Assassin’s Creed & the Well Needed Breather

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Assassin’s Creed fan.  My god, this series has been going for what seems like a century and every year, one just gets cranked out the freshly pressed Ubisoft printer/make-a-game thingy… Right, they’re called developers. Sorry, it’s been a while. Continue reading

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Assassins Creed: Romancing The Creed (Episode 2)

(image courtesy of http://wordinprogress.com)

(image courtesy of http://wordinprogress.com)

After I had done everything that you had asked, completed every quest, collected every flag and everything else, I felt this sudden emptiness inside.  We were still together and we were still in love but like any relationship, we had to spice up our “love life” so to speak.  I quickly proceeded to check when the inevitable sequel would be released but as always, you were one step ahead of me.  A sequel was already planned for release in November 2009 and so typical of you, you had thought of everything.  You showed me beautiful HD images of Italy and Venice.  I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and the fact that it would be during the days of a festival just made it that more exciting.  However, the consoles were set to get you first so I had to wait until March 2010 before I could see how beautiful you had become.  I passed the time by trying to figure out the symbols that were painted by subject 16 and spent a lot of time on a wiki dedicated to you.  Eventually, time passed and March crawled into view.  Finally, our second Journey had begun.

It’s funny but when I picked you up at the store, I drove home slowly, unwrapped you gently, and installed you patiently.  I was always ever so gentle with you and treated you the way I felt you should be treated.  You did something though that I didn’t quite agree with.  Somewhere, among your time not spent with me, your parents had begun to dabble in the online world, met other people and had other ideas.  One of their ideas was to always be connected to the internet in order to travel to our beautiful locations.  I was immediately taken by surprise at this because at the time I had no internet connection.  How were we going to explore the arty world of Florence and Venice if I couldn’t get us online?  Well, you know that story better than I do.  I would not let such a thing as petty as the internet keep us a part.  It’s actually quite humorous, using the internet to find a way to keep us offline and explore the Renaissance era.  I found a way, by downloading a hacked piece of software that made your parents believe you were online when you weren’t.  I remember the sensation of finally getting it to work.  I spent a couple of hours trying to figure that out but it was completely worth it.  When you finally loaded up, you led me through another worm hole, my destination being another sleeker Ubisoft logo.  I waited patiently and then you showed me yet another pure white screen with Assassins Creed II, the word creed beautifully designed in red.  I let you hover for a few moments and then just as before, you reminded me of why we were together and why the wait was worth it.

1486, Venice Italy,

A festival is taking place, fireworks dance in the night sky, couples skipping across bridges.  All is well until an ominous presence in the form of a gondola comes into view.  Two men, with grim expressions looking ahead.  They both wear masks but the one is undoubtedly the master, wearing a full white mask covering his eyes and cheek bones, leaving his jaw revealed.  The other wearing a black mask that just covers the eyes.  We then see two woman making a deal with a mysterious person, who drops a pouch of coins into their hands.  Carnivale is in full swing, a barrage of fireworks lighting up the evening sky, while masked men and woman dance merrily together enjoying the freedom that such festivities bring.  The two men on the boat arrive with a group of soldiers.  As they enter, two courtesans notice them.  One of them approaches the group, and escorts the man wearing the mask that only covers the eyes away from the soldiers and into the thick of the crowd.  They both start dancing, smiles on both of them.  They both look up at the colored night sky as he spins around in a choreographed fashion.  When he finally looks down again, the courtesan has disappeared.  The man looks left and right, desperately trying to spot her.  He turns around and suddenly a hooded man appears, striking him quickly.  His vision blurs and time itself seems to have slowed down for him.  Struggling to comprehend what has just happened, the man looks though the crowd hoping to catch the eyes of the man with the white mask.  He succeeds.  As their eyes meet his left hand reaches up to hold his throat as blood trickles out over it.  The man with the black mask crumples over slowly revealing the Assassin, crouched, hidden blade revealed, ready to fight, behind him.  

The man with the white mask order his soldiers to kill him.  The Assassin leaps forward and punches one soldier, counter attacks another, steals a spear and stabs a different soldier, before finally giving a slight smirk to the soldier that was punched.  The hooded Assassin drops the spear as he chases after the man with the white mask.   The man runs frantically through the city, the Assassin not far behind.  Jumping from gondola to gondola to the side of a building, making his way up.  Keeping his target in sight the Assassin leaps from rooftop to rooftop, tiles dropping to the canal below under his feet.  The man with the white mask reaches an archway leading into a courtyard shouting orders at a group of armored soldiers who are waiting patiently.  The soldiers move up, guarding the one and only entry way, careful not to let themselves be exposed while they hide behind the walls.  The man with the white mask catches his breath and moves to the entrance. In the distance, on top of a perch, the Assassin appears and drops down to street level, dust blown away around him as he lands.  The man with the white mask starts antagonizing the Assassin, while he walks forward hidden blade drawn.  The man with the white masks then mentions the Assassin’s mother which causes him to stop walking, disarm his hidden blade.  As the taunts continue, the Assassin pulls a lever just underneath his wrist and you hear a mechanism loading.  As the man with white mask finishes his threat the Assassin extends his left arm, palm up, aiming directly at his target.  His right hand reaches over to his left wrist and then the sound of a gun shot echoes against the walls.  Pigeons scatter at the noise.  The man with the white mask falls back slowly, blood gushing out behind him covering his Templar badge in blood.

After seeing that, I knew we were going to have one hell of an adventure.  You allowed me to play as Ezio Auditore Da Firenze, an Italian nobleman who’s destiny was far greater than he would ever fathom.  I witnessed his birth and at this point I knew this was going to be something much more than what our first adventure entailed.  You immediately instilled an emotional connection just by placing me right at the beginning of this mans life.  I was with him every step of the way.  From the conspiracy against his family, to learning about the assassins, meeting Uncle Mario, and making the discovery of The Ones Who Came Before.  We shared the same emotional responses, from shock and sadness, to exhilaration and confusion and finally to accepting one’s destiny. But it wasn’t only Ezio’s character that I fell in love with, it was the whole world as well.  Through you, I was able to meet Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the great minds of our time and I got to appreciate the brother that Ezio found in him.  I got to see just how corrupt the world had become having a Templar assuming control of unimaginable power.  I didn’t know it was possible but you managed to show me how much love and care your parents truly had.  Everything was improved, the fight mechanics, the free running, the introduction of new weapons and upgraded ones like the dual blades and the pistol.  The world was absolutely gorgeous and polished to near perfection and you managed to keep me invested in the world for months, littering the map with treasure chests to loot, feathers to collect, and contracts to complete.  Not to mention the hidden glyphs embedded in the world around me.

You also allowed me to witness Desmond’s escape from Abstergo with the aide of Lucy Stillman and watch his training, taking place in what seemed to be an abandoned warehouse.  Experiencing the bleeding effect and for the first time being worried about what it might do to his Psyche.  I got to meet Shaun and Rebecca, without whom, this adventure would not have been able to take place. With the aide of Shaun, Desmond and I were able to hack glyphs and solve puzzles and hack the memories of Subject 16, revealing a disturbing revelation. Conspiracy’s aside, seeing the relationship between Desmond and Lucy grow made me feel like I was part of something wonderful despite the world gone to hell.  With everything you managed to create, the one thing that stood out, that made me pay attention was the love that went into this world.  You could see it  from the view points, hear it in the sounds of swords clashing and most importantly I could feel it with every secret discovered.

We were all a family and the bond we shared was cemented for now and forever more.

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Assassins Creed

 My all time favorite game….Assassins Creed.  When I say I’m a huge fan I mean it.  I think I’ve played the first and second one over and over again and I’ve started to replay the third one again and I’ve honestly lost count of how many times I’ve submerged myself into the history of the Assassins.  From the early crusades to the late renaissance and there is no other game that completely captures my imagination, my attention and my patience for such a long duration of time.  When I play this game all the everyday tasks suddenly fall a very stretched 100th place in the priority list.  I can’t quiet point out a specific reason as to why Assassins Creed has such power over me. All I know is that it’s like a drug. 

I love anything with a decent story.  You could give me the worst visually designed movie to watch but if the story is good I’ll be hooked instantly.    

PLOT LINE:

This is such a simple story and it’s put together so beautifully.  You play as Desmond Miles who gets abducted by Templars under the disguise of a company called Abstergo.  (Abstergo is a very big powerhouse company that seems to run the world with all of its products, from military to normal household appliances…..kind of like Massive Dynamic from Fringe) Abstergo is on a quest for world domination to instill a new world order in which everyone will become united under one global leader.  In order to obtain this goal however they have to find a “Piece of Eden”.  The piece that Abstergo is looking for is called The Apple.  This is an ancient artifact that grants the user immense power over ones will.  This was the artifact that created the illusion of theRed Sea being parted, turning water into wine and a variety of other similar events.  In order to find The Apple Abstergo needed to hunt down its various locations in history to discover where it may be hidden.

Abstergo created a machine called an “Animus” which allows genetic memory (bloodline specific to user) to be relived.

This is where Desmond comes in.  Desmond belongs to an ancient order of Assassins.  The Assassins goal is pretty much to protect humanity.  The Assassins hid The Apple back in the day and Abstergo needs Desmond to relive his bloodline in order to find it.

I think this is where Assassins Creed wins me over.  I love historical things and I love story’s which involve religion being a form of control over a society.  I like the thought of this because to me if man has no religion then what he does he hold onto?  What do we believe in then?  What happens to faith?

The game play is good and easy to master without confusing your fingers and when you’re battling enemies, counter-attacking is so simple yet so flashy that you get lost in the choreography and the realism that it portrays.  Plus when you’ve just defeated like 20 or 30 guys using your flashy counter kills and you see all the soldiers rolling on the ground (CAUSE THEY JUST HAD THEIR ASSES HANDED TO THEM) you feel…pretty badass.

The characters feel real and the cities that you get to explore are so realistic and tangible that you get lost in the beauty of it all.  The textures are absolutely breath taking.  The only flaw that I have with the first game is that there are times where the levels start to feel monotonous but with everything else that this game has to offer and for a first installment it was pretty well done.

Unfortunately I never got to play Assassins Creed Bloodlines which was a continuation of Altair’s past and bridged the story from the first game to the second game.  It was only released on the PSP for some weird reason.

Then Assassins Creed 2 came out.  This was one of the most highly anticipated games ever.  The story continues exactly from where the first one ended.  Lucy breaks Desmond out of Abstergo and together they flee to a safe house where Lucy’s contacts have their own version of the Animus.  Desmond has to relive one of his other ancestor’s memories, Ezio Auditore da Firenze in order to locate The Apple and other pieces of Eden before the templars do.

With each new Assassins game they seem to raise the bar a little higher.  They refined the combat system to make it much smoother in battle and to pull of some superb counter kills.  The detail in this game was immense.  They had full on cities with people walking around during the renaissance.  I have never played a game where they incorporated so much detail.  It is a breathtaking display of virtual ingenuity.  As the game progresses, Desmond starts to have flashes of Altair’s memories when he is outside of the Animus.  This is due to the bleeding effect which occurs when a person spends a substantial amount of time in the Animus and it causes realities to overlap.  The plus side of the bleeding effect though is that Desmond starts learning all the assassin skills as he plays through Ezio’s memories.  When Ezio learns new things, so does Desmond.

Did I mention that I love a game with a decent story??

Just when you think this game couldn’t get any better, at the end of Assassins Creed 2 the story takes a complete 360, shattering any ideas you thought might be happening in this complex plot.  I was left thinking,”What the F**k?” but in an “I WANT MORE” kind of way.

I can’t imagine any one who can’t enjoy this game.  I even got my wife to play it.  She just started Brotherhood and is still enjoying it.

BEST GAME EVER 🙂