As always I'll crack on with the new stuff.
Subject 16 makes a first visual appearance in this game, but as he has his own chance to shine in the 'Lost Archive' DLC I'll discuss him in a seperate post, which I'll put up here soon.
Yusuf is the leader of the Assassins in Constantinople, where Ezio journeys in his quest to unlock the secrets of Altair's vault. Yusuf is a confident leader and while respectful to Ezio, who as Mentor is now head of the Assassin order, he is playful and quick to tease his leader, who is unfamiliar with the tricks and tools of the Ottoman Assassins, such as their hookblades and wide varieties of bombs.
A famous Catrographer of the old world Piri Reis is also a member of the Assassins Order and uses his surveying work to further the cause of the order. He is also very knowledgeable about constructing bombs and has a number of exotic supplies that he can furnish the Assassins with. Piri took Ezio on a voyage to Cappadocia to track down a Templar arms manufacturer.
That's about it for Constantinople, there are several recruits you can bring to your cause but they don't really feature much in the game beyond that. However one of the cool features of the game is you get to relive chapters of Altair's life and meet some more of the Assassins of his time.
Abbas was a rival to Altair who, like many of the Assassins, dislike the young Altair's overconfidence. This was exacerbasted by Altair bringing news that his father had betrayed the Order under torture from their enemies. Even after Altair changed his ways and reformed the Order, Abbas continued to oppose him, eventually seizing control of the Assassins while Altair and his sons travelled to stop Genghis Khan. Eventually Altair gathered his strength and returned to finally restore and reform the order.
Altair's son accompanied him to track down and kill Genghis Kan, with the assistance of the local Assassins in Mongolia. He return to find his brother Sef had been betrayed and killed by Abbas. He stayed loyal to his father until they were able to restore the Order and under his fasther's orders helped close down Masyaf and change the nature of the Assassins forever.
Along with his brother Maffeo this famous explorer (father of Marco) came to Masyaf and learned the teachings of Altair, becoming an Assassin member. Altair awarded him the Codex and the Memory Seals, which would later be recovered by Ezio Auditore.
Leandros was Captain of the Templar Garrison stationed at the former Assassin stronghold of Masyaf. His forces captured Ezio, who soon escaped and assassinated the brash captain, learning of the Masyaf Keys in the process.
Manuel was a powerful nobleman and member of the Templar Order, working under the Byzantine Banner. He had built up a secret army with his lackey Shakhulu and munitions operation run by slaves in Cappadoccia until the arrival of Ezio Auditore.
The weak willed Ahmet was a secret ally of the Templars in order to secure his reign and continuation as Sultan. He made the mistake of targeting Ezio's friends to ensure his plans would work, and when Ezion recued his friends he came after the prince with a vengeance.
There are other Templars, but they are mostly brief cameos by the multiplayer characters in the game - if I'd done this as an actual diary of my gameplay I might have mentioned them but this post is long enough as it is!!
While never a member of the Order the young prince became a friend of Ezio Auditore after travelling with him on the same ship to Constantinople. He came to trust the Assassins and asked them to help him uncover the intrigues going on in the Ottoman court. He would later come to be regarded as one of the most magnificent Sultans ever to take the throne.
Sofia crossed paths with Ezio when he was searching for ancient writing that led to the locations of some of the Masyaf Keys. Sofia was passionate about literature and maintained a small bookshop in the city of Constantinople. Ezio enjoyed her passion and developed an affection for her, but struggled to protect her from the dangers of his life as an Assassin.
Juptier spoke with Desmond Miled through the Animus program. He, along with Minerva and Juno, were responsible for collecting data to try and prevent the solar catastrophe that hit the Earth in their time. Distracted by the uprising of humanity against their masters they were unable to do so in time but across time they passed on the location of their Grand Temple to Desmond that the might prevent it from happening again and save humanity.
These pieces of technology from the First Civilization allowed the user to store memories which could then be accessed by another user, living them as though they were there. Seemingly a more advanced and mobile version of the animus and likely where Abstergo got the idea from. Altiar sealed key memories in them and also used them as keys to his final resting place in Masyaf where he sealed his Apple of Eden.
As always it was great fun to play. I did find some of the 'improvements' such as the modifications to the apprentice system and the use of complicated bomb crafting a little tedious and not as gripping as I found them when they were still fresh in Brotherhood. The uses for the Hookblade were great fun, especially using ziplines and stealing money from guards during fights was good fun. The storyline was great, getting to play as Altair was very exciting and experiencing Desmonds memories was fun too, albeit a little disorientating gameplay wise.
The highlight was seering Ezio's journey come to an end, through watching Altair's lifelong dedication to the cause he realized that the time had come to let go and he ends hisd journey in peace, leaving the Assassins behind, which was a refreshing and happy ending to a game that I woildn't have expected.
All in all: great!