Assassins Creed: The New Assassin (Episode 5)

AC3-FlagWell surprise, surprise, it wasn’t long after our journey to Constantinople that your parents announced yet another trip for the following year, and a whole new time period to.  Was I worried?  Not at all.  Although our relationship had started to crack, I had faith in your parents ability and as all relationships go, a change can go a long way to revitalizing the love between partners or so I thought.

A few weeks went by and you finally revealed where we would be headed, who we would be playing as and what time period we would be visiting.  Suffice to say, you blew me away.

Orders have been shouted and a general riding a horse comes into view, stopping alongside his troops.  Him and his entire army are wearing redcoats, holding up the English flag proudly.  A battle is under way and more troops can be seen joining from the top of the hill.  “Fire!” and the front row of Redcoats open fire into the distance.  As my perspective changes I can now clearly see who the Redcoats are firing on.  It’s the colonists who are severely outnumbered.  As the bullets reach their lines a few soldiers in the back turn and jog away.  The Redcoats General equips his telescope and surveys his enemies. 

While this battle is taking place, a beautiful eagle is hiding in the trees, simply observing the battle from above.  A tranquil melody starts to play and I hear a new voice.  A voice with purpose and reason. 

” I watch them fight and die in the name of freedom.  They speak of liberty and justice, but for who?”

The eagle takes off, soaring beautifully, weaving in and out of tree tops.  So full of grace.  As the eagle spreads its wings to slow down, I see its claws drawn, ready to land and as it stops, two legs appear in the tree next to him, running and then leaping. 

A medical tent comes into view and I see a man brought in on a stretcher.  Two soldiers are keeping guard.  As they stare straight ahead, the new Assassin walks forward cutting between them.  There’s no time to stop him so they don’t even bother.  As this new Assassin makes his way to the battlefield, quizzical looks are given to him by the colonists making their way up the hill.  One colonist is brave enough to stop this strange-looking man. “Hold you!”, the colonist commands.  This new Assassin just keeps walking.  A horse can be seen and a man trying to calm it.  As the new Assassin approaches, another colonist tries to stop him by firmly placing his hand on the Assassins chest.  The new Assassin removes it without force but with an attitude that says, “I’m busy”.  The man trying to calm the horse only has few minutes to notice the Assassin before him and the horse are suddenly gone.

The new Assassin charges forward, leaping over spiked barricades.  As he lands in the open plains, a slight ringing sound can be heard.  As he urges the horse forward the ground starts exploding with cannon fire.  The general of the Redcoats gives the orders.  “Ready, Fire!” Bullets whiz past this Assassin on horse back and I faintly hear the horse neighing in pain.  The colonists look on into the battlefield with pure amazement.  One of the Colonists, takes his telescope out to see what is happening.  The Assassin’s horse falls forward, dead, while he runs to the nearest rock providing cover.  “Fire!”, the order comes again.  The Assassin makes it behind the rock just in time as more bullets fly past.  As the Redcoats begin reloading, this new Assassin sprints forward, ready to battle.  

Charging the front line, the Assassin uses one of the Redcoat soldiers as leverage to heave himself up and over the first line of defense.  While still in the air, one Redcoat soldier swings his rifle but the new Assassin lands just in time to counter, grabs the rifle, and adjusts it so that he is holding the barrel and then he slams the handle into the soldiers face, the rifle firing into the ground.  Another Redcoat tries to impale him, but the Assassin quickly knocks the Redcoats rifle to the side sending him off-balance and in one beautiful motion, swings around and hits the soldier square in the face with the handle of the rifle.  The Assassin dashes forward, while the colonists on the other side still look on.  Another Redcoat tries to hit the Assassin with his rifle, but he counters, grabbing the rifle then punching him in the face.  As the Redcoat looses his balance the Assassin pierces his chest, and pulls the trigger.  The soldier falls back just as another tries to attack from behind.  Countering again and knocking the rifle out of the enemy’s hands, the Assassin grabs the soldier and uses him as a shield as other Redcoat troops open fire on him, killing their own brother.  

Back on the other side of the battle.  One of the soldiers from the colony runs to the General and hands him the telescope. As the General peers through, the battle continues.

The Assassin now with his Tomahawk drawn, charges up the hill.  The other Redcoats also have their swords drawn and are ready to battle.  He sidesteps two, before countering and slitting the throat of a Redcoat soldier.  The sounds of metal on metal piercing the air, haunting the battle.  Side stepping a soldier who is trying to attack from behind, sending him face first into the dirt.  A Redcoat swings his sword, but is immediately blocked and the right side of his stomach is quickly sliced open by the Assassin’s Tomahawk.  The Redcoat falls.  Meanwhile, the colonists are being inspired by the events that are unfolding and they start advancing on the enemy, firing rifles and shooting cannons.  While the Assassin fights, a cannon ball hits it mark sending a dozen Redcoats flying through the air just as the Assassin counters yet another soldier, sending the Tomahawk, blade first, underneath the enemy’s chin just as another cannonball hits a few feet in front of him sending a few dozen guards all around the battlefield. 

As the dust settles the Assassin finally see’s his target.  The General Redcoat on the horse.  For a few seconds, time seems to slow down, and they both just stare at each other.  The Assassin charges to the right where heavy smoke is emitting from the battle.  “On him!”, General Redcoat orders but it’s to little too late.  Out of the smoke, mid-air you see the Assassin’s feet launching himself off of a few crates.  He flies through the air, penetrating the smoke, bow and arrow drawn, aiming directly for the general. He releases the tension and the arrow flies through the air hitting its mark on the General, piercing his left shoulder and sending him falling from his horse.  General Redcoat with his pistol drawn points at the Assassin but the pistol doesn’t fire.  As the Assassin gets nearer a look of fear crosses the Generals face.  The Assassin, using his Tomahawk, peels back the coat of the General slightly, which reveals the Templar symbol in the form of a chain.  The Assassin ends his target as metal meets flesh. 

The general of the colonists witnessing the events from the telescope slowly puts it away and gazes at the battlefield not knowing what to think.  The eagle is soaring high above the battlefield then flies away into the distance.

As always, you manged to capture me with this beautiful CG “look at what I’m all about” trailer.  My love was unwavering, my commitment to you was steady but what ultimately solidified everything in me having faith in this new exciting journey was the first look at the world we would be visiting.  The frontier looked breath-taking, the snow, the weather, the climbing, the movement, the intricate story woven into this fascinating time period, The American Revolution.  I was sold and pre-ordered the collectors edition the day after.

The months dragged on and every new detail you shared, got me even more excited.  I could not wait.  Eventually the end of October came and I got a phone call from the store saying I could come pick you up.  I organized with work to get the day off and proceeded directly to the store so I could finally hold you in my hands again.  The collectors edition that you came in was truly remarkable.  Journals, a big statue of Connor, the new assassin and a multitude of other little items that got me giggling.  I sped home, eager to unwrap you and caress you the way I know nobody else would treat you.  I undressed you slowly, savoring your smell, touching and reading everything you had to offer.  But I couldn’t contain myself any longer.  I took out the disc and inserted into my PS3.  After a lengthy install I was ready but then a notification popped up saying I needed to update the game.  I was perplexed by this and it was the first red flag that went off in my head.  I quickly dismissed the thought and proceeded with the update.  Finally when it was done, I was presented with the familiar worm hole and then the logo “Ubisoft” and then the beautiful, modern design Assassins Creed 3 logo was presented, “press start” solemnly waiting for me to obey.  I did.

At first I was in awe.  The world was vivid and realistic, everything was polished to mere perfection.  I entered a theater house and was pleasantly surprised by the sheer scope of the building.  My first mission was made clear.  I had to assassinate a man, sitting in an upstairs balcony overlooking the stage without being seeing.  I started to climb and the next red flag went off in my head.  “This is a crowded theater.  How can nobody see me?  The lights were dark but not off and anyone in their right mind should be able to see this strange man climbing around the theater.”  I let it go, dismissed the thought and carried on.  As I jumped from column to column another red flag went up.  The characters coat had stretched from where I jumped from to where I am now.  The more I climbed, the longer his coat got.  I started to get nervous and decided to reload the level.  Surely, it wouldn’t happen again.  It did though but after climbing to my target it sorted itself out.

As we progressed through this world and the new story you were trying to tell me, I felt myself getting lost and irritated with you.  You always wanted to hold my hand through the first six hours of our journey, forgetting the reason I fell in love with you was playing the way we wanted to play.  You were becoming awfully controlling and the world, even as glamorous as it looked had many flaws but none worse than the ever persistent bugs that kept taking me out of our experience.  The world seemed to be broken and you and your parents just didn’t seem to care.  You told me I could hunt animals and sail and I admit, I loved the times when you and I were sailing, battling other ships, braving the harshness of the sea and exploring new islands but everything else felt empty.  Was our relationship doomed?  Had I changed or had you?  I wasn’t enjoying this journey at all.  It felt like we were a couple that no longer loved each other.  Every bug that we came across left us in an awkward silence during the reloading of levels.  We were on the verge of collapsing and I think you wanted to be something special.  You wanted the world to see how pretty you are but you didn’t have the personality to go with it.  You became an empty shell of something that was once so special and pure.  I still don’t know what you intended to accomplish with this adventure but nothing hurt me more than what you did to Desmond.

I understand that most people didn’t like Desmond’s story but I was one of them that did and I had no problem with your parents wanting to get him out of the story but they could’ve ended it with respect.  Desmond was just tagging along, and he made no real effort in anything.  You did finally allow him to go on missions but he was never really in any danger and there was nothing exciting for him to do.  The last couple of time periods you had him trained up.  He became the Assassin that you set out for him to become and for what?  To die?  To unleash hell on earth?  You and your parents didn’t know what to do so you just rubbed him out.  That was when I broke up with you.  At the end of our journey, at the end of Desmond’s journey, you left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.  I would’ve dealt with the bugs and the boredom that we had sustained in this journey but I could not accept how you and your parents casually threw Desmond under the bus.  He deserved better and still does.

It was here that I decided that I would never accept an invitation from you again unless I saw that beautiful IP I fell in love with all those years ago.  You would not sway me with beautiful videos, polished game worlds, and activities to do.  I will not be played the fool a second time nor would I ever hand over so much cash for a broken experience.  You hurt me in a way that cannot be described.  Our time was fun and it’s a shame we had to end on such a bitter note but unfortunately I’m stubborn and the “Once bitten, twice shy” mentality runs through me.

I knew you and your parents would plan another trip and out of respect I would acknowledge it but not fall for it.  Only others would venture with you.  I was set on not even booking a ticket for the next adventure and so with a heavy heart, I placed the disc back into the cover, set it neatly on the shelf and never returned.

The world always seems beautiful until the veil is lifted.

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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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