Assassin’s Creed 2 EP25: Capture the Herp Derp

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Nov 23, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 140 comments

Aside: at the seven minute mark we all talk over each other at once and nothing makes sense. What happened was that Josh lagged out, and then Vent delivered ten seconds of dialog in a few seconds to get him caught up. Sorry about that. There’s not much that can be done to untangle that when it happens.

Link (YouTube)

And the haters continue to hate. Let the record show that this is Rutskarn’s first F-bomb on Spoiler Warning. Not even Fallout 3 drove him to such mad and desperate measures as using one of the Forbidden Words of Power. Truly these are dangerous times.

Note how the camera cuts away from Ezio to the guys paying off the judges. Does Ezio recall his own life in terms of movie cuts and scenes presented for the benefit of an audience, even things he didn’t personally observe? I wish I remembered life that way. I’d remember every trip to the grocery store in terms of me walking away in slow motion, putting on sunglasses, while the building explodes behind me.

So what is it, Ubisoft? Are we re-living Ezio’s memories or not? Did Ezio really play a round of one-on-one capture the flag where the game was flagrantly stacked against him and the only way to win was to repeatedly fall two stories onto pavement? Historical capture the flag was a children’s game that looked almost nothing like what we see here. In fact, what we see here looks more like modern videogame CTF than anything they might have played in the renaissance. Why did you guys spend so much time meticulously re-creating historical Venice and famous historical figures if you were just going to throw such a hilariously incongruous anachronism into the mix?

How about that plot twist at the end? That thing, that seemed like a stupid waste of time? In the end, it turned out to be… a stupid waste of time! DUN DUN DUN!

As I said, this ended the game for me. I played a few rounds, turned the game off, and never went back. It wasn’t fun. The golden masks made no sense. It made no sense that someone could acquire a golden mask by playing CTF. It made no sense that Ezio would bother to play it. The mechanics of CTF made no sense. The conclusion was both predictable and nonsensical, which is quite an achievement.

And then we get to the party and NOBODY ELSE IS WEARING A GOLDEN MASK, NOT EVEN OUR ALLY WHO IS ALSO AT THE PARTY SOMEHOW. GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAarg sdm msdfm, ewj ;jvdsm lk/kfsm lkrwm l3rm io;m f’ l

This is, on balance, dumber than anything in Fallout 3. There. I said it.


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140 thoughts on “Assassin’s Creed 2 EP25: Capture the Herp Derp

  1. Spammy says:

    He dropped an F-Bomb at the end of Mass Effect 2!

    Clearly someone needs to show him that 12 year olds aren’t supposed to use words like that.

    Also, n+1th! Where n is the number of comments before mine.

    1. CTrees says:

      There is no N, only Null.

      1. Mephane says:

        I can assure that null, Null, NULL, zero, Zero, ZERO or just plain 0 is as valid a value. As long as you do not try to dereference it.

    2. Eärlindor says:

      I also think he may have dropped the F-Bomb when we first meet Uncle Mario…

      1. Rutskarn says:

        I said no discrete, comprehensible words when that happened.

        1. acronix says:

          I bet that if we put them on reverse and in slow motion they´ll sound like a Chtulhu summoning ritual.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Or headcrab zombies.

  2. Mixmastermind says:

    “This is, on balance, dumber than anything in Fallout 3. There. I said it.”

    Woah, let’s not get hasty here.

    1. Tizzy says:

      I know!! I never thought I would ever read such words here, especially not from Shamus himself!

      1. Raygereio says:

        Well, let’s compare the two.
        AC2’s overall writing isn’t awfull. Now, I can’t call it good either (it’s storytelling is woofully lacking in several areas and there are a lot of contrivances in the plot that just weren’t necessary), but that’s besides the point.
        Now, no one in their right minds can deny that Fallout 3’s story oozes stupidity from its every crevice. There is not a single positive thing one can say about FO3’s plot.

        There lies the problem: No one involved with the writing of FO3’s plot can be accused of being able to string together a coherent sentence, while the writing staff of AC2 exhibited some small measure of competence at times.
        And yet, the latter group, that together ought to have had just enough fries for their happymeal, willfully put this segment in the game. They wrote dialogue and scenes for it and everything. Heck, the problem goes further then the writing staff. The rest of the designers ought to have taken one look at the CTF game and said: “Golly, this sure isn’t fun. Let’s scrap that”.

        FO3 was dumb, but it showed that there was nothing to be done. No one involved had the capacity to save it. Carnivalle, on the other hand, has the stench of something that could have been prevented – if only someone said “Guys, isn’t this just a little bit dumb? Maye we ought to change it a bit” And negligence like that is a far greater crime that simply being woefully inept.

  3. james says:

    Their is no trick to catch the guy with the flag. Sprint, its not a trick just a button. It didn’t look like you were sprinting, were you sprinting and i just didn’t realize? everything else though i agree with though.

    1. Torsten says:

      Even sprinting the guard will be running about the same speed as you are. He is also able to make 90 degree turns while running, while the player – with the games wonky controls – will send Ezio head first into a canal trying the same trick.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      He wasnt.You can outsprint him on the straights,but like Torsten said,you cant do it when he cuts corners.

      1. james says:

        ok that but the point is its not impossible and they did not even try sprinting just complained rather loudly about it being impossible. I agree its stupid just not impossible.

        1. Newbie says:

          Not even hard…

        2. psivamp says:

          Well, it’s not like this game gives meaningful context pop-ups. It tells you to press the jump button to jump. Gee, thanks. Although, at least you can look up/change the keybindings… I can’t remember what I played that gave similarly useless context pop-ups AND didn’t have a menu to change or even view the keybindings in game.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Actually,it does give meaningful pop-ups,in a way.Sure,it doesnt say space,e key,and the rest,but thats just four buttons that youd have to remember the position of in order to know what they are doing.And it does say what any of them will do depending on your profile.

            And having those buttons be depicted as head,hand,foot,and whatever the hell the fourth one is,is much better than having them depicted as circle,triangle,square and x,which they couldve easily done so they would placate the console players and say fuck you to the pc players.

            And just like you have to memorize that space is jump in other games,you have to memorize that space is foot in this game.So its not worse in that respect than any other game.

            1. Axle says:

              In brotherhood the pop-ups tell you the exact button you have to press (“space”, LMB, RMB, etc) instead of forcing you to remember, while playing, if “hand button” means shift E or space.

              Brotherhood is so much better…

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                True that.

  4. Irridium says:

    Woah, calm down there Rutskarn. You don’t want to be known as a Sweary Mary do you?

    Also, “This is, on balance, dumber than anything in Fallout 3”. Well now… I don’t know. Though considering most of the dumb stuff in Fallout 3 you can bypass I suppose you have a point. But the dumb stuff still exists. Tenpenny Tower, still exists. You’re dad, still exists. Well, until he killed himself instead of just letting you walk in and kill everyone with your super slo-mo power.

    1. acronix says:

      But Fallout 3 spread it´s stupidity consistently all across the game, while AC2 puts all the stupid basket in one point (or two, if you consider the ending). Hence, Fallout 3 is more stupoidly balanced!

    2. Dante says:

      why would we know Rutskarn as anything with “man” in it?

      1. Irridium says:

        Hey, everyone, I found Dante!

        1. Dante says:

          ……..oh goddammit

          1. Halceon says:

            Quick! Steal his mask!

  5. River says:

    Iv got the way it ends for you at the point you dropped it Shamus. Ezio was playing capture the flag and jumped off awkwardly to get the flag and snapped his neck, the resulting back-lash killed Desmond.

    Also on the guard standing and looking while josh was in the hay cart “I could have SWORN Leo had been here a second ago looking into that hay. Maybe if we stare at it enough he’ll come back out”

  6. Zak McKracken says:

    Man, you must have hated those people working at the grocery store …

    1. Shamus says:

      It should be “10 items or fewer” not “10 items or less”!!! Moreover, my six-pack should only count as one item! You will pay for your insolence! YOU WILL ALL PAY!

      1. Tizzy says:

        That’s it: from now on, I will forever picture Shamus as Hermes at the end of Lethal Inspection.

      2. Exasperation says:

        It’s interesting you should mention that. There is a grocery store in this city with the typical “n items or less” signs. But if you drive to another city an hour away, there is a grocery store in the same chain that has “n items or fewer” signs.

        1. Mephane says:

          Which means some local guy types them and prints them out in the backroom.

          1. Thomas says:

            Fewer is a horrible sounding word anyway. anything that reduces its existence is a good thing. It’s like it’s trying to sound like a German word without any of the honesty or awesomeness of actually being German. 10 items or fuhr? Yes please

            1. Sumanai says:

              Surely it should be “10 items or fà¼rher”.

  7. Gamer says:

    I was waiting for when you guys got to this point. I knew it would result in hilarity.

    The entire carnival sequence was stupid even the first time I played. I did not understand the point of any of it even back then. The mask are numbered, so that’s apparently important because it means you can’t steal it. I was like “A little dumb, but I’ll go with it.” Then, “Nope. They cheated, now you have to steal a mask. What? You said their numbered so you can’t steal it? SHUT THE FUCK UP! WHAT DO YOU KNOW?”. I’m glad I stuck with it though, because that was the worst sequence in the entire series and it does get better from there.

    Also, quick note to Josh: You don’t have to use medicine before a memory starts. Starting a new memory automatically gives you a full heal.

    1. SyrusRayne says:

      And you’re stealing a /UNIQUE/ MASK. That a WHOLE CROWD OF PEOPLE saw someone else win (unfairly, but he still won it publicly,) which was rather the point of /you/ doing winning it.


  8. Chris Headley says:

    Shamus this is to help your Leonardo rage because the man really was not thinking of much on a day to day basis (the link does not support this). On the other hand this journal makes me feel wholly inadequate when I make to do lists.

    1. KremlinLaptop says:

      Actually that makes it worse.

      I mean that notebook is AMAZING and the game treats this absolutely fascinating historical figure like a dunce who couldn’t figure out which end to put his pants on without the help of Ezio the magnificent writer insert.

      1. Pete says:

        Oh come on now, he invented a FLYING MACHINE, in his SPARE TIME, all on his own, in a world in which every single other invention is derived from knowledge gained from the various pieces of Eden rolling about – and thats not even getting into the things he builds with a little encouragement in Brotherhood.

        1. swimon1 says:

          Yeah but that doesn’t make him look smart it just makes it look like he has a magical device somewhere that creates stuff for him. Whenever you interact with him he’s an idiot and whenever you see him do something the ideas come from Ezio. The amazing things he supposedly does off screen doesn’t help make him look smart because that’s not how movies work (it’s a game sure but all the story-telling is done in cutscenes so movie rules are in play here). When something is done off camera it’s implied that it was unimportant. So when Leonardo creates something amazing and we don’t get to see anything of the creating process we infer that it’s creation was unimportant and it’s existence and use by Ezio is the only important part. All the times Ezio laughs at Leonardo (or brings him the plans or whatever) are shown on the other hand, which is what’s objectionable of Leonardo’s portrayal. The writer(s) tell us that Leonardo’s accomplishments and inventions are irrelevant but it’s important when Ezio shows that he is smarter.

          So how could Leonardo’s depiction be better? Well that’s an easy problem to solve really, just show him being better than Ezio at something. This is the problem with their relationship, Leonardo seems like a loser because Ezio is better than him at everything that’s shown on screen. The only thing he seems to be good at is decrypting ciphers. Having a quiet little quest where you fetch some books and materials for Leonardo would make their relationship on a more even keel, show that Leonardo might help Ezio but he’s not his servant. As you enter his workshop he’s visibly working on whatever it is you need this time and instead of giving Leonardo the final piece of the puzzle that makes Leonardo go “Brilliant!” Ezio admits that he tried to read one of the books and didn’t understand a word of it. It would create a more dependant relationship where they clearly need each other Leonardo being the brains and Ezio being the muscle. It doesn’t mean that you have to make Ezio stupid, I have no problem with Ezio being better at scheming finding ways to break into places and whatnot but the game needs to clearly show how Leonardo is a brilliant engineer and Ezio is not. Of course this would mean having a scene that shows someone being better than Ezio at something and we can’t have that.

          Edit: Also about this episode: I read the text before I saw the episode and when you wrote “And then we get to the party and NOBODY ELSE IS WEARING A GOLDEN MASK” I thought you were being facetious or that it was just that the masks they were wearing weren’t golden (I don’t think the game ever said that the others masks would be golden so that wouldn’t have been that big a deal for me, although it would make Ezio even less subtle being the only one in gold) but they aren’t wearing masks at all… I… How the?… *head explodes*. Seriously how do you do that? Didn’t anyone play this and notice that these people should be wearing masks? Oh well I gotta go clean my walls now, brains and blood everywhere!

      2. Someone says:

        I like to think that Ezio is so full of himself he actually remembers his life that way.

  9. krellen says:

    Ouch. I haven’t even played any of Assassin’s Creed and this was physically painful to watch. That is a lot of plot derp.

  10. ? says:

    Dante is not even supposed to be here today.

    1. Tizzy says:


      This was the right thing to say especially as he walks away bloodied from the ring.

  11. Johan says:

    The moral of the story in Ezio’s Capture the Flag: the computer is a cheating bastard.

    “Note how the camera cuts away from Ezio to the guys paying off the judges. Does Ezio recall his own life in terms of movie cuts and scenes presented for the benefit of an audience, even things he didn't personally observe”
    I… thought that was all part of the conceit, considering the game is already played in 3rd person…

    1. Johan says:

      Also, I note that you didn’t actually HAVE to tackle the guard to take his flag, Ezio started glowing as soon as you touched him.

    2. Vipermagi says:

      I think the third person perspective is to make it a playable game more than for story reasons or anything. Videogame FOV is really terrible when compared to a pair of eyeballs.

      1. Johan says:

        Yeah, but then if it makes sense for the game to be played in 3rd person, then it seems to make just as much sense (to me) for all the 3rd person narrative conventions to come along for the ride.

        1. acronix says:

          I´d argue it doesn´t. 3rd person perspective resembles more closely humans´ optic range. In reality, while the sides of your focus points are…well, unfocused, you certainly can see someone aproaching with a sword. In a first person camera point of view, the player´s cone of view is severily nerfed.

          But all this is meaningless. The reason they used 3rd person camera was so they could make a cinematic game.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            And so that the camera would get stuck on walls.And wrestled from you at crucial moment during a jumping puzzle to achieve maximum frustration.

            1. Irridium says:

              Now I’m imagining the series in the vein of Mirror’s Edge. First person, running across the rooftops, assassinating dudes. All in first person.

              1. JPH says:

                I’d pay for a game like that.

              2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                I liked gameplay of mirrors edge.I didnt like the game itself,but I liked the mechanics.It doesnt work as a game,but as a tech demo it was nice.

            2. acronix says:

              Wait, you mean that isn´t suppoused to happen in reality?!

    3. Torsten says:

      The worst part for me was the way to win the CTF game. You need to abuse the game mechanics.

      There is no place for Leap of Faith at the rooftop and dropping off from the edge is too slow, the guard will get the flag. You need to jump down and counter the energy loss by having armor or taking medicine.

      Any point where player gets advance by doing something that normally is punishing in game mechanics just shows an example of bad design. up until this point we have not been encouraged to just “take the beating”.

      1. Raygereio says:

        You have to take the damage from that fall. Unless I managed to completely overlook it, there’s no normal free-running path downwards and climbing down takes far too long as then you’ll never catch the opponent in time.
        It also doesn’t help that – as far as I could tell – the opponent will randomly spawn in either a few moments after, or right at the start of the round. If it’s the latter then, no matter what you do, he will catch the flag before you.

        Everything about the CTF segement screames “I am an extremely poorly thought out minigame” at the top of it’s lungs.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I may be misremembering correctly,but I think that you can jump on him from the roof and take no damage.

          Still,I won the same way as Josh there.Only without the medicine,since you can survive that jump with just one bar of health,which then regenerates when you start the next round.

          1. Raygereio says:

            “I think that you can jump on him from the roof and take no damage.”
            Ah yes, the magical jump-on-someone-from-any-height-as-long-as-you-can-target-them-manouver, the one which somehow manages to leave both the Ezio and the poor vicitim he used to cushion his fall completely unharmed.

            Yeah, that might the only way to avoid the damage.

  12. Michael says:

    Never has an episode of Spoiler Warning been so worthy of an F-bomb. From a logical standpoint, this is thoughtless game writing at its very worst. There’s nothing more obnoxious than being told you can’t solve a problem using the same methods you’ve used hundreds of times already, because you can’t, because… um, you can’t. See that hoop? Go and jump through it.

    Up to now I’ve been thinking I’d eventually get around to playing AC2 one day regardless of any drawbacks SW highlights, but now I suspect there’s no point. I’d likely ragequit at around the same point in the game, and leaving stories unfinished just pisses me off.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      To be fair,it is the low point of the game.And they havent shown the memories of subject 16,which were much more fun.So now that you know the trick,you can practically skip this part and enjoy the rest of the game.

      1. Raygereio says:

        And they havent shown the memories of subject 16,which were much more fun.

        Your milage may vary on that one.

    2. 4th Dimension says:

      Yup, what DL said. You play AC2 for weird conspiracy theory plot, 16’s madness (I would rather have more of him than Ezio) and certain degree of badassnes of Ezio (when he is not talking). Of course there is parkour and stab stab gameplay, and it is possible to do things slowly and methodically, stalking your target and then when he least expects it swooping down/draging him down/emerge from concealment for a quick kill. Than dissapear in a cloud of smoke like a ninja. Or in Brotherhood tako on mobs with show off moves.

    3. karln says:

      Same here. I never really thought about any of this stuff, regarding it all as some enjoyable renaissance-themed gameplay fluff to fill in between the Subject 16 puzzles (seriously guys, you’re totally ignoring those?) and the 2012 Assassin/Templar story. Reminds me of how I used to treat the explore-and-random-encounter sections in FFVII back in the day.

      1. Loonyyy says:

        Those puzzles are kind of boring to finish. Simple and tedious, and then you’re rewarded with around, 2 seconds or so? of a strange video about Eden. To do this, you have to find landmarks, and run around them in Eagle eye until you find a weird symbol painted on the wall… No thanks. Risk vs. Reward. Getting bored to tears is not excused by ramblings and a video. That’s what Youtube is for.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          They arent simple later on.Some were very imaginative.And the ending movie isnt that short.Sure,you can skip the puzzles and watch the movie on youtube,but if you enjoy puzzles,its worth getting to them.

        2. karln says:

          I liked them. The puzzles aren’t just abstract, they reveal a bunch of backstory about the Assassins, Templars and PoEs and their place in Screed’s alternate history. The hidden messages are fun to find, too. I was particularly pleased with the one written in a modified masonic code; I didn’t know that one beforehand and decoded it using a combination of letter frequency, grep, and /usr/dict/words. THAT’S what we need to see in Spoiler Warning!

          The solution to the final puzzle was a nice thematic idea too, though Brotherhood’s final chess ‘riddle’ did it better imo.

          1. Thomas says:

            I liked the idea of the puzzles, their reward and the way they added to the backstory.

            The actual puzzles themselves tended just to cycle around the same repetitive ideas and none of them were very fun to do. By far the worst were the ‘find an object that looks like a circle’ puzzle where you’d immediately spot the right place, click on it, not click it in exactly the right way and spend 10 minutes pixel hunting clicking on every part

  13. noahpocalypse says:

    You know what Dante? Go to hell.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      I think someone wrote a book about that.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I think it was shinya goikeda.

      2. Someone says:

        The book was actually based on a videogame.

  14. Phoenix says:

    Lol the final part is hilarious.

  15. rayen says:

    i think the worst part was the end brawl fight thing. yeah nobody’s gonna say anything while guards jump in the ring armed with swords? oh and then we kill them all bloodily. And No one in the crowd has anything to say? Yes there was combat in rings to the death in Italy. A thousand years before the setting you have though! Jeez, this smakcs of the problem uncharted has, set pieces first gameplay/story second.

    1. Tizzy says:

      I’m thinking: somebody came up to the writers and said “hey, we’re going to have a bunch of stupid minigames thrown in here, go and write up some dialogue to justify them.”

      Poor writers…

    2. psivamp says:

      They said something about it; they said that the carnival games were awesome. Apparently, there’s always a guard-killing event.

  16. Dysii says:

    No one’s supposed to win the mask. All the events are ridiculously difficult to normal mortals for just that reason. It’s just entertainment for the commoners, they get to see competitors fail. That’s why the bad guys are looking unhappy after you win them, that’s why they cheat at the fight and that’s why they steal the victory.

    1. Thomas says:

      The problem with this, is why do they care so much? It’s just some party and it’s not a very exclusive part at that, prostitute nun (who if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m pretty sure they reveal to be a frickin’ Assassin anyway at the end) is at the party. Smoes are at the party. It’s not like the Doge doesn’t have to do lots of other things in day to day business that involve meeting people. If they think the only reason someone wants the mask anyway is to kill the doge, why don’t they cancel the contest? Or make every possibly attempt to actually kill the person who they believe to be an Assassin rather than just letting him stand next to you on a stage? Why would you risk letting an Assassin stand next to you on a stage? Why was Ezio on the stage if they didn’t want to give him the mask? Are they admitting to the public that he was the actual winner?

      If it’s just a contest and they’re being mean for the sake of it, again why? It’s just a party? It’s not even a monetary value? If it’s just a carny trick why are they so desperate they’ll actually try to stab the guy to death? Most fairs I’ve been to don’t try to kill you if you find out how to win the goldfish? Why did they let Ezio get away with murdering four guards in public? Isn’t that the point where you send everything you’ve got at him?


  17. swenson says:

    On the plus side, you got to use the mobile whore cloak again, and you have to admit, that never gets any less hilarious.

    1. Hitch says:

      But it would be so much more hilarious if Ezio did the arm wave to help blend in.

  18. dovius says:

    While the game, at this point, is awful (I’m pretty much blind to awfulness in games at first playthrough, and even I knew that.), I gotta note Shamus randomly saying “I’m on a boat” as one of the funniest random SW moments.
    *Several minutes later*
    Now trumped by the rage over the monumental stupidity of this whole mess.

  19. Thomas says:

    If you guys wind this game down earlier, could you skip forward a lot and just do a couple of episodes on the end game? Have a Spoiler Spoiler Warning

    1. Nick says:

      Nooo please don’t, I want to see exactly how stupidly this all turns out! I’m told it gets pretty bananas towards the end of the plot…

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        It doesnt get stupider than this actually.

        1. acronix says:

          Daemian is right. Even the fistcuff fight with the Pope is more reasonable than this.

        2. Raygereio says:

          I don’t know; the next memory sequence manages some deep levels of stupid. Nothing quite so convoluted as what we have here, but still…

          Spoiler warning for the upcomming spoiler warning episodes:
          After we’re done with this assassination, we’re going to spend a lot of time and effort helping mercenaries help us get into the Arsenal.
          The problem being that the Arsenal isn’t some well guarded building like the DogeHQ was, you can just walk in like you own the damned place.

          1. Someone says:

            This always kills me in open world games. You can take on literally hundreds of mooks and kill them all without breaking a sweat, but come cutscene time and your character acts like six dudes patrolling the perimeter of a base are a deadly obstacle.

  20. Hitch says:

    We need to get into the party. We can’t get into the party, because we will be recognized, even though we haven’t been for the 100 murders we’ve committed in the city so far. We need to wear a mask — which will be hidden by the hood we’ve been wearing to hide our face , very successfully, so far. We can’t steal a mask, they’re numbered — even though that makes no sense whatsoever. We have to publicly win a mask — thereby destroying any pretense of anonymity provided by the mask. But the contest is rigged, by our enemies, who want to make sure we don’t get the mask. Meaning if we did get it, it would do absolutely no good at all. We win anyway. So they simply award the mask to someone else. So we need to steal the mask from them. Even though we’ve established that we can’t steal the mask. But we can’t kill the guy we steal the mask from to keep him quiet — like an Assassin would. If he’s very quietly dead and we disguise ourself as him (that’s the point of stealing the mask), they will cancel the party — because the one guest who wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place is dead and they don’t know that. So we steal the mask, letting him know it’s been stolen, so he can report it. When we do finally get to the party and NO ONE is wearing masks except us. And the guy we stole the mask from shows up to tell the guards that the ONE person at the party wearing a mask is the Assassin — making our disguise our greatest weakness. But that’s okay, everyone is preoccupied watching the man-eating hay cart at the party to look for a killer wearing the only mask at the party — which was the only way we could get in.

    There doesn’t seem to be any end to the levels of stupid. I’d like to think it can’t get worse, but I have a sinking feeling the next episode will prove me wrong.

    1. drlemaster says:

      Now that you have explained it, it makes perfect sense. We know that the bad guys are onto us, and we can’t sneak into the party… Unless we let them think that they are setting an ambush for us. So we carefully manipulate things so that they think we are stealing the mask for a disguise and they plan on using that against us. So we pretend that when we go to the party with the mask on, no one will recognize us, letting them think that we have mistakenly set ourselves up to the only masked person at the party. But we know we are actually safe, because our enemies have extremely short attention spans, and won’t actually be able to pull of an ambush without getting so distracted that their ambush becomes completely ineffectual.

      Or we could have just flown into the party.

      1. Scott (Duneyrr) says:

        OR we could have just hired some prostitutes and had them distract the guards who were guarding the doorway to the party. No flying devices necessary.

        1. Hitch says:

          You can’t just solve every problem with more prostitutes. That would be a completely different sort of game. Whether we want to see a Spoiler Warning of that is subject to debate.

          1. Syal says:

            What can’t be solved with prostitutes can be solved with lots of handfuls of coins.

          2. Alex says:

            You can't just solve every problem with more prostitutes.

            Not with THAT attitude, you can’t!


        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Or swim to the boat where the target is.Its not like someone would expect that,seeing how ezio is the only one who can swim.

          1. acronix says:

            I think they handwave the “npcs can´t swim” problem with “it´s an Animus bug”, which is hilarious if you manage to kill one of his targets by shoving them to the water.*

            *Disclaimer: I remember managing to do that once, but can´t remember if he was a main plot target or just some secondary quest target.

  21. Rax says:

    So… to win the race you have to jump from a rooftop in a canal, all while we know that no one in this game can swim?

    1. silver Harloe says:

      Doh, I was about to say that, too: how is this race possible for anyone except Ezio, when water is instant death for everyone else, and there’s swimming? Thank you, lazy developers.

      1. Tizzy says:

        Forget about the race: water of instant death is in itself proof enough of lazy development.

  22. Another_Scott says:

    So is starting episodes off with crashing into bards a thing now?

    I could get behind that.

  23. Another_Scott says:

    So is starting episodes off by crashing into bards a thing now?

    Hm… Yeah I can get behind that, it’s a good cause :)

    1. swimon1 says:

      good point Scott although I think another Scott made a very similar point not long ago ^^.

      Sorry it was just the name and all, too perfect^^

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Great Scott! You are right!

  24. Eddie says:

    I’ve only recently arrived in Venice, so I’m not up to this point yet, but I’ve found that the only way I could enjoy Assassins Creed 2 is to just completely abandon any critical thought about the storyline missions. Or any thought about them at all, for that matter. For me they are now just ways to unlock more side missions. I was on the brink of permanently quitting the game in frustration at the stupidity of it before I came to this realisation but now I’m actually quite enjoying it.

    1. acronix says:

      Unplugging one´s brain sure is useful for entertainment.

      1. Eddie says:

        I really would prefer for it not to be necessary though.

      2. Zukhramm says:

        The problem is, I just don’t know how to do it. I cannot stop myself from thinking about things.

        1. Raygereio says:

          A common rebuttal against complaints of bad writing is the retarded line of “Oh, you’re just thinking too much about it. Just enjoy the ride.”.
          I can’t help but stare slack-jawed at people when they say something so dumb. Why is it dumb? For starters, because it says that it’s bad to think.
          Even worse then that; People that say that accept crap. They welcome stories with no internal logic, poorly constructed characters, etc, etc, all the while saying ‘Thank you sir, may I have another’. People that say that, say to the producers and developers of entertainment that they don’t have to put efffort into their work, that quality isn’t needed.

          Any entertainment that for you to enjoy it requires you to not think about it, has a problem at its core. It’s as simple as that.
          Sure, sometimes it’s easy to not pay attention to that problem.
          AC2 – being a videogame – has for example it’s gameplay to save it. Well, when it’s not busy being CTF, that is. But that still doesn’t excuse the fact that the problem is there.

          So Zukhramm, the problem lies not with you and I honestly hope that you’ll never find out how to not think about things.

          1. Loonyyy says:

            Hey, if they think that you should accept crap, the ask them why they didn’t buy all those other, not so good games? Or why they won’t buy your pocket lint?

            1. karln says:

              For me, it’s because the bad elements in AC are elements I don’t care about (the excuse-plots for gameplay) or can tolerate (frustratingly repetitive do-overs required for 100% synch), while a bunch elements I do care about (atmosphere, an overarching large-scale conspiracy theme, semi-hidden backstory, fun parkour, sneaking up on guards and shivving them) are present and done well. I don’t play just any old shovelware because not all games have these elements. ‘Has poorly-conceived excuse plots for missions’ is not equivalent to ‘crap with no redeeming features’.

              “People that say that, say to the producers and developers of entertainment that they don't have to put efffort into their work, that quality isn't needed.”

              Insofar as I say anything, I say that as far as I’m concerned they can indeed just make up any old crap to justify individual missions because I play those bits for the gameplay only. If they stop bothering with the conspiracy puzzles, free-running, shivving, animus ghosts and treasure hunts, well THEN we’ll have a problem. That’s where quality is needed, for me anyway.

              Edit: oh and Shaun! How could I have forgotten? We need a game exclusively about Shaun at some point, he’s fantastic.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Its not as simple as that.The truth of the matter is that you cant expect perfection,and in order to enjoy something good,you have to ignore lots of flaws.A great gameplay,but bad story is just the same as great story with bad gameplay*.Sure,sometimes there may be a game that has both great story and great gameplay,but expecting such perfection from all the games leads nowhere.Most of the time youll get both bad story and bad gameplay,so when someone does one of those right,they should be praised for that.Sure,their flaws shouldnt go unnoticed,but you shouldnt ignore the good stuff just because of the bad stuff either.

            *I am not going to mention the rest of the elements that go in a game,since they are plentiful,but the same principle applies to all of them.

            1. Raygereio says:

              I’m not looking for perfection. I’m looking for not-bad.

              “A great gameplay,but bad story is just the same as great story with bad gameplay”
              I disagree with that. As much I love stories, I think gameplay is of far greater importance in videogames. Just like the controls and artstyle are.
              Example; Planescape Torment has some impressive writing and I’ll never see any of it ingame. Why? Because the gameplay with its mechanics is so bad, I’ll never play it.

              1. zob says:

                Planescape Torments gameplay was good for its time.

              2. acronix says:

                That´s true. Gameplay can kill a game for any gamer quicker than any bad plot. A bad plot, on the other hand, will kill the game only for a certain number of players, though I´d say the plot-murder causes a much deep sadness and/or anger than a gameplay-murder.

                I thought what killed Planescape for most modern players was the UI and the so-so combat.

                1. karln says:

                  Come to think of it, I may have been upset at the nonsensical plot if I’d had any reason to care about it up to this point. If it had been making sense so far and seemed like it was building toward something, and then just went insane like this. Replace the last hour of, say, Silent Hill 2 with this and I’d hate the game.

                  But when the ‘story so far’ in my head goes ‘Desmond escaped, he’s safe for now, gonna learn skills from this Ezio guy, man that’s awesome that he can do that, Ezio stuff, Ezio stuff, Ezio stuff, Ezio stuff, Ezio stuff, the training’s paying off and also Desmond is getting spontaneous flashbacks, that’s double awesome, Ezio stuff, Ezio stuff’… yeah as long as the ‘plot’ lets me play some running, sneaking and fighting games I’ll be fine with it. And they better let Desmond be awesome soon.

              3. Simulated Knave says:

                Dude, Planescape: Torment’s gameplay is not that bad. What aspect of it gives you such difficulty?

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    To be fair though,the golden mask does conceal your whole face,unlike the one youve used before.

    1. noahpocalypse says:

      But it’s a GOLDEN mask. And not just any golden mask, THE golden mask. The only one. The one they held competitions for! I imagine every guard knows well who Dante is, so if they see someone that isn’t him wearing said mask, shouldn’t they be a little curious.?

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Sure,but they wont say “Hey,theres ezio with dantes mask”,theyd say “Hey,theres some guy with dantes mask”.Its a perfect plan to remain anonymous!

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          Anonymous and in jail.

  26. RTBones says:

    I’ll bet you those courtesans were thinking, “man, Ezio looks like he is ready for a roll in the hay….”

    1. Bryan says:

      “Roll, roll, roll in ze hay!”


  27. 4th Dimension says:

    So Rutskarn unleashed the most powerful of Thu’ums “WHAT THE FUCK” one?

  28. Alex says:

    10 minutes of watching a guy run around collecting flags and racing because a fat guy told him to:

    “Hey, wasn’t there supposed to be some assassinations in this game?”

    1. Johan says:

      I have a feeling these were put in because Ubisoft didn’t want people to complain it was a repetitive grind of
      10 assassination
      20 plot
      30 new city
      40 goto 10

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Yeah this. The thing is, I can see the gamedev logic behind it: the game needs to be certain length (especially because we’re dividing the plot that should be in one part between two), it needs more variety, Ezio needs to transform from the revenge driven young hothead to the level headed leader of assassins and arrive at the tenets of the assassins’ philosophy and so on and so forth. Just, all of this is done in such a clumsy way…

      2. Alex says:

        Ain’t that the way? It’s like the only two choices for video games these days are “this is boring”, or “this unnecessary vehicle section is awful”.

        Or a vehicle section that’s boring AND awful!

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The vehicle section in this game was neither.Sure,it was nonsensical and unnecessary to the plot,but at least it was funny and fun to play through.

          1. Raygereio says:

            Your milage may vary on that.
            As far as random-vehicle-chase-scene-encounters go, I thought AC2’s, between the underwhelming presentation, sluggish controls and the rather dull shaking-of-your-pursuers-gameplay, wasn’t a fun one. Sure, it didn’t last long enough to start being annoying, but still…

            PoP: The Two Thrones’ RVCSE, for example, was far better excecuted. Though granted, that gameplay element did loose its charm rather fast after the 10th time you had to do one chase in particular as it was immediatly followed up by a broken, QTE infested bossbattle with no savepoint.

            *shakes fist* Ubisoft!

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Wait,the chariot races?Well ok,I guess there are people who liked the chariot races.

  29. Rasha says:

    Okay I just have no words for the logic based rage I’m experiencing. Probably all the anti logic that’s happening.

  30. I just wish there was a ring toss in this carnival that Ezio would have to cheat to win at using one of the pieces of Eden.

    Hang on, Ezio, did you kill Rita?

    1. Syal says:

      Now I want to see Mike Dawson do the Parkour race.

    2. Someone says:

      …and then just lose anyway. “Hey, you missed pal!”.

      Also, Ezio’s mom explaining everything about the plot in the end would be the only reward that justifies gathering 100 feathers.

      1. Dear God I hope The Illusive Man does that in ME3. I’d take back everything bad I ever said about that series.

  31. Rylinks says:

    The way I did the CTF was locating the guard’s score point and then running directly there each round and camping it.

  32. Gale says:

    This sequence really is the best illustration of the whole flawed design philosophy behind AC2 as a whole: Ubisoft came up with a list of (what they thought would be) interesting setpieces, and then loosely tied them together with tenuous excuses and contrivances. That’s the whole game. Cool things happen for no reason. There’s a high-speed chase in a carriage! You fly across Venice in a Da Vinci hanglider! You compete in a series of minigames to win a valuable treasure! You punch out the Pope! These could all be interesting and memorable scenes in an exciting story, but Ubisoft completely fails to tie them into the narrative in a convincing way, even going so far as to render some of them completely redundant in the following cutscene. The result is a sequence of events that lose all drive and emotional impact the moment you question them even a little.

    While this does happen in a lot of games, it’s especially egregious in AC2, and I feel like it was likely a reaction to the criticism of AC1. People wanted to like the first Assassin’s Creed, but you were just doing the same things over and over. It made sense in context, but it really just became tedious after a while. So to combat that problem, Ubisoft went way too far in the other direction; a bunch of interesting and unique ideas that are utterly incoherent and meaningless.

    1. Loonyyy says:

      I’m not quite so sure of this. Some of the stuff at the start is certainly more coherent, and interesting, with a much greater focus on the plot. But you’re right as well, at the end, it degenerates into minigames and setpieces.

      I wish they had the tenacity to actually write the thing out in it’s entirety first to make sure it made sense.

  33. some random dood says:

    Don’t really know where to ask this, so I’ll just drop it into this forum and hope for the best… (in part because it looks like AC2 may be winding up shortly)
    Any likelihood on doing a series on Saints Row 3 – whether the whole Spoiler Warning gang, or maybe Ruts doing a run on his own blog? Will admit, from what I’ve seen the game could be a laugh, but unlike the guy who can blow 400 dollars a month on games, I need to get a better view before dropping the (little) cash I have.
    Or has anyone played it yet, and have any comments on it? (For pc, so if anyone knows what the DRM is like on it too?)

  34. MatthewH says:

    I would speak in small defense of the stupidity.

    I want to emphasize small, I recall this being the part of the game where I switched from “let’s explore” to “let’s just get this over with.”

    The reason for the convolutions is not to get into the party, it’s to get into the party without killing Dante -who Antonio and Ezio both identify as being innocent of his actions on account of the massive brain damage redcloak did to him.

    In more competent hands, the irony of having to kill him anyway in the next section would have been played a bit higher.

    In either case, this represents some additional growth from the Ezio who killed Piazzi in Tuscany, lo those many years before.

    (Sidebar: I never got the impression in the two times I played this that Ezio was getting more mature -I got the impression he was getting tired. Once the energy from the revenge left him he kept going because it was all he knew to do, and it wore on him for twenty years. He doesn’t kill Rodrigo because by that time, what’s the point? It isn’t mercy -he’s to exhausted by the psychological toll to land the final blow.)

  35. TmanEd says:

    I’ve actually played that kind of Capture the Flag that you linked to, Shamus. It was good fun. The best way I can think to explain it is that it’s kind of like paintball without paintball guns.

  36. Joe says:

    Congratulations! You put up with a bunch of tedious BS, went to a party where stuff rendered your tedious BS worthless, and shot Santa. You’ve saved history forever. And Christmas.

  37. Dev Null says:

    Do you know, I didn’t even mind the idea of the ludicrous Capture the Flag game suddenly turning up in Venice for no apparent reason? I guess I sort of subconsciously got that they were trying to mix up the gameplay to keep it from being one long same-ish murder spree.

    What I hated, with a towering passion fit to scorch worlds, was how badly they implemented it. Rooftop CTF, where you’re effectively immune to falling damage and can therefore leap around like an idiot for speed – with invisible zone boundaries all around that cause you to magically lose the game and have to restart if you jump off that side of the building, or take a shortcut to the enemy base. Randomly changing camera angles as the chief source of difficulty, coupled with the run mechanic being the same one that causes you to run up any walls you might happen to brush against, wasting a whole ton of time and effectively ruining any chances of pursuit. Should you be foolish enough to actually play fair, that is. But since this is watery Venice, and Ezio is the only one in the city who can swim, why on earth would you play fair? Once you learn where the invisible walls aren’t, you just jump in the safe canal with the flag and swim away…

    Stupid, AND arbitrary, AND tedious, and – once you get past the arbitrary – in the end not even challenging. Its like a Quad-fecta of Evil.

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