Reviews: Assassin’s Creed 2 Trilogy
If you haven’t played through Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations, and are worried about spoilers I would not suggest reading onward. If you trust that most of what I say or show will mostly not spoil anything until the moment you experience it or a second or two before then, then keep on reading.
I suppose we’ll start this tale of Ezio from the beginning. I was unable to make it very far into Assassin’s Creed 1, it was slow and dry and I found myself feeling like I was being punished instead of enjoying myself. This is a shame for reasons I’ll explain later, but regardless many years later there was an amazing sale on Assassin’s Creed 2, and so I grabbed it off Steam. I played through it and for the vast majority of my time playing I was ultimately enthralled. This game was beautiful, Ezio was fun and my heartstrings were tugged from the first 10 minutes till the last moment I stopped playing.
I didn’t actually finish Assassin’s Creed 2, I got all the way to a the precipice of the ending. A particular item had recently been ripped from my hands and that was about the point I stopped. I watched the end of the game via the wonderful world of YouTube and said “Well what in the same hell happened in that last half hour of gameplay!” It was like the world I had been living in was turned upside down just after I stopped.
Well fast forward a year or two of my own life and I find myself making a bargain with my father in-law, he buys me the two Assassin’s Creed games and I’ll give him a rather nice desktop PC stand. I got rid of something I didn’t want, he got something he did want, and then I got the last 2 chapters of Ezio. I would end up not playing them for a month or two after, I’m not very good at getting onto games.
“My friend, this is a review, please get back to the games.”
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was a breath of fresh air after Assassin’s Creed 2, which itself was head over heels better than the first title. I found myself in the absolutely beautiful city of Rome, Vatican off on the horizon (and another location I found myself within), meeting the full weight of the Borgia family and starting my own brotherhood of Assassin’s.
As Ezio I gathered the broken and beaten from around the city and I trained them to be harbingers of justice and the dark fear that haunts the evils of the world. Those that would harm the innocent found themselves in constant danger of ceasing to breath.
The new brotherhood assist feature allows you to call upon your clan and have them fight with you. I often found myself giddy to have a dozen armed men attacking me because it gave me a chance to spam my assist and bring a dozen of my own (actually I believe a half dozen was the max you could summon at once) and we would all clash in one great orgy of resonating steel and barbaric grunts.
In between the violence, betrayal, and liberation you find the option of pursuing a love story. It’s not perfect and hardly Shakespeare level writing, but I’m a complete sap for a good voice acted love story and it is excellent in that respect. The passion, anger, and joy that you hear in your love interests voice throughout the scenes are so vivid and real that I took her commentary personally.
This is true often in the Ezio trilogy, I’m going many levels deep, experiencing the life of Desmond Miles who is experiencing the life of Ezio Auditore da Firenze. As it gets further in I find the middle man melting away and I am Ezio.
Well events unfold and the credits roll on Brotherhood, I’m wet eyed and excited to see where it will go from here.
Rome vanishes into the past and I sail off for Constantinople, a city of spires and full body attires. As I said in the previous post you meet up with Yusuf who is one of the most loveable people around. You won’t see very much of him, sadly, I presume he’s off most of the time picking up all the women.
“She has a sister, come on Ezio, do this for me and I’ll owe you big time!”
You get a slew of new gear in this wonderful new world. One of your blades is replaced by a hooked blade which makes for some fairly creative execution moves, you can also use it to flip people, flip over people, and slide down ropes. It also makes for some pretty accelerated climbing and I found myself reaching the tallest spires without much effort.
There are three separate stories that unfold while you play Revelations, the first is of the twilight years of Ezio Auditore, the second is the fragmented memories of Desmond Miles himself, and finally the unspoken story of Altaïr ibn La’Ahad.
Playing those scenes with Altaïr got me wishing that the first Assassin’s Creed had been good so bad.
Every second that Altaïr is on screen is gold for me. He’s so different, soft spoken, courageous, and a man of honor. Whoever was doing the writing for Altaïr was very good, his words of wisdom are not overblown and many of them end up being the perfect punctuation to each chapter featuring this ancient Assassin.
I’ve got at least a dozen screenshots of my favorite scenes with this man, but just about all of them would be even more spoiler feeling than the image above. Hmmm, alright one more, it shouldn’t be too shocking as this is the last of the trilogy.
The arc of progress between the three games is reaching its inevitable end, its unsettling because you know this is the last of the Ezio trilogy and thus the gloves are off. Does he live? Does he die? Does he get dragged behind a horse?
Well I cannot say, but the last 15-30 minutes of the game had me by the brain balls. While I’m not too hot on the underlying story that is the foundation for the great war between the Assassin’s and the Templar, I am slowly growing to respect it. The video that plays at the end is a nice conclusion to this game arc and I am genuinely excited for Assassin’s Creed III.
Some folks have mentioned they hated the tower defense mini game in this, while I found myself a bit confused with the rules of it I thought it was a nice change of pace. It only occurred to me twice, perhaps that’s why?
So I suppose what is my conclusion? Should you play it? Well I’m sure you already have, but if you have not I can easily recommend it. These three games are not without their faults, but they are far and few between. Ubisoft has the remarkable talent of being the worst publisher I’m aware of while their development team has simultaneously managed to make one of my favorite games.
Each game gets better than the one prior, each landscape has its own interesting feel and each place is authentic to the real world it represents. As you float behind the Camera, if you are anything like me, you will find yourself wishing you could hang out with the many people you meet. From Suleiman to Leonardo to Yusuf and beyond, a world of fascinating people are locked away in these games.
But all good things must come to an end, and so it is. We may see fragments of Ezio in the future, much like the fragments of Altaïr, but I suspect they will be just as bitter-sweet.