The Synchronization bar appears in the top-left corner of the HUD. It shows how synchronized Desmond’s actions are with those of his ancestor. By taking damage from enemies, the Synchronization bar is lowered. Other actions such as harming/killing innocents or falling from a great height will also diminish the bar. Synchronization is gained back over time by completing objectives or remaining Anonymous. It will also increase while Exposed, but at a much slower rate than if you were completely Anonymous. If the Synchronization bar is emptied (either by death or by killing too many innocents), you are sent back to the last checkpoint.
Completing optional objectives (scaling View Points and rescuing citizens) will add a notch to the Synchronization progress bar which is viewable in the upper-left corner of the pause menu. Completing fifteen optional objectives lengthens the Sync bar.
The Abstergo logo located to the left of the Synchronization bar displays Altair’s social status. Initially the logo is white and static. This means that Altair is Anonymous. If you are caught by guards or deemed to be an assassin, the Absertgo logo begins to flash red. This means that Altair is Exposed. To return to an Anonymous state, your first task is to break the guards’ line of sight. You’ll know if you have managed to do this because the Abstergo logo will be flashing yellow rather than red. With the line of sight broken, search for a hide spot. Hide spots include haystacks, roof gardens, on a bench between two people, or blending with a group of Scholars.
You can avoid becoming Exposed by keeping an eye on the Abstergo logo which will also display the guard awareness level. While white, the guards are completely unaware. If the eye in the logo is yellow, this means that the guards are suspicious of you. Harming innocents or bumping into a suspicious guard will cause them to attack. When the eye is red, this means that the guards are informed and on the lookout for Altair. That’s your cue to be especially careful. Any form of socially unacceptable behaviors (bumping into people, running, climbing up buildings) will set the guards off. Even walking too close to guards will cause them to engage. To avoid being Exposed, Blend by holding down on the Legs button. Blending is the only way to move around without being Exposed while the guards are informed.
The guards are most often suspicious of you, but they will become informed if you are standing around a pile of bodies or enter restricted areas such as rooftops.
Available: Rank 2
To perform a Combo Kill, first press the attack to swing at your opponent, then press the attack button again as soon as your sword connects to end him instantly. As one of the first unlockable abilities, Combo Kill won’t be of use to you for too long, as enemies you face further into the game will simply block most attempts. Counter Attack is definitely more useful than this ability.
Available: Rank 2
As soon as this is unlocked, practice it until you have it mastered. To counter an opponent’s attack, press the Weapon Hand button when their weapon is about to connect with you. Countering sometimes kills your opponent instantly, but Altair may also simply knock the countered foe to the ground. This can give you an advantage if you are facing a small group of enemies, but during a large-scale battle you more than likely won’t be able to focus on the downed enemy. Altair can counter attackers from all sides, so watch the movements of the enemies that surround you during battle and be ready to counter their incoming attacks.
Available: Rank 3
While sprinting press and hold the Empty Hand button. When Altair connects with someone, they are sent to the ground. This ability makes escaping from guards much easier, as you can knock people down while free-running rather than bumping into them and being knocked down yourself. However while holding the Empty Hand button you can’t Free-Rub, so only hold the button just as you are about to connect with a person.
Available: Rank 4
Grab Break works much the same way as counter, but you are to press the Empty Hand button rather than the Weapon Hand button to counter an enemy’s grab. Your cue to perform Grab Break is once an enemy has grabbed hold of Altair. Pressing the Empty Hand button soon enough causes Altair to counter that opponent, thereby avoiding being thrown to the ground.
Available: Rank 4
This ability allows you to grab onto ledges while falling. Simply press the Empty Hand button to catch the nearest ledge as you fall. This is useful when you need to quickly scale down from a tall tower to avoid pursuing guards, or if you do not want to make too much noise when dropping down from something.
Available: Rank 5
To dodge an incoming attack, press the Legs button before the enemy’s weapon connects. Dodging works much like the Counter Attack and Grab Break abilities. Once an attack has been dodged, you can then follow up with an attack of your own .
Available: Rank 7
To break your enemy’s defense, first step towards him (Legs button while in Low Profile) and then attack. If done correctly, Altair will knock the enemy’s raised sword to the side, allowing you to damage him while his defense is down.
Available: Rank 1
Altair can use his fists to attack individuals without any flack from the city guards. He can punch beggars, drunks and harassers, causing them to run away and the guards will just stand aside. You’ll mostly use these during interrogation investigations. While guards will not intervene during a fistfight, any nearby thugs may join in and make things more difficult for you. Thugs are the large men wearing leather armor. If you attack while they’re around, all thugs in the immediate vicinity will join forces with the to-be-interrogated, making things needlessly difficult . Do not start fistfights if there is a large number of thugs in the area.
Available: Rank 1
This weapon is the bread and butter of any assassin’s lifestyle. Altair’s own such blade is fixed to his left arm, and can be extended out in place of his removed ring finger, allowing him to surprise his targets (might be handy when buttering bread, too).
There are two ways to use the Hidden Blade: either while in Low Profile or while in High Profile. Low Profile killing generally allows you to eliminate a target without any trouble from the guards, just be ready to sprint away before the target’s body hits the ground in order to avoid suspicion. Of course, murdering someone outright in front of a guard will not go without consequence.
It would be best to assassinate a target with the Hidden Blade from behind, because if you use it while facing your target, they might be able to prevent it. High Profile killing with the Hidden Blade is useful when removing archers or eliminating running targets. While free-running, have the blade selected as you are running towards or pursuing a target and tap the Weapon Hand button to leap onto them when you are close enough.
Available: Rank 1
The Long Sword is best used during large-scale battles, since it deals a fair amount of damage with general attacks, and also on the counter. Avoid using this weapon when facing assassination targets or in a situation other than an all-out fight with the city guards.
Available: Rank 2
This weapon is much like the Long Sword, though its strikes are much quicker but deal less damage. The Short Blade can be useful when coupled with Throwing Knives (unlocked once you attain Rank 3), as Altair can throw one of the knives at a distant target, eliminating him if it strikes. Other than that, you would be best served using the Long Sword during direct combat.
Available: Rank 3
To use Throwing Knives, first select the Short Blade and then lock on to your target. Press the Weapon Hand button and Altair will throw a dagger at the target, killing him if it hits. Throwing Knives are especially useful when removing patrolling archers on distant rooftops or thinning the ranks of a group of approaching guards. They can also be useful for kicking off a citizen rescue.
These investigations are quick and easy, so pursue them if you wish to get right into the assassination. To eavesdrop on a conversation between two or more individuals, first search for a nearby bench and take a seat. There is always a bench nearby an eavesdropping spot, and they’re almost always in plain sight. While seated on the bench, lock onto one of the individuals engaged in conversation and press the Head button to begin listening.
Pickpocket investigations require you to extract either a letter or map from an individual without being caught in the act. To begin, first lock on to your target. After the brief cutscene that ensues, start following the letter/map carrier while in Low Profile. To pickpocket a person, you must get close enough to them and then hold the Empty Hand button until the information is removed. If you are caught by the letter carrier, the investigation is a failure and you will have to wait for the objective to reinitialize. Keep an eye on the carrier’s head while you follow behind. Do not attempt to pickpocket while the carrier’s head is turned.
Another way to go about this task is to wait in the letter carrier’s path. Blend while he walks towards you. When he passes by, turn around and remove the letter from him. Going about it that way can end Pickpocket investigations quickly.
Interrogations consist of first tracking down the information holder, and then proceeding to beat the tar out of them. To begin, lock on to the target. The speaker will start to walk away when he is finished speaking. Guards will not intervene during a fistfight, but any nearby thugs may join in and make things more difficult for you. Thugs are the large men wearing leather armor. If you attack while they’re around, all thugs in the immediate vicinity will join forces with the to-be-interrogated, making things needlessly difficult.
Follow the speaker to a location that is relatively clear of thugs and start punching the target. He’ll fight back, so be ready to block after your strike. You’ll get some information from him once he has been beaten up enough.
There are two different types of Informer investigation: Flag collecting and eliminating marked targets. There is usually a time limit, but the time given is always more than enough to complete the task. The informer might ask you to collect Masyaf flags for him, which is not a difficult task considering the flags to be collected always form a convenient trail.
If the informer asks you to assassinate a group of individuals, the locations of these targets will appear on your map and GPS, allowing you to track them down easily. Always use the Hidden Blade while in Low Profile to eliminate these targets. In order to get the information, you must assassinate all of the targets within the time limit (if there is one) and return to the informer without being Exposed at all during the assassinations. Being Exposed fails the investigation, meaning you will have to return to the informer while Anonymous and lock on to him again to retry.
By climbing to the top of towers or buildings and using Eagle Vision, Altair can scan the area below for hide spots and investigations. The first thing that you should do upon entering a new district is to locate a View Point within that district, climb to the top of it and use Eagle Vision. Once you have scaled one View Point, all others in the district are marked on your map with an eagle icon, making it easy to track the rest down and scale those to reveal investigations and more hide spots. To determine whether a building or tower is a View Point, look for either a ledge attached somewhere on the building or for an eagle soaring above it.
Once you have made use of a View Point, you can then perform a Leap of Faith by standing on the building’s/tower’s ledge and dropping down from there. Be careful, though, as not all View Points have a haystack below them. Most do, however. Each View Point used adds a notch on the Sync bar update. On the Xbox 360 version, the “Fearless” achievement is unlocked when you have scaled and used Eagle Vision atop each and every View Point in the Kingdom and its cities.
In each district of the three cities there are a number of citizens that need rescuing. Rescuing a citizen from the city guards has several benefits. If you save a scholar, a group of Scholars will appear nearby. This group appears on the GPS and map, providing a moving hiding spot that can be used while trying to escape from the city guards.
Saving other peasants yields a group of friendly Vigilantes who will hold back guards that are pursuing you. Establishing Vigilantes in the streets is especially helpful during your escape after a successful assassination. Each person rescued contributes to the lengthening of the Sync bar. Start by using your Hidden Blade to take out a couple of guards, then finish off the rest in combat. Throwing Knives can be useful too, once you’ve unlocked them. Saving all of the citizens in a city will also unlock an achievement on the Xbox 360 version.
There are 420 flags hidden throughout the Kingdom and its cities. Collecting all of the flags on the Xbox 360 version unlocks a number of achievements. You won’t get anything for collecting them all in the other versions, aside from a sense of completion. You can check your flag collecting progress by viewing the “Additional Memories” section in the pause menu or Animus table menu.
Sixty Templar can be found throughout the Kingdom and its cities. Killing all sixty of the Templar yields an achievement on the Xbox 360 version. Unfortunately, eliminating the Templar on any other version of Assassin’s Creed will give you nothing. The Templar are quite aggressive and will attack on sight (even if you haven’t done anything), so avoid them as much as you can when you’re first starting out. They can be found in the city streets and in the Kingdom guarding treasure chests.
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