Spoiler Warning Assassin’s Creed 2 EP16: Welcome to Lazytown

By Shamus
on Nov 8, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Venice was the point in Assassin’s Creed 2 where the game suddenly became much more visually rich and interesting, but also much more contrived and game-y.

In particular, the way from Florence to Venice is filled with oddities that can’t be really explained with the usual “animus did it” excuse.

Seriously, the bad guys stationed dozens of mooks along this road to kill our hero? And burned down a bridge? And then stacked crates on either side of the road to encourage slalom-style driving. Did they KNOW you were going to get on Leo’s cart, because the slalom thing and the men chasing you would have been kind of pointless if you were on horseback.

Rather than burning down an ENTIRE BRIDGE, which would be a massive loss that would harm the area for years, why didn’t whey just string a single rope across the road? Rather than fire archers shooting gallon-sized globs of oil, why not just build a single fire across the whole road? Why not just install a checkpoint with a fence? Were these guys coordinating their attacks via two-way radio?

What is the deal with this guy who won’t sell you passage on his ship because you’re not allowed to enter the city? What sort of documentation was he expecting to see? Was HE in charge of keeping people out? Why was with this lady who lives in a town made entirely of water, unable to cross water, to the point of being willing to publicly BEG random strangers for aid? (I’m told later she turns out to be an assassin, which only raises more questions. Was she PRETENDING she couldn’t swim?) Did she always make obvious passes at guys in front of gossipy peasants, or was she just unable to help herself because of how sexy Ezio is?

Yes, you can cook up justifications for a lot of this after the fact. (You know, by writing plot-patching fanfiction.) It’s just obvious that someone said, “Pffft. Screw it. Car chase time.”

It’s not a game ruining problem or anything, and it was mildly amusing from a gameplay perspective, but this part really does stick out as fairly artificial and contrived.

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  1. DrKultra says:

    Whoa, the first. *basks on it*

    Assasin’s Creed 2 was not the best game I have played, it was Entretaining but it blows my mind that people make it look like a huge improvement over the original ,this makes me never want to play as Altair to be honest as I found the repeated missions with the same objective over and over to be boring.

    On the story side, this is a car chase! What do you mean they didn’t have those back in Italy?

  2. Submersible Scout says:

    So, how are these sorts of contrivances going to look in the hypothetical “last” game, where Desmond is presumably taken out of the Animus? I’m thinking it might have to imprint on him, such that he imagines that he desynchronizes when he gets knocked out.

  3. Someone says:

    Need For Speed: Renaissance Edition

  4. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

    10:41 The cart has a suspension system? Leonardo has seriously pimped that ride.

  5. Andrew B says:

    It’s hardly an excuse, but the DLC is set in Forli (the weird unused city). I presum it was left out of the main game intentionally to provide room for the extra money making opportunities afforded by DLC. It would have made more sense to just not send you to Forli until you bought the DLC though.

    • Hitch says:

      Or at least had an NPC standing there with a quest marker over his head who says, “Sorry. I can’t give you a quest until you buy the DLC.”

      But. NO ONE would ever do that. ;-)

      • Raygereio says:

        Actually if you don’t have the DLC, then by the time the DLC would activate you get a thinly disguised message saying “There would be gameplay here, if you had only purchased the DLC. Oh well, let’s just skip to the endgame now.”

        The thing that slightly bugged me about Forli is that it feels like a full city. There are treasures to loot, codexpages to get, side mission which asks you to beat up people.
        It feels like an awfull lot of trouble to go through just for a DLC city. I have the feeling like something got cut during development and it was later decided to use Forli as DLC.

        • Nick Bell says:

          “I have the feeling like something got cut during development and it was later decided to use Forli as DLC.”
          Bingo. That’s at least the stated reason for what happened.

          • Eärlindor says:

            Yeah, the whole Forli thing is weird. I remember reading about the place and Caterina Sforza in particular. She was suppose to have a much bigger roll in the game, I remember thinking. Even better, AC: Brotherhood almost punishes you if you haven’t played the DLC. She shows up again as one of the bigger secondary characters and everyone knows who she is–Ezio even has sex with her. It leaves you sitting there thinking, “Wait, why is this person so important all the sudden and how come everyone knows her?”

            • krellen says:

              While having sex with Ezio is potentially a pretty big roll, she’s more likely to be playing a role.

              • Eärlindor says:

                I wasn’t saying she had a big roll because of it. My point was that it was another one of those factors that make you think, “Oh wow, uh, ok… that came out of nowhere,” and, “Wait, who IS this person anyway?” if you haven’t played the DLC and/or don’t know who she is.

                (As a side note, I STILL thought it was a little random even though I knew about her and her development from before.)

          • Jeff says:

            That’s what happened to Shale in Dragon Age Origins, but there they turned out to be able to finish it, so they shipped it as a free DLC.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yay,Mumbles is back.Have you beaten arkham city Mumbles?

    Rutskarn,whats with the echo?Did you try to imitate Shamus and show to your parents what youre doing?

    The ending of the game has some things you do in florence,so the cape does come in handy then.

    Forli is mostly empty without the dlc,but it does have one very important mission:A race that has sex as its reward.

    I think there was something about the plague or somesuch explaining why venice is being closed of at the time.

    As for the race,at least its not as hard as that one in prince of persia,so while pointless and out of place,it is at least easy to get trough.Also,it can be seen as a tutorial for the chase in brotherhood.

  7. Mitchell says:

    I liked the horse cart slolam. It was a nice bit of something different from just moving from one town where you murdered tons of dudes to another town to murder tons of dudes.

  8. Chris says:

    Isn’t that city (the one with “nothing to do”) the one where you go flying with Leonardo’s machine?

  9. Paul Spooner says:

    I like the idea of being able to Parkour all over the place. However, part of my brain just can’t handle it. I get nervous just thinking about it. My palms are sweating just watching a video of someone else playing a computer game simulating it!

    I think real free running videos are actually less scary than this LP. In real life the motion is fluid and graceful. In AC, it’s like watching a Parkour marionette run by a toddler.

  10. Simon says:

    Is it just me or is the Medici crest just a fat slice of pepperoni pizza? Ezio looks like a crazed pizza boy wearing that cape.

    • ? says:

      That’s why guards bother him less. Delivering pizza is serious business, and he’s got delivery to that tallest tower in the city.

      • Rutskarn says:

        “Why is the Deliverator so tolerated? Because people rely on him. He is a role model. This is Florence. People do whatever the fuck they feel like doing, you got a problem with that? Because they have a right to. And because they have swords and no one can fucking stop them.”

        -Snowcrashins Creed

  11. Falcon says:

    Eh the cart part bugged me. It felt rather stupid, and contrived. Fun, sure, but not something I would have missed.

    The Woman unable to swim back, two answers.
    1) Think about renaissance era clothes. Think of all the layers, the fabric, the weight, etc. Also consider the range of motion they would have provided a woman. Yeah, I can buy her not being able to swim in that getup.
    2) Its a dig at the first AC where Altair was so hydrophobic he’d die if you so much as stepped foot in a puddle.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    One more comment that just came to mind:Those are greek fire arrows.

  13. swenson says:

    My word. Those poor horses, scraped up against the rocks like that while being forced to run at full gallop while being driven by a crazed assassin. If only PETA knew…

    In all seriousness, though, the cart chase looks kind of fun, if only for the fact that you and Leonardo da Vinci are doing a car chase in Renaissance Italy. Contrivances aside, you gotta admit that is AWESOME.

  14. Airsoftslayer says:

    That was a horse race!!!
    This game really doesn’t feel suited to spoiler warning.

    And there is plenty to do in forli in the dlc.

  15. Phil says:

    I’m sure you’ve seen it, but the idea of AC just having a “Go” button reminded me of this: PSTW

  16. 4th Dimension says:

    So without DLCs Forli is empty? No assassination, beat them up, races or any other kind of missions? I’m asking because I played from the start WITH the DLC, and while Forli did seem empty, there was a reasonable amount of side content there. Also there is a glyph there north of Leonardo.

    And the woman is Catarina Sforza, though I realize that without DLC you do not see her anymore, but she is basically known as the Amazon of Forli. And is sort of kinda romance interest/ally but not an assassin.

    • Raygereio says:

      “So without DLCs Forli is empty?”
      No, that content is still there. It just isn’t touched by any of the main missions and story-wise ends being a town you just travel through. It’s only in the DLC that Ezio returns and does main-quest-things in it.

  17. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Both the cartchase here and the one in brotherhood: not my favourite parts of the game. And the way to introduce Caterina is kinda less than subtle.

    There is a simple explanation for the deadly allergic to water thing: witches!

  18. Gale says:

    I bought AC2 as the GOTY or Playstation Platinum edition or whatever the version was that was cheaper and came with the Forlii DLC for free. It was integrated into the game like a regular story mission, aside from the white mission marker, is entirely mandatory as best as I can remember, and it’s kind of vague on when exactly the DLC ends after that. So I seriously had no idea that you just never go back to Forlii after that little meander. I always thought it was weird that you go through there as a stopover on the way to Venice and do basically nothing, but now it makes a little more sense.

    Thinking back on it… The Forlii stuff leads directly into Savonarola’s Bonfire of the Vanities, so I guess that part doesn’t exist in the vanilla game, either? Huh. I remember that as being one of the sections of the game I rather liked.

    • Raygereio says:

      The Forlii stuff leads directly into Savonarola’s Bonfire of the Vanities, so I guess that part doesn’t exist in the vanilla game, either?

      Yup. The bonfires is also DLC technically. I say technically because if I recall correctly the PC version got the bonfires and forli DLC build in the main game. So only the consoles had to pay for it.

      Also you liked the bonfires? Meh, I’ll confess the setup was neat (I did like the call backs to AC1), but damn that “use our broken stealth mechanic!” Ubisoft likes to shove into AC and damn that assasination of that friggin, damned boat.

      • Gale says:

        Yeah, that part I kind of hated. I didn’t mind it too much, though, because it wasn’t too often that they made the stealth stuff a mandatory condition*, and I found I was able to get creative with the gun, which I appreciated.

        *Enter Brotherhood. I definitely liked that game way more than the others, but man. They forced the stealth stuff on you way too goddamn frequently in that game. And then combined it with a bonus objective of not killing anyone. It’s Ezio, for crying out loud! He kills everyone!

        • Raygereio says:

          Oh, don’t you get me started on the full sync objectives in Brotherhood. I honestly can’t comprehend what Ubisoft was thinking with that.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            But you dont need the full sync.That would be like complaining how some other game has a hard difficulty.Its an optional thing.Really,why does it bug people so much?

            • Raygereio says:

              1. The Cristina memories.
              2. The big message in red when you failed the full sync.

              If it had been just a achievement thing, I wouldn’t have complained. I would have though it was dumb and just not something for me and that was that.
              But they had the audacity to hide content (which does a lot to give more depth to the character of Ezio) behind it and beat you over the head in an annoying manner when you have the gall to admire the scenery instead of rushing blind towards the goal, or have some fun and use the pistol instead the hidden knife.

              It’s like the fixed camera angles in the AC game. Not that bad, but really annoying to the point where I just don’t understand what the dev team was thinking.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Again,so?Its not a mandatory content.Its not even close to the camera.The camera is annoying because it is interfering with the gameplay.The only thing that perfect sync is interfering with is the ocd of completionists.I get that,I am a completionist myself,but I wont blame a game for me being so ocd about it.

                Are you also pissed off at mass effect for having side quests that flesh out your team members?For daring to not let you fuck someone without talking with them endlessly?For locking paragon/renegade options if you pick the other path?Same goes for any other game that has a non-linear world.

                Just because the reward for optional stuff is more meaningful than a virtual medal,doesnt mean that reward has to be handed out.Heck,the game should actually be praised for having more meaningful rewards than most of the other games.

                • Raygereio says:

                  The camera is annoying because it is interfering with the gameplay.

                  Well, I see the full sync as also interferring with gameplay. So we’re just going to have to disagree on that.

                  Are you also pissed off at mass effect for having side quests that flesh out your team members?

                  False analogy. I don’t have to preform frustrating tasks in order to access those side quests.
                  The full sync from Brotherhood in ME1 would be akin to only being able to access those side missions if you used only the sniper rifle and no powers whatsoever for the entire game.

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    “Well, I see the full sync as also interferring with gameplay.”

                    Except,you know,its not.Its not preventing you from doing anything.You still can do whatever you want,you just wont get the reward.

                    “False analogy. I don’t have to preform frustrating tasks in order to access those side quests.”

                    Not false analogy.There are some who find side quests in mass effect frustrating(the kasumi one,for example).And if you dont do them,you dont get full options with that character,plus they die in the end.It doesnt affect the gameplay,but it does effect the story,same as full sync.The fact that you find it frustrating in asscreed,but not in mass effect makes no difference.

                • Pete says:

                  Theres also the fact that youll probably end up unlocking at least four of the Cristina memories by the end of the game without even trying. You only need like, 75 percent to unlock them all? And thats with 50 being the absolute minimum…

                  EDIT: Gah, ninjas! Again!

              • 4th Dimension says:

                Yeah but for Cristina you need like 75% sync or lower, which even I, who generaly suck at games was able to get.

          • Phil says:

            I’m taking a break from ACB for a bit, and then perhaps a permanent break from trying for full sync once I start playing again. What did it for me, you (probably didn’t) ask?
            The tank. I went nuts trying *many* times to full sync that, and then end up losing FS for some cheap reason and/or my own idiocy. Two things would’ve made it bearable to keep trying:
            1) If you die and go back to a checkpoint taken when you still had full sync, remove the failure, and/or
            2) don’t make me play through 10 minutes of stuff before I even get to the point where I can fail FS. If they’d’ve broken it up into 2 missions, perhaps, first part rescuing the soldiers, with its own FS objective, and then the second one being the tank with the one it has now.
            Plus the camera sucks, in case no-one mentioned that, hehe.

  19. I don’t know what this says about me, but you totally were wearing body armor in the last episode.

  20. Dante says:

    Rutskarn, I really have a problem with this episode.

    There was no SW for a week, and the first new episode, no puns….I NEED MY PUN FIX MAN!

  21. Grudgeal says:

    To explain the Molotov cocktail to any history-interested out there (since Josh apparently didn’t feel like it): Molotov was, indeed, a Russian. More to the point, he was the Soviet Foreign Minister under Stalin, responsible amongst other things for the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

    During the Winter War with Finland, Molotov also took on the role of sugar-coating the war for the Allied nations and explained that any rumours of the Soviets dumping incendiary bombs on Finnish cities were filthy filthy Finnish lies and they were, in fact, delivering bread to the famished Finnish. The Finnish, naturally, named the bombs “Molotov Bread Baskets”, and for an encore went on to name the improvised incendiary bombs they used on the Soviet tanks “Molotov Cocktails” as “a drink to go with the food”. The bottle-incendiary device pre-dates the Winter War and was used a lot in (amongst others) the Spanish Civil War, but the Finnish appellation sort of stuck for posterity.

    /History nerdery end, proceed with your regular programming.

  22. Ciber says:

    Little know fact, more than 70% of sailors in the age of sail could not swim.

  23. Jjkaybomb says:

    Mumbles, you sound so unengaged through most of this, and have been for a while….

    I dont know what to say to that, really… At first I just thought you were tired, but you’ve been sounding tired for a long, long time. Just pissed in general when you do speak up, outside the conversation…

    You are becoming mumbler!?

  24. Johan says:

    OK, I gotta admit, despite all the griping in the video and in the write-up, that carriage chase looks FUN. Maybe it doesn’t make sense that they’d do all this… but it looks FUN. Does it not play fun? That is something that I can accept as a point against. But I feel that at times guard incompetence is a necessary evil for HAVING FUN. It makes no sense that 47 would ever be able to dress up in a costume and be mistaken for a US marine (what with the barcode), and only an exceedingly trusting individual would ever say “this guy looks legit,” but it’s a necessary price for fun, and if this chase sequence could be improved mechanically, I am certain I would have absolutely no problems with it thematically.

    I’ve noticed that for myself, the only time I ever stop to care about “aw, it would be so unrealistic of the NPCs or enemies to do this, why don’t they do that instead” is when the mechanics of the game (the playing of the game itself) have failed. Fun gameplay can patch almost any wound.

  25. Varriety says:

    The cart chase is like the glider; something that’s fun, but feels out of place and is seen only once. At least you accomplish something from the cart chase (in that you get to Venice). The ONLY reason you use the glider is to prevent an assassination (the irony), and you FAIL in that mission. The entire glider sequence felt like ‘well, we talked about it in development, so we gotta use it somewhere!’ After that mission, without DLC, the glider is never seen nor mentioned again.

  26. lucidrains says:

    Shamus, you were wondering why a horse wouldn’t be allowed on a dock? Here are some hints: wooden plank walkways, at least a thousand pounds of weight with a rider, hard hooves a few inches in diameter, and violent galloping.

  27. MG says:

    The loss of a bridge that size may have been a big deal in medieval times, but this is the renaissance. With the manpower, organization, engineering, and surplus of lumber Venice had, that bridge would have been rebuilt by sunup the next day.

  28. utzelgrutzel says:

    I know what’s wrong with the transition: It took so long to remove all the colour from the next part. The load time would have been even longer had it included the last colour too, but now you get a Sin City effect with your new coat.

  29. Sumanai says:

    18:04 This is how move in order to take on the appearance of a noble.

  30. MikhailBorg says:

    I had to go back to the previous video to check, and yeah, two years late, but I notice that three of Ezio’s health squares mysteriously disappeared since last time…

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