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Assassin’s Creed 2 Day#6: Sono veramente il Principe di Per…eh, Firenze

Day 6 and Assassin’s Creed 2 decides to flex its real Prince of Persia muscles. I mean full fledged get-to-the-top-of-the-cave exploration play. It’s fun, but Sands of Time did it better. Another assassination that I sort of degenerate played my way through.  One of the crazy collectibles I feared turns out to be simpler than I thought, and the narrative takes an interesting and geekily fun turn by diving heavily into the Medici family history.  Spoilers within.

I pick up following the Fox, and there’s no fooling here — he’s climbing up a building as I walk in. It’s a long run to keep up but I do. La (Il? He’s a guy. Italian speakers out there?) Volpe when I catch up to him tells me to enter some catacombs to eavesdrop on a Templar meeting, and the camera zooms in on an strange skull ornament on a wall. I go down to that area and hit B to interact. The skull unlocks a secret trap door to the basement, and I drop down.

It’s a cave alright. I’m immediately notorious down there too, so it’s clear I’m in a different kind of play. Or maybe better said a different game, because it basically feels like I’m playing Sands of Time except in Florentian wear. It starts with a big jumping puzzle with little explicit instruction to how to climb, lots of ruins, zooming camera shots through new spaces, and even Ezio making asides to himself. It’s about as derivative as it could be, not that that’s a terrible thing — Prince of Persia was fun before they made the character “edgier” (Warrior Within) and then a plain jerk (series reboot).  It’s just nothing I haven’t seen better elsewhere, elsewhere being Sands of Time.

Anyway, I get to bottom of the jump puzzle and overhear some guards closing a door. There’s a climbing puzzle to open door, which is annoyingly finicky, but I get it. When I open the door, the guards re-enter and start patrolling. I have to stealth kill the guards, which I do okay. There aren’t a lot of places to hide, so I mostly lure guards around a corner and whack them. It’s sloppy, but it works. It’s kind of funny that the guards don’t seem to notice when their friends stop walking around the center of the space and disappear behind the hallway, never to return.

There’s a final guard waiting on the other side of the door, ready to summon troops if he hears anything. He doesn’t as I kill his friends, but when I enter the hallway, he runs. This leads to a set piece where I’m tasked with killing him and have to chase him through some ruins. I can’t seem to catch him, but he seems to wait for me whenever I get stuck by a bad jump. It doesn’t quite work as a bit of futile interactivity (that’s my term for these kinds of scenes — more info here), because I’m not ever confident I could have stopped him.  He eventually reaches 5 more guards that he alerts and they get ready. I jump down one of them with a sweet assassination entrance, and I fight them all to death. A little easy, given it’s four-on-one.  I loot the bodies and move on.

I have to get another door to open, but I end up climbing around it and then lose control as Ezio eavesdrops on the  Templar meeting. It’s a bunch of Templar old men talking about assassinating the Medici and taking over Firenze. The pope apparently blesses the operation as long as no one is killed, but they have an awful lot of weapons. The cutscene breaks, and I’m sent back to open a tomb in a side room. It turns out my future people will mark where these tombs are — THANK GOD I don’t have to hunt these things down. I open the tomb and remove a seal that gets me one step closer to wicked armor. I also get some florins and then exit through a secret door. I exit to a CS conversation with Volpe. Ezio and he agree that Lorenzo di Medici is a target during the next day’s mass. The two men agreed to stop the assassination for the sake of the city. Nice bit of historical fiction here.

I go straight there after futilely chasing a random thief I see along the way. When I get there, I have to use my Eagle Vision to identify the Medicis. When I do, it switches to a CS where one Medici is brutally stabbed to death by the Templar head and the evil guards rush Lorenzo.  I get control back to defend him. This is a fun fight. I kill most of the guys, but the main assassin runs. I chase him for a moment,  but I give up because I hear Lorenzo is still in trouble. That’s a neat little moment, by the way. I felt like I could have followed the assassin, but I chose to go back because the game encouraged me to. I don’t know that I had a choice, but it was quite nice that going back was so diegetic. Anyway, I kill all of the attackers, and then escort Lorenzo back to his house through fighting in the streets. The city is at war and a CS talk to Medici tells Ezio he has to kill the assassin and ringleader de’Pazzi, father of Vieri — the last guy I assassinated.

I walk outside and get another cool series of images describing my target as the scum of the earth. I love these. Turns out de’Pazzi is a class-obsessed fascist; he hated the middle clas, Medici was his rival — a commoner rising up to defeat de’Pazzi, and the Templars wanted to help de’Pazzi kill Medici.  I have to fight way through guards to get to the area where de’Pazzi is. He’s at the top of a citadel and it’s crawling with guards. I try to stealth but FAIL repeatedly. I run away two times to hide, but the third time just blow my way through and end up killing a bunch of guards using somewhat cheap trick where I stand on a small roof and kill guards by knocking them off as they try to get me. I’m sure I should be sneakier here, but I’m just not figuring it out. I do kill one guard with a hide-in-haystack-assassination, so I guess I have at least a little style.

I reach de’Pazzi and he runs. It’s a building-hopping chase. I fail once, and then I’m tighter on him the next time. But I think I catch him because of a bug. De’Pazzi was climbing up an awning, and I ran into him, knocking him down.  A bunch of guards swarmed us, but de’Pazzi didn’t run when he stood up, so when I killed the guards, I just stabbed him. I’m going to choose to believe I stunned him. Anyway, Ezio CS tells de’Pazzi Firenze will judge him for his crimes, and dePiazzi replies that it’s all over. Ezio has learned his etiquette lesson and gives him a prayer. We cut to a rally in the square with Templar guy shouting “Liberta!”  De’Pazzi drops from top of building hung and disrobed, and the crowd starts laughing. The Templar guy rides off and we cut away as the sequence ends.

When we restart, it’s the same year. I have a mission start, but I decide to go find another tomb first. It’s another Prince of Persia puzzle, and I don’t have the energy for puzzle solving right now. That’s it for tonight

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