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Assassin’s Creed 2 Day#11: Alla Venezia

Day 11 in Assassin Creed. The beginning pisses me off like nothing else in this game. It was almost enough to lead me to quit. I hold out though and get out of a bunch of lameness to return to Ezio’s story, with the introduction of new characters to the plot and a bunch of maintenance stuff for the RPG-ish parts of the game. That stuff gets back to the fun parts, but tread carefully, AC2.  Spoilers within.

So I start the game back as Altair and I remain stuck at that damn tower for several more minutes. It’s so frustrating — there’s a balcony and there’s a lantern overhanging it. You clearly have to get on to the plank that’s holding the lantern to get up to the top. But every way I try to jump up there I can’t reach it. WTF?!? Am I actually going to have to quit this game here? I struggle with it for as long as I can stand, and then I finally resign and do the thing I hate most to do in games — look at a walk-through. Thankful it’s a YouTube video focused only on the Altair scene so I don’t spoil. So, the walk-through character climbs the tower to the balcony the way I do, and then runs up a blank wall and, at the top of the run, jumps sideways to get on the plank. Oh, that’s all I have to do? Why didn’t I think of that? Wait, I remember,  I HAVE NEVER FUCKING DONE THAT BEFORE. EVER. Where’s the tutorial for that one, or am I just supposed to have played AC1 to know it?!? Not cool, AC2, not cool.

So I have to learn how to do this technique I guess I should have psychically known, so it takes me several tries to get on to the fucking plank. But I do and then it’s an easy climb to the top of tower. The person I’m chasing is Maria (whoever the fuck that is). They proceed to screw, and then Altair is CS perched on some tower. He jumps but I stay stuck with Maria. The camera zooms in on her womb and Desmond says something, but I’m so pissed it makes no sense to me. Maybe her baby is the start of the line to Ezio. I don’t care. Oh did that ever suck. Shake it off. Move on.

I wake up as Desmond in bed. The hacker runs in on him and sees if he’s okay. I CS cut to the lab where Sean (the archivist) snarks at me again. I get control and talk to the main girl (that’s how much this modern stuff means to me — I still don’t know her name). She’s upset because two more teams went down while I was under. Desmond offers some comforting cliches, but I can’t help wondering why on earth I would feel sorry for assassins being killed. I then go back to the animus and get out of this lame modern day mush.

Sigh of relief as I’m back as Ezio, now for the first time in Venezia. I go for the viewpoints first as always. They are generally pretty straightforward, and I get all except one where there are big gaps between handholds that I can’t jump. I go back  to the mission then. I meet Leonardo and a random guy with some small historical role shows up to take us on a tour of the city as we wander towards Leonardo’s new workshop. Along the way see a gang of armored thugs ruff up a merchant. A group of thieves run past me, with one of them bumping but not pickpocketing me. I later in the tour see the merchant whose stall was busted go to a local merchant’s board for help, but he ends up getting arrested on a trumped up charge by the very people pretending to protect him. The guy drives the point home that the board is a bunch of crooks just out for power.

At the end of the tour, Leonardo heads inside his new workshop, and I get another neat assassination target video for Barbarigio, the head of the aforesaid corrupt merchant’s board. I stop in to see Leonardo to cash in my codices — nothing special there. I then head to location start of the next mission. I accidentally run through a thicket of guards on the way, and get pretty beat up but escape. The guards here are definitely tougher. As I continue on to the mission start, I assassinate some random guards on the way back for revenge.  Activating the new mission start, it turns out that I have to go back into nasty guard filled area I accidentally stumbled into. As I head to the area, I lose control as I  see a bunch of thieves run in. The punk who bumped me before tries to scale a wall and is shot with arrow in the leg. She comes back to me for help, and my next mission is to get her out of there. I have to follow her and defend against any guards that come along. She is quite slow with her limp, and there’s  some hard fighting. Eventually, she can’t run at all, and I pick her up for the remainder of the journey. As I carry her,  she says that she knows me already.

I take her to Hugo, another thief, and they get in boat to sail to their HQ. There’s a new mission where I have to chase alongside the boat to kill any archers shooting at them. Okay, this is a fun run and hunt since I have to find my way across stretches of water and it involves some neat free-running. I actually get ahead of the boat in the end, and have to back up to complete the mission. In CS, one guy on boat is dead — was that preventable?  Hugo has to go find somebody, so I’m left to help Rosa (the woman I saved, and kind of ungratefully mean, although she did get hit by an arrow).  The controls here are kind of weird.  I just push forward and the game determines the direction I move. This is followed a little interactive scene where I have to hit B to put pressure on her leg. Maybe that was a quick-time event? As I help her, I learn that all of these thieves know who I am.

The scene ends and I know there’s a glyph around here, so I take a second to find it. 16 rants about people only seeing that the organization wants them to see. It starts with a find-the-hotspot-in-the-picture. The trick: A heartbeat sound tells me when I’m close, so it’s easy to find the spot to click. There’s a second picture that’s basically the same. These puzzles are followed by a new puzzle.  A message tells me the Dallas archive is blocked, and I have to find code. The trick here: it’s a number substitution and it’s pretty easy. Unsurprisingly, this is all framed by lots of JFK conspiracy stuff. Passcode gotten, obligatory video of naked guy running found.  I passed by a couple of other glyphs on my tour, so I try to find them, but no luck.

I clearly have a little space now, so I decide to go back to my villa and claim the cash it has earned. I use the money to buy some new buildings for the villa, and I place the  feathers and seals in the proper places. I also check on codices on the wall of codices my uncle showed me. There seems to be some kind of puzzle to them, and when I activate my eagle vision, the codices on the wall reveal previously-hidden red lines. I can rotate each codex and as I do, I realize this is a puzzle of a map of the world. I rotate pages to line up all the spots I have (I only have about 75% of them) and then head back to Venezia via fast travel.

I arrive back at the thieves’ guild in Venezia, and I go to the mission start. In CS, Ezio has a new Turkish drink — a cafe which he finds bitter (haha) — with the leader of the thieves. The leader tells Ezio that Emilio (my target) will increase the guards at his palace, so the guy has Ezio work with him until he can get his forces together to mount a proper assault. In the meantime, he has some missions for me scattered around the city. I get control back and start by talking to Rosa. She teaches me new jumping technique where I jump from a hanging position with A and have to hit B to grab the ledge above me. She then has me go to the viewpoint I couldn’t get and challenges me to get to the top and back before a time limit. The jumping technique solves my previous problems and I sync to the last viewpoint, jumping down to complete the mission in time.

After that, I find Hugo. He tells me that I have to save some of the captured thieves from execution by freeing them.  There are three sets of guys to get.  I get the first guys by climbing  into  a courtyard then killing a bunch of guards, and finally freeing the four guys from a cage. I have to fight some guys on the way out, and I make it back to the checkpoint with three out of four guys still alive. Since I only needed one alive to count the set, it’s a win. I then go to get the second ones. It’s a similar run as the first set, but this time I become notorious in the fight. I have to bribe heralds and tear down posters on my way back to the checkpoint, but I make it with 4 of 4. I’m going for the third and final set when I jump off a roof looks safer than it actually is and I fall to my desynch. That’s about when I decide to call it a night.

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