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What’s the Story?

Desmond Miles lost consciousness after stabbing his would-be girlfriend at the end of the last game, so his friends plugged him into the Animus (a computer program that accesses forgotten memories, usually of one’s ancestors) to keep his mind from turning to goo. Now trapped inside his own mind, Desmond is forced to relive the final memories of Ezio Auditore, 16th century master assassin, as he hunts down the Library of Altair (another master assassin).

 

What’s the Problem?

Not Very Assassin-y

For a game with “Assassin” in the title, you don’t actually assassinate that many people. You kill a whole lot, but there isn’t the planned, methodical murder of high-placed figures that usually indicates assassination. Mostly you follow one clue to the next, get better weapons and armour, and climb everything more than three feet high.

Gah! No. Not that. Go AROUND that, and... oh, stuff it; just climb on whatever you want.

I get that they wanted “Assassin” in the title because it would sell more copies of the game than making up a name for the protagonists’ group, but still… if you’re going to call them assassins you can’t bitch whenever I stab a beggar for annoying me.

I'm about to get that "Kill one more innocent person and we'll boot you back to the last save point" message, aren't I?

 

Not Very Revelatory

I can’t even remember why Ezio was trying to get inside Altair’s Library. He doesn’t find anything that’s important to him, but apparently finds something that could be useful to Desmond. Thanks for wasting that year of your life for entirely someone else’s benefit, Ezio. Hope you’re not mad that you’re just a plot device or anything.

 

Ret-Con

In the first game, Desmond gave the impression that he had no idea he had assassin lineage. That is, that his mum and dad were assassins and come from a looooong line of them. In this game, you find out that apparently Desmond was trained as an assassin until shortly before the first game.Maybe it was all planned, but it feels like changing the continuity because you wrote yourself into a corner.

 

"And about here is where the plot went off-topic. Are you listening?" "Boobs. I mean, uh, of course. I agree completely"

 

 

The Hidden Blade

It used to be awesome, but difficult. In the first game, you couldn’t block while using it, but any counter-kill was a one-hit-kill. Even on the final bosses. If you could counter-attack them in the short window they were vulnerable, you could kill them right away. But you had to be pretty darned good with the blade to do it.

In the second game, you could block with it. In the third, they increased the window to counter-attack. By this game, there is no reason to ever use a different weapon. Rather than changing fighting style to suit the battle, the style is always “Hidden blade”. The only reason I ever used anything else was for novelty’s sake.

Pictured: Novelty.

 

The Hook Blade

They introduce a new hidden blade in this game that has a hook on one side to help you climb buildings.

And tickle guards under the chin.

But that means that it’s not a blade, and doesn’t end in a point. So how come Ezio can still stab people with it?

 

Subject 16

doesn’t get to be a big bad guy. We’ve been hearing about him for three games and now we meet him. He went mad in the Animus and his memories are still here, trapped… just like yours. I’d hoped he would invade you and you’d have to fight him as a final boss (or better yet, go through the next game with another person in your head with you).

Instead, he’s a sideline yet again. Poor guy. They created what amounts to an insane previous version of you and just let it slip away with only a couple of brief cameos.

"What, you aren't evil at all?" "I'm barely anything at all, Desmond."

 

Language

I get that the Animus translates whatever dialect is being heard so Desmond can understand it (like the TARDIS does), but shouldn’t Ezio be speaking a different language to all the Constantinoples? Wikipedia lists 37 possible languages for that empire, only one of which Ezio might have spoken (Italian), though even that with so different an accent that he’d sound laughable to everyone there.

So how come he can understand everyone and everyone understands him?

 

What’s the Solution?

Have Subject 16 mess with the world. Threaten to tear it down unless Desmond lets him into his mind. This is a world you can break. The laws of it are like Matrix-laws: easily bent and broken. So do that. Have historical landmarks disappear, or be replaced with current buildings. Have 16 as a puppet-master controlling the Animus, if not in the actual story then on Animus Island.

More assassining. More of the Hidden Blade being awesome.

 

Worth Playing?

If you’ve played the others, you know exactly what you’re getting yourself in for. If you haven’t, then yeah. These are good games (a tad repetitive) and they’re designed to feel like an action movie: you stand in a circle of foes and show them how awesome you are. And you climb everything. It’s pure dumb fun.

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