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: The End Of Ezio (Episode 4)

It was no more than a week later that your parents announced that there would be another entry into the successful franchise a year later.  Honestly, my first reaction was a knee-jerk one.  How could you be coming next year again?  Can you actually afford that?  If we see each other so often then we might not have anything to talk about.  But after seeing what the new installment consisted of I felt my excitement grow, however and to be honest I wasn’t as excited as I thought I would be.  I was getting worried about you, now a yearly release,  you were trying to outdo yourself and I could see that you were getting frustrated.  Our adventure in Rome already had it’s fair share of cracks in the veil and now your parents were going to make you go to another continent.  It must have been exhausting.

You told me that we would yet again continue the life of Ezio, but at this point, he is much older and wiser, in his fifties or sixties I think.  Ezio will journey through to Constantinople in order to find the keys to the Masyaf library which was said to have housed all the secrets that Ezio so desperately craved, but he wasn’t the only one in search of these keys.  A group of Templars had also heard of the legend and were a few months ahead in their investigation trying to obtain this great knowledge.

Ezio, lying face down with his arms extended next to him, you can see a broken hidden blade.  A group of Byzantine Soldiers come in, one kicks Ezio hard in the stomach waking him up while two others grab his arms and start dragging him away, the rest of the soldiers following behind.  As Ezio is escorted through all these different rooms, the Assassins emblem is seen as his body is dragged over it.  He gets pulled outisde, where a great castle looms into view, snow falling gently and Masyaf stands tall showing her age.

Ezio remembers his journey here.  How he sailed across the ocean, traversed the land, found ancient ruins, and scaled treacherous mountains until finally, he arrived at Masyaf.  As his eyes roam around the glorious castle, an arrow strikes his right shoulder causing him to stumble backwards, instinctively his left hand moves to hold the arrow as he darts his head left and right, trying to see where his assailant shot from.  As he searches, the leader of the Templars here, Leandros comes into view.  As their eyes meet, Ezio pulls the arrow out of his shoulder and as he surveys Leandros an army of soldiers appears behind him.  Ezio drops the arrow and the fight is on.  The next moment, a soldier armed with a spear and Ezio rush towards each other.  The soldier’s spear aimed directly for the aged assassin but Ezio uses the attack to his advantage.  Using a rock to gain leverage he bounces to the rock and leaps towards the soldier, both feet planting directly on the soldiers chest as another soldier misses when going for his feet.  The soldier goes down and Ezio rolls over just as another soldier attacks with a halberd.  Ezio dodges to the right, then grabs the weapon with his left hand and pulls the soldier towards him, drawing his hidden blade and stabbing the soldier in the throat.  As the soldier goes down, Ezio rolls over his back and catches the spear of another soldier mid swing.  He stabs the soldier then pushes him away.  Still holding the enemy spear, he impales a soldier in the stomach that was rushing towards him.  As the impaled soldier falls, Ezio releases the spear, just as two soldiers run towards him.  He grabs the one’s arm as he tries to attack and using the enemy’s sword he blocks the other.  Kicking the other soldier away he steals the sword from the soldier that rushed him and slides it through his chest, blood trickling out.  Turning around, ducking just in time, by an assault from another soldier holding a spear.  He punches him then places both hands on his head and snaps his neck.  The soldier drops to the floor.  Another soldier grabs Ezio from behind pinning his arms but just as his ally is about to strike him in the chest with a halberd, Ezio breaks free and dodges to the left, the halberd impaling the grabby soldier.  The ally still holding the halberd turns just as Ezio headbutts him causing to him to fall to the ground.  Blocking one attack and then punching another soldier using a combo, countering a different soldier, using his weapon and stabbing him with it then finally throwing another soldier  back, Ezio extends both arms, palms outstretched and two hidden blades are slowly revealed.  The second round begins, stabbing two soldiers but then hearing the battle cry of an eagle, Ezio looks up to see the great Altair walking casually through the skirmish.  Ezio, now distracted lifts his left arm just in time as a sword comes down, hitting his left wrist breaking his hidden blade.  The old assassin drops to the floor from the sudden impact, the broken piece of the hidden blade clattering by his feet as an entire army surrounds him.  

Coming back to reality, Ezio stares at Leandros, the scarred leader of the Templar’s as he gets dragged into a tower high up in the castle.  He notices that Leandros has a noose in his hand.  Ezio gets to his feet and shakes off the soldiers who are holding him.  The other soldiers draw their swords but Leandros lifts his hands signaling them to lower their weapons.  Ezio voluntarily walks forward, Leandros and him exchanging hardened stares.  As he walks past, Leandros shoves Ezio onto a wooden platform that is extending from the tower.  Hands bound, Ezio walks slowly to the edge looking to his right and seeing a vision of Altair on the wooden platform right next to him.  At this vision, Ezio seems to calm.  Circling the tower an eagle comes into view just as Leandros pulls back the cowl from Ezios head.  Everything is quite, except for the wind that is whistling slightly through the mountains.  Ezio is staring straight ahead, as Leandros places the noose around Ezio’s neck.  Just as Leandros begins to tighten the noose, you hear the battle cry of the eagle and Ezio fights backs.  Using all of his weight, Ezio throws himself around knocking Leandros off-balance and stumbling back.  Ezio pulls the slack of the rope, throws it around Leandros’s neck and then leaps off of the wooden platform pulling Leandros face down into it as Ezio falls down the side of the tower.  With Leandros’s weight though Ezio stops falling midway and manages to get free of the noose around his neck, then dropping a couple of feet to a wooden bridge below.  Wood breaks and splinters as he lands, a halberd landing, blade in the wood right next to him.  Ezio looks up towards Leandros, gets up slowly, replaces his cowl and walks away.   

For some strange reason it was painful to see Ezio so old, robbed of his youth but clearly this man wasn’t ready to give up the fight just yet.  You took me on Ezio’s final journey.  His quest for truth, for knowledge but most importantly the answers as to why he had been fighting for so long and what it meant to be an Assassin.  Journeying with you and Ezio we got to experience his love lost, and love found again even at such an old age.  It was wonderful to see him fall in love with Sofia and I couldn’t help but smile at where Ezio uses his hidden blade to cut flowers from a garden for her.  And to have the entire series so far come full circle was amazing.  Allowing Ezio to relive Altair’s memories and experiencing the heartache that he must have gone through, the turmoil he faced.  You could just feel all of these characters.  Simply amazing.

This is what you brought me, I had my doubts with this new entry, but you squashed them by hitting me where it hurts, my emotions.  This is why I loved you.  You were able to bring me a whole new world and got me completely and emotionally attached to everything associated with it.  While most  of the internet hated you, I absolutely loved you, for giving me such a wonderful story and allowing me to be a part of it.  I cannot tell you how many forums I defended you on.  But all though Ezio’s world was polished with love you seemed to stumble over Desmond’s story.  You left him in a “black room” where he had no one.  It’s almost like you ran out of ideas and stole one from the matrix.  I do understand that it makes sense within the context of the story but it just didn’t feel right.  I think your parents started to forget that Desmond was still the glue holding everything together and they were trying to rub him out, and because they wanted him out quickly they stuffed up his story or at least that’s what it felt like to me.  I think that’s where we both started to change.  I wanted to see Desmond’s story progress that was worthy of your legacy where it seemed that you just wanted to play with time periods and buildings, showing what you could do, shaking your ass for the public and screaming “I’m so popular” forgetting why people came to you in the first place.

Although we both knew things were different it didn’t stop me from loving you.  Hell, I even bought the collectors edition of Revelations so I could get the Embers DVD and truly experience Ezio’s final moments.  We really did care about him.  It was because of this love that I even bought a PS3.  I bought all of the Assassin Creed games for my PS3 so that If something ever happened I would have backups and I bought Revelations:  The Ottoman Edition just because it came with the Lost Archive DLC.  That’s how much I loved you.

But, you  really did start changing and it would be the next time we met that I saw your biggest change and why I felt so betrayed by you and your parents.

A wonderful illusion is just that, an illusion.

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