The Beginning Of A New Era
The success of the Assassin’s Creed series speaks for itself. Spanning multiple titles, numerous different characters and an interwoven story that jumps back and forth between the past and present, Assassin’s Creed has captured the imagination of gamers the world over with its combination of stealth, action and story-driven gameplay. Over the years the story has added more lore to the world and with it, a lot more convoluted elements that may be lost on many that haven’t followed the series from the beginning.
In this collection of story recaps, we’ll be returning to Assassin’s Creed from the very beginning and detailing the plots of each to get you up to scratch with everything that’s happened thus far.
This series is set in a fictional history of real-world events, following an age-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace through free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. It’s here where the dual timelines begin to take shape, as the present-day and past events collide and intersect, broken up by various chapters known as Memory Sequences.
The events that transpire in the past during this first game, are all controlled by one man in the present called Desmond Miles. He uses a machine known as the Animus to control an avatar of a past character, in this case a member of the Assassins in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade known as Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad. This machine translates genetic memories of a character’s ancestors into a simulated reality and through this, Altaïr learns that the two aforementioned factions are fighting over an artifact known as the “Apple of Eden”; a device that’s prophesied to be able to control minds.
The story begins in 2012 with Desmond Miles kidnapped by agents of the world’s largest pharmaceutical conglomerate – Abstergo Industries – and taken to their headquarters in Rome. Under the guidance of Dr. Warren Vidic and his assistant Lucy Stillman, Desmond is forced to use the Animus. Vidic instructs him to relive the early years of Altaïr where he botches an attempt to retrieve an artifact known as the Piece of Eden from the forces of Robert de Sablé, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar.
The consequences of this are devastating, leading to the death of one Assassin and severely wounding another. Disgraced, Altaïr attempts to redeem himself by following the guidance of his mentor and superior, Al Mualim, who orders him to assassinate nine individuals in order to regain his honor.
As Altaïr eliminates each target, he learns that all nine are secretly members of the Templar Order and they were conspiring to locate an “Apple of Eden”, the aforementioned relic said to be able to control minds. Thanks to the help of Maria, a young Templar agent who had previously disguised herself as him in order to buy some time, Altaïr catches up to Robert in the camp of King Richard I and exposes his crimes.
This leads to a one-on-one duel with Richard I, where Altaïr is crowned the victor and Robert confesses that he wasn’t acting alone. As it happens, Al Mualim is also after the Apple and this means he’s betrayed the Assassins. Returning to face his mentor, Altaïr finds both the inhabitants and Assassins under the control of the artifact, which is now held by Al Mualim. With the help of several Assassins, Altaïr confronts his mentor over what he’s done.
Using the Apple, Al Mualim battles his apprentice but Altaïr stabs him with his hidden blade and tries to destroy the artifact. However, Altaïr instead unwittingly unlocks a secret map that reveals the location of countless other Pieces of Eden around the world.
With our past timeline all but wrapped up for now, in the present Desmond speaks to Vidic who reveals that Abstergo is the modern incarnation of the Templars. Lucy, who’s actually an Assassin mole, mysteriously disappears. While waiting for her TO return, Desmond discovers strange drawings covering the walls of his room, which points toward a catastrophic event that will wipe out humanity, which is where the game ends for now.
It’s crazy to think Assassin’s Creed was released back in 2007 and yet its plot is still one of the strongest in the series. The ingenious ideas surrounding the two factions wrestling for control over an ancient artifact while you find yourself in the middle of this conflict is something that works incredibly well and still holds up to this day. The Animus is a nice plot device that helps break up the modern day and past timelines, while the multiple twists and turns along the way make this unpredictable plot one that continues to surprise right up until the very end.
The 9 different assassinations all reveal small fragments of exposition which help piece things together for the final conflict. With a big cliffhanger ending and lots of plot threads left unresolved, both in the past and present, the sequel looks to expand what’s been built here further. As a foundation setter however, Assassin’s Creed gets off to a really good start and does an excellent job with its story.
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