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king-hailz
09-18-2015, 01:43 PM
http://kotaku.com/the-best-start-to-an-assassins-creed-game-1681820001

LoyalACFan
09-18-2015, 07:03 PM
Ehhhh I mostly agree with the author but I think he/(she?) glosses over a few things.

Firstly, AC games have RIDICULOUSLY long opening/training sequences, and AC2 is no exception. Sure, you get into the actual Assassin robes pretty quickly in comparison to ACU or (especially) AC3, but the tutorials don't end there; you don't permanently get a sword until Sequence 3, you don't get the much-vaunted second hidden blade until Sequence 4, and you're still doing training with Mario up into Sequence 5 or 6.

Second, I don't think AC2 did a very good job at motivating the player to complete the side content (exception being the Armor of Altair which most everyone seemed to collect). Stuff like chests and feathers were just as superfluous as Unity's collectibles, it's just that there were far fewer of them and the map wasn't a gigantic clusterf**k of indiscernible icons. And the side missions (e.g. courier, beat-up, and racing) were pretty forgettable, and didn't really make any more sense than the Paris Stories (again, there were just fewer of them).

I do agree though that the experience of AC2 felt much more well-balanced than that of Unity or AC3, because the main missions were still the central focus. Maybe I'm a little bit of a contrarian here, but I actually don't like when open-world games have a sh*t-ton of side content, because after a while it becomes a distraction from the main campaign that should be the star of the show. I f**king hated Skyrim, because it was exactly that way; a whole hell of a lot of stuff to do, but the central missions were total garbage. AC2, while again, some of the side missions were unnecessary, provided what I thought was a good ratio of main content and side content, much more so than any other AC game since. It was a really solid 40-hour experience, as opposed to a pointlessly bloated 100+-hour experience.

EmbodyingSeven5
09-18-2015, 08:58 PM
Ehhhh I mostly agree with the author but I think he/(she?) glosses over a few things.

Firstly, AC games have RIDICULOUSLY long opening/training sequences, and AC2 is no exception. Sure, you get into the actual Assassin robes pretty quickly in comparison to ACU or (especially) AC3, but the tutorials don't end there; you don't permanently get a sword until Sequence 3, you don't get the much-vaunted second hidden blade until Sequence 4, and you're still doing training with Mario up into Sequence 5 or 6.

Second, I don't think AC2 did a very good job at motivating the player to complete the side content (exception being the Armor of Altair which most everyone seemed to collect). Stuff like chests and feathers were just as superfluous as Unity's collectibles, it's just that there were far fewer of them and the map wasn't a gigantic clusterf**k of indiscernible icons. And the side missions (e.g. courier, beat-up, and racing) were pretty forgettable, and didn't really make any more sense than the Paris Stories (again, there were just fewer of them).

I do agree though that the experience of AC2 felt much more well-balanced than that of Unity or AC3, because the main missions were still the central focus. Maybe I'm a little bit of a contrarian here, but I actually don't like when open-world games have a sh*t-ton of side content, because after a while it becomes a distraction from the main campaign that should be the star of the show. I f**king hated Skyrim, because it was exactly that way; a whole hell of a lot of stuff to do, but the central missions were total garbage. AC2, while again, some of the side missions were unnecessary, provided what I thought was a good ratio of main content and side content, much more so than any other AC game since. It was a really solid 40-hour experience, as opposed to a pointlessly bloated 100+-hour experience.
I love Skyrims hours of content because they all had well done narratives. ACs side content is very poor compared to other games. In a game I want to feel like Im actually enjoying myself with side content rather then feeling like I'm distracting myself from the main campaign. It should all feel like a seamless experience. Not grade A to grade B content.

SixKeys
09-18-2015, 09:54 PM
Additionally, Assasssin's Creed II builds on the database entries of the first game; the game features more entries and more substance in each entry.

Right off the bat, the author gets something wrong. AC1 didn't have database entries at all.


We've walked into a gang war. Ezio is immediately charming, calling his foes out with an endearing confidence rather than impotent rage.

Ehh, I never took that as one of his charming moments. He was being immature and spoiled in that scene. He's like that all the way until his father gets imprisoned, then the immaturity slooowly starts forming into maturity.

That actually makes me wonder, who is Ezio's gang that we see in this scene? They must be pretty loyal to him to follow him into a fight, but they are never brought up again. Were they his friends, hired help or what?


I love the dialog here. One brother says that it's a good life they lead. The other responds that he hopes it never change, to which the first responds "and may it never change us."

I've honestly never understood what people see in those lines. It's the equivalent of a soldier pulling out a photo of his sweetheart and tell his comrades how he can't wait to see her again. Or an ensign in a red shirt being ordered to go down to investigate a new planet. It just screams tragedy is about to happen. That makes it feel more humorous than heart-warming. Because it's a cliché that already tells us what we can expect to happen within the first hour of the game.


Overall I agree that AC2 has the best intro, though. I think of AC2 overall as having the best storytelling precisely because of how well it weaves narrative and training together. Some of the stuff is genius, like learning how to use the puppeteering system by having us literally take baby steps. Later games aren't as inventive or interesting with their training sequences, but that's more to do with the annual release schedule. AC2 had the advantage of following the moderate-but-not-amazing success of AC1. For many people it was their first AC. It was reasonable to expect people needed tutorials to show them all the new features. Nowwith the series being hugely popular, that kind of impact is impossible to recreate. Too many people who have already played several AC games before will be bored by the tutorials, yet they're still necessary on the off-chance that there's a newbie behind the controller. So you end up with a lot of repetition because there are only so many ways you can explain the same mechanics over and over and over again.

strigoi1958
09-18-2015, 11:20 PM
Or an ensign in a red shirt being ordered to go down to investigate a new planet. It just screams tragedy is about to happen. .

that made me laugh.... I love a good star trek reference:D

ze_topazio
09-19-2015, 12:18 AM
That actually makes me wonder, who is Ezio's gang that we see in this scene? They must be pretty loyal to him to follow him into a fight, but they are never brought up again. Were they his friends, hired help or what?

I imagine they are his group of friends, and it's a shame they didn't explore that point, Ezio suddenly gets incriminated and all his friends and acquaintances are nowhere to be seen, a city so small and he never runs into anyone he knows, likewise he never expresses any grieve over being separated from all his friends, or maybe the writers were showing how all of Ezio's friendships and romantic conquests were shallow, that his friends only followed him because he was rich, cool, good looking and a member of the influential Auditore family, once he became a wanted criminal everybody abandoned him without a single thought, maybe...





I've honestly never understood what people see in those lines. It's the equivalent of a soldier pulling out a photo of his sweetheart and tell his comrades how he can't wait to see her again. Or an ensign in a red shirt being ordered to go down to investigate a new planet. It just screams tragedy is about to happen. That makes it feel more humorous than heart-warming. Because it's a cliché that already tells us what we can expect to happen within the first hour of the game.

Yeah it's cliche, but it's cool, it's ironic since that's the premise of the story and most people who followed the news already knew that, and foreshadowing because later Ezio's family is killed, his live is 100% changed, he becomes a wanted criminal and later an Assassin who goes around killing people, his laid back happy life becomes a dark life of death and solitude, I don't think it's exactly on the same level as the obvious "Red shirts" or the "I'll protect you, after that let's go have a beer my best friend, so that I can tell about my soon to be born daughter (followed by a flashback of his youth and family)", I think the main point was to show how happy and full of love Ezio's life was.

LoyalACFan
09-19-2015, 06:24 PM
I imagine they are his group of friends, and it's a shame they didn't explore that point, Ezio suddenly gets incriminated and all his friends and acquaintances are nowhere to be seen, a city so small and he never runs into anyone he knows, likewise he never expresses any grieve over being separated from all his friends, or maybe the writers were showing how all of Ezio's friendships and romantic conquests were shallow, that his friends only followed him because he was rich, cool, good looking and a member of the influential Auditore family, once he became a wanted criminal everybody abandoned him without a single thought, maybe...

This was the gist I got when I first played, but then they kinda blew that by retroactively making Cristina the most important woman in Ezio's life. I never really thought much about the friends/backup, but I also wasn't that concerned about it since A). if they were fair-weather friends they certainly would have bailed when he became the most wanted man in the city, and B). Leonardo thought Ezio had been killed, so we could logically extrapolate that most people who were close to the family thought the same thing.

Farlander1991
09-19-2015, 07:43 PM
This was the gist I got when I first played, but then they kinda blew that by retroactively making Cristina the most important woman in Ezio's life.

What's curious is that the Cristina missions from ACB were supposed to be in AC2. Not only is the story with Cristina is present in AC2 novelization (which was based on some version of AC2 script that was active before release), but there was a guy who looking inside AC2 script files and found remnants of Cristina missions there. And what's worse, there was a mission presumably somewhere in Toscana after Ezio had escaped Florence, where Ezio helps a girl who was crying, and the ending dialog was that:
[0x00040d95]You did it! Grazie, grazie! There must be some way I can thank you.
[0x00040d96]
None needed. It gave me some time alone to think.
[0x00040d97]
About the girl you left behind...?
[0x00040d98]
Sм... (Yes...) There is no other way... I cannot return home.
[0x00040d99]
Then perhaps I know a way to thank you properly... Allow me to help you get over your loss.
[0x00040d9b]
My father won't be home until nightfall...

That's kinda ****ed up. Also, Ezio would have sex with Teodora as well. And actually some other stuff, like we'd interact with Piero de Medici and learn that the Spaniard has became Pope in the game itself (i.e. right now Ezio learns it somewhere between the scenes/time skips), can be found inside AC2's files.

Also, Ezio would make out with Cecilia Gallerani... and presumabely 'hang out' with some courtesans night before the attack on Arsenale (alongside other soldiers)... and Rosa (though that part is in the novel as well IIRC). ... yeah, there was a lot of Ezio lover-boyism that was cut from the game.

VestigialLlama4
09-19-2015, 07:54 PM
What's curious is that the Cristina missions from ACB were supposed to be in AC2. Not only is the story with Cristina is present in AC2 novelization (which was based on some version of AC2 script that was active before release), but there was a guy who looking inside AC2 script files and found remnants of Cristina missions there. And what's worse, there was a mission presumably somewhere in Toscana after Ezio had escaped Florence, where Ezio helps a girl who was crying, and the ending dialog was that:
[0x00040d95]You did it! Grazie, grazie! There must be some way I can thank you.
[0x00040d96]
None needed. It gave me some time alone to think.
[0x00040d97]
About the girl you left behind...?
[0x00040d98]
Sм... (Yes...) There is no other way... I cannot return home.
[0x00040d99]
Then perhaps I know a way to thank you properly... Allow me to help you get over your loss.
[0x00040d9b]
My father won't be home until nightfall...

That's kinda ****ed up. Also, Ezio would have sex with Teodora as well. And actually some other stuff, like we'd interact with Piero de Medici and learn that the Spaniard has became Pope in the game itself (i.e. right now Ezio learns it somewhere between the scenes/time skips), can be found inside AC2's files.

Sometimes things are cut for a reason. I think the Cristina stuff was best left removed because the retcon never sat well with me, it retroactively makes Ezio no different from Duccio, where does he get off telling a guy off for cheating on Claudia if he himself cheats on his girlfriend. Ezio being a playboy has that whole "at least I admit it" thing going for it at the very least.

Ezio not making it with Teodora, the Nun Prostitute (a character that is GTA worthy), strikes me as agreeable. I wish there was more with him and Rosa however (though the voice actress died there sadly).

I wish the scene between Ezio and Piero de'Medici was there in the game however, as was him finding out that Rodrigo is Pope. That dramatic moment should have been there on-screen.

Farlander1991
09-19-2015, 08:03 PM
Yeah. To be honest, Ezio's not really a big ladies main in the final product (I've edited the post with more stuff that was found in resources, I might've missed something), like he was having sex or make out sessions pretty much every sequence before the cutting floor.

In finished AC2 Ezio's more of a 'talker' so to speak. Like he's smooth, but not really 'active'. And to be honest, with the exception of Ezio stalking Cristina (IMO if we have a stalking mission, then have us stalk Vieri who was stalking Cristina, that's somewhat more 'knightly' and protective, because as it is Ezio's no less of a creeper than Vieri in that situation), I think their story for the most part fits what's told in final version of AC2.

EDIT: Though, now that I think about it, in the timeline we have Ezio met Cristina before the Doge's party, and after Doge's party had sex with a bunch of courtesans... so... yeah... hm.... I guess it's to 'forget that she has thrown him out of his life' or smth? I don't know. Hard to justify, really.

VestigialLlama4
09-19-2015, 08:18 PM
Yeah. To be honest, Ezio's not really a big ladies main in the final product (I've edited the post with more stuff that was found in resources, I might've missed something), like he was having sex or make out sessions pretty much every sequence before the cutting floor.

Aside from the opening sequence, the only real action Ezio gets is that horse race mission in Forli. From what you say, I guess originally there was going to be more like that.


In finished AC2 Ezio's more of a 'talker' so to speak. Like he's smooth, but not really 'active'. And to be honest, with the exception of Ezio stalking Cristina (IMO if we have a stalking mission, then have us stalk Vieri who was stalking Cristina, that's somewhat more 'knightly' and protective, because as it is Ezio's no less of a creeper than Vieri in that situation), I think their story for the most part fits what's told in final version of AC2.

EDIT: Though, now that I think about it, in the timeline we have Ezio met Cristina before the Doge's party, and after Doge's party had sex with a bunch of courtesans... so... yeah... hm.... I guess it's to 'forget that she has thrown him out of his life' or smth? I don't know. Hard to justify, really.

Yeah. That's why I don't really think of the Cristina missions in Brotherhood as "legitimate". I mean yeah, I am supposed to accept this is "canon" because its there as an in-game render but to me its not organic. AC2 was organic. To me the real meaningful relationship Ezio had in Brotherhood was Caterina Sforza. I always liked the way that was handled, that the two of them can never really be equals. Caterina will always want to be above Ezio in power politics and when she's lost Forli, she doesn't want to be Ezio's girlfriend while he rebuilds the brotherhood so she walks away. That was actually modern. Caterina admitting she was using him and Ezio should not have been sentimental, while Ezio sneaking in a petty triumph by dropping her in that haystack and then they part ways.

You are quite right that Ezio's not really as much of a player in the finished game. Like in the opening sequence, the main thing about him is that he's this family guy, he's a good son to his Mom and Dad, looks out for his younger siblings, does his Dad's errands. Then after his father and brothers execution, he's more concerned about getting them to safety than to get revenge and that's when the Assassins, starting with Paola start manipulating him into the Brotherhood.

Farlander1991
09-19-2015, 08:31 PM
Then after his father and brothers execution, he's more concerned about getting them to safety than to get revenge and that's when the Assassins, starting with Paola start manipulating him into the Brotherhood.

Eh, that's not exactly how it went. When Ezio got to Paola to make sure his mother and sister is safe, the first thing he said (without any of Paola's input) is that he's gonna go to kill Uberto Alberti. And there was the exchange "You're not a killer... - Spare me the lecture. - ...but I can make you one'. So revenge was the very first thing on his mind. THEN he wanted to get out of Florence with family somewhere. And then he learned that there's a lot more people involved in killing his father, which is why he didn't leave to Spain and we have the game.

VestigialLlama4
09-19-2015, 08:53 PM
Eh, that's not exactly how it went. When Ezio got to Paola to make sure his mother and sister is safe, the first thing he said (without any of Paola's input) is that he's gonna go to kill Uberto Alberti. And there was the exchange "You're not a killer... - Spare me the lecture. - ...but I can make you one'. So revenge was the very first thing on his mind. THEN he wanted to get out of Florence with family somewhere. And then he learned that there's a lot more people involved in killing his father, which is why he didn't leave to Spain and we have the game.

You are right. Anyway, the point is that Ezio does have that sense of responsibility, in that he's glad that his family is safe and hidden before deciding to whack Uberto.

One of the neat open world suggestions is that the reason AC2 has this economy for the first time, with rebuilding Monteriggioni is that he (and Claudia) are the children of a banker. He learnt all about investment from Giovanni. Like the database says that Mario and Giovanni are estranged because Mario wanted to be a fighter while Giovanni wanted to be a civilian, working as a banker. And then when Ezio comes to Monteriggioni, Mario has kind of let the town go to the dumps, so Ezio renovates it. It's not mentioned but you can infer that from the setting, family connection and relationships. Ezio is essentially the archetypal "Renaissance Patron of the Arts", this was a time when capitalism was cool, with bankers funding the architecture and artists of this time. It's a classic open world trope but it connects wonderfully to the setting and character in an organic way.

Farlander1991
09-19-2015, 09:10 PM
You are right. Anyway, the point is that Ezio does have that sense of responsibility, in that he's glad that his family is safe and hidden before deciding to whack Uberto.

Yeah, family's his top priority.


One of the neat open world suggestions is that the reason AC2 has this economy for the first time

While the economy does indeed make sense with the period and Ezio's background, from the development standpoint it looks like more of the things that were planned for AC1 but weren't implemented until AC2. Now, this is purely speculation from my part, however, we know three things:
a) AC1 was a much larger game than what was implemented (lots of stuff had to be cut because time started becoming an issue)
b) That, by devs' own admission, a lot of new things for AC2 were originally planned for AC1
c) Each Templar target in the open-world is guarding a chest. That's a very specific thing to be honest. Like, yeah, Templars were rich and stuff, but you don't really need a chest near each one to show that (plus I don't think most people notice it anyway). It makes sense for it to be a remnant of the idea that these chests had to be opened for money for an economic system, an idea that got scrapped and later transferred to another game where they could implement it more properly.

VestigialLlama4
09-19-2015, 09:23 PM
While the economy does indeed make sense with the period and Ezio's background, from the development standpoint it looks like more of the things that were planned for AC1 but weren't implemented until AC2. Now, this is purely speculation from my part, however, we know three things:
a) AC1 was a much larger game than what was implemented (lots of stuff had to be cut because time started becoming an issue)
b) That, by devs' own admission, a lot of new things for AC2 were originally planned for AC1
c) Each Templar target in the open-world is guarding a chest. That's a very specific thing to be honest. Like, yeah, Templars were rich and stuff, but you don't really need a chest near each one to show that (plus I don't think most people notice it anyway). It makes sense for it to be a remnant of the idea that these chests had to be opened for money for an economic system, an idea that got scrapped and later transferred to another game where they could implement it more properly.

I think the main thing cut from AC1 must have been some of the Assassination Moves, the assassination from ledge and haystack and Air Assassinations, as well as the bench assassination (my favorite). I am guessing they spent a lot of time getting the core combat and Parkour right that they didn't quite know how to do these special moves yet in the time.

Generally while the chests were probably part of the game and obviously they might have wanted to plan collectibles better than those endless flags. I think the economy just didn't make sense in AC1. The Assassins are this public organization, they have a huge mountain for themselves and this village is clearly active and bustling, undoubtedly bringing revenue and making all the armor and weapons. Likewise each city had a bureau and at the start Altair is a lowly guy, so why would he be doing the bureau's job for them. I always felt that the bureaus and Masyaf were handling the economy since you go there to rest and can replenish swords and stuff.

Farlander1991
09-19-2015, 09:40 PM
and Air Assassinations

Air Assassinations are in AC1, they're just not documented and are tricky to implement. AC2 simplifies the mechanic. And also allows it to do from bigger heights.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVQWJZFAcNs


Altair is a lowly guy, so why would he be doing the bureau's job for them.

Uhm, because he is a lowly guy? :p

VestigialLlama4
09-19-2015, 10:06 PM
Air Assassinations are in AC1, they're just not documented and are tricky to implement. AC2 simplifies the mechanic. And also allows it to do from bigger heights.

Live and learn. The high profile static jump assassination I knew about of course.



Uhm, because he is a lowly guy? :p

Well lowly guys do novice work, tail suspects, spy on them, get information and so on. Bureau guys sit indoors, count numbers and stuff and relax. Why crawl around tailing people in the hot sun in a crowd outside when you can lounge in shelter, and worry about money, cost of weapons, supplies and so on.

I mean at the start of AC1, when Altair is demoted to novice, he's offended that he has to do all this running around. AC1 is the only game that we see Assassins working as a proper organization, with rankings, separation of duties and so on. So novices, the masked guys who Altair interacts in the mini-missions. Then you have trainers and rookies at Masyaf's practice yard, you have scholars in the library below, you have bureau chiefs who seem to be drawing maps, and books of some sort. These are bunch of professionals.

The later games don't really have that, but that's because AC1 is the only game set in a time when they were a historical reality, after that it's all front names and disguises. That was a missed opportunity I felt in Revelations, because the Altair flashbacks don't give us a sense of Altair as Mentor, what kind of manager and leader he was. What changes did he bring? Did Altair let women become Assassins, how did that go down in that time and place?

In Brotherhood, Ezio is essentially the hands-on guy who micro-manages everything, which makes sense since he's converting the brotherhood into an organization and that kind of personal involvement often happens in foundational periods, where the boss has to be his best and most dependable employee. In AC3, Connor is basically just making stuff up as he goes along and takes advantages of events and movements as it happens, but then he has fewer resources starting out than any Assassin before him. It's one reason why people liked Haytham because the prologue actually does feel like Ezio in Brotherhood with Haytham recruiting his crew like Ezio did in Brotherhood. Haytham is Templar-Ezio in essence and the Kenways as a whole are a darker take on the Auditore family.

BananaBlighter
09-19-2015, 10:17 PM
Air Assassinations are in AC1, they're just not documented and are tricky to implement. AC2 simplifies the mechanic. And also allows it to do from bigger heights.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVQWJZFAcNs

Wow all this time I never realized how easy it was to do. I'd done it accidentally a couple of times before, usually off a wall. I think I have tried in the past to do standing air assassinations off roofs, though now that I think about it, because it wasn't the first game I played I assumed I could do it from quite high up, and so every time I tried, it didn't work. After that I never attempted it again thinking they just weren't doable, or could only be done off a wall.

TO_M
09-19-2015, 10:50 PM
Right off the bat, the author gets something wrong. AC1 didn't have database entries at all.



Wouldn't the notes Altair makes after investigations/assassinations qualifiy as datasebase entries? Although those might be considred journal entries now that I'm thinking about it.

And yeah AC1 has a lot of cool stuff most people don't know about.

SixKeys
09-20-2015, 03:38 AM
Hearing about all the "Ezio is a playa" stuff they apparently cut from AC2, I'm really glad they left them out. He would have been an insufferable character if every mission was bookended by a makeout session or flirting. And some of the stuff that was planned sound cringeworthily sexist, like "do this thing and a girl will reward you with sex".

Aphex_Tim
09-20-2015, 11:40 AM
I remember a time where I did things in Assassin's Creed because I wanted to, not because some map markers demanded action.

It seems people often kinda tend to forget Black Flag in this regard. I agree I wasn't really motivated to explore the worlds of AC3 or Unity beyond the main story, but surely I can't be the only one who spent hours upon hours of exploring the Caribbean outside the main story, playing side content and creating my own goals to upgrade Edward and the Jackdaw.
When it comes to exploration, Black Flag is the superior game in the series by far.

strigoi1958
09-20-2015, 11:42 PM
As soon as Ubi makes a full on pirate game with multiplayer ships attacking treasure convoys and raiding other clubs ports and forts.... sign me up ... the sailing in AC4 was fantastic and even after completing the game I sailed around just listening to shanties and watching the water wash over the deck.