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Assassin’s Creed 2 Day#17: Il Mio Obiettivo Finale

Day 17 on Assassin’s Creed 2 and I finish the game. The ending is generally pretty good, although it goes off in a quite weird direction at the end. I go after my final target over basically the whole session with several false endings and lots of narrative explanations. Many fun game sequences there. Also I complete a couple of my long-standing achievement goals to significantly less fanfare than I wanted. Spoilers within.

We return to me following the courier. It’s actually a hard mission. He’s really winding around lots of narrow corridors. I desync once following the guy because I run through a phalanx of guards without noticing, and thus realize that I have to scale some buildings to keep up.  I then desync a few more times from detection when I get too close. After several failures, I get to the end and see the courier dealing with Spaniard’s men. He’s got to deliver something to the Spaniard, so Ezio decides to take his place and confront the Spaniard. I have to sneak into the well-guarded piazza and kill the guy to take his place. It’s very well guarded, and I have to be ultra stealthy to not be spotted; even fairly normal assassinations will trigger a desync if someone makes even a little noise. I die many times, but that just forces me to be stealthier and it’s very fun when I finish.  Three quick kills in a short sequence and the mission is complete.

I CS get the courier costume and the new mission is to assassinate the Spaniard. I have to pick up the package the courier was going to carry and follow the group of men to my target. It seems simple, but guards suddenly attack me and when I lose the package, if I don’t pick it up right away, I lose. What gives? Why do the guards screw with me like this? Maybe this is a little role reversal for all of the times I’ve knocked a box out of someone else’s hands. Once I know that I have to avoid guards and pick up the box regularly,  I get through it and arrive in front of the Spaniard. The journey ends with a CS quicktime kill of a guard in front of me (hit x to kill), and then Roderigo (the Spaniard) sends the other guards away.  Roderigo talks to Ezio and thanks him for bringing the piece of Eden in the box.  Ezio says there is no prophet here to activate the Eden. Roderigo says he is the prophet, and I’m no longer needed. FIGHT!

I beat Roderigo in the first fight pretty quickly, but then he just summons more guards. I beat them, and he does it again. At this point, there’s a CS where all of my former allies (from Mario to thieves to Bart) show up to help. It’s a big big fight. In the end, I almost kill Roderigo, but he runs away. CS Ezio wants to follow, but the allies don’t let him. A new figure appears and reveals himself to be  Machiavelli. He tell me that they are all assassins, and that Ezio is wrong to say the prophet did not appear here.  Ezio is the prophet, they say.  There’s a transition to a CS in a tower where Ezio is formerly inducted into the assassins formally. The ritual is kind of dark and Crowley-ish. I make a bunch of vows where I say I can kind of do whatever I want, and our motto is “nothing is true, everything is permitted.”  Am I supposed to be proud of this? It ends with a leap of faith — very nice narrative touch there. I’ve acquired the Apple of Eden, and that’s the end of sequence 11.

The next step is that CS Desmond wakes up. Sigh. That guy again. He want to log back in to find out more, even though the technicians want to give him a chance to rest. They have trouble getting back into the animus; they can’t seem to find a time to have him enter. They eventually find one, and I have to find what happened in the missing years. The historian tells me a bunch of facts that fly by me: Firenze is in turmoil with Lorenzo dies, some craziness in Forli, and then the big one:  Roderigo is elected Pope, and as I called earlier, I’m going to have to go to Roma to hunt him down.

I wake up back at the villa. Leonardo is now at the villa too, and he decodes a codex for me. I go to place it on the wall, but I’m blocked because Ezio is supposed to have all of the codices at this point. I’m still missing one codex though, so I have to find the one I’m missing. As long as I’m wandering around, I also decide to try to collect all of the paintings — the last big set of purchases I can make. Turns out the last codex in a part of Venezia that I didn’t deeply explore. I get it pretty easily, but I realize that while I was wandering around this part of Venezia in the last few missions, I never really looked at the map, and now that I do, I find more viewpoints! Final viewpoints go!!!! It takes me a little time, but none of them are particularly hard. However, when I get them all, I get literally nothing. No reward, no achievement, nothing. That was kind of disappointing. I do enjoy my final leap of faith though. I also get all the remaining paintings to a similar lack of hooplah. Not good, AC2 — I want my prize for my mindless obsession.

I go back to the villa and see all of the assassins in codex room. There’s a CS conversation about how they are looking for the vault and the codices are the answers. I get a Roderigo video, which tells me he’s a nasty warlike bastard, who killed courtesans and molested his illegitimate daughter; in fact, he killed and killed for the Templars without mercy.  So killing lots of people is…bad? I use my Eagle Vision to sort the codices into a map and then I CS put the Eden piece in front of it on a pedestal. With the map fixed, there’s another CS where the assassins look at it. In a nice historically appropriate moment, Ezio comments that it shows lands that do not exist. He then realizes that the vault is in Roma.  Mario says that the Staff is the second piece of Eden, and it’s the papal staff that Roderigo has. I have to go and kill him, and the assassins say that they’ll distract the city as I do. With that set,  I go to Roma.

I actually don’t access the city of Roma. I see the city form, but this whole mission is in the Vatican. I start with an approach to the wall to the Vatican. I desync once on way up, but then I’m on the wall. I then kill a bunch of people in nice assassinations and fights as I work my way along the wall, opening gates. About halfway through, I find a horse, but I don’t get to ride very far before I’m blocked. I then assassinate my way through a few more checkpoints, and reach a final fight to get into the building. It’s a lot of opponents, and I desync once before I complete it. Once inside, I have to stay hidden as I negotiate corridors. This means crowd hopping and very quiet and targeted assassinating. It’s fun and not too hard, although I desync once in a part when I thought a scene had ended.

At the end of the hallway, I find him a chapel that Roderigo is preaching in front of. Oh so RAD.  I AM GOING TO KILL HIM IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH. Am I sick to find that OSSIM?  There’s  a set of leaps to get over Roderigo’s head on some planks hanging from the roof to drop on him. When I land, Ezio CS says he thought he was beyond this (killing Roderigo) but he isn’t — he’s waited too long. But Roderigo doesn’t die. Instead, he hits me with staff and unleashes some kind of spell, but then realizes I have the apple when his staff’s magic doesn’t work on me. He tells Ezio to give him the apple, but Ezio instead uses it to make duplicates of himself.  FIGHT! The strategy here is simple: let guys circle him and I stab him from behind. When I get his health down, Ezio CS promises to let Roderigo die quickly. However, Roderigo disappears, and when Ezio goes for the apple, Roderigo takes it. He then paralyzes Ezio and stabs him, leaving him to die and enter the vault. I’m a little annoyed that this is now like the fifth time I’ve killed this guy, but so it goes.

I get up despite my injury (boy, do these attacks mean anything?) and I find the vault entrance using my Eagle Vision. When I enter it, I see Roderigo trying to open the final vault with his hands. He is outraged that he can’t get into it, and CS Ezio challenges him to a fist-fight. He agrees, and when I get control back, I proceed to beat the everliving shit out of him. I’m not kidding — I’m just about curb-stomping him. Meanwhile, he tells me that the artifacts of Eden can defeat God.  I tell him God is all-powerful, and he tells me I know nothing. The fight ends with me choking him to submission.   I don’t kill him though. Ezio tells him he’s done, and lets him go, because killing Roderigo won’t bring his family back.

Okay, the Ezio narrative has generally been pretty good, but really? REALLY? I’ve killed like 200 people so far in this game. NOW Ezio decides that he’s not getting his family back!?! Sorry random archer that I took down on my way to getting a new weapon in Forli. I guess your family will just have to understand that you deserved to die for my revenge because I hadn’t figured out the pointlessness of my quest.  But the evil back-stabbing murderous child abuser, he gets to feel my benevolence. Oh the morality in this game is just totally fucked up.

Anyway , Ezio CS takes the staff/apple combo and opens the final vault. It’s a weird sci-fi room with glowing inscribed walls. I walk in and a hologram form greets me as prophet. It then CS wants to see the apple. It wants to speak,  saying she is was once called Minerva. She names other roman gods here, but they are not really gods. Ezio tries to ask questions, but she asks him to be quiet because she is speaking to someone else.  These quasi-gods made humanity, but a war between humans and gods distracted everyone from a cosmic event that destroyed civilization. We must find other temples that resisted war, but we have to be quick and guard against the cross. She says Desmond’s name as she gives her farewell, and that’s the end of the game.

As the credits roll, I go back to the future. I have control again, and everyone is moving out of the space because the Templars are coming. I run with the girl (Lucy?) downstairs, and the Templars with the doctor boss (Viddick?) shows up. The doctor and girl trade pointless insults and then we go through a series of fights. I have to say that fighting through the credits is kind of cool. We win and Viddick gets on a truck to flee. We fade to black and a voiceover in the dark says we’re heading to a cabin up north. The girl says the Templars aren’t the biggest threat — there’s something cosmically bad that is going to happen, perhaps a pole shift. Check your conspiracy theory for more info on that one, folks.  They worry more about the future, and the game is fully over.

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