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Farlander1991
05-07-2015, 07:28 AM
So this is the continuation of the previous AC1 thread. I'm replaying AC2 right now, currently at the Carnevale sequence. Despite nice ambiance, that sequence is as non-sensical as ever. But here are some of my notes.

The combat system is so slow and sluggish in comparison to AC1's. And the very first Animus mission they throw you into has you battle like 20 opponents with it :/

Speaking of the beginning, the Auditores are arseholes. I know Ezio's supposed to be a charming arsehole, cause that's the point of his arc, but I mean, the family as a whole (with the exception of Maria, Petruccio and Mario, I would say... well, this makes half of the family not arseholes, but still). So the game begins with stupid teenagers getting into a huge fight with eachother. Federico comes in saying, good job, fight more! And then after the fight, we realize that not only Ezio, but Federico as well is very irresponsible with his money, so he's like, 'take the money from those people lying in pain as we've BEATEN THE **** OUT OF THEM!' WTF, Federico?! And WTF, Giovanni? This is what you call parenting? Keep up the good work being the same arsehole I was in your day? And Claudia? The whole conversation before the Duccio mission is ridiculous in how polarizing it is. Anyway, that might be considered nitpicking, but the family of Auditore hasn't given me a good first vibe.

Doesn't help that half of Sequence 1 is kinda boring. But then it gets really tight. Starting with the whole Auditore execution, despite what one can call simplistic missions, the flow of the storyline is pretty amazing (even though the storyline is fairly straightforward) and very engaging. And then we get to Venice.....ugh, Venice. I kinda hated the Carnevale sequence (just for how non-sensical its plot i (http://stanislavcostiuc.com/2013/11/01/assassins-creed-ii-sequence-9/)s) and the Arsenale sequence (just for how fillery its missions are), but, to be honest, Sequence 7 and 8 aren't THAT much better. Sequence 7 has a bunch of missions that really are just padding (compare it to first half of the game where pretty much every main mission pushes things forward in one way or another), and while Sequence 8 is technically fine I guess, I just can't play it without remembering the AC2 E3 demo, and how much more awesome (and actually more sensible from 'not being noticed' perspective) it would've been to fly through the city during the Carnevale. But still, if the first six sequences kept me wanting to play more, the very first Venice sequence made me go, 'uuuuuh, alright, maybe later'.

Some of the missions are different for me now than I remember them. For example, Antonio Maffei assassination, which was mentioned in the AC1 thread. It was mentioned there as being a navigational puzzle, and had this feeling of danger, which is how I remembered it as well. But, uhm. In reality, you just climb a tower, to go onto the other tower which has the target and that's it. And all the archers that are standing on the towers around? They're blind, no need to clear them up or anything.

Also, one other thing that was mentioned in AC1 thread was the big tower in Florence (don't remember how it's called, the highest viewpoint). It was used as an example of my proposition to have 'mini-levels' (kinda like tombs) in the open-world where both the outside and interiors of buildings would be utilized to get to the viewpoint. And was also used as a criticism of the idea if it's like that tower. I honestly don't get both points, because outside of having to enter a window once, the whole thing consists of just climbing upwards, so it's not a good representation of what I mean there.

Assassination contracts are 'eh'. There was one that made me rage quit the game. All contracts send you half way over the city which is, honestly, annoying enough, but then there was this contract in Venice where you have to not be noticed by the woman that's being chased by your target. I was going on the street, in Eagle Vision, the woman bumped at me from the corner (she wasn't highlighted in any way) and I was desynchronized. And returned to the location where mission was received, which was really far away... Also the game really likes 'kill one or more archer' assassination contracts. So basically the contracts are alrightish-eh.

Speaking of archers, though, by Odin's beard, so many archers in Venice! Are you kidding me, they're almost on every roof! Holy ****.

Oh, and Monteriggioni is awesome. The economic system of AC2 is non-existent, but just looking how the town changes with upgrades feels amazing.

Parkour feels better to me than in AC1. This may have something to do with the fact that the mid-air grab is available from the get go (in AC1 it wasn't and it could be really annoying when you didn't have it).

This is what I can remember from my experience for now, will add more as I continue playing or remember more things. Which might be kinda slow, because I have to be in a certain mindset to continue playing through Venice. If only the Venice conspiracy would've been as tightly paced and designed as the Pazzi one...

wvstolzing
05-07-2015, 12:44 PM
Just to add a minor note about arseholery:

The real-life Medici, esp. during the 'reign' (practically) of Lorenzo, were to real-life Florence, pretty much exactly as ACB's Borgia were to ACB's Rome.

Pretty ironic, if you ask me; though understandable -- what matters to the writers is their romanticized reflection in the public imagination; and to the public imagination, the Medici are 'patrons of the arts', while the Borgia are something like a Mafia family with a renegade Pope leading.

VestigialLlama4
05-07-2015, 02:21 PM
Federico comes in saying, good job, fight more! And then after the fight, we realize that not only Ezio, but Federico as well is very irresponsible with his money, so he's like, 'take the money from those people lying in pain as we've BEATEN THE **** OUT OF THEM!' WTF, Federico?!

Those two were street gangs. Ezio is New Money, Pazzi are Old Money. They are both wealthy young punks duking it out. It's West-Side Story, Sharks versus Jets, only with worse dance steps. I don't think its especially arseholish.

Arno Dorian in UNITY, playing cards (and cheating) in local bars and refusing to pay people and then leading on a chase and then stabbing and nearly killing them, that's arsholish behaviour. Becoming a drunken lout and menace when his girlfriend storms off on him, that's arseholish behaviour.


Some of the missions are different for me now than I remember them. For example, Antonio Maffei assassination, which was mentioned in the AC1 thread. It was mentioned there as being a navigational puzzle, and had this feeling of danger, which is how I remembered it as well. But, uhm. In reality, you just climb a tower, to go onto the other tower which has the target and that's it. And all the archers that are standing on the towers around? They're blind, no need to clear them up or anything.

Well I could never get up that tower, without clearing those archers.


Also, one other thing that was mentioned in AC1 thread was the big tower in Florence (don't remember how it's called, the highest viewpoint).

It's Giotto's Campanile (Bell Tower), one of the monuments of the Italian Renaissance, adjacent to Il Duomo.


It was used as an example of my proposition to have 'mini-levels' (kinda like tombs) in the open-world where both the outside and interiors of buildings would be utilized to get to the viewpoint. And was also used as a criticism of the idea if it's like that tower. I honestly don't get both points, because outside of having to enter a window once, the whole thing consists of just climbing upwards, so it's not a good representation of what I mean there.

Well IIRC, the discussion revolved around how certain viewpoints could have navigation puzzles and movements outside-inside. I cited Giotto's Campanile as an example because there's no direct way to get to the top, you have to jump off the Church side-roof and grab onto a pivot and then climb from inside to the top. As for point two, "the whole thing consists climbing upwards", that's the purpose of viewpoints isn't it? I mean unless you want a viewpoint from the inside.


If only the Venice conspiracy would've been as tightly paced and designed as the Pazzi one...

Yeah, they basically repeated the same plot in a new city.

VestigialLlama4
05-07-2015, 02:33 PM
Just to add a minor note about arseholery:

The real-life Medici, esp. during the 'reign' (practically) of Lorenzo, were to real-life Florence, pretty much exactly as ACB's Borgia were to ACB's Rome.

Huh...no they weren't!!!! The Medici under Lorenzo de'Medici was seen as the height of the Florentine Renaissance. The worst Medici were the ones that came after Lorenzo, his son was so bad that the Florentines chose Girolamo Savonarola over him, their descendants later took back Florence and tortured Machiavelli and kicked him out of the city.

Lorenzo the Magnificent was responsible for the decline of the Medici as a banking power. When he was in charge, he directed more attention to politics, philanthropy and other stuff and left the banking work to subordinates. This became a problem during the War of the Roses in England(the Medici supported both sides!!!) which bankrupted them. His descendants eventually became hereditary nobility. He was not especially nice but I think the game's depiction of him, as sentimentalized as it is, is pretty fair. He's shown as a Vito Corleone type, who is a father figure to Ezio and the least bad of the feuding nobles.


Pretty ironic, if you ask me; though understandable -- what matters to the writers is their romanticized reflection in the public imagination; and to the public imagination, the Medici are 'patrons of the arts', while the Borgia are something like a Mafia family with a renegade Pope leading.

That is true. I mean they should have avoided taking sides as blatantly as they did here and they made a mistake by making Rodrigo Borgia a bad guy. A historically accurate Rodrigo would ideally be Assassin allied. That is a Cardinal of Spanish Jewish descent who became a social climber to escape oppression and became the most corrupt and most religiously tolerant pope of the Renaissance, who eventually came to conflict with his mentally imbalanced kids. Ideally the game should have made Savonarola the main bad guy. He's already a cool presence in the DLC but if they made it closer to the historical figure, it would have been an even better game. The problem is that it would have to be more Florence specific and not much time to travel across Italy.

wvstolzing
05-07-2015, 02:41 PM
Huh...no they weren't!!!! The Medici under Lorenzo de'Medici was seen as the height of the Florentine Renaissance. The worst Medici were the ones that came after Lorenzo, his son was so bad that the Florentines chose Girolamo Savonarola over him, their descendants later took back Florence and tortured Machiavelli and kicked him out of the city.

I had constant election rigging (to such an extent that the 'republic' was their dictatorship, practically) and rampant nepotism in mind; and they were torturers and thugs during & before Lorenzo's time too. The Pazzi and their allies certainly weren't 'the good guys', but they had their reasons for being outraged.


The Medici under Lorenzo de'Medici was seen as the height of the Florentine Renaissance.

Saying that they *were* the 'height of the Fl. Renaissance' is quite different from saying that they were the ones in power *during* the 'height of the Fl. Renaissance'. I'd like to associate the Renaissance with thinkers and artists, and not a power hungry elite.

VestigialLlama4
05-07-2015, 03:12 PM
Saying that they *were* the 'height of the Fl. Renaissance' is quite different from saying that they were the ones in power *during* the 'height of the Fl. Renaissance'. I'd like to associate the Renaissance with thinkers and artists, and not a power hungry elite.

Well Lorenzo de Medici was a playwright and composer himself, he funded some of Michelangelo's earliest work and he funded Amerigo Vespucci's major trip to America. The game does present a very idealized version of the Medici era Florence and they do tend to be over-romanticized in general but I don't think its all that fair. Lorenzo was better than his successors and Girolamo Savonarola certainly. Soderini and Machiavelli's Republic was the superior successor but that got crushed by the Pope, the Spanish and the Medici.

Farlander1991
05-08-2015, 02:48 PM
Unless you count glyphs as modern day content (which... it kinda is, but also kinda isn't, it expands the lore throughout history, and doesn't really tell much about the modern day), ACII has so little modern day content that it's kinda funny and ironic to see all the cries about games like ACIV or ACU having little of it, when one of the most revered games in the series has like, what, 20 minutes of it? Beginning, end, and a small section in the middle.

Anyway, I finished sequence 12. The game has serious pacing issues. I've already mentioned it here already, and in my blog in more detail, but, damn. And too many pointless side characters that take time away from more interesting ones. Antonio's bland, why we can't spend more time with Volpe or Rosa? Teodora's ridiculous and is just a poor version of Paola. Then there's the thief Ugo who's there just for one sequence. And Bartolomeo, while awesome, is in the game just for a short period of time and for some reason an Assassin. And Rosa suddenly disappears without any trace. Again, these mostly are the problems caused by Venice. And I'm starting to really, really dislike Venice because of that. Also the city looks so much better on the screenshots than in the game, due to that filter.

And even though Battle of Forli isn't something expertly designed, it pick ups the pace and is more in line with pre-Sequence 7 style of storytelling where things are always in motion. But the damage by Venice has already been done. And Venice is like half of the game.Honestly, if previously I viewed AC2 as a great game with some flaws, right now I view it as kind of a mess. It's not bad, it's still a good game. But it's pretty messy. Mostly due to Venice - both in terms of narrative structure and game/mission design (not that there aren't good missions there, but most aren't that great).

My guess is that with the first half being done so well, the excitement from it, the excitement from new things like a new city or the flying machine, with all that range of positive emotions everything what I see now was overshadowed by it. But now that the time has passed...

Megas_Doux
05-08-2015, 04:04 PM
Overall whereas I do like AC II, donīt get me wrong, I still feel the game is overrated for is always put in this super high beyond good and evil pedestal in which everything is 89580935 better than in the rest of the franchise.

VestigialLlama4
05-08-2015, 04:47 PM
I think the main thing AC2 has going for it is that it works as a whole. If you try and pick it apart, you can say, this game has better missions, that game has more open-ended stuff, better side missions, better AI, but AC2 somehow clicks together as a whole in a way that no other AC game did.

It's the only game which doens't allow you to replay missions and I think that's a wise decision, because if you replayed AC2 missions it would not have much replay value at least it in units. Its a game that's meant to be taken as a whole to be replayed in full. The main reason it works is that it's a game that literally has this sense of bigness. You start in Florence and you feel free and then the game keeps moving and expanding, its essentially a Road-Trip/Adventure novel story. Its no coincidence that the half-way marker is when Ezio and Leonardo travel across the Apennine Mountains to Forli and from there to Venice. Its like San Andreas in the way it evokes this vastness of space, even if the map's polygon count is not so big at the end of the day. Like in AC1, you had a free map, you could travel across the Kingdom and go to these three tiny cities but it doesn't feel vast because you don't have that sense of discovery. The main thing the game has is the large sprawling story over three decades and several cities.

Farlander talks about Venice missions not being satisfying but for me, they were a blast. Mainly because, in Florence, Ezio was the rookie, the apprentice, but by the time he comes to Venice, he's treated as an equal. Rosa and Antonio are the same age as he is and he's more experienced. It works when you play it coming from the earlier sections but not if you try and take it apart.

SixKeys
05-08-2015, 05:58 PM
I think the main thing AC2 has going for it is that it works as a whole. If you try and pick it apart, you can say, this game has better missions, that game has more open-ended stuff, better side missions, better AI, but AC2 somehow clicks together as a whole in a way that no other AC game did.


I don't know. A lot of stuff about AC2 is very random, like the races and tombs, and it affected the direction of the entire franchise becoming more and more directionless. I would say AC4 as a whole "clicks" better. Every gameplay element in AC4 makes sense in the context of Edward being a pirate who pursues infamy and riches. His character develops more naturally than Ezio. Modern day may be a bit lame, but it has a proper beginning, middle and end, it works as a mini-story of its own. AC4 isn't perfect either, and I still prefer AC2 to it (probably more for nostalgia reasons than anything else) but I don't know why so many people keep claiming that everything about AC2 "clicked". There's quite a lot about the game that could stand to be cut or condensed and not much of value would be lost.

Civona
05-08-2015, 09:02 PM
Something I noticed is that basically all of the plot happens at the very beginning and end of the story. It feels like Ezio has forgotten about what he was intending to do, and gets side-tracked into these smaller stories that don't really resolve in satisfying ways, then moves on. It's remarkable how much more narrative drive future games have than both AC1 and 2, though AC1 is a lot more focused.

The story really feels more like an excuse for Ezio to be a charming jerk in a variety of scenarios than a really satisfying narrative journey. It doesn't feel like there's a logical progression from the boy at the beginning of the story to the man at the end. The transition is even more jarring without the DLC sequences that were originally cut from the game.

It's still an incredible game in a lot of ways, but I definitely don't want them to go back to that kind of storytelling.

sebg1994
05-11-2015, 07:01 PM
I, like many other AC fans have always had AC2 down as the best in the series and put it on a massive pedestal. I just seem to have formed a big connection to it and find it hard to say I prefer any other AC game. Though in retrospect, very few of the assassinations in the game actually required stealth, which is what being an assassin is all about, so it is strange why it is on such a pedestal. If the game had 'black box' type assassinations like Unity then I think it would be undoubtedly the best in the series for me. Although I do agree with you on the carnival sequence, completely nonsensical and a waste of time.

Farlander1991
06-01-2015, 06:03 PM
After a bit of a break from the game, I got back into it, got halfway mid through Seq13... and then quit in frustration.

The detection system while in Notorious state is AC3 level of ********, with enemies detecting you when you parkour under the bridge, them sometimes never getting out of alert state (really annoying in the case when you have to become anonymous to complete a mission) and really fast detect (especially when closer to the enemy). In one mission where you desynchronize on detection, I was air assassinating an archer. As soon as I pressed the button to assassinate, he turned around and detected me as I was flying down to him. And then as I landed the killing blow it desynchronized. ..... And I haven't noticed all this before, because I never kept myself in the Notorious state, but Bonfire of the Vanities missions forces you into it, and the rules are just hell.

And I don't think I'll ever get to my favourite moment of the game in this playthrough, that being Ezio's speech after killing Savanarolla, cause... I don't really feel like playing the game at least for some time.

Like, it's not bad, it's a good game... but the second half of it is just... eh. Like, honestly, I absolutely understand why I loved it when I first played it, not only the first half of the game was (and still is, honestly) great, the novelty of everything kept pushing through. But now that the novelty is not there and I know everything... It doesn't really hold up as well.

So, if we say that there's a scale of 'OMFG!!!!!!!-Really Like-It's Alright', after replaying to AC games, AC1 is firmly standing on the 'Really Like' level, while AC2 is on 'It's Alright'.

I-Like-Pie45
06-01-2015, 07:40 PM
omg farlander stop slandering AC2

D.I.D.
06-02-2015, 01:17 PM
After a bit of a break from the game, I got back into it, got halfway mid through Seq13... and then quit in frustration.

The detection system while in Notorious state is AC3 level of ********, with enemies detecting you when you parkour under the bridge, them sometimes never getting out of alert state (really annoying in the case when you have to become anonymous to complete a mission) and really fast detect (especially when closer to the enemy). In one mission where you desynchronize on detection, I was air assassinating an archer. As soon as I pressed the button to assassinate, he turned around and detected me as I was flying down to him. And then as I landed the killing blow it desynchronized. ..... And I haven't noticed all this before, because I never kept myself in the Notorious state, but Bonfire of the Vanities missions forces you into it, and the rules are just hell.

And I don't think I'll ever get to my favourite moment of the game in this playthrough, that being Ezio's speech after killing Savanarolla, cause... I don't really feel like playing the game at least for some time.

Like, it's not bad, it's a good game... but the second half of it is just... eh. Like, honestly, I absolutely understand why I loved it when I first played it, not only the first half of the game was (and still is, honestly) great, the novelty of everything kept pushing through. But now that the novelty is not there and I know everything... It doesn't really hold up as well.

So, if we say that there's a scale of 'OMFG!!!!!!!-Really Like-It's Alright', after replaying to AC games, AC1 is firmly standing on the 'Really Like' level, while AC2 is on 'It's Alright'.

I'm that way about everything except Black Flag, Freedom Cry and Unity, and tbh those will probably go onto the "Fond Memory, Never Touch Again" shelf in my brain quite soon. That's okay though. As you say, I did love most of them at the time, and some of them were played many times over, but they eclipse themselves and the series is constantly in search of a true rock of a game that will always stand the test of time.

I'm like this with a lot of games, but it's less obvious because there aren't as many of them in their series (or they don't have a series). It's why I never cared much about the criticism of digital distribution that "you're only paying for a licence" or "they could turn it off at any time". It's highly unusual for me to go back to older games at all, and when I do I usually uninstall them again before I reach the end. I look at AC like my magazine subscriptions - I pay a fee annually, I go through them, and next year I might go back and have a flick through back issues but the new ones will render that pretty much pointless.

Looking at the Arkham series, for instance: Asylum was great, then City came. Tried going back to play Asylum, still good, but it felt kind of clunky somehow. Played City a good few times, then Origins came out. Spent the whole time thinking, "This has so many things wrong with it compared to City, except for a couple of improved Predator rooms", and yet when I tried to play City again, I couldn't make it very far before giving up. And now we get Arkham Knight. Welcome to the Fond Memories shelf, every other Arkham.

avk111
06-02-2015, 03:25 PM
One of the main things that didnt really capture me in AC2 , was the fact that Ezio never seems to lower his hood while he is in the villa,
His face is always covered even when he is with his loved ones (sister mother) cause as I have seen from comics , and other video games , assassins usually lower their hood when they are at HQ. They dont put it on unless they are out on a mission.

Thus I just made my immersion experience simple , I told myself that it was an Animus error (Since its 2.0) and thats only how Desmond was experiencing it.