Assassin’s Creed 2 EP19: Pick a Pocket or Two

By Shamus
on Nov 11, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Welcome to Venice, Ezio. It’s good that you are here. Recently several of my best thieves were injured or killed in a haphazard and ill-advised frontal assault on a public building in broad daylight. Then half of my forces betrayed me, so I need you to kill them. Then the other half were captured. Sadly, my thieves can’t pick locks or fight to save their lives, so you need to free them and slay their guards. And could you also lead them home? They don’t have a very good sense of direction.

So, I basically need you to do everything. But first, you must prove you are worthy by climbing a tower you already climbed.

Still, I’ll take this over the “do these same three quests, over and over, dozens of times” of the original Assassin’s Creed.

AC2 really does seem to change character when you reach Venice. It becomes a lot more “questy”, and driven more by “BECAUSE IT’S A VIDEOGAME” logic. I wonder what brought on this shift in tone and style. For those of you who have played Brotherhood: Is it more like the first half of AC2, or it it more like the Venice section of the game?

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  1. Raygereio says:

    For those of you who have played Brotherhood: Is it more like the first half of AC2, or it it more like the Venice section of the game?

    I recall there being far less padding-for-time of this kind in AC:Bro’s main missions. There’s some, but it has more of a justification to it and nothing this silly. So more like the first half of AC2.

  2. Nessad says:

    A little of both. There are alot of sideplots that interfere with the main quest, but they are not that stupid anymore. The worst part is leonardo’s inventions quests. The greatest problem in brotherhood is how easy (not easy, trivial) everything becomes once you get the crossbow.

    • Eärlindor says:

      I actually got a little tired of having to go to each district of Rome, kill the captain (if you screw up and he gets away you have to wait an in-game day), and blow up the tower. But I guess that doesn’t pertain to the story much, like this whole thieves-thing here in AC2.

      • Rosseloh says:

        Hmm, see, for me, finding the sneakiest and most efficient way to take out some of those Captains was my favorite side-goal of the game. But to each his own, of course.

        • 4th Dimension says:

          Except the one in that acropoli. You would have to kill ALL his guards in the underground, or no matter how you approach him, he WILL spot you, because he is in a corner underground. And once he spots you he WILL escape.

          • Raygereio says:

            Not really. It is perfectly feasable to just run in there like a headless chicken and introduce the captain’s bowels to your blade in the least stealthy manner possible.

            • 4th Dimension says:

              If you get lucky, and guards standing at both entrances don’t hit you and trip you over. Even then it’s touch and go if you don’t approach him from the side and not from the side of treasure of Brutus.

              • Raygereio says:

                Tip: if you want to quickly get past guards. Try to tackle them, you’ll do a roll and end up with a running start behind them.

                • Pete says:

                  Heres a thing that took me a while to notice: if you target someone and throw a smokebomb, Ezio throws it at his target instead of his feet – and you can just waltz right by undisturbed. Handy that.

              • Armstrong says:

                Here’s a secret:
                If guards are standing in your way with their weapons raised waiting to trip you up and stop your run, tackle one of them.
                The guard will dodge, Ezio will turn his tackle into a roll and pass the guard line without losing speed.

                Edit: Guess I should have refreshed before posting.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Yup,it was a crazy one.But I enjoyed luring all the guards away and killing them out of sight of others.Though it still took me 3 tries to get him,but it was all the more satisfying once Ive finally stabbed him.

            • SimeSublime says:

              I killed off all the guards, but got seen doing it. The captain ran away and escaped. I got a message saying I had to wait a day for him to come back. I turned away, walked three steps, and got a message saying it was a new day and the captain had returned. I turned back to see him standing there with no guards.

              Easist captain ever :P

          • Rosseloh says:

            Far as I remember I just used the gun here. I think he noticed me and got hung up on a rock or something.

      • Zukhramm says:

        I thought those were the best part. Just a target and man different ways to kill them and no “do it exactly like this” like the assassination in the main missions.

    • Tse says:

      I never got the crossbow, seemed too expensive. I did get a little jealous when my recruits became assassins, though. They got better equipment than me and for free.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        You don’t know what you were missing. That thing was awesome. It could one hit kill even Elites. Although it did bug sometimes and reputedly fail to hit one guard standing still.

        • burningdragoon says:

          Sure the crossbow was pretty awesome. However, my favorite weapon in the game was the claymore. 100% because of the strong attack. You just F’n chuck it at people. That may be the case in AC2 as well, but you got to permanently carry it in Brotherhood.

          Correction: my favorite weapon, like in AC2, was the spear, but, also like in AC2, they wouldn’t let me carry one permanently

          • 4th Dimension says:

            I never used heavy weapons in that game except when I disarm an Elite. I allays worried my main weapon would get stuck in a guard and I would loose it. But my end game my weapon (condottiero mace) looked like a freaking bell, even tough it was classified as a medium/sword. And was fast as hell. I loved ‘belling’ the shit out of enemies.

            • NihilCredo says:

              Maces and hammers are nice because they sort of legitimise Ezio’s goofy basic-attack animations.

              Still, once you go Dagger of Brutus you don’t go back.

              And yeah, I also couldn’t stand heavy weapons because having to periodically tear them out of corpses was just. so. annoying. Pity, since otherwise switching between daggers and greatswords felt much more satisfying than between daggers and swords, since the weapons played so differently.

              • It’s annoying to have to pick up your weapon and even more annoying if you accidentally pick up a different weapon since it becomes your main weapon. But I found it completely worth the hassle for being able to throw a giant sword into a guard’s chest.

              • decius says:

                Use a mace, grab an enemy, and slit their throat with a mace.

                For the killstreak challenge, I prefer knives. Purely for the ‘stab one guy and chuck a knife at another’ attack.

                The main plot never gives you enough enemies to chain that much, even in the ambush memory.

            • Gale says:

              See, I liked the heavy weapons because they got stuck in guys. I kind of don’t see the point of medium/heavy weapons, especially in Brotherhood, where counterkilling with the hidden blades or a dagger has been made incredibly easy, so I only ever used them when I wanted to mess around. And throwing a huge axe twenty feet across a field directly into the head of an unsuspecting guard is a pretty fun way to mess around. It also meant I didn’t have to carry a big inelegant sword or something around when I didn’t want to.

              I mean, maybe it’s just a holdover from the way I played in the first AC, favouring hidden blade counterkills even when it was a pretty risky trick to try, but I’ve ended up so specialised towards counterkills that anytime I actually tried to use a sword in Brotherhood, I got the crap beaten out of me. Just couldn’t get my head around them. So being able to throw them away and just leave that slot empty was highly appreciated.

          • Scourge says:

            My favorite weapon? The broom.

            Why? Cause the game treats it like an axe and a lance at the same time. Watch it at youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya8ypHF1lvY

        • NihilCredo says:

          The crossbow is like the gun, except it is completely silent, has 25 ammo instead of 6, it aims faster and can be fired while moving. Yeeeeeahhhh. In particular, it’s an absolute godsend for all those “do not get detected” requirements.

          The only con is that you can’t dual wield it with a sword in mélee combat, but since it can also be used for some rather funny counter-kills it’s not much of a downside at all.

  3. Eddie says:

    I’ve only played the beginning of the game, so I’ve not actually watched this season of Spoiler Warning for fear of spoilers (although given that the very first thing to happen in this game completely undermines the plot of the previous game, it’s probably not worth it). But anyhow, the whole thing feels way more “gamey” than the first game and it really bugs me; I really don’t understand why it pops up little quest titles and asks you to accept them, especially for story quests that you can’t even reject.

  4. uberfail says:

    I swear Shamus says Traders. I was like “Traders in the theives guild!?”
    They need to get back to the merchants guild.

  5. Hitch says:

    “Very good. I have another job for you.”

    “What is it?”

    “I can’t tell you here. I must teleport across town. Meet me there and we can have this conversation.”

    What are the odds that the job involves going most of the way back to where he couldn’t tell you what the job was to do whatever task he should have been able to handle by himself if the was any logic in the world?

  6. TSED says:

    This is starting to get ridiculous. The time padding is so obvious they aren’t even trying to hide it at this point.

    So, no Spoiler Warning next week? The whole “Skyrim” thing is gonna hit. And, jeez, way to put that on a NATIONAL HOLIDAY, Bethesda.*

    *Not all countries are Canada, admittedly.

  7. Jake Albano says:

    Unrelated to the video: Next time you see a random citizen with a broom or a fishing pole, bump into them so they drop it, pick it up, then try attacking with it. Hilarity ensues.

  8. Kyte says:

    In-story, Ezio had the Eagle Vision (which isn’t just Animus talking) to instantly identify targets, so it’s no surprise he doesn’t really need to investigate.

    Plus, if three thieves already knew of Ezio, why not the rest of them? I’m pretty sure it was pretty obvious that if an Assassin randomly walked up to them it’s probably not for tea and cookies. Hence, hostility.

    Oh, and Rutskarn: Your voice keeps trailing off, so I’m having trouble understanding half of what you say (the latter half, to be precise).

    Josh: I played on the PC and I found’em pretty easy to master. Maybe you’ve got the sensitivility wrong? Or maybe you just suck at games. :P

    PS Shamus: Heathen. The puzzles were great. :P

  9. Jakale says:

    To be fair, those ship guards were just guards, presumably to protect the traitors from guild wrath. I had always assumed you got a list of the dudes and their last known whereabouts, but I agree missions to be sneaky and find out who is a traitor would be cool, and you sort of get that on the main kill quest line.
    I always thought it kind of odd how low the bar for rescuing those guys was set. “Well, we’ve got 12 guys that have been captured, but really, if you only save 3? That’s fine.” That said the only way I lost a guy was getting so far ahead of a straggler that the game erased him as punishment.

  10. 4th Dimension says:

    Okay Ruts, since you have been talking smack about Josh’s playing ability *, and since you are close to finishing your own let’s play, the challenge is now for YOU to play Assassins Creed 2 as a LP, so we can see how better you are.

    * – or disability.

  11. Jakale says:

    If I remember right, that tomb in particular was really annoying because most of it takes place on scaffolding for the church and if you fall then you have to go all the way back to the start or at least fairly far back depending on how far from the last checkpoint you are. It has a couple bad camera angle jumps that made it a chore after a while.

  12. Tobias says:

    looks like Mumbles should play some kagero deception and Trapt. After she has described it through the second half of the episode.
    You have to put up traps in your house to keep out intruders, a bit like a tower defense. You have to killriff raff like thieves assassings, bounty hunters, orphans looking for food, children looking for their friends, random neighbors looking for your bounty, parents looking for their lost children, your own parents, the king, the devil,the pope, basically every imaginable NPC in a fantasy game.

    The only downside to the series is that it is not really that good.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    About that traitor quest,I think he tells you that they are negotiating at the time,or somesuch,so they are guarded mingled with guards because of that.As for why they attack you on sight,well they are in the process of betraying their guild,so its natural theyd be jumpy.Especially since the thieves seem to all know who you are.

    As for the brotherhood,it is more gamey,but with less padding in the main story line.But there are plenty of side quests to do in between.

  14. Patrick says:

    I noticed the same thing as you – Venice was utterly beautifuly, but th quests were just not as interesting. I never finished the game just because of Venice, simply because I got bored of silly quest requirements. They just weren’t things I thought Ezio would bother with. Worse, the requirements really had no effect on the plot. I don’t mind the occaisional “We don’t know how this might turn out but we’re doing eveything we can” mission, but it pointless busywork piled on top of meaningless demand.

  15. acronix says:

    Can´t really tell how gamey Brotherhood got, mostly because I stopped caring about the game or its plot long before starting it, so I basically aproached it as a gamey-game. Even then, the endgame felt really rushed. You are suddenly subjected to a bunch of time-skips. Granted, I guess the idea is that Ezio and his stabclowns do nothing interesting during that time, but it felt cheap and rushed anyway, even from a gamey aproach.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Well entire plot was centered on killing Cezare, and once you imprison him, only thing left is to confront him once he escapes to Spain. That confrontation is the memory that they have been searching for a long time.

      • decius says:

        Specifically, the point of syncing with the memories of confronting him was because the Animus wouldn’t let you see the memory showing where the plot device was hidden until you did.

  16. Irridium says:

    I liked Venice, but I felt it dragged on faaaaaaaaaaar too long.

    Just the whole place felt like a complete slog after an hour or so.

    Also, carnivale was hilarious. “You must find a mask so the guards don’t know it’s you”. What, you mean they can recognize my face well enough, but not my ridiculously flamboyant outfit that is actually covering most of my face?

  17. Alex says:

    I guess we should just be thankful nobody in Venice tells you “You must bring me {7 Rat Tails} or something!”

    …Wait, they don’t do they? I haven’t actually played Assassin’s Creed. That doesn’t happen, does it?

    Please tell me that’s not a thing that happens.

  18. Phil says:

    I love how the farther the game progresses, the more vitriolic the commentary.
    AC is definitely a series in which each game seems to invite that, though. And yet, I will still get Revelations once I’ve finished AC:B.

  19. V'icternus says:

    Brotherhood’s missions were all incredibly arbitrary and video-game like. No real immersion.

    And the writing for these missions, and most of the rest of the game really, is pretty bad.
    Not the dialogue writing, which I can’t even remember. The storyline writing.
    Whoever wrote Brotherhood? Needs a Batarang to the face.

    Which is why it pained me to see it win an award for it’s writing.

    • Raygereio says:

      Really? I don’t recall anything seriously offensive. Not that it was good mind you, it kept with the AC-series standard of meandering between silly/dumb and videogame-level-average.

      Out of curiosity: what was it that offended you?

  20. Gamer says:

    Brotherhood definitely feel a little more “gamey”, like the Venice half of AC2.

    This is probably because of the “Perfect Sync” objectives more than anything. You only half-sync with a memory just by completing it. If you do it “the way Ezio did it” (by not getting hit, avoiding detection, doing it quickly, etc.). This made MANY missions in the game feel less like a story and more like a game.

    As much as I love Brotherhood and what it added, there wasn’t really a whole lot to the plot. Ezio goes to Rome and kills Cesere Borgia. That’s the entirety of the story. This makes a lot of it feel like just a game, complete with arbitrary stealth sequences.

    • Amnestic says:

      Urgh. I hated the ‘perfect sync’ mechanic. It makes sense from a story perspective I suppose, but the completionist in me hated having to replay missions just because you happened to slip up and take a hit from someone.

      • Gamer says:

        I know what you mean. I disliked them myself. Even the completionist in me said “Oh, screw this”. I only got enough to watch the Christina memories. It also doesn’t help that you can screw up a memory at the last minute and then find that you just wasted 10 minutes. Fuck that!

        I also said “Fuck you!” to the feathers and flags this time around. I wasted a good chunk of time finding them in AC2 (with a guide) and did not want to do that again.

        • decius says:

          Feathers/flags/chests are pretty simple once you get the maps.

          I only got the perfect sync on Leonardo’s tank mission by discovering an exploit at the end; it’s possible to trick the environment into letting you shoot the last bunch of enemies prior to activating them.

  21. When I made it to Venice I got the same weird “Game-y” feeling
    I attribute it to the narrative:

    Ezio: Hi Father, you have some weird errands for me? Great, I won’t bother asking what any of them are for
    *proceed through roof hopping delivery quests*
    Ezio: Hey my family has been arrested for no reason! I’m sure all those shady characters my father knows were just college buddies
    *proceed through roof hopping delivery quests*
    Ezio: Oh No! My family is about to be executed! Boy howdy I wish I had a sword to fight my way to save them, all I have is this REALLY LONG letter opener I found in my father’s chest
    *Proceed through roof hopping chasing quests*
    Ezio: Now that I have vowed revenge I will hunt down the man that killed my father…and that family down the street that I really hate
    *Proceed through roof hopping delivery/chasing/stabbing quests*
    Ezio: I have fulfilled my vow and avenged my family’s deaths and killed a bunch of innocent guards…oh well I guess I’ll go to Venice and kill people there too
    !?!?!

    Ezio finishes what I consider a decent enough main quest hook about a quarter of the way into the game, after that he’s just doing side quests for NPCs
    I think the conspiracy and intrigue was supposed to kick in before Venice
    but the plot nuggets are too lean and far apart
    I starts out as a mission of vengeance and becomes a Parkour game
    While I was playing, I found out that their was another Assassin’s Creed game planned and another after that?!?!
    So ultimately this game was meant to be Act-1 of a larger story
    But when you separate the larger story into independent chunks, I doesn’t flow
    Add on top of that, each Act is 20+ hours long…not surprising it feels padded
    I just think there is not enough story to hold each game independently, so maybe I’ll try again when they’re all released

    And despite common opinions, I enjoyed the first Assassin’s Creed more…all Altair wanted was to get his honor back…pretty simple

    P.S. This is mildly related, but I could never play Bioshock for the same reason I can’t get into AC2
    “Well here I am, the lone survivor of a horrible plane crash and my only salvation is this big lighthouse. I’ll just wait here to be rescued…”
    “I guess I could be here a while, but that big open door leading to a spooky dark room might lead me to some dry clothes”
    “Oh the lights came on, well it’s not so spooky when it’s lit, I’ll look around”
    “Huh…a big glass ball that appears to be some form of transport to under the sea…well there no chance of me being rescued if I’m underwater, just ask the other passengers of the plane…I guess I’ll just wait here…”
    At this point I just can’t continue…I’m playing a mute protagonist who’s only motivation I can deduce up to this point is “I need to be rescued from a plane crash and my best chances do not lead underwater”

    • Hitch says:

      Reminds me of a review I read on Something Awful for a hentai game. After a brief opening section setting up your contrived situation a friend walks up and tells you about a dubious sounding job offer that will occupy you for the rest of the game. He asks, “Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?” If you say yes, the game happens (and that’s pretty much the last real choice you make). If you say no, then the “Game Over” screen comes up and the credits roll. You win! (Really. It’s a hentai game. The only winning is not playing.)

      • You may have just given me a t-shirt I can make for my brother for Christmas
        “Say yes and game happens”
        That is just too awesome a phrase :D

        And is it ok that I feel dirty for now seeing parallels with popular AAA titles and hentai games?

    • Tse says:

      I liked Bioshock just for that reason. Most gamers do what they’re supposed to do, follow orders and go from checkpoint to checkpoint without realizing why. Giving an in-game explanation was quite clever, it actually gives a reason why the game feels like a game.

      • guy says:

        But the problem is that gamers don’t actually like running around doing things without knowing why in most cases. They merely tolerate it. I mean, one of the most common complaints people have about games is “I have no idea why I am doing what I am doing”.

        The method of actually fixing this is for things to make sense.

    • Brandon says:

      All I can say is that there is an incredibly good reason for your character to get in that glass sphere, and when you get to it in the game it will blow your mind,

      Now would you kindly go back and play through Bioshock?

      • I had a few colleagues say much the same thing
        Went back and jumped in the sphere, got treated to some neat visuals
        killed some splicers and big daddies and little sisters…
        then about half way through I still didn’t know what was going on or why I was there or why I needed to be doing any of it
        At some point I realized I must have missed a few of those little audio diary things that are hidden throughout the world, cause the story sure wasn’t happening for me during the actual game play
        It’s a pretty game and all, I just need motivation drive my actions
        Not just a desire to cure boredom

        I don’t mind if things are spoiled if someone wants to explain the plot to me
        Knowing what happens next has never lessened my enjoyment of anything

        • Brandon says:

          You may have missed some Audio diaries, but I doubt it. The game spoonfeeds you this information, it’s just a massive plot point later on. It sounds like you didn’t stick around long enough to get it. Massive spoiler below:

          When you meet Andrew Ryan (And in some of the audio books) it reveals that you are actually Andrew Ryan’s son, you were born in Rapture, and Fontaine used some brainwashing techniques to turn you into a sleeper assassin before sending you to the surface. Your trigger phrase is “Would you kindly” and you MUST obey the command that follows that phrase. You were the one who caused the plane to crash where it did (in theory) and didn’t even know it.

          • Ok, yes I totally missed all that
            Given that I never finished the game, I really can’t say how far I had gotten before quitting
            But I started finding the combat monotonous and towards the end of my playing the story points started feeling too far apart
            I just couldn’t see the payoff for my play

            But thank you for filling me in, sounds more promising now

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              You can always just watch the spoiler warning of bioshock.I found it much more interesting than playing the game myself to get to the story,and I like you have stopped because it became to monotonous for me.

  22. Fat Tony says:

    I haven’t commented here for a while, but anyway.
    I’ve noticed josh is intent on fighting with the Assassins Hidden blades, HE NEEDS TO KNOW THAT WHEN YOU GET A SINGLE KILL, any kill, that does a flashy animation, like one of the assasssinations (e.g the high five to the face one, where the blades go through their eye socket) he can point to the next nearest person and just span the attack key, he can combo to the next guy and just have ezio “dance” from person to person, murdering them oh-so easily

  23. Johan says:

    The Venice thieves’ guild sounds like an RPG town.

    “Oh glorious hero, will you please do everything for us? In exchange I will give you whatever I have in my pocket.”

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