10 Things I love about… Assassin’s Creed

Way back on my old LiveJournal, I started doing periodical “10 Things” posts, each one linked only by the fact there were 10 items.  This was originally inspired by the movie “Ten Things I Hate About You,” and I’ve come to love the concept so much that not only will I be doing them here, but I use them as periodic assignments in my classes.

Anyway, today’s “10 Things” is, as the headline says, 10 Things I love about the video game series, Assassin’s Creed.

1. The storyline isn’t what I expected.

When I first heard about the original AC game, I thought it was set totally in the past.  But when I looked into it, I realized it’s actually a Science Fiction story, in which Desmond Myles, a 21st century New York City bartender, is kidnapped by agents of a corporation and forced to use a machine called an Animus, which allows the user to relive ancestral memories encoded in their DNA.  Along the way, his own secrets are revealed: Desmond is actually a member of the Assassins, an order that goes back to the 12th century–and the Assassins are the good guys, fighting for freedom for all people against the Templars, who wish to “unite” humanity under their forced rule.  And the assassins are actually descendants of an earlier, advanced civilization, the memories of which helped inspire several religions and myths on earth.

2. Multiple Characters

In addition to Desmond, in the first game you play Altair through much of the game.  In the second, you play Desmond and his ancestor Ezio Auditore, who stays with you through two other games.  In AC3, you play yet another of Desmond’s ancestors.

3. High Stakes

The stakes in the AC universe are nothing less than the life of all the inhabitants of Earth.  You see, the First Civilization, who created humans as a slave race, were wiped out by a massive solar flare they didn’t see coming (due to fighting off a human rebellion).  In the aftermath, only 10000 humans and even fewer Ancients remained alive.  The two sides agreed to a truce, and began working together to ensure it never happened again.  Human/Ancient hybrids were created, and their descendants became the Assassins (though not all Assassins have the DNA, those who do are the most gifted).  Those with a high concentration of First Civilization DNA, such as Desmond, can “read” the memories of their ancestors by using the Animus, and Desmond has uncovered much of the background, including that the Ancients foresaw another, identical disaster would befall the Earth–on 12/21/2012.  So now Desmond must use the memories of his ancestors to uncover the secrets of the Earth’s history in order to find the installations the Ancients left for him to use to prevent the Earth’s destruction.  Read More »