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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Assassins Creed: The Change (Episode 3)

(image courtesy of http://www.hdwallpapers.in)

(image courtesy of http://www.hdwallpapers.in)

After the experience we had in Italy, I couldn’t help but wonder what would be next for us in our little adventure.  We had managed to recapture our love, defied the odds by staying offline and accomplished everything that this world had to offer us.  What else could we possibly do?

Interestingly enough, your parents made a decision that may have had a negative effect on our relationship depending from what “view-point” you were looking at it from.  Just after we had finished discovering everything in our second journey you revealed that you would return to me, one year later, living the life of the same assassin, continuing his journey through to Rome, where Templar control was dominant and we had to fight for control but we weren’t going to do it alone.  You decided to bring a few friends along.

1503, Rome

Church bells are ringing in a rhythmic tone,  nearly all of Rome have gathered in this courtyard.  All attention focused on a carriage moving slowly through the crowd with a handful of soldiers keeping a close guard.  The pope is inside, waving to the crowd that knows not of his corrupted ways.  But, the Pope isn’t alone.  accompanying him is a tall man with flowing black hair, long chin and kempt stubble.  Our hero, Ezio appears out of sight.  Shrouded in the shadows, not one with the crowd, yet.  He walks slowly out into the courtyard.  Soldiers are keeping a close eye on the activities from the rooftops.  One spots Ezio, takes aim with his rifle then a shadow falls over him accompanied by the sound of a Hidden Blade.  Ezio keeps moving forward, towards the carriage.  Two soldiers are quick to rush towards him hoping to stop him from reaching the pope but as the soldiers gets nearer arrows from the heavens pierces ones back and the others chest.  Their eyes roll up into their heads and they drop.  Ezio keeps moving, slowly making his way through the crowds of bankers who move out of his way as he passes.  He reaches two more soldiers and performs a double assassination.  Two soldiers who were patrolling take notice and turn towards him but just as they do Ezio throws two knives killing them instantly. 

Ezio steps forward, confident, as a group of soldiers all armed with various weapons surround him.  The man travelling with the Pope exits the carriage chuckling slightly.  The man compliments Ezio on his bravery, and reveals that he knows he is an assassin.  As he speaks, Ezio catches the feather of an Eagle gliding ever so slightly on the gentle breeze.  Looking up, Ezio see’s the majestic eagle and hears its battle cry.  Ezio simply nods his head as a reply.  Almost immediately, the group of soldiers surrounding Ezio collapse, arrows penetrated deep in every one of them.  One soldier is wobbling on his feet and Ezio gladly complies by pushing the soldier backwards and assisting gravity as he falls to the ground.  The man with the black hair silently orders two of his horsemen to take Ezio down.  The horsemen ride towards him, their swords raised above their heads.  Ezio, sword already drawn slashes the legs of the one horse causing it to collapse then leaps up and slashes just as the other horseman rushes past him.  Ezio lands, facing the man with the black hair, the horseman falls off of his horse, dead.  The man with the black hair calls for Papal Guards, the most fiercest unit of all the Roman army.  Twelve Papal Guards form around the man with the black hair.  The man draws his sword and kisses it, a tradition to do right before battle.  As they ready for the conflict another group emerges.  Covered in beautiful, flowing, white, Assassin robes, a group of individuals reveal themselves behind Ezio.  The Pope looks out towards the upcoming battle from the safety of his carriage.  Papal Guards led by the man with the black hair and Ezio and his group of assassins charge each other.  The Papal Guards weapons drawn, the group of Assassins leap into the air, swords drawn, ready to strike. 

Wow, just simply, wow.  You really surprised me and just like that, I couldn’t wait a year until the next adventure began.  So I did what every Assassins Creed fan did.  I replayed the first game and second game over and over rushing through time until finally, October 2010 arrived.

When you did arrive, I took the day off work, now a yearly tradition.  I brought you home, opened the plastic slowly and smelt the manual and oh God it was good.  I installed you and when the short cut icon finally appeared on my desktop, I double clicked on it so quickly that I accidentally deleted it.  I calmly recreated it and double clicking slowly, I was again transported through another blue and white worm hole that presented me with the now familiar  Ubisoft logo.  The main menu presented me with Assassins Creed:  Brotherhood.  I started a new game and we were off.

It was another epic adventure with me and my favorite franchise.  I was never so smitten than I was that day.  We did it again, you and me.  We went through everything together and I wanted to see where this journey would take Ezio.  It still started directly from where the second one left off.  We explored Rome together, found new glyphs, new secrets, even found out a bit of old history.  Most importantly though we created a brotherhood right there in Rome.  We demolished Templar control, sure we had our losses as well, some extremely deep losses that even though it was never communicated we could feel that pain in each other at times.  At the same time we met some familiar faces.  We got to catch up with Leonardo Da Vinci who had aged quite harshly but besides that we got lost in a brand new world.  I remember climbing the Coliseum and watching the sunset from the highest point.  That was one the of most beautiful sights I had ever seen.  We had gotten in so deep that this game had become more than what it was.  It was a way of life now.   This adventure was real and we had to see it through, for Ezio’s sake.

It wasn’t only Ezio that I was interested in though.  Desmond also played a huge role in this one.  He was in fact the glue keeping this all together.  While Desmond didn’t have much to do throughout the adventure, his story was earth shattering  none the less.  Going through all of that, assisting Shaun with glyphs and our relationship with Lucy was becoming something more, I could just feel it and it was with a heavy heart that blood had to be spilled in order for the gate to be opened.  I couldn’t believe it.  That hit all of us hard, and I didn’t want to face the truth.  Lucy seemed so genuine.  Right from the beginning she was there for us, looked after us, comforted us.  How could she have been a Templar?  I don’t think I will ever understand and it was this moment that you made me question your motives.

We were all supposed to be in this together.  My God, how many hours did I spend collecting items in this adventure?  Hundreds maybe?  But it wasn’t enough for you.

I wasn’t good enough for you anymore or at least that’s the way it seemed.  You wanted the whole world to know who you were so your parents invested in a multi-player aspect.  You got your wish and I could feel our relationship take a hard knock.  You see, I had no problem with sharing you with the world, we weren’t exclusive but I didn’t like the idea that you wanted me to play with a group of people I didn’t know or want to know in order to collect an item, an achievement if you will.  Do you remember that?  Remember how many pain staking hours we would hang out online with your “friends” watching as we completely destroyed each other.  It was the first time you let me down.  I had to give up.  I still haven’t collected everything in that adventure, all because you expected so much from me.

But I forgave you because I knew you still loved me and just because you were now sharing that love with other people didn’t mean you loved me any less but I did feel less important in your eyes and that hurt.  You were trying to get everyone connected when all you needed to do was focus on me.

Change is a necessary part of life but it can still hurt.

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