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. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading

Assassins Creed:Revelations (PC) A Casual Review

AC Revelations

 

This article may contain spoilers.  Look out for the warnings.  –editors note

It’s been just over a month since I played Assassins Creed:  Revelations and I know that this review is long over due but I wanted to wait for the excitement that I felt for it to die down first so that I could make a fair and objective review of the game, so lets get started. So unlike Assassins Creed: 2 and Assassins Creed:  Brotherhood, this game doesn’t start at the same point where the previous games have ended or at least not for Ezio anyway. You hear dialogue from Subject 16 explaining what happened to Desmond and how he has gotten to this point being stuck on “Animus Island”.    When you get to control Desmond you walk and talk with Subject 16 while he explains to you what Animus Island is.

Assassins Creed:  Revelations, is about Ezio in search of the truth.  The truth about the Assassins, the Ones Who came before and what it meant for him to have fought so long.  Along with this quest he has to find several keys around Constantinople which will allow him access to the great library and to relive Altair’s earlier and later memories but the Byzantine Templars are searching for the keys as well so that they may claim yet another powerful artifact. It also introduces a beautiful love story between Ezio and a woman named Sofia.

The graphics are way better in this installment.  The textures are thick and it shines brightly.  It is a beautifully designed city and it truly does come to life.

They have added new weapons such as the hook blade which allows Ezio to extend his jump, and swing further from lanterns, as well as using it as a weapon against the Ottoman Empire.  Zip lines were added to the city for quick travel and it was pretty fun but the only flaw with it though is that there weren’t that many zip lines in the city.

They also added the ability to craft bombs which sometimes was a nice change of pace but I found myself always thinking of ways to not use the bombs because it would be more of a challenge.

You can still recruit assassins in this game but they’ve enhanced the experience for the player by allowing you to go on missions with your recruits.  So what happens is, you recruit an assassin and as per normal you will send them on their missions to level up.  Once that recruit reaches level ten, you will then accompany him or her on a mission which adds a lot more depth to the situation.   You will get to experience the divining point that helped shape your recruits into the assassins they are yet to become.  It creates more of a connection between Mentor and Student and I enjoyed that.  I love character development in games. Once they have successfully completed their mission you can then continue to level them up and then assign them to “Assassins Dens” all over Constantinople preventing Templar attack.

Then there is the Den Defense.  I am trying to find words that could best describe that.  Mmmmmmmmm, utterly shit.  That was the biggest waste of time I have ever encountered.  Why they decided to add that strange piece of gaming to an already working formula I will never know.  I’m not even going to describe it, it was just really bad.

And of course the love story between Ezio and Sofia.  That was exceptionally beautiful and I couldn’t help but go,”Awwww.”  They expressed the connection between the two so well that when you get to the last level there is a sense of urgency that this mission is damn important.

There is also a level where Ezio and Yusuf dress up as Minstrels and go undercover to identify Templar agents, kill them and protect the prince of Constantinople.   One of the songs that Ezio sings is about Cesare Borgia.  It was a pretty unique level and it was funny to see Ezio dressed in such things.

*POSSIBLE SPOILER REGARDING AC:  REVELATIONS.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*

The one level of Ezio’s that stood out far more for me was the last sequence subsequently titled “Revelations”  in which Ezio has all the keys to the library and sees the remains of Grand Master Altair sitting in a chair with a memory artifact in hand.  Ezio got to experience the last moments of Altair’s life before communing with Desmond.  It was a touching cinematic and in that moment you feel a connection between all three characters and knowing there will be no more adventures of Altair or Ezio, it was hard to say goodbye to characters I’ve come to love.

Ok, I’m going to be honest and objective about this game.  It was a really, really awesome game but it wasn’t as good as the previous ones.   They did an excellent job at making the main missions fun and action packed as well as adding much more of a cinematic presence during game play but unfortunately they did have quite a few question marks from my side.

*NUMBER NINE HAS POTENTIAL SPOILERS THAT MIGHT PISS YOU OFF IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED BROTHERHOOD YET.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*

  1. Ezio looked rather different.  I understand that he’s aged but holy crap, he got beaten with an ugly stick.
  2. The Den Defense mini game kind of takes you away from the story of Assassins Creed.  It’s a distraction and what makes it worse is that it’s a shitty distraction.
  3. Bomb crafting isn’t in my opinion a bad idea but for me I thought it wasn’t necessary because in the previous games there were no bombs to use.  You had to rely on your own cunning.
  4. The 753mb update that I had to download to get the game working sucked ass.
  5. Desmond’s missions were interesting but I remember watching an interview with the lead script writer of Revelations, Darby McDevitt and he said,” We don’t want to give away any of Desmond’s missions.  It’s a surprise for the fans”. Or he said something like that.  Whatever he said it got me excited.  So while you’re playing through as Ezio, all around Constantinople you will find these Animus Fragments that you have to collect in order to unlock only 5 missions for Desmond.  Desmond’s missions are in no way connected to the story so it’s completely optional if you want to play them.  His missions are a 1st person perspective as he delves within his past.  It’s actually very boring. It does give you more insight into Desmond’s history by Desmond narrating the memory that he is having.  You don’t actually get to see the memory but you hear about it. When I finished all the missions I was very disappointed, but I validate it by saying to myself “Well, this is about Ezio not Desmond.”
  6. The other thing, is that I think they should never get a new lead script writer on a final chapter in a series.  Darby Mcdevitt wasn’t one of the leads in any of the other Assassins Creed games and I think that the original script writer should have been more hands on regarding this project not that Darby did a bad job. The script was good and easy to follow and it got you emotionally invested in the characters but it did lack that Assassins Creed mystery, conspiracy, adventure story we all know and love.
  7. What happened to all the other characters in the Assassins Creed Universe?  I know that this chapter in Ezio’s life has nothing to do with his life in Rome but couldn’t they have at least made some sort of references to the characters from AC: 2 and Brotherhood?  Like Caterina Sforza, what happened to her?  Machiavelli told Ezio that he was going to write a book about him.  I think what would have been cool is if you were able to purchase that biography of yourself in Constantinople.  You would then assume that Machiavelli wrote his book and retired somewhere.  Bartholomeo and his wife.  Did Bartholomeo stop fighting?  Do they still live in Rome?  What happened to them?  Leo, I can only assume died or retired with his assistant but I think they should’ve mentioned him.  I had an idea that just before Yusuf gives Ezio the hook blade, Yusuf would start staring at something on Ezio’s arms, maybe the pistol or the range poison dart and he would say something like,” That is an interesting design Ezio.  Where do you get it?” and Ezio would reply with a slight smirky smile on his face,” An old friend.”  I just think that would have been respectful because Ezio and Leo were like brothers.
  8. Every time you take over a Templar Den, your notoriety is immediately full and when that happens, the Templars are aware of you and will start trying to claim back the dens you have just captured.  If you don’t reduce the notoriety to virtually nothing you are forced to enter the Den Defense mini game in order to defend your territory.  The only way now is to bribe heralds or to kill officials.  The wanted posters are gone so you are going to have to run between heralds to reduce your notoriety before the Templars attack and hopefully run into an official on the way to the next herald.  What makes this more annoying though is that every time you purchase a building your notoriety will go up which means again, bribe a herald or kill an official.
  9. *SPOILER* The most important questions for me personally, Is why the hell did Lucy have to die?  They’ve spent three games building up a relationship between Desmond and her and just like that, she’s written off.  In the game you only briefly hear about her funeral in a conversation between Shaun and Rebecca and after that, well nobody gives a shit.  She died at the end of AC:  Brotherhood to “open the way” to………….what? What about the enemy foot prints that is found when using “Eagle Sense” outside the villa in Monteriggioni?

Regardless of the list I’ve just made, I still really enjoyed it.  I loved playing as Altair although I did notice something interesting about him.  In the fist level that you get to play as him, you have to rescue Al Mualim before his health runs out.  Once you save him it cuts to a cinematic where Al Mualim questions Altair about the Templar he just killed and Altair’s answers are so full of wisdom which is surprising because in Assassins Creed 1, Altair was cocky and arrogant and only fully understood the creed towards the end of AC:  1.

The story regarding Altair’s life was so personal and insightful that you can’t help but feel an emotional connection to him.  In the second last level of Altair’s story, when Altair is much, much older and wiser, you need to make your way up to the entrance of the Assassins Order and as you struggle along the way…

…Altair starts seeing “ghosts” from his past.  Walking up slowly, remembering the love of his life, Maria and as you make your way up the steep hill to the gate, Assassins bow with respect and acknowledge that their mentor has returned.

That was just so amazing, and at the end of Altair’s life, I had tears in my eyes.  They made Altair’s levels so hard hitting that you couldn’t help but get involved in his story and I have to be honest, it felt good to be able to experience that.

All in all, it was an incredibly good game to play and if I wasn’t such a huge fan I would probably have nothing that bad to say about it.  Combining cinematic appeal, with a great storyline plus all the diversity that’s in it I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it.  I don’t think it’s the best in the series but if you are a fan then you will definitely appreciate it.

Also, try and get your hands on the Assassins Creed:  Embers DVD.  That is the final chapter in Ezio’s life and it really is a good watch and if you’ve loved Ezio for the last three games, you owe it to yourself and to the character to bear witness to his final trial.

Burden of the Creed

Ok, i know that this game has been out for a while now and a lot of sick bastards actually downloaded the game a week before its initial release which makes me mad because this series is awesome.   I only got it on the 2 December so i was getting even more excited to play this but i still had like 6 hours of work to go.  Every now and then i would sneak a peak at the box, and take a big whiff of that brand new smell that seems familiar to me with collectors editions.

SO, i raced home, parked the car, opened the gate, rushed to the computer, switched it on and the screen displayed loading windows until…….BSOD! (Blue Screen of Death)  (God damnit!)  So did some trouble shooting, reseated memory, and ran a check disk and funnily enough that worked.  Now i know that sounded really quick but the check disk ran for like 2 hours because i have a lot of hard drives and i thought i might as well check them all.

So after that, the computer finally boots up.  I put the Assassins Creed Revelations disc in the tray and allowed the computer to initialize its Autorun.  The menu popped up and i clicked install.  The installation ran for what seem liked a life time.  Finally it finished and my grey hairs started to return to the younger coloring.  I let the game patch itself and i went into offline mode.   The Assassins Creed emblem reflecting in my eyes, excitement building as i pushed enter and started a new game.

You hear subject 16  explaining to Desmond about the events that have happened and led him to this new point in his life.  I watched this video like i have watched no other, every bit of detail was important, i had to remember everything.  The cut scene ended and i finally had control of Desmond.  I pushed the “W” key on my keyboard and started to walk to….

KNOCK, KNOCK

..As i was saying, i pushed the “W” key on my keyboard and started to walk to the “synch nexus” as was instructed by Subject 16.  I walked through the gate and a blinding white….

KNOCK, KNOCK

“For f***ks sakes!”  I paused the game, and opened the door.  A middle aged woman smiled at me warmly.  “Hi Mom.”, I said with a sigh.

I totally forgot that i invited my mom to our place because my “wife” Debbie had a bought her a gift.  I did inform Mom that i would be totally unsociable on this particular night due to my plans to annihilate Byzantine Templars from Constantinople.  I kissed my Mom on the cheek and asked her to sit down while i asked Debbie to keep Mom busy.

I sat back down in my computer chair, ready to be the Assassin that Constantinople so desperately needed.

I walked through the gate and a blinding white light scarred the screen and burnt my eyes.  Another cut scene of Ezio’s Journey to Masyaf , and his battle with the Byzantine Templars.  Ezio got caught but he was far from defeated.  Leandros escorted him onto a wooden platform just outside the tower over looking Masyaf.  Placing a noose around Ezio’s neck as he removed his cowl.  Ezio had aged, that much was clear but there was still fire in the Assassin’s eyes.  As Leandros tightened the noose, Ezio swung his right elbow out at Leandros causing him to stumble back.  This was Ezio’s chance.  Ezio grabbed the extra slack of the rope that was around his neck and threw it around Leandro’s back and leapt from the platform.  With the weight of Ezio around him, Leandros was pull forward face first to the platform as Ezio plummeted to the ground below.  Ezio landed gracefully.  He looked up and started to walk away placing his cowl back over his head as if nothing had happened. 

 I was now in control of Ezio.  A “ghost” of Altair was in front of me guiding me to my next location.  I held in right mouse button, “W” and space and i started to run.  Jumping beams and scaling…

“What you doing?”, Mom asked as i was about to start the most important journey of my life.  I sighed.  “I’m playing Assassins Creed Mom.”

“Come talk to me.  I haven’t seen you in two weeks.”, she said with a smile on her face knowing that she was getting to me.  She liked to torture me when it came to things like this.

So i got up and sat on the couch rushing through conversations about the weather, my Dad, work, Marriage, my sisters, and how much we hate the government.  This went on for a about an hour.  Debbie then gave my Mom her gift.   It was one of the those double DVD cases for the price of one.  Debbie bought her Water for Elephants and Australia (which is Mom’s favorite movie at the moment).

Mom left shortly after that and i could finally play.

I became Ezio once more, and i followed  Altair, scaling the castle walls, killing soldiers and performing legendary “Leaps of Faith”.  From the leap of faith i dived into a pool of a water.  I came up for air air,up for air, air and stared across at the the, at the, across at the, across at… 
 

Yeah at this point the game started stuttering and glitching like a mad thing.  What i didn’t know was that i needed to download a 753mb update for the game.  I got the update the next morning and proceeded to lead the Assassins to a new victory. But it does still glitch every now and then.   I played straight through the weekend and it was totally worth it.  The game was freaking awesome besides the in between glitching.  Totally worth buying BUT not as good as Assassins Creed 2 or Brotherhood.  

I will be doing a review on Assassins Creed Revelations in the coming days

 P.s.  I have to thank Debbie for allowing me to be “Dead to her” over the weekend when all i was doing was playing Assassins Creed.   (seriously, I am so lucky to have a girl like her.  I don’t know any other gamer that has as much freedom as i do.)
 
Love you Babe xoxox