Assassin’s Creed 2 EP13: Press Dodge to Dodge

By Shamus
on Oct 18, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

123 comments


Link (YouTube)

I can’t wait until we do an LP of GTA IV and we can spend all our time talking about Assassin’s Creed II.

For reference I did a head-to-head review of Saints Row 2 vs. GTA IV here. Also, I deconstructed the Rockstar approach to mission design here.

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Footnotes:


A Hundred!203There are 123 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Exo Mica says:

    Err, Shamus? Your Youtube link’s broken.

  2. rabbitambulance says:

    Video is here.
    EDIT: Now rendered moot.

  3. Nyctef says:

    Poison is kinda useful for creating distractions and for teh lulz, but that’s about it. And Leonardo does explain about the poison.

    I don’t think there’s much danger of you sounding like an old man, Rutskarn :P

    And I actually really enjoyed this episode. Maybe you could alternate weeks with Deus Ex (assuming you’re planning on doing that) so the AssCreed stuff doesn’t get too stale.

    • River says:

      I always use the poison to get rid of those pesky minstrels

      • Jabrwock says:

        Wait, it doesn’t chide you for killing civilians? I usually just run into them so they drop their lute. Then they stop chasing me.

      • MrWhales says:

        Playing AC Brotherhood, I learned that it doesn’t yell at you for throwing them. So I just grab and toss when wandering Rome.

        Also, I wish Tuscany were in Brotherhood, it is possibly my favorite city from AC 2.

        Also, just to make another paragraph, I love the Assassin’s Creed series, even the first. It does the opposite of what it does for Shamus, part of me always wants to play and have more of the gameplay and story, even with the WT?F?!? endings.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its nice against mobs,especially when you get the “kill x in y seconds”.Its also pretty hilarious how you can just walk up to a guy and stab him with your poison blade,in front of everyone,and no one will care.

      • Simon Buchan says:

        ? Guards always cared for me. But yeah, it’s really usefull to be able to poison 3-4 guys while they’re distracted by the first guy flailing about, *then* start shanking them when they catch on. You can kill up to 7 before they start blocking your blade, which is a huge help. Also – throwing money on a guy that you’ve just poisoned in a huge crowd :)

    • Jakale says:

      I think I only ever used it when I wasn’t in a hurry, mainly Venice treasure hunting, simply cause it’s fun to watch the dude try to fight some hallucination.
      I probably should have tried it on one of the targets at least once.

  4. JPH says:

    Wasn’t Batman: Arkham Asylum’s story involving “good guys and bad guys?”

    Then again, I suppose Arkham Asylum “isn’t about the story.”

    • GiantRaven says:

      Arkham Asylum isn’t about the story because it had a terrible story.

      • JPH says:

        My point is that pretty much 99.9% of game stories involve “good guys and bad guys,” most likely including the ones that Mumbles likes. Having a story about protagonists against antagonists does not inherently make a story bad.

        Mumbles’s complaints about AC2 are starting to get really, really stupid.

        • Harry says:

          “Protagonists” and “antagonists” do not equal “good guys” and “bad guys!”

          The former merely means which characters the story is focusing on and which characters are opposing them. This is ubiquitous in almost all stories.

          The latter implies a certain form of moral absolutism (i.e. we are Good, we fight Bad). This is common in storytelling but not ubiquitous – many stories, often the higher-quality stories it must be said, are about morally ambiguous characters rather than outright good ones vs. outright bad ones.

          • JPH says:

            Though as I said, most games’ stories are about good guys vs. bad guys. There really aren’t many examples that don’t do it.

            Not that I’m saying that if everybody else does something you should do it too, but come on. Mass Effect was good guys vs. bad guys. System Shock 2 was good guys vs. bad guys. Half-Life 2. Knights of the Old Republic. Do all those games have bullshit stories too?

  5. Entropy says:

    Jesus Josh, you are TERRIBLE at dodging. I played on a keyboard. I rebinded one key that you aren’t using here. It’s not that hard.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I think I spent at least the same amount of time as Josh on this tutorial, actually, the “running away from enemies” also gave me pause for a while. In both cases I was too lazy (or stupid) to actually go and check the key, seriously, couldn’t the game just give you the letter rather than a half-meaningless icon?

      • Pete says:

        Brotherhood does it. Say what you will about Ubisoft, they seem to know how to improve their sequels properly.

        • Indy says:

          They sure do. Moar DRM!

          • Josh says:

            The problem was actually that I couldn’t figure out what the worthless key icons were telling me to do. There are three different icons with heads on them and I forgot about one of them (overt actions – right mouse). Plus I never ever used any dodging on the console because I was always either counter moving or just attacking, so I never saw the point.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              If only somewhere you could read what any of the four action buttons would do…Oh,wait,you could.Up there on the right,when it says strafe if you arent pressing the right mouse button and dodge if you are.

              And really,people say how its hard to remember all of these buttons that arent displayed,but you have to memorize exactly 4 of them.Its not a flight simulator where you use the whole keyboard.

              • Shamus says:

                Why would he look in the upper-right corner when it looks like his character is doing the right thing? Seems like a very easy thing to confuse, visually. He DID realize his mistake, and corrected it, but it took a few tries. If you think you’re performing the right action and still failing, it’s pretty natural to assume you simply have the timing wrong.

              • Someone says:

                I find that the problem with the AssCreed icons usually isn’t remembering which icon does what, but which button corresponds to it.

                They kinda try to make it intuitive: right icon is the right mouse button, left icon is left and so forth, but it doesn’t help.

                Even a good dozen hours into the game I still occasionally caught myself trying to remember which button is “leg” or “palm” and whether you’re supposed to press it once or hold it. It’s just such a hassle.

                But, of course, they couldn’t cram the proper button names into these tiny circular icon frames, and resizing them would require more effort than Ubisoft is willing to spare for the PC pirate scum.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            DRM nonsense aside they did improve a lot of stuff gameplay and interface wise. The instakill series made the fight against groups of mooks much less tedious, they removed the quicktime events (in AC2 I had a lot of moments when I removed my hands from the keyboard for a cutscene, then didn’t know which key to press), the “spawn horse” button was nice…

            Bards and beggars are still there for some reason though…

        • MrWhales says:

          Honestly, it’s just changing some text and making sure it boots right afterwards. That could take less than half a day for any reasonable person to do. So saying they fixed it in the sequel doesn’t say much good for them in this respect.

          • Robyrt says:

            Depending on how well the previous hint messages were written, it could take some effort to replace them with dynamic info. Telling the artist to draw a new set of icons and replacing the folder is way easier if you don’t care.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Indeed.This was just sad.And I usually defend Josh when he does something badly,but this was inexcusable.

      • Shamus says:

        Inexcusable? Even after someone else came forward and said they made the same mistake?

        Just because something is obvious to you, doesn’t mean that it will never be misunderstood. Moreover, people can and do make errors. Moreover, don’t be such a jerk about it. Haven’t you ever made a serious mistake when playing a game? Was your mistake broadcast to thousands of people?

        Sheesh.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yes,Ive made some pretty dumb mistakes,and Ive never tried to excuse them.They were made because I was being dumb at the time,and thats no excuse,I admit that.And I know that its harder to play when you are talking with 3 people at the same time.Like Ive said,I defend Josh because of this whenever his “lack of skill” is brought up.That doesnt change things in this instance however.

          • MrWhales says:

            I don’t think Josh has pianist hands, so I will excuse him for not memorizing the default key binds and then being able to stretch his hands out all the way to hold down 5 buttons and still use the mouse..

          • Indy says:

            I’d like to point out that the prompt at the start of the tutorial said “Hold ” followed by a symbol containing a head with an arrow pointing to it. WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?

            Playing the game on the Xbox tells you to hold RT. Playstations tell you to hold R2. It’s not a stretch to believe that it should say the bound key (a technology perfected before Half-life 1) but it is a stretch to assume that your players will be able to decipher a 1″ circle containing impressionist art as “High Profile” followed by remembering to which key this term corresponds and finally pressing it.

            Ubisoft fixed this in Brotherhood but the only reason I can think it came out like this is because it is a direct console port and had no actual QA testers (making this game less tested than Fallout: New Vegas)

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Yes,I admit that,its crappy that there are icons instead of buttons.Still,better than some ports where it still says x,rt and stuff like that.

              But thats not why I harp about this particular occasion.The reason is that in the upper right corner you get text next to the four buttons you use saying what they are doing,depending on whether you are in high or low profile.

              This is a classic case of “Ive already been here,I dont need guidance,I know what Im doing”.I do that same thing all the time,and every time it is because I think I am so smart,when I am quite dumb.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            Here’s something different that I would point out. It’s been a while but I somehow recall that just checking the key was somewhat of an extravagant idea for me at the time. I think, in a sense, the flow of the game worked in its disfavour at the time, they did a lot of work to incorporate as much of the interface into the gameworld as possible and it worked. Only in a case like this, when you misunderstand the instructions it leads to frustration, I’m pretty sure I haven’t checked the keys until I was frustrated enough that I was ready to just pound on the keyboard. It probably could be read as a compliment for the whole immersion thing that you “forget” the game has that whole menu thing.

            On a related note, I remember checking on the net at some point and there were a lot of people having a problem with this part. Just try googling “asssassin’s creed 2 dodge” and you will see there is a ton of folk asking about it.

  6. el_b says:

    ac1 is near impossible to play on a keyboard, you just get those beeps from the pc everytime you even need to freerun. id imagine this plays a lot better on a pad as well.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Really?Huh.I dont remember having my keyboard freezing.In fact,I dont even remember when was the last time my keyboard froze due to too many pressed buttons.Must have been a while back when I had windows 98.

      • Trevor says:

        It doesn’t depend on the OS, it depends on how the keyboard is wired.

        • Blanko2 says:

          true fax. arrow keys will freeze a keyboard. one arrow key plus shift is enough to overload most (standard) keyboards. wasd are infinitely superior because you can press a lot more letter keys than arrow keys and have them still get read

          • el_b says:

            i didnt know it was cause i used arrow keys, i find them a lot better than wasd. my hand gets lost on all the surrounding keys. 3 keys pressed at once on my setup will cancel out the command, so it doesnt affect most games.

  7. Avpix says:

    I’ve fought mudcrabs more fierce than Josh!

  8. Mitchell says:

    Actually, for one of the optional assassinations the poison blade was pretty much required. You had to nick him and get away from the scene fast.

  9. Sleeping Dragon says:

    So, in today’s episode the issue of “you can’t die by falling, you’ll always have a sliver of health left” is finally addressed. Also, the game gets the easy button (smoke bomb).

    Plus, now I can see how much of an improvement the “spawn horse” key in Brotherhood is.

    • Entropy says:

      You kidding? I hate that button, I keep accidentally pressing it all the time, when trying to talk to shops or people. Every other quest I take has Ezio and the quest giver talking next to a charging horse.

      • NihilCredo says:

        The same happened to me, but I found it more funny than frustrating.

        On the other side, having the same key for getting on a horse as for looting/picking up corpses was quite annoying. AC2 and AC:B were largely very good PC ports, but it would have been nice if they’d gone the extra mile and let us make us of more keys/buttons.

    • Someone says:

      The level designer who placed that tower must be laughing his ass off right now.

      It’s just such a cruel thing to do. And after plummeting to your death once, you’re gonna be wary of jumping off the viewpoints for the rest of the game.

      • SKD says:

        I think it was more a matter of in AC1 the game automatically oriented you towards the haypile. AC2 will let you jump in any direction you want. At least that is my recollection after having just played them both back to back.

  10. swenson says:

    Gotta agree with Mumbles. Once you play TF2, you just become immune to micspam. Especially if you’re like me and for some bizarre reason torture yourself by regularly playing on designated micspam servers.

  11. noahpocalypse says:

    2:32- I guess that’s why they make you do it a billion times. You just needed more practice.

    Interesting question: does Mumbles have an Xbox? If so, well… Shamus does. Shamus could get Arkham City before Mumbles does. Hurry!

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    But this game isnt about good guys versus the bad guys.This is a game about assassins,you know,those that assassinate people.Those arent good guys.

    Anyway,Rutskarn,how come planescape:torment didnt come to your mind?You disappoint.

    Also,you can never sound old.

    Funny thing:Remember how hitman 1 had absolutely no saving,and you had to redo all the missions from the beginning,even the ones that were over 30 minutes long?And then they introduced saving in the sequels.At least some people do learn this thing(that should be a well known fact,not needed to be learned at all).

    • Wtrmute says:

      Harvest Moon was the one that immediately came to my mind. Besides, of course, every sports game, ever; but I don’t think those count. Also, all non-military sims (MS Flight Simulator, SimCity, SimFarm, Rollercoaster Tycoon…) Ok, I’ll stop now.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You know,there is one thing worse than bland combat taunt:Bland unit responses in strategy games,especially when you cant change their frequency.Anyone who played the sadly ruined disciples 3 will know what Im talking about.

  14. FalseProphet says:

    Other than the mission that requires it, there are only two reasons to use the poison blade:

    i) To get the “Doctor” achievement/trophy if you’re on console.

    ii) To poison one of the guards with a halberd in a busy marketplace and laugh as he slaughters half the crowd with his death throes.

    • Blanko2 says:

      also you use it on the big dudes and just back off. much easier than trying to hammer away at them or waiting for them to try and hit you so you can counter.

      plus it takes out some more enemies.

  15. Peter H. Coffin says:

    I’ve already been comparing AC2 to SR2. And imagining Jibar playing/dressing some of the side characters in the plotting. It’s especially funny if you imagine the fat ones wearing a pink thong.

  16. Nidokoenig says:

    The stuff about this game not having the “spark” that gives you the urge to finish it reminds me of how I tend to feel about Mario and Valve games. I can recognise both as supremely competent and fun, but they seem a bit too competent, like everything has been meticulously planned, whereas my ideal games are things like Dwarf Fortress, Morrowind, X-Com, games that have rough edges(well, are pretty much all rough edges), that aren’t a fully realised and minutely controlled expression of the designer’s intent, because that makes them partially unknown. There’s no use exploring territory that’s already been fully mapped out and it’s much harder to feel threatened, and thus driven to excel, when I’m obviously in a very deliberately designed and built space that pretends it isn’t. Portal had me nicely immersed in its test chambers right up until it started putting up that façade, putting rust all over the perfectly planned environments.

    I must mention that, with Valve games, my experience is limited by my motion sickness(which Valve games not called Portal seem to set off within ten to fifteen minutes), so I can’t play in long enough sessions to really build immersion, and I suck at shooters from lack of practice, so I’m having to actively think about the controls.

    Might that be part of the problem here? Being, you know, an assassin, implies a certain level of chaos you need to learn to react to and hopefully control and a constant, real threat of being discovered, but everything is very planned and meticulously stage-managed, and you pretty much have to start a mission or be… Josh to turn on the danger.

    • aquagosh says:

      I have that problem with Bioware games. I recognize how good they are, but I just don’t find them that fun to play. Believe me, I’ve tried, too. I started but never finished KOTOR, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect. That’s one great thing about Spoiler Warning, though, to take a game I don’t find fun, and make it fun.

    • Indy says:

      I have a feeling that Josh’s bug-finding skills could break even Metal Gear Solid’s rails and get a unique experience.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Might that be part of the problem here? Being, you know, an assassin, implies a certain level of chaos you need to learn to react to and hopefully control and a constant, real threat of being discovered, but everything is very planned and meticulously stage-managed, and you pretty much have to start a mission or be… Josh to turn on the danger.”

      I dont think it is,at least not for Shamus,since he does love half life and portal.And half life 2 is THE game when it comes to false danger.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Re- motion sickness – Are you playing on the default FOV(field of view) setting? Source games have a really awful one… I’d say increase it to 90 or even 95 and see how it goes, if you haven’t tried it yet.

      • Nidokoenig says:

        I’ll try that, but it’s a problem with most FPS games, just more pronounced in Valve ones, so the benefit will be somewhat limited. Really, the only first person games I notice it not being a problem are things like Morrowind, and I mostly play those as stealthy characters, so twitchy movement only happens if I mess up, which I make sure doesn’t happen too often, obviously, and I spend most of my time in Vivec, slowly but surely robbing the whole place blind.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Why not play thief then?1 and 2,that is.

          • Nidokoenig says:

            I’ve got a boxset of them, but they crash on my computer. I should probably get around to working out how to fix that. Between Morrowind, X-Com and working on My Little Fortress, it can be quite hard to work up enthusiasm for figuring out why a game’s crashing, since I’ve got more than enough to fill my free time.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Ugh,I hate when older games crash.And it has always boggled my mind why this is happening.I mean,I get why this happens,I dont get why the compatibility option isnt working.It should be a simple emulation,working all the time.Instead,I ran into some pretty weird things,like a game working on xp,but not working on 7 with xp compatibility,while another game is working on 7 with xp compatibility,and not on xp.

              • Nidokoenig says:

                I remember googling around about it and it seems to be a multi-core problem. By that point I was tired of trying to make the game go and couldn’t be arsed setting affinity every time I started it up, though I’m sure there’s some way to set its affinity permanently or some free program to auto-correct it. I might dig out the box and try to get it working again, or I could just play through one of the hundreds of other games in my backlog that aren’t so high maintenance.

                Odd, I’m sure I’d have had to added “googling” to my spellchecker dictionary by now. And “arsed”. And “spellchecker” without the bloody hyphen.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Well there was a free program that did it for one of the sam&max episodes that had problem with multiple cores,so probably people make those for other games as well.

                  And believe me,thief 2 alone deserves getting through the hassle of making it run.If you like stealth,that is(but even if you dont,it may convert you).

                  • Nidokoenig says:

                    I’d have thought it’d be fairly simple to have a program that runs in the background and resets the affinity of a certain process if it starts up, though obviously that’s just asking to get flagged as a virus. I’ll look into it.

        • Cerapa says:

          Motion sickness is such a weird thing to get from a game for me. Spin the screen at a high speed and bunny hop all you like, nothing gonna affect me.

          Might be cause I have played the first PC AVP game where aliens go at mach 5 from a very young age. Plus the aliens sorta had a fish eye lens effect cause they had a larger FOV so you could actually see where you are going. Jerky movement was a necessity if you didnt want to run into a wall.

          If you get motion sickness in ten minutes from Valve games, I wanna see what you get from that.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            The wirdest thing for me was when I got motion sickness from original deus ex.Portal and prey,no problem.Playing as alien in avp,easy.But returning to deus ex,and suddenly nausea and sweat.I had to play it in increments of 30 minutes max.But it was worth it.

          • Nidokoenig says:

            Just watched 30 seconds of it on Youtube and I already know it’d be… unpleasant.

  17. Aldowyn says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one to mention this, but there WAS a haystack there at the beginning. You just jumped off a little to the right at the wrong angle.

  18. @16:32 How about that, I decided to pop in DH:WaV just the other day.

  19. Raygereio says:

    Dear Ao.
    Josh doesn’t seem to have much grasp on how to play AC2 and I’m not talking about playing it “wrong” like he did with Fallout 3, but he doesn’t seem to get such basics like how the contros, platforming or combat works.
    Shamus and Rutskarn don’t have any clue about what they ought to talk about and are verbally fumbling around.
    Mumbles meanwhile apparently outright hates this game and is so bored she decided to liven things up with the confession she’s a hermaphrodite.

    Damn, this was just painfull to watch. Up until now I could get some enjoyment out this series, like how one could get some enjoyment out of seeing a carcrash happen. But now the crash has gone on too long, there’s sreaming and blood and bodyparts flying everywhere and it stopped being funny.
    Is this season likely to change in any way, or should I skip the next bunch of videos and just wait until you guys do another game that does fit your style of LP’ing?

    • Shamus says:

      “Is this season likely to change in any way, or should I just wait until you guys do another game that does fit your style of LP’ing?”

      I made a post a couple of days ago that addressed this very concern:

      http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=13723

      • Raygereio says:

        Oh, I missed that post. So I should just skip the next bunch of videos as this season isn’t likely to change. Thanks.
        Friendly tip; besides better preparation and wiser choice of games, perhaps it would a good idea to take a break from Spoiler Warning for you guys.
        You’ve done a lot of LP’ing and even it’s not that much works in regards to time investment for everyone besides Josh, you’re going to have some burn out from talking over that gameplay footage week after week for hours at a time.

    • karln says:

      It’s a shame for me, because besides HL2, this is the first game SW has covered that I actually like, and it looks like it’s not really working for the series :( I could never really put my finger on why I found it so compelling and addictive (while it lasted) but I suspect that it’s mostly down to atmosphere, as with my long-standing favourites-ever Silent Hill 2 and Eternal Darkness. It’s not really so atmospheric when a bunch of guys are talking about and over it; I guess it’s best experienced alone in a quiet room.

  20. Airsoftslayer93 says:

    Poison blade, clears a whole group of guys, rarely useful in common use, but sometimes it just rules, you can clear out 16 guys with 4 stabs, all of which arent noticed by other guards, invaluable as a distraction for high level guards as well.

  21. webrunner says:

    Remember, folks: just because you sidestepped quickly to get out of the way of an attack, that doesn’t make it dodging!

  22. Aanok says:

    2:38 for Hovering Pidgeons From Outer Space

  23. Gamer says:

    On the intro, it said that Shamus wishes this was a book. (I assuming because you he likes the plot of the game.) I think they actually did make a AC2 into a book. And I know for a fact that Revelations will have a book.

    As to Mumbles comment on “Good guys vs. Bad Guys”, that isn’t what the plot is about. The Templars believe that order is the number-one priority. To that end, they seek the Pieces of Eden to control the masses in an effort for peace. The Assassins fight because they believe that free will is more important and that peace can be achieved through education and learning. It’s more Lawful vs. Chaotic than Good vs. Evil (At least it was in AC1, in AC2 she might be much more correct).

    As for Josh screwing up a little in the tutorial, I played the PS3 version so I can imagine playing the PC version would cause some troubles for me. Plus, it really DID look like he was dodging. Technicalities.

    As for Rutzcarn, I don’t know how old you are irl, but you sound barely older than I am. There is no way you could possibly claim that you feel like an old man.

    If you guys aren’t having fun making the AC2 series, I don’t think many of your viewers would fault you for switching mid-season.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “As for Rutzcarn, I don’t know how old you are irl, but you sound barely older than I am. There is no way you could possibly claim that you feel like an old man.”

      He seems to get younger every time.He was 12 for some time,but recently I read people saying he was 8.If he continues like that,this time next year,hell return to his father.

  24. Fishminer says:

    Am I the only one that rather enjoyed today’s episode? When the cast doesn’t claim to know what’s going on in the plot they develop a more improvisational and conversational style. Nice to listen to over lunch. I suppose at this point this is more of a podcast with talking points than a lets play, but I like that kind of thing.

    • Museli says:

      You’re certainly not the only one – I thought this episode was particularly good. However, much as I enjoy listening to the crew chatting about anything, I feel it’s the plot and mechanic analysis which really sets this show above many other LPs. I enjoyed Fallout 3 an awful lot, even during prolonged periods of moaning, because the moaning was making good points about the game.

  25. Spammy says:

    So… show of hands, who else giggles whenever Josh’s horse does a combat roll?

  26. Otters34 says:

    Oh come on, when I first played Ocarina on the N64, Navi was honestly helpful(except when the writer got a bit too vague in her hints…). Pointless combat taunts aren’t even in the same class.

  27. *Sigh*

    I do enjoy Spoiler Warning and Assassin’s Creed 2, but Mumbles’ trolling this time has gotten to be a bit much for me. I’m getting annoyed by the trolling more then I’m being amused by the antics of the group (possibly because I’m getting the impression that she’s trying to troll the audience as well as Shamus, Rutskarn and Josh), but this isn’t fun right now, and I just don’t need the stress (especially since I’m getting enough trolling from my real-life co-workers). Maybe the next game you do won’t be so bad, but for now, I’m out.

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