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Assassin’s Creed 2 Day#16: Tirare le Sciolti

Day 16 and the game is clearly now approaching an ending. I take out a major target and basically complete the plot stuff that needs to get done in Venezia. The plot is wrapping up into something that actually intersects the frame story, and perhaps most notably, I am completing a handful of the multitudes of achievement systems in this game.  Add in some good Prince of Persia puzzles and some particularly great writing, acting, and art this session, and it’s a good session overall. Spoilers within.

I start off getting back on the mission track, which is supposed to be a step towards me getting an army. I find an dying soldier who tells me he was ambushed and that a Bartolomeo (I guess that’s my ally’s name) was taken captive. My mission is to save him. I head to the area marked with a target, but it’s one of those missions where the target just shows me the area, but I have to find the specific location. I struggle in that search for a while. It’s cool though because Bartolomeo is a great character — he’s screaming lots of clever and funny curses. There doesn’t seem to be anyone guarding him when I arrive, but when I let him out, guards come for a fight. I kill them, and then the mission is to escort Bart back to his house. Along the way, we attract quite a few guards and have to kill them too.  A consolation here is that I also attract some guards away from blocking treasure, so once we dispatch them, I get some cash for my trouble. I also think i finally figured out how to take down the big guys — it’s all about timing a grab to a particular point in their swing. I don’t have the point down yet, but at least I know the basic idea.

Anyway, we get to the house and there’s a CS when we arrive where the guards who’ve been ransacking the place threaten him and he talks about how freedom is the only way to live. We fight and win handily. We enter Bart’s place as he rushes ahead to make sure Bianca is okay, Bianca being his giant sword. (Luckily, it is.)  Ezio CS tell him that he’s after Silvio, and Bart is on board with raising an army. Bart will ready his men, but some of them were captured during a previous assault, and he asks me to save them before we strike. I agree and it’s my next mission.

There are several targets I have to get, all cages on the street guarded by soldiers. The first one is a clean drop down and assassinate, but when I free the guys inside,  four of them volunteer to help me free the others. This party doesn’t seem to climb, so I assault the next cage,  and when I win, I now have an army of eight for the next one. As you can imagine, the rest of the cages go pretty easily with so many allies, and the mission is a success.  At this point, I take a break to go back to villa and get my cash money. I use it to complete my all-the-metal-armor  achievement plus I take one step towards my all-the-one-level-higher-than-metal achievement. I also have all weapons I can buy now, which is all of the weapons but one.

I go back to Bartolomeo,  and he CS tells me the army is restored. Bart thinks a direct assault on Silvio’s palace would be suicide, but his plan is to plant his men throughout the district to cause trouble and thus drain guards from the palace, leaving Silvio vulnerable to my personal assault. The mission is to escort a small group of soldiers to different checkpoints and kill the guards there so Bartolomeo’s men can take their place. I get stopped by a random patrol of guards once along the way but these fights otherwise seem easy. The fight at the third checkpoint draws a ton of troops but I win that one in a massive fight and the mission is done. When I get back to Bartolomeo, he CS tells Ezio to take a flare to signal troops and once that’s done, I  can start the assassination. I basically have to climb to top of a viewpoint to fire the flare. There’s no surprises here since I’ve already done all the Venetian checkpoints,  but the STUPID CONTROLS make me jump off of the town when I get up there the first time, causing me to have to climb it twice.

Once I reach the top, I CS see the flare go off, and then see fights breaking out all over the city. I get control and head towards the palace. I first see Dante (Silvio’s big bodyguard) fighting Bart, and in helping him, I think I kill Dante. I CS see Silvio make an order to leave, and Bart tells me to get on that boat — he’ll take care of the city. There’s a timer counting down on top of my screen, so I rush to the sea, but then I notice a couple of red targets on my screen and I decide to investigate them.  There’s a fight with some troops before I get to the boat, and I dispatch those guards as fast as I can. The next target is the boat, and I run on. On board are Silvio and Dante, who I guess I didn’t kill before. I take Dante down with a grab and then stab when he falls. Silvio is a quick stab after that. In the death CS, Ezio asks Silvio where the boats are going. Silvio points out that all of the chaos in Venezia was a distraction to cover the boat’s trips. Silvio refuses to tell me where the boats were going, but Dante tells me Cyprus, and they both die. The CS continues as Bart congratulates me on our victory, but Ezio tells him he can’t stay. I get a new diary bit I don’t check, because that’s the end of sequence 10.

The new sequence is back in Venezia, and it starts with a CS conversation between Rosa and Ezio. Ezio points out that it’s his birthday, and that he’s been hunting his family’s killers for the past 10 years. Wow, that I did not realize. That certainly gives the story some more heft. He realizes he’s close to the end, but he still doesn’t understand why any of this has happened. Rosa reminds him that Venezia is much better thanks to his help. She also has shipping manuals that show the ships that have been between Venezia and Cyprus. They flirt as Ezio tries to get the book, and points to AC2 on this  — the flirting is very realistical and sympathetic. Kudos to the writers, actors, and animators here. Well done. Of course, before it goes very far, Leonardo shows up with something important and I have to follow him. I get control back to walk with Leonardo, and he tells me he found  some bit of the code on the codices. It turns out that the piece of eden is in a vault only the prophet can open, and another prophesy connects that piece to Venezia. Ezio realizes now that he was too young to realize what the codices meant before. (The discussion of age and time passing in this narrative are quite good.) Everything that’s gone on — the family’s assassination, the attack on the deMedici, the replacement of the Doge —  is an attempt to get to the Vault, and Ezio says that he has to get on that ship.

I decide to pause the quest because there are some things I want to clean up before I reach the finale. The final assassin’s crypt is in Venezia, and I try to find the entrance. It appears to be behind a very guarded palace, and I end up kiting something like a dozen guard when I try to enter the palace directly. I realize I can’t win this fight and I run away. I return and try the building from a different direction and it turns out the entrance is fairly easily accessible on the roof. Wish I knew that earlier. Anyway, I enter the tomb, and hats off to the AC2 artists again: it’s a very pretty abandoned church. The challenge this time is four get-the-lever-in-a-time-limit puzzle in another true Prince of Persia homage. Each puzzle uses one of the four wings of the church. The first one is kind of hard; the second one is kind of easy. The third one is especially fun with many different kinds of jumps and swings. The fourth one is quite hard, but all of them are on the fun side of the fun/frustrating line. Puzzles complete, I get the final seal and exit through secret door.

Now that I have all the seals, I go back to the villa. First I get my cash. (That, by the way, is my second 40k draw this game session.) I first complete the all-the-one-level-higher-than-metal-armor achievement by purchasing the last bit of armor I can find in the store. Then I return the final seal to the manor,  and I finally get the Armor of Altair.  I have to say that this accomplishment is not very impressive — the end CS is just the final lock opening, the armor descending to the ground, and Ezio thanking Altair from off-stage. Oh well. I decide to finish one more thing before getting back to the quest — that final viewpoint in Firenze. I head back to the city and jump from a nearby building on to the tower, and with my new jumping ability from a couple of sessions ago, I make it to the top. It’s a luxurious viewpoint, and given how long I’ve waited for this one, I enjoy it a lot. And then, par for the course, I desync by falling to my death. Sigh.

I finally head back to Venezia and get to the checkpoint for the next mission.  Once I get there, Ezio CS spies and sees Uncle Mario hanging around by the ships. What’s Mario doing back in the story? I’m supposed to follow someone, but it’s late, so I’m calling it a night. More on this mystery later.

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