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Assassin's Creed
Assassin's Creed Logo.jpg
Assassin's Creed series logo
Genre(s) Third person, action, stealth, sandbox
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Gameloft
Gryphonite Studios
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Creator(s) Patrice Desilets
First release Assassin's Creed
14 November 2007
Latest release Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
Assassin's Creed II
Assassin's Creed II: Discovery
17 November 2009
Official website assassinscreed.com

Assassin's Creed is an award-winning video game series that currently consists of five games, several short films, and a novel. Between the five games, they have made appearances on the iPhone, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and Xbox 360 platforms. The two main games in the franchise were developed by Ubisoft Montreal, with the handheld titles developed by Gameloft and Gryphonite Studios, with additional development by Ubisoft Montreal. All games in the franchise are published by Ubisoft.

The main plot arc of the series revolves around a bartender named Desmond Miles as he is captured by megacorporation Abstergo Industries. Using a device known as the Animus, Desmond is forced to relive his ancestors' memories, who were all assassins, in order to recover artifacts, called the "Pieces of Eden", for Abstergo. While the original assassin ancestor of Desmond was Altaïr, the most recent games feature another assassin from Renaissance Italy named Ezio. Assassination targets are mostly actual historical figures, although the timelines for their lives and causes of death have been changed to suit the games' plot.

The gameplay, varies slightly from game to game, consisting of a mixture of action and adventure, with a heavy emphasis on stealth, in open world recreations of historical cities.

Contents

Overview

The overarching plot for all of the games takes place in the year 2012. It is implied that the 2012 of the game's timeline is rife with chaos and destruction. In-game emails report of a plague that has wiped out the population of Africa, a story about the Mexican President increasing border security in response to "American Refugees" crossing the border, an extreme number of hurricanes across the world, and the closing of the last major film studio in an unnamed country.[1]

Amidst this strife, megacorporation Abstergo has devised a plan to seize control of the minds and free will of every person on Earth. To achieve this goal, they must locate artifacts called "Pieces of Eden". Abstergo captures Desmond Miles, a former assassin trainee turned bartender, to search his ancestors' memories stored in his DNA in order to find the Pieces of Eden. Desmond is forced to enter the Animus, a machine that allows for the viewing of such memories.

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Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles

Canonically, the first of Desmond's ancestors' viewed memories (albeit, without any mention of Desmond) take place in Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles during 1190, where the Third Crusade is waged in the Holy Land. Altaïr ibn La-Ahad, a medieval assassin, is sent on a mission from the Order of Assassins to retrieve a Chalice from the grasps of both the Crusaders and the Saracens. Altaïr quests to find three different keys then travels to Jerusalem to face the head of the Knights Templar, Basilisk. Upon arriving, he learns that the Chalice is not an object, but a woman named Adha who reveals that Altaïr has been deceived by an assassin named Harash, who is now a double-agent for the Templars. After killing both Harash and Basilisk, Altaïr attempts to save a kidnapped Adha from captivity but is too late. The game ends with Adha sailing away and Altaïr left in Jerusalem.

Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed cover.

In Assassin's Creed, Altaïr's memories are solicited by Abstergo in their attempt to find the Piece of Eden. Altaïr, still in Jerusalem, ventures to Solomon's Temple to confront crusader Robert de Sable and retrieve the Piece of Eden for Al Mualim, head of the Assassins. Betraying many tenets of the Creed of the Assassins and failing his mission, Altaïr is demoted to a novice assassin upon return to the Assassin's Fortress. To redeem his previous status, Altaïr is sent by Al Mualim to assassinate nine targets in three different cities. With each kill, Altaïr learns there is a connection between his targets; they are all Templars united by Robert de Sable to take control of the Holy Land by force, although they all claim to pursue a noble goal.

After assassinating nine targets, Altaïr confronts Robert in front of King Richard, leader of the Crusader army. Altaïr informs Richard that Robert is plotting to betray and kill him, which causes him to encourage a duel to the death between Altaïr and Robert. Upon dying, Robert confesses to Altaïr that they were not nine, but ten Templars. The tenth being Al-Mualim, who wanted to keep the Piece of Eden for himself and therefore sent out Altaïr to kill the others. Back at the Fortress, where Al-Mualim had taken over the minds of the people inside, Altaïr manages to defeat and kill him in a duel. The memory Abstergo was searching for, which located the Piece of Eden, reveals it is only just one of several, the "Apple of Eden", and that over fifteen different other Pieces are scattered across the world.

Back in 2012, Abstergo sends a team to recover as many Pieces as possible. Deciding they don't need him anymore, they give orders to kill Desmond. Lucy Stillman, an Abstergo employee who revealed herself to be an Assassin, convinces them not to kill Desmond until they recover the Pieces, buying him time. Desmond is left alone in the Animus room, and by the use of Altaïr's Eagle Vision inherited from the 'bleeding effect' of the Animus, he sees many symbols drawn on the wall and floor.

Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines

Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines takes place before the events of Assassin's Creed II but after the events of the original Assassin's Creed. Altaïr has traveled to Cyprus from the Holy Land in order to assassinate the last remnants of the Templars. Here Altaïr meets Maria and they travel together to kill the remaining templars and learn more about the "Apple of Eden" and the mysterious Templar Archive where more of the artifacts are believed to be hidden. Altaïr manages to kill the new Templar Grand Master, Armand Bouchart, and his followers, but the Archive's content is discovered to be already evacuated from Cyprus.

Assassin's Creed II

At the beginning of Assassin's Creed II, Lucy returns and breaks Desmond out of Abstergo. He is brought to a hideout and introduced to her Assassin allies Shaun and Rebecca, as well as an updated version of the Animus. Knowing what is at stake, Desmond volunteers to enter the Animus again, and explore the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a young nobleman from 1476 Florence, Italy. He hopes to gain Ezio's abilities through the Bleeding Effect so he can aid the Assassins.

As a young man, Ezio's father and brothers are executed by the hand of Uberto, a corrupt official in league with the Templars. Ezio kills Uberto in revenge, and after fleeing with his surviving family to their villa in the Tuscan countryside, he learns of his Assassin heritage and begins training under his uncle Mario. Ezio also befriends local inventor Leonardo da Vinci, who helps Ezio with his work by decoding an encrypted codex that contains Altaïr's memoirs, as well as plans for advanced assassin weaponry. Over the course of a decade Ezio assassinates the conspirators involved in his father's death, leaving Rodrigo Borgia, a nobleman and Templar who has retrieved the Apple of Eden and is the center of the conspiracy. Ezio and other Assassins reclaim the Apple of Eden, but Borgia flees. Ezio is formally inducted as an Assassin, and is told that he may be a prophet as described in the codex.

During the course of the game Desmond experiences a number of unusual occurrences. First he discovers strange glyphs apparently left by a previous test subject, similar to the symbols seen at Abstergo, which hide a secret history of the world. He later dreams of appearing as Altaïr again, chasing after Maria, a Templar he had earlier spared, and then romancing her. Finally, several memories are skipped, throwing the timeline forward by more than a decade to the Vatican, where Borgia now resides as Pope Alexander VI.

Borgia has in possession the Papal Staff, another Piece of Eden. He attempts to use it to enter a vault that the prophet as described in the codex must enter. Ezio intercepts Borgia, appears to take his life, and enters the vault himself. He encounters the hologram of a woman, who claims to be once known as the goddess Minerva, and who also claims to come from a civilization whose members were also seen in the same light by ancient peoples. Minerva reveals of a great disaster that had befallen and destroyed her civilization, and warns that it will occur again soon. Talking directly to Desmond, she tells him "The rest is up to you".

Desmond is pulled out of the Animus as Abstergo has located their hideout. He, Lucy and the rest of the team manage to flee to safety, and soon prepare to return Desmond to the Animus to search for clues that may help them.

Assassin's Creed II: Discovery

Assassin's Creed II: Discovery takes place during the events of Assassin's Creed II, between Sequence 12 and 13 (both are DLC). It follows Ezio as he travels to 15th century Spain to free his fellow Assassins, who have been imprisoned under the guise of the Spanish Inquisition. In the process, he discovers that the Knights Templar are planning to sail west to discover the New World.

The original Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles, released two years ago on the Nintendo DS, was created by mobile developer Gameloft. That design was a very straightforward, solid-but-glitchy side-scrolling rendition of what Ubi's console team pulled off in the original Assassin's Creed. For Assassin's Creed II: Discovery, Ubisoft recruited the help of Griptonite – the team's 2D/3D hybrid engine used in games like last year's impressive Spiderman: Web of Shadows DS title is being utilized in this title to surprisingly good effect – the game feels a lot like a fast-paced Prince of Persia and plays with similar flair and fluidity of the console version of Assassin's Creed II.

The DS game follows a separate chapter from the console Assassin's Creed II, but you're still Italian assassin Ezio running through missions of both stealth and combat. Or rather, you're playing as a guy named Desmond who's virtually plugged into the past revisiting his ancestor's life into something called the Animus. The game really doesn't do a very good job explaining this "virtual" aspect in the same way that the console game does – in fact, unless you read the manual or have played the console games the whole "Holodeck" element will probably be lost on you because the game doesn't really walk players through the "present day". But where it falters in its explanation, it makes up for it in a unique action experience.

Ezio is fast and agile. Crazy fast and agile, in fact. He can run really fast and climb pretty much any ledge he can grab onto. The developers had a great time adding to Ezio's skillset – when this guy ramps up his momentum running across the land or rooftops, he'll be able to leap longer distances or climb up much higher walls without awkward pauses. It's fun exploring all the various locations, finding the best areas to scale and leap from, and when you run through a specific level you'll immediately find yourself lunging through the same area in the opposite direction in a separate escape attempt. Assassin's Creed II: Discovery encourages replay and speedruns because your score's based on time, how many enemies you defeated, and how much damage you took getting to the end. The score you earn can be turned into unlockables – and there are various other challenges to earn by snagging hidden icons – so you'll definitely want to return to levels again and again to improve your time.

The biggest problem, however, is the game's dependence on trial and error design. It's a side-scrolling game, but you can only see a short distance around your character. You'll blindly leap chasms in hopes there's a ledge to grab onto, or fall down in hopes that the ground is just a short drop away. The lower screen displays a radar that shows where off-screen enemies are and their locations, but the game offers no map of the environment so you're on your own when it comes to learning the different city layouts. It's a bit unfair and just a bit frustrating.

That's pretty much my only large complaint about Assassin's Creed: Discovery, though. The game looks great and has some fantastic character animation. It's got a wonderful attention to story – yes, the developers really don't let people in on the whole "21st Century Animus" aspect, but the dialogue is fully spoken by professional voice actors. And the fast-paced gameplay is a rush once you learn the lay of the land.

Assassin's Creed II Episodes (working title)

The next game in the franchise has been announced by Ubisoft and will be released fiscal year 2010-11. Little is known about the plot, but it has been confirmed that it will be the continuation of Assassin's Creed II protagonist Ezio's story. Ubisoft has also confirmed online multiplayer for the first time in the series.[2][3] On February 9, Ubisoft announced that the main story will center around Ezio fighting the Templars' Order, which is headquartered in Rome.[4][5]

Games

Released Year Title Platform
360 PS3 PC PSP NDS iPhone
Main Games
2007 Assassin's Creed Yes Yes Yes No No No
2009 Assassin's Creed II Yes Yes Yes No No No
TBA Assassin's Creed III Yes Yes Yes No No No
Expansion Games
TBA Assassin's Creed II Episodes Yes Yes No No No No
Portable Games
2008 Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles No No No No Yes Yes
2009 Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines No No No Yes No No
2009 Assassin's Creed II: Discovery No No No No Yes Yes

Other media

An Assassin's Creed novel, The Invisible Imam, supposedly the first in a trilogy, was announced but was later canceled. However, a novel called Assassin's Creed: Renaissance was released in the United Kingdom and Australia on November 26, 2009,[6] and in the United States on February 23, 2010.[7]

A short film, Assassin's Creed: Lineage, is a prequel taking place before the events in Assassin's Creed II. The first part to the film was released on YouTube on October 26, 2009 and on EuroGamerTV on November 2, 2009, before being included on the Assassin's Creed II game disc. Parts 2 and 3 have since been released on Ubisoft's website and YouTube.

Reception

The Assassin's Creed games have received a generally positive reception from critics. The series has also been financially successful, with the first game selling over 8 million copies to date[8].

Future developments

Due to questions at E3 2009, creative director Patrice Désilets revealed that Assassin's Creed II would end with a cliffhanger that would lead into Assassin's Creed III. He also mentioned that the series was always meant to be a trilogy, making Assassin's Creed III the final installment in the series. However producer Sébastien Puel has said that "we could make 35 of these [games]" in an interview leading to much speculation amongst fans.[9]

References

  1. ^ http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/xbox360/file/930278/51551
  2. ^ http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/106/1060723p1.html
  3. ^ http://www.videogamesblogger.com/2010/01/13/assassins-creed-multiplayer-game-coming-before-march-2011.htm
  4. ^ http://www.mygaming.co.za/news/news/5359-Assassins-Creed-III-set-Rome.html
  5. ^ http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/106/1067875p1.html
  6. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2009/nov/06/assassins-creed-renaissance
  7. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Assassins-Creed-Renaissance-Oliver-Bowden/dp/0441019293/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
  8. ^ "Ubisoft Unveils Assassins Creed II". Ubisoft. http://www.ubisoftgroup.com/gallery_files/site/270/574/1956.pdf. Retrieved June 4, 2009. 
  9. ^ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/ubi-we-could-do-35-assassins-creeds

External links


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