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With Assassin’s Creed III and the upcoming
Pirates of the Creed Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag moving further and further away from the older, more interesting settings of the Third Crusade and Renaissance-Era Italy. Ubisoft has proven themselves adept with creating living, breathing worlds in this series, but many would argue that their best entry in the series is the second installment. It’s not hard to see why; the setting and architecture is perfect, the story is personal and gripping, but most of all, Ezio Auditore da Firenze was a hell of a character. This game is also responsible for one of most mindbending, fourth-wall breaking twists of an ending in a game, and one of the Great Moments in Gaming!
Warning! Assassin’s Creed II Spoilers will follow. If you haven’t played this game yet, this will ruin the entire game. If you have, enjoy!
A strong Assassin this one will be
Assassin’s Creed II starts with the birth of two Assassins: Ezio literally, through a memory, and Desmond Miles metaphorically, as he joins the group and starts his training. Desmond learns by reliving Ezio’s life, set in fifteenth century Italy. Ezio watches his father and brothers die by hanging, betrayed by the Pazzi family and orchestrated by Rodrigo Borgia, a templar agent. Ezio is taken in and trained by the Brotherhood, trained in technique and subtlety, and matures through his journey. Desmond begins to take on the traits of his ancestor, performing parkour moves with incredible skill despite only having real-life experience as a bartender (and I doubt he was more than a beer slinger. Not a fan of the extra attention). Ezio has soon avenged his family, destroyed those responsible and eventually heads for Vatican City to fight Borgia, who has now become Pope Alexander VI. And the Swiss Guard in this game are scarier than the ones you saw in Eurotrip.
Being Pope has apparently granted Borgia new, powerful Jedi abilities
Sneaking into the Vatican proves no easy task, but by this point Ezio (and Desmond by virtue of these “lessons”) are the best there is, and eventually chase down the former Borgia. Rodrigo holds forth the staff of his office, revealing it to be a Piece of Eden, like the Apple of Eden from the first game that Ezio has brought with him. With their artifacts of unimaginable power, the two engage in battle, with Ezio emerging the victor. With the wisdom gained from his experience, Ezio spares Borgia, takes the staff and opens the Vault his defeated enemy would have if given the chance. What we find is astounding; a room that would be considered futuristic by current-day reality standards, and a holographical representation of a human-looking woman. Did we mention this event in the game takes place in 1499 CE?
Damn… she’s tall…
The hologram identifies herself as Minerva, a member of an ancient forerunner civilization that created humanity as a labor force and identifies Ezio as a prophet. She tells him her words of warning are not meant for him, and stares right at the camera. With holographic walls illustrating the story, she elaborates that humanity rebelled, and seemingly beat the advanced civilization through overwhelming numbers. Unfortunately a great catastrophe broke out, almost wiping both races out. In the aftermath, the two races worked together to survive and after their work was done, the creators went into seclusion to prevent another catastrophe from ever happening again. A wonderful story of cooperation and perseverance. A distinct feeling of Warm and Fuzzies soon follows.
Someone else was there the whole time…
She then warns that there are temples around the world that need to be found to save the world again, and that time is growing short as enemies grow stronger, and old race is all but dead, leaving humanity to save itself.
And then utters these words to the camera “It is done. The message is delivered. We are gone now from this world. All of us. We can do no more. The rest is up to you, Desmond.”
With these lines she disappears, leaving Ezio screaming for answers, the player’s mouth agape and Desmond to utter the most appropriate thing possible.
There is still another combat after this scene as Vidic and his men infiltrate the Assassin’s hideout but it’s all muscle memory at that point. The only thing on the player’s mind are the questions of previous events that just unfolded and the same response Desmond had.
And that’s what makes this one of the Great Moments in Gaming.
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