickly returns to Masyaf to seek the truth from his master, who reveals the truth: the Piece of Eden creates illusions. He denounces religion and other seemingly supernatural events (the parting of the red Sea, the Ten Plagues of Egypt etc) as illusions caused by the piece, then states his intention to use the artefact to compel mankind into a brainwashed state and doing so, bringing an end to all conflict. Altaír eventually sees through these deceptions created by the artefact and is able to kill Al Mualim. When Altaír recovers the artefact, the Piece of Eden activates and shows a holographic view of the world with numerous locations of other Pieces of Eden marked across the globe.
When that process is complete, Desmond learns that Abstergo is a modern day front for the Templars who are already seeking other artefacts at locations identified in Altaírs memory. He further learns that the modern day assassin’s had tried to rescue him before the memory was complete but had failed. After completion of the memory, Desmond was to be killed but a researcher named Lucy Stillman saves him from death. And although Desmond remains trapped within Abstergo his experience in the Animus has created a “bleeding effect” of Altaírs life in his own, allowing Desmond to use Eagle Vision which in turn allows him to see strange messages painted on the walls of his room. The game ends with Desmond wondering what these images all mean and who could have drawn them. We later find out that these images were in fact drawn by another person who the Templars had captured to relive the memories of his ancestor, Subject 16, who drew the images with his own blood.
Assassin’s Creed 2
Assassin’s Creed 2 takes place immediately after the events of the first game. Desmond Miles is still trapped by Abstergo Industries. However Lucy Stillman takes him to meet 2 other assassin’s, historian Shaun Hastings and computer expert Rebecca Crane. They request that Desmond use their version of the Animus (dubbed the Animus 2.0) to relive the memories of another assassin, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, to train Desmond in the ways of the assassin’s through the “bleeding effect” of the Animus. During his time in the Animus, Desmond also finds various “glyphs” which when deciphered and assembled in the correct order show a brief video of a man and a woman (Adam and Eve) running through a futuristic setting (Eden) ending with codes in binary for Eden – 01000101 00100100 01000101 01001110 (Since I don’t speak binary I googled that by the way! Haha).
Ezio’s memories begin during the renaissance period in 15th century Italy where his family is embroiled in the middle of a political plot and his father and brothers are hanged. Ezio then follows his fathers last advice and finds his assassin tools and flees the city with his mother and sister to the safety of his uncle Mario’s villa in the countryside. Mario then assists Ezio in discovering the people behind the conspiracy, the search leads Ezio from Florence to San Gimignano, Forlí, Venice and eventually to Rome. As he identifies and assassinates more and more political figures, Ezio gains several allies including Leonardo da Vinci who helps Ezio improve his equipment using schematics found in Altaírs Codex pages. Eventually, Ezio identifies the mastermind of the plot – the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia, who ultimately sought to bring down the Medici family in Florence with the help of the Pazzi family and the Doge (leader) of Venice. Ezio finds Borgia in possession of the Apple – a similar piece of Eden that Altaír had recovered centuries earlier – and learns that Borgia believes himself to be “the Prophet” that will lead the Templars to a fabled “Vault”. Ezio is able to confront Borgia with the help of his allies and recover the Apple, but Borgia flees before he can be killed. Ezios allies then reveal that they are all Assassin’s, and see Ezio as their prophet, allowing him to join their ranks. After this memory, the modern day assassin’s discover that several years of Ezio’s memories are inaccessible from the Animus and Desmond can only access those starting in 1499, where Ezio and the Assassin’s plan to attack Borgia (now Pope Alexander VI) at the Vatican City. Ezio corners Borgia and strikes him down, but refuses to kill him as he knows it will not bring back his family. Ezio then uses the Apple and Papa Cross (Which is also a piece of Eden called the Staff), and discovers the entrance to the Vault. Inside the Vaults holographic figure, calling herself Minerva appears. Speaking directly to Desmond and those monitoring him in 2012, she explains that she was part of a far more advanced society that initially co-existed along with the early humans on Earth before they faced each other in war. A global catastrophe occurred that nearly wiped out both sides, and the survivors joined together to construct temples across the Earth to allow humans to prevent a similar catastrophe in the future. Before the hologram disappears, she warns Desmond – by name – that “the rest is up to you”. Desmond and Ezio are both equally confused and shocked at Minerva’s words and appearance.
Shortly after seeing this memory, Desmond and the others are forced to flee with the Animus from their location as Abstergo troops surround it. Desmond then resolves to help the assassins find these temples, and prepares to re-enter the Animus, knowing that Ezio may hold the answers they seek.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
AC: Brotherhood is the third game in the series and is a continuation of Ezio’s story. We join Ezio as he returns to Monteriggioni and after spending the night with Caterina Sforza he wakes up to find the city besieged Cesare Borgia. Ezio joins the fight to fend off Cesare’s troops but during the raid his uncle Mario is killed by Cesare who then steals the Apple of Eden, leaving Ezio to escape the city without him. Wanting to exact revenge and retrieve the Apple, Ezio travels to Rome in order to liberate it’s people from the influence of the Borgia family. To do so, Ezio recruits new assassin’s (which you can train up during the game to make their missions easier for them, although I felt that this particular part of the game was slightly under-developed) as well as forming alliances between various factions of the Roman underground.
Ezio travels to the Castel Sant’Angelo several times throughout the course of the game in an attempt to assassinate Cesare and Rodrigo Borgia but each time they manage to escape, however, one time when he goes there he witnesses Cesare kill Rodrigo by forcing him to eat a poisoned apple, which Rodrigo himself had poisoned in an attempt to kill Cesare. Ezio chases Cesare to the Apple of Eden and manages to claim it. Cesare is then arrested and placed in a high security prison in Spain however he manages to escape with the help of his followers. Eventually Ezio kills Cesare, throwing him off the castle walls; “leaving him in the hands of fate”. After that, Desmond, Lucy, Rebecca and Shaun find that the Apple of Eden was hidden under the Colosseum. They search for the Apple and finally find it, then Juno, another of “Those Who Came Before” controls Desmond with the Apple and makes him stab Lucy. He then falls into a coma while Lucy’s condition is unknown.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
AC: Revelations or ACR as it is more commonly referred as is the last game in the Ezio trilogy and follows the story of Ezio in his later years.
Desmond has been left comatose at the end of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and has been placed into the Animus, in a new area called the Black Room, Desmond has to piece together Ezio’s later memories in order to reform his mind and escape the Animus. This requires him to undergo platforming puzzles in the Animus (which I thought completely ruined the flow of the game in my opinion) while trapped in a kind of fail-safe mode called Animus Island. Here Ezio is able to converse with the digitally simulated personality of Subject 16 who informs him that only by finishing what he started and completing Ezio and Altaír’s stories can the Animus seperate the three and rescue Desmond’s fragile mind. Meanwhile, Ezio, now much older, continues his search to find out more about the origins of the Assassin Order and connections to Altaír’s past. Primarily, Ezio is after the 5 keys needed to unlock Altaír’s library under the ruins of the Assassin Castle at Masyaf, which he believes contains the knowledge he is seeking. However, the Templars also wish to get into the library, seeking a weapon of great power said to be hidden there. These keys allow Ezio to access Altaír’s memories much in the same way as the Animus allows Desmond to access Ezio’s memories. This search leads Ezio to make his way to Ottoman-era Istanbul where the Assassin Guild there, led by Master Assassin Yusuf Tazim, takes him in as a legendary mentor. After mistakenly killing a man sent to stop the Templars, Ezio travels to Cappidocia to free his men and kill the man responsible for arming the Templars. Once the final key is retrieved, Ezio travels to Masyaf and discovers a vault with Altaír’s remains and another key showing the location of the weapon, revealed to be an Apple of Eden, which Ezio leaves, stating that he has “seen enough for one lifetime.” He then speaks with Desmond through the void, leaving his hidden blades and sword behind.
So that’s the back story covered for the previous Assassin’s Creed games, but what of Ubisofts latest instalment Assassin’s Creed 3? Well from what we know of AC3 you play as half British half native American man named Connor and take place over 30 years of Connor’s life from 1753 to 1783 and feature the cities of New York and Boston (in fact part of the game takes place during the Boston Tea Party) as well as missions in a wilderness area named the Frontier – in fact Ubisoft say that 1/3rd of the missions in the game take place here. And the game is also reported to be much bigger than previous games, in fact Ubisoft have said that the Frontier alone is 1.5 times bigger than Rome from AC: Brotherhood and the story will be 20% longer than AC2.
The game will also feature real life historical figures such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Gameplay has also been completely revamped with new combat animations and styles. Free running has also been improved and changed to allow Connor to climb trees, swing along branches and run through buildings while being chased, Connor will also be able to hunt for animals and skin them with the value of the skin going up or down depending on how, where and with what weapon the animal was killed.
Speaking of weapons, AC3 allows Connor to use all new weapons as well as some franchise mainstays. Weapons included are the Assassin’s Blade which apparently can also pivot as a dagger, dual pistols, rope dart, bow and arrow and what I know is already going to be my new favourite weapon in a video game ever – the Tomahawk!
Check out the screenshot’s and trailer below.