Assassin’s Creed 2 EP29: Who’s the Templar?

By Shamus
on Dec 1, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

151 comments


Link (YouTube)

Another case of the game shooting itself in the foot. The idea of having a map detailing the location of boxes that are kept in semi-public places is wrong for a lot of reasons. Who is guarding these pages? The Templars? Why don’t they gather them up and put them someplace safe? Or burn them, if they don’t want them falling into assassin hands? Who pays to guard them? Who MADE this map, and why? Who put these items in these chests, and why?

So, once again, it’s just an arbitrary videogame item round up. This is fine for Mario (the plumber, not the assassin) and Link, but it doesn’t work against this faux-historical backdrop.

Worse, this once again takes the momentum out of the plot. The player thinks it’s time for the big showdown, and instead everything grinds to a halt while you prance around doing things that are less interesting and don’t make any sense in-world. It’s like: The Rebels are about to begin their run on the Death Star, but first we have to drop everything and do this crossword! By the time you get done, the feeling of urgency has been obliterated.

Note that I’m not objecting to fetch / gathering quests. Those can be fine, and lots of people even enjoy them. What I’m objecting to is how this is executed. It’s sloppy, dull, and damaging to the pacing of the story.

Tomorrow is the finale. Buckle up.

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  1. Adam P says:

    When I played through this game, I had picked up every possible codex page before the fight in the previous episode. It’s not that bad going through game and collecting as you go.

    I was very disappointed that I had to go all the way back to Venice to grab two pages that I was missing. And I was only missing them because of that damn “memory not available” wall, which only goes away after getting to this point in the game. It was my first major gripe with the game, actually.

    • Eärlindor says:

      I was able to collect most of them as well. Actually, what kept me going was, because you had to collect the first few for gear as part of the main quest, I thought Leonardo would unlock more toys and other stuff… then I’d get nothing for it and try again…

      Me: Maybe this next one will get me the gun (or something)!

      … No? Okay… maybe the next one!

      … Maybe the one after! (I know, I know; you don’t have to say anything).

      Then I put off getting the last few until I found out it unlocked the end-game, but yeah.

      But you can actually read the Codex pages, and there’s some interesting stuff written by Altiar. And what’s really disappointing is that they seemed to have retconed a lot of that in Revelations with really silly stuff in the new Altiar sequences.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        What silly stuff?

      • Supahewok says:

        You got something for it. Every 4 Codex pages gave you a health block. I think in total it came out to be 5 or 6 extra blocks, which is equivalent to a 5th piece of armor. That was my main motivation in collecting them before the endgame.

        • Eärlindor says:

          Y’know? I completely forgot about that.

          • Supahewok says:

            It’s easy to miss. I found the writings of Altair on them very interesting, and will be disappointed if they really did retcon a bunch of it. I thought it was a great way to put some closure to Assassin’s Creed 1 beyond the Altair sequence.

            • Eärlindor says:

              And I completely agree. I also loved the last entry with the sense of mystery and wonder of what happened after he put down the quill on that last page, but knowing that you’d never find out.

              The Altiar sequences in Revelations were disappointing. They were short, didn’t really bring anything interesting or new to the table, and retconed Altiar’s story as told by the Codex pages (and poorly so)–though there was something about the last sequence that I kinda liked, but I’m conflicted as to whether or not it contradicts the last Codex entry.

              • Thomas says:

                I did love reading the codex pages, my favourites were the ones about how Altair was changing the order (particularly the reason for the redesigned blades) and the one where he writes ‘We say everything is permitted, yet we have strict rules, we say nothing is true, but we have a strict creed, we say that men must be free, yet we kill those who oppose us. Are we hyprocites? No because saying this makes us sound wise and cool even though it doesn’t affect anything’

                Something to that extent. The Prisoner 16 backstory (not actually the solving the puzzles themselves) and the codex page were my favourite nits of ACII

              • 4th Dimension says:

                Ummm, Revelation memories mostly happen AFTER Codex pages, after he went and dealt with the Khan. Allthough I they might retconned when did he write the codex.

                What did bother you the most about those memories. I thought they were quite good. They didn’t try to go with the easy route and simply make Altair a old badass killing machine. In his later memories he is truly an old man that gets winded by walking, but you still see how focused and stuborn he is. Also you see that truly he is the Mentor, not simply some guy in clown costume that was chosen for the post for his killing skills. No Altair was chosen for his mind, dedication and wisdom.

                • Eärlindor says:

                  There is no evidence to suggest the Codex was written after the invasion of Mongolians, and you can tell from the text that they were, in fact, written throughout the course of his life. You see him question the philosophy of the Creed, and make revisions to the order, as well as study the Apple, his personal struggles with it, and other Assassins (like Malik) showing concern regularly. If anything, it’s the Codex that shows Altair as a true Mentor possessing dedication, wisdom, and a strong mind while the Revelations memories do the exact OPPOSITE.
                  They were only five (six it turns out) of them; they were short, meaningless, and, above all, undid who Altair was. They make Altair look like an incompetent moron who can’t keep the Order together, and a bigger moron when he confronts Abbas in the most illogical and unprepared way, and getting his wife killed in the most contrived way for no reason, and it’s all his fault–everything he does is counter to his character. Then they make the Assassin’s look like idiots for joining with Abbas when there was all the evidence in the world to show they had NO REASON to mistrust or betray Altair. Then he ran off and pouted for twenty years when he had no reason to stay away that long OF HIS OWN ACCORDANCE–when he had the means to reassert control and spare everyone YEARS of misery and decay under Abbas. I don’t mind the idea of his authority being challenged after Al Mualim’s death, but the whole thing was handled poorly and in the dumbest way possible.

                  Other stuff: 1) Altair states in the Codex that he would evaluate the work and skill of both his sons against the Mongols, but now it’s retoned and contrived that one son stays behind and gets killed by Abbas or his goons (refer to above paragraph about idiot Assassins).
                  2) I admit I like the mechanics used for “Old-man Alt” but even in those sections, your goal is too KILL PEOPLE. Even when he says no Assassin–follower of Abbas or otherwise–is to be harmed, Old Alt’s followers STILL deliberately assassinate Abbas’s goons without comment. And YOU go with the intent to kill his officers and the old dunce himself. I think it would have been better if Altair showed Abbas mercy, proving he is the better, and wiser, man; thus, Abbas would peacefully be “dethroned.”
                  3) The last memory is probably best because you DON’T have to kill anybody. Altair has Masyaf abandoned, seals himself away, seals away the Apple, then peacefully passes from the world. There’s something odd about this that I kinda like, but it seems to retcon the last Codex entry where he senses his end is near, fears death, and gives into the temptation of giving the Apple “one last look…,” probably in hopes of finding immortality, and we never know what happens afterward.
                  Altair fights to be the just and ideal leader, and tries not to abuse the Apple, all his life and at the final stretch he fails–or seems to fail, but we don’t exactly know what happens. Whereas now, he seals away the Apple AND himself without a second thought and dies.
                  I’ll admit, I’m conflicted between the two, but at the end of the day it’s a retcon to something that was perfectly fine the way it was, so I deduct another point.

    • acronix says:

      The problem is that the Codex pages are introduced once around the beggining of the game and then are never spoke of until this point. Until then, they are just a gamelike collectible, so there´s really no good reason for a plot-focused player to go look for them (except for the health bonuses they give). Forcing the player to collect them seems to be another case of “we´re afraid the palyer will miss a bit of what we did!”-syndrome.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        They are mentioned a few times actually.Thats how leonardo makes you a double blade and a gun.But yes,not enough weight is put on their collection.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Like many people here I got most of these along the way, I was hoping for some interesting bits of lore written on those and I think the puzzle fragments are visible whenever you look at the wall and turn on eagle vision so I got the idea that there is some puzzle in there pretty quickly. In short, I was pretty sure these would unlock something and this spared me a lot of running around during the endgame, I probably would be frothing at the mouth if I had to go through all the cities breaking into that same bank twenty or so times to get these just before the endgame. Also, I can’t remember, don’t they show up on the map as soon as you synchronise a location rather than only after getting the map from Caterina?

  2. It depends…..I’d done the collecting during the game (and finished long before the last few missions……..) what killed the finale for me was the fact that I was playing with the DLC missions automatically included (battle of Forli and The Bonfire of Vanities) – and no chance to get rid of them…….

    • Zekiel says:

      I absolutely agree. The DLCs were both fairly fun individually, but they completely killed the pacing of the game.

      • Raygereio says:

        Sir, you are operating under a weird, twisted and possibly illegal definition of the word “fun” if you’re willing to shove a combination of the following: forced stealth segements, a barely functioning stealthsystem and the complete and tragic absence of a saving feature, under fun.

        Granted, the Forli DLC was okay. Okay in the sense that it wasn’t bad. But the Bonfire DLC was pretty darn inexcusable.

        • Supahewok says:

          I found the Bonfire DLC pretty fun. I found a couple of rather ingenious solutions to two of the stealth missions, and the rest you just had to apply the gun. I still dislike it because it dragged on SO much. There should have been half as many targets. Forli was fun except I can’t stand Caterina, and Machiavelli (who, by the way, is the temporary head of the Assassins in Brotherhood) proves himself completely incompetent.

  3. Dev Null says:

    Wait, its not over? I’ll admit I don’t watch all your guys’ Lets Plays – especially when I haven’t played the game yet – but I watched the last one (which was thoroughly ridiculous) and I assumed that that was the… uhm… finale? You know, in the same sense that Chaplin generally just wanders off-camera after the barn falls around him? I mean, how do you follow on from that last bit of mind-buggery, and pretend you’re still telling a story of some sort?

    (In fact, now that I mention it, your last ep reminded me quite a lot of a Chaplin film, only with your Ezio playing one of the Keystone Cops.)

    • guy says:

      Apparently tomorrow will be a fistfight with the pope.

      So, uh, I’d say it’s more like they gave up on pretending to have any sort of sensible story and added another hour of gameplay anyhow.

      • Newbie says:

        They added an extra hour of excellent gameplay. In fact I consider the Rome mission the best mission in the game but with the worst ending and least coherent storyline.

  4. Nyctef says:

    The thing is, if you’re a good little player (like me) you’ve been dutifully collecting codex pages as you find them and the map just lets you finish off the last two or three before you go on to the finale. It’s a shame they didn’t do something better, though.

    Also want to give props to an unusually good YouTube comment:
    “Wow, the apple sure is user friendly”

    Also, talking about all the people who are Templars reminds me about the Leonardo complaints: this is alternate history! The fact that Leonardo manages to invent something without the assistance of a Piece of Eden makes him pretty darn special. At least, it’s meant to.

    Pope Alexander VI: Totally an Assassin. I mean, he’s so cute and chubby. I’m betting he does Father Christmas for all the little kids, too.

    Venice does kinda live up to it’s reputation, but that’s because it’s pretty much run by the tourist board. Not like Paris.

    Hemorrhaging gazongas. Oh my goodness.

    • Supahewok says:

      I’ve heard it smells terrible after the canal system was used as sewage for hundreds of years. Is it still true, or have they cleaned up?

      • Nyctef says:

        Can’t say I noticed the smell, so yeah it’s probably been cleaned up.

        • SharpeRifle says:

          Yeah they cleaned Venice awhile ago…tourism required it.

          If you want to smell what it was like try Naples…the harbor was horrible when I visited about 10 yrs ago…they mighta cleaned it by now….but I doubt it.

          And Alternate history is really no excuse for unbelievable history.

  5. False Prophet says:

    To be fair, this is why I generally don’t like crafting systems in RPGs. In Bethesda-style open-world games and MMORPGs it’s fine, because exploration and faffing about killing time are kind of the point in those games. But in your typical single-player, story-driven RPG where you’re told the fate of the world is at stake, resource-hunting and sidequests with no relation to the main plot seem really video-gamey. A couple of quests to get the phlebotinum so the NPC blacksmith can forge the MacGuffin of Slaying the Dark Overlord–fine. Running around the world map looking for herbs so I can make my own poison antidotes–why am I not just buying these things instead of wasting valuable world-saving time? Do you ever read about the protagonists of an epic fantasy trilogy spending a month and a half harvesting unicorn horns to brew several dozen healing potions?

    It’s kind of funny that Dragon Age 2 is the one that did away with the crafting system when the story of that game supports one far better than Origins ever did.

    • burningdragoon says:

      There was a crafting system in Origins? I only remember a making-health-potions system.

      The worst sidequests/etc system in terms of story pacing I’ve seen recently was in Final Fantasy XIII. 1) You don’t actually have any sidequests until around 30 hours in. 2) The whole adventure revolves around a time limit the characters have before they die and just before having sidequests available it is made very, very clear that they really don’t have much time left and should probably hustle up.

    • Raygereio says:

      Erm. DA2 still had a crafting system.

  6. Dennis says:

    Rasputin made this video great.

  7. Some Jackass says:

    …Now before you can complete the game -> You must collect all the feathers! Get busy!

  8. 4th Dimension says:

    Well you are supposed to collect Codex pages as you progress through the game. They are even marked from the start. Why are they marked and how do you know about them is a whole another thing. On top of that Codex pages were written by Altair, and offer a glimpse into his life and philosophy after the end of AC1. AND if you are a simple game play person, every three codex pages dechyphred give you one square of health. And 450f for three groups of whores is lot less expensive than new armor.

    As far as new undiscovered lands goes, Europeans didn’t figure out it was a new continent (although those that still suspected Columbus was still wrong in his calculations* probably figured it out) that C discovered until Amerigo Vespuci proved it some decades after Columbus journey. And even if we discard Americas, there was still loads of Terra Incognita back then. And some places were horribly out of proportion on top of that.

    With Tesla, it was more that they burned his lab, discredited him, and JP Morgan (also an Templar by the way) cut his funding. But he got some revenge on Templars by blowing up a Peace of Eden (supposedly the same staff Rodrigo wore which Russian monarch later wielded), that Rasputin stole and was fidling with it then, along with the Tunguska.

    • Dev Null says:

      On top of that Codex pages were written by Altair, and offer a glimpse into his life and philosophy after the end of AC1.

      Ah, but since I never finished AC1, having given up in disgust after they forced me into a tiny arena full of armoured knights and surrounded by invisible walls, and not allowing me to use any of my skills as a, y’know, assassin, I don’t really care about Altair anymore.

      Not bitter or anything. Really.

      • Gamer says:

        I at least recommend you YouTube the rest of it, especially since you got that far. That’s the beauty of our time: You buy and game and hate it, but love the story, YouTube it.

        • Gale says:

          If someone was going to watch an LP of Assassin’s Creed, I’d want to recommend Geop’s LP of the series. I really enjoyed it. That said, he goes heavily into the actual historical account of the time, and when I say heavily, I mean occasionally spending half an hour of an hour-long episode in full-on documentary mode. I love that kind of thing, but if you just want to watch how the damn game ends, then it’s probably more hassle than it’s worth.

  9. Another_Scott says:

    At the 13:05 mark we see the secret fail-proof technique for getting a bard to leave you alone!

    At 16:15 we see that word has spread to other bards as the next one tries to flee…

    A stroke of pure genius.

  10. Supahewok says:

    I’d never realized that Forli and the 2nd part of Florence were DLC. I suspected there was something off about them (2nd part of Florence has no collectibles) so I always figured they were in there for padding.

    However, they do provide plot and backstory that I don’t know is adequately explained in the “regular” game. For instance, that map that Ezio has was made by Catterina’s (or whatever her name is) husband. He was working for the Templars, and Caterina had him assassinated sometime while Ezio was in Florence. Upon completion of the Forli DLC, she gives it to him.

    Ostensibly, after the Codex was separated, the pages were in boxes that got shipped all over Italy. My personal problems are that: 1) There are more than 5 cities in Italy, and after about 100 years or more I would expect them to be more spread out. 2) The pages that aren’t plot specific are, every one of them, in its own chest in a bank. Sure, since all banks have guards it gives them a reason to be guarded, but I much rather that you had to steal them from museums and private collections, which as antiques is probably where they would have ended up.

    The single biggest problem I have with the entirety of Assassin’s Creed II’s plot, though, is the MASSIVE time gap between obtaining the Apple and going to Rome. It took 12 years for Ezio to get to the bottom of the conspiracy. It took 11 years to bring the Apple to Monteriggioni. The ingame justification for this is that it took that long to go through Forli, Florence, and gather the pages of the codex. however, if you are a smart player you may already have the majority of the codex pages, or all of them. And the game doesn’t feel like it lasts for 11 years in Forli and Florence. I would say that the “Seige of Forli” lasts about a week from Ezio landing there to his waking up after getting stabbed. So that leaves 10 1/2 years for Florence, and after all the practice Ezio has had following, stealing, and assassinating, you can’t tell me it takes him any more than 6 months of work to get the Apple back. And that’s being generous.

    Also, Ezio being in his late 20’s at the end of Venice makes sense for me. It feels right. He should’ve finished the game at about 30. Instead, he gets to Rome in his late 30’s. That’s too old, especially for the time period. This is what happens when the game writers try to inject their story into history: at times, there simply isn’t room for the writers’ vision, and without giving way to either history or the plot, the game universe gets messy and suffers.

  11. Viktor says:

    Robert Pattinson(Edward) is an assassin undercover in the Templar propaganda piece that is Twilight. He makes it obvious in interviews and commentaries that he hates the series, thinks the fans are idiots, and considers Edward to be an emotionally-abusive stalker. It’s hilarious.
    http://robert-pattinson-hates-his-life.tumblr.com/

  12. Jeff R. says:

    Australia doesn’t get discovered until 1606, and the western coast of America wouldn’t get mapped out until 1550 or so. In Ezio’s time, the people who were aware of the New World didn’t expect it to extend nearly as far west as it does.

    • Jakale says:

      Not to mention Antarctica. Wiki does say the new lands knowledge traveled pretty fast after Columbus’ first voyage, so if we wanted to assume these people are credible and it isn’t just bad writing, then we can guess they mean Australia and Antarctica.

  13. swimon1 says:

    I knew long before this that the end boss was against the pope. It’s one of the more common jokes about this game so I was prepared. Watching this I’m still surprised by how stupid it is. Maybe the next episode will change my mind and it will be both extremely plausible and super sensible but I kinda doubt it. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with making the pope a villain in your story personally* but as a traditional video game end boss? Are you mad? You don’t become the pope because you’re the greatest swordsman in the land. The threat of being the enemy of the pope is clearly not the pope himself rather it’s that he can excommunicate you after which a lot of other people will kill you, in renaissance times… less so now.

    *although maybe you want to grey up the morality a bit when you’re talking about such a prominent religious figure? Maybe painting him as unquestionably evil in a black and white narrative is a bit disrespectful? Even if you really dislike him as a religious figure it’s clearly lacking in basic respect to turn an actual person into a villain in a black and white story like this. Hitler is of course exempt from that rule (because of such a precedent set by previous media, also he was a mass murdering fuck head (as many important historians have said) ) as are serial killers since they’re pretty much as close as you can get to actual evil.

    • Jakale says:

      Considering how many people they popped the piece of eden onto in the first game, and the stuff they make into behind the scenes manipulating events like the Hitler thing mentioned in the episode, doing this to the pope is fairly in keeping with the game writer’s methods.

    • SougoXIII says:

      ‘You don’t become the pope because you’re the greatest swordsman in the land.’

      Oh, what make you think that we’re going to fight him with our swords…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well,if that stupid fight in venice wasnt inserted,it would make sense for rodrigo to be a classic end game boss,because he does have a piece of eden.

    • Supahewok says:

      About Hitler… what the crew said wasn’t the complete picture. Guess who were Templars besides Ford, Edison, and Hitler? Try FDR, Woodrow Wilson, And Joseph Stalin. WW2 was a Templar conspiracy where they controlled BOTH sides of the conflict to expand their global power. At the end of the war, hitler was supposed to make it look like he committed suicide before fleeing and rendevouzing with either Stalin or Wilson, I forget. Assassins managed to catch him fleeing his bunker and killed him.

      Yeah, after that I really don’t think they give a damn about the Pope, especially since history already says he was one of the most corrupt and evil men to hold the Papal seat.

      • swimon1 says:

        Wait that was real? I thought they were just joking around because it kinda reads like bad fan-fiction… I don’t even have jokes here I mean I thought the writing in brotherhood was bad certainly but… Edison was a templar? Is there anyone in history who weren’t an assassin or a templar? Was Friedrich Nietzsche a templar and his later insanity not neurosyphilis but him being poisoned by assassins? Was Jesus an assassin? Did Groucho Marx kill Obama with a time laser? Holy crap and I thought it was kinda silly when Deus Ex brought in greys but silly doesn’t exist any more. I thought the original fable made no sense but now it’s downright plausible if only by comparison.

        Also on the more serious issue, I will admit that I know next to nothing except vague concepts and trivia when it comes to the Italian renaissance so maybe Rodrigo Borgia was just as evil as he is in assassins creed. I’m still not really ok with it. Taking a real person who had real motives and just making him evil with no exploration of his psyche or motivation kinda squicks me out. People aren’t that simple and making someone real into an “enemy” is really kinda ugly, even if they have been dead for quite a while. The serial killer and Hitler exemption isn’t really because they were more evil than anyone else (please let’s not have that discussion) it’s because they’re already so entrenched as enemies in our culture that you’re not really doing anything by painting them as evil.

        Edit: Oh! I have another one! Pierre Curie was an assassin and the driver of the horse drawn cart that killed him: Marie Curie! DUN DUN DUN. By killing him she could hide the effects of radiation poisoning from the public. Because it turns out that the collective damage done to the human DNA by careless use of radiation (like x-rays to see if your shoes fit or uranium health spas) would make it easier to control people with the pieces of Eden. I wrote that as comedy but I don’t think it’s any less stupid than the Edison or the ww2 stuff.

        • Supahewok says:

          Oh, Jesus was his own thing. Kinda. The Shroud of Turin is a Piece of Eden that gave him his miraculous powers. As far as I know, he didn’t side with the Templars or Assassins, but instead tried to spread his own truth. And interestingly enough, noone since Jesus has been able to control the Shroud of Turin without horrible side effects and terrible consequences. Yeah.

          The WW2 conspiracy is from the Truth glyph puzzles in AC2, not Brotherhood. For more bad fanfiction from these segments try: the moon landing was a conspiracy by the Templars to recover a Piece of Eden on the moon, the Templars assassinated JFK because he was either about to spill the beans on the Templars publicly or he was planning to “give the vote to everybody” (it’s not clear because I think 2 sources contradict each other), and the Templars conducted a teleporter experiment that accidentally sent a battleship through time rather than space as intended. “Bad fanfiction” sums it up nicely.

          About Borgia: he’s from far enough back that it can be tricky to portray an accurate psychological motivation for what he does. Ostensibly, all knowledge of the game’s events stem from the memories of Ezio, and Borgia is portrayed as ruthless enough to kill anyone who knew too much about him that he did not want them to know. Easier to just right him off as a Hitler with a god complex minus the genocide. As for him being evil: let’s just say that historical documents very strongly imply that a certain Pope had sexual relations with his underage illegitimate daughter, and encouraged his sons to do the same. Oh, and he had anyone in the Church who spoke against him murdered and their property confiscated.

        • Drexer says:

          I’m sorry, but videogames have used and grabbed hundreds of protagonists from dozens of nationalities like Russians and various unnamed and named countries from the Middle-East and Asia immensely as antagonists, many times portraying them as the pure incarnation of evil by their actions.

          And now it feels squicky because they did it with a white-male-Christian historical figure?

          • acronix says:

            But they ussually don´t take them all at once and shove them in a grand soup and throw a “See those important fellows of human history? The great/horrible things they did? Yeah, they used ALIEN TECHNOLOGY to do that!”

            THat being said, I think the real problem most of us have with AC´s portrayal of historical figures is that it minimizes humankind down to “Alien tech was directly neccesary for all of humankind great achievents.” It´s easier to shallow a game that just takes a small bunch (in comparison) of known people and drop them on the “they were awesome”* side of things without diminishing their acomplishments.

            *Even if they are protrayed as complete monster because, in a way, being a complete moster is being better in evil than anyone else.

            • Drexer says:

              I have that same annoyance with AC as well as any conspiracy theorist I see on the internet(other than the normal problem of interacting with a person with no rational thought in their head).

              I was mainly mentioning how swimon1 mentioned this portrayal of the Pope as if it was an awful and horrible thing to do when it has been done many times before in various games. The difference here is that it is done to the figure head of a majority instead of a minority.

              • Supahewok says:

                He didn’t say he didn’t like it because it was the Pope. He said that he didn’t like ANYBODY to be characterized that shallowly. There is nothing in his statement that indicates that he is giving the Pope special preference. Please don’t make assumptions just because a religious figure was brought up.

                • Drexer says:

                  “*although maybe you want to grey up the morality a bit when you’re talking about such a prominent religious figure? Maybe painting him as unquestionably evil in a black and white narrative is a bit disrespectful? Even if you really dislike him as a religious figure it’s clearly lacking in basic respect to turn an actual person into a villain in a black and white story like this.”

                  Although he did mention that this thought could be applied to any person, his thoughts arose from the fact that he was a prominent figure. The religious part isn’t even what I was complaining about, but instead the fact that we’ve had this before and the only difference here is the use of the figure head of a majority(Catholic).

                  It’s the same reason why some years ago I was very angered when “War of the Supermen #0” killed 5 prime-ministers from Europe off-panel and then made a 3 page confrontation regarding the defense of the president of the USA which all the comics media talked about. It’s not that I cannot understand why the historical figure was chosen, but because there’s a mention that respect should be paid to this figure just because it is the figure head of a majority instead of a minority.

                  Hope I made myself clear.

      • Torsten says:

        Actually I think it was hinted somewhere in The Truth section that the assassins caught Hitler’s doppelgänger. The real Hitler escaped, but the story does not mention what happened to him.

        • 4th Dimension says:

          No. Hitler was supposed to make it look like he killed himself. That is what he did. Than he proceded to exit his bunker in order to flee, and an Assassin air assassinated him.

    • Entropy says:

      Painting Rodrigo Borgia as evil is not disrespectful, it’s factual. Dude was not nice.

    • Hitch says:

      Okay, Rodrigo Borgia did become Pope Alexander VI and all reports of his character paint him as every bit as evil as the game depicts. That’s not the problem. The problem is Stuart and the organization he’s working with (except Desmond, who’s just an idiot) not knowing this until the final act. I consider my own knowledge of history distressingly inadequate, but I know that. These people are supposed to know what they’re messing around in.

    • Thomas says:

      I didn’t find it so disrespectful because they made it clear that he didn’t believe in GOD. He was just attracted to the power.

      The bit that comes after? I guess that bit could be seen as a teensy bit disrespectful :D In the end it’s only a silly game

  14. Nessad says:

    Cool fact for programmers/mathematicians:

    Alan Turing was employed and killed by templars.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Because he was prepared to create sentient robot workers… in 1940s. And Templars didn’t like that because it would free up the workforce to start thinking, making their control over them nearly impossible.

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The bonfire of the vanities was a dlc too?Lucky.On pc they are both mandatory.Though,one good thing about it is that you finally get the use for that cloak.

    As for why the codex pages arent in one spot,who made them,et cetera:
    They were made by altair,but were found by templars.Templars knew they were important,so they kept them.And,since leonardo probably isnt the only one able to translate them,just the only one able to translate them quickly,they must have figured out that there is a map hidden amongst them,but that it cant be seen without the apple.So,it does make sense to keep the pages separated until you secure the apple,since losing one page wouldnt be that big of a deal,but losing them all would.

    As for edison being a templar,that is probably the one kindest divergence from actual history.Its much easier to think that this brilliant man was destroyed by a conspiracy,than by just being unwilling to get money for his inventions in order to stand up to his dickish competitors.

    • Supahewok says:

      They weren’t Templar property. The map Ezio got was made by a Templar who was trying to track them all down, which wouldn’t have been necessary if they already owned them.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Who says that he wasnt successful?Or that once found,he simply forgot about them and didnt mark their new location?

        • 4th Dimension says:

          Actually the story behind the scattering of the codex is that it was broken up by one of Polo brothers when Templar paid pirates boarded his ship. So he disassembled his codex and hid it in his cargo (or threw it into the harbor I’m not sure).

  16. Johan says:

    To be fair, it was Columbus HIMSELF who insisted that he hadn’t discovered any “new” continents, just a westernly route to the Indies (as he said he would). And if you look at really old maps from not long after he got back, people weren’t really sure what the hell he’d found. Columbus, IIRC never hit the mainland, just Carribean islands, so some said “ok, undiscovered islands.” Others who knew how big the Earth actually is said it must be much larger, but few truly realized the sheer size of teh continents that bestrode the western hemisphere. Remember the great search for the Northwest passage? It came about because no one knew that Canada extended so far up. And it wasn’t until Magellen that we figured out how far South Argentina/Chile went.

    • Guvnorium says:

      What this guy said. Columbus told the version of the truth that got him paid.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Yes. Bassically Columbus was wrong about most of the things. Only dumb luck that there was a continent where he was going saved his expedition. Contrary to popular belief, at that time no schooled man tought world was flat (that myth of 15th century people being idiots, comes from a 19th century popular novel). And size of the world was calculated by Greek philosophers. What wasn’t known is what percentage of the globe does Euroasian continent take. Columbus tought EA continent was much bigger than common wisdom said. And since it’s much bigger he was convinced it is actually possible to sail to Cathay (China), by sailing west. Of course he was horrifyingly WRONG. But was lucky enough to hit Carribeans.

  17. Maldeus says:

    I bet you could justify a lot of these mini-games with “because Animus.” “Desmond, while you’re reliving Ezio’s memories, we need you to recover some shards of Altair’s memories that we missed earlier or got corrupted or something, and which will manifest themselves within Ezio’s memories because Animus.”

  18. Gamer says:

    Just wait. That’s all I can say. Just wait. Fighting the pope isn’t even the stupidest part of the last sequence. It gets so much worse. Just be sure to pause and listen to the dialogue so you can soak it all in.

    If you think Ezio killed logic itself during the carnival, then he burned the body and sent it off to sea in the endgame.

  19. noahpocalypse says:

    Templars?

    Henry VIII! Louis XIV! (Though he might just have been an ass.) Catherine the Great! AlexanderHamilton Titian whoeverwasthelastimperialemperorofChina Napoleon Robespierre CardinalRichelieu LouisXVI Stalin…

    This is what I get for taking an AP Euro course.

    • noahpocalypse says:

      Also, if you look at their history, it sounds like the Medici would be some serious Templars. They controlled the city for generation. Cosimo the Elder and his descendants had pretty tight control…

    • acronix says:

      I think Alexender the Great´s conquest was handwaved with “an Apple did it”. Not sure about the others, though I´d say Henry VIII isn´t a templar simply because he was pissed off with the Catholic Church, which in this game´s universe seems to be the templars´ favourite hideout.

      • noahpocalypse says:

        You’re right, my bad. I was just thinking of all his propaganda and stuff. How about Darius, instead? And so far as Napoleon goes, if the art I saw was correct, AC 3 will be in the French Revolution, where Napoleon will likely be the man enemy, though I’m sure Robespierre will be there as well.

        Hmm. I can’t think of any Roman emperors who might be Templars. Caesar seems more like an assassin or one of the few competent civilians.

        • Supahewok says:

          Haven’t played Brotherhood yet, but I hear that you find out that the ancient Senate was a Templar front, possibly the first. Caesar was a leader, and Brutus is credited as being the first of the Assassins.

          Guessing who would be what is kinda pointless though. I mean, they made Machiavelli an Assassin. Machiavelli. Author of “The Prince.” The writers can handwave it as him “being under cover” but you could use that as an excuse for any historical figure who was some kind of inventor or philosopher.

          • swimon1 says:

            Actually from what I understand it’s not an uncommon reading of Machiavelli to argue that the prince was satirical or a “I’d prefer something else but if you have to be dictators at least be competent”. There’s no excuse that he too is thrown under the bus to play up the awesomeness of Ezio tho, who I hate a little bit more for every breath he takes.

          • Maldeus says:

            Before writing The Prince, Machiavelli wrote about how awesome republics were. After writing The Prince, Machiavelli went right back to how awesome republics were. Machiavelli’s legs got broken for defending a republic against the Medici family. The very worst interpretation possible is that Machiavelli was intimidated into switching sides for about a year because his legs got broke, and when it didn’t work he recommitted himself to his original position. A lot of people think The Prince was satire.

          • acronix says:

            The “Brutus was the first assasin” and “the roman Senate was a templar front” don´t compile together. I mean, the Senate stabbed him to death, not just Brutus.

            But of course, I´m forgetting the “templars wrote history at their leisure” which is just a neat excuse to justify anything the plot needs.

            • 4th Dimension says:

              I think they implied Roman Empire being a Templar tool. Senate was a decent if ultimately corrupt institution. Brutus stabbed Cesar because he was centralising power in himself, and suposedly Cleopatra (Templar) had him wrapped around her finger.

              • acronix says:

                In the Asscreed verse, is there any institution that isn´t ultimately corrupt?

                • Supahewok says:

                  In the Asscreed universe, the Assassin’s argue that the IDEA of institutions is corrupt, and that the true, natural state of man is in complete and independent freedom for each and every person. I say true and natural because institutions and governments supposedly only exist because of the presence of Pieces of Eden. So basically the whole Assassins vs Templars shtick comes down to Super Anarchists vs. Super Communists.

            • Supahewok says:

              “It doesn’t compile together.”

              It doesn’t, does it? But…

              http://assassinscreed.wikia.com/wiki/Roman_Empire

              … it’s what happened. Since when has logic ruled the Asscreed universe anyway?

        • SharpeRifle says:

          Be much more interesting if the French revolution was a Templar controlled conspiracy which was revenge for the French Kings attacks on their order.
          And then Napoleon could be brought in by the Assassins.

          Course that would make the Assassins actually competent…and screw up the Templars close association with the Catholic church in this alternate history.

          Yaknow after learning some of the “backstory” I reaaally wish I could scrub my brain so I could go back and play the game innocently again…*sigh*…and I hadn’t even gotten to Venice.

          • acronix says:

            Judging by the overall theme of the game, the French Revolution will be a “the people got angered at the templars” moment. Since it made a lot of monarchies tremble about getting the same fate as the frenchs, I´d say they´ll play the “it was a totally awesome, healthy and justified bloody rebelion of the people, man! Guided by assasins, but made by the people, man!”, while all monarchies are put on the templars basket.

            And the last mission will be a food fight with Napoleon on Saint Helena.

          • Supahewok says:

            I have no idea if anything has been said of the French Revolution in the Asscreed universe, so I’ll make a guess using the logic that has been shown by the writers thus far.

            Lessee… Templars engineer the French Revolution to scare the crap out of the monarchs of Europe and gain more control over them. They pointed their fingers at France and went “See, this is what happens when you let the people run amok. Headless Friday. Don’t want that? We can help you.”

            Farfetched? Ridiculously circumstantial? Yup. But it’s very similar to what the Templars did for WW2 in this universe.

            “On second thought, let’s not play Assassin’s Creed, ’tis a silly game.”

      • Gamer says:

        Yeah. Alexander the Great used the Staff of Eden (aka the Papal Staff) to take over so many nations.

        And Joan of arc had the Sword of Eden, which was previously held by King Arthur (Yes, THAT one). The Templars staged her death to steal it.

        And the Shroud of Eden was held by Jesus, and Jason (of Argonaut fame), and David (who went against Goliath). Jesus was killed on the cross to take it back.

        Every president who ever lived had one of the Apples of Eden. Tesla also had one (because they were Templars, all of them). He also developed a special form of power that destroyed the staff (wielded by Rasputin) in the Tungusta Event. Another Apple was found on the journey to the moon (it was secretly the Templars).

        Not a single detail of this is a joke. This is in AC canon. Pretty much every single historical event was caused by the Assassin/Templar war, which goes all the way back to Cain and Abel.

        • Moewicus says:

          They do so much, you’d think they would be able to get the name of the Al-Aqsa mosque right!

          I bet Hassan-i Sabbah, Saladin and Baybars were Templars, too.

        • swimon1 says:

          Wait Tesla is a templar? He’s like one of the coolest people through history why would you make him a templar? More than that Tesla was this giant weirdo who got pretty much ostracised despite being one of the greatest engineers ever because he suffered from OCD and people thought he was crazy. He constantly got screwed by the american government (his patent for the radio was given to someone else and marines raided his lab because they thought there could be spies in it among others) and got very little recognition. His tale is like the saddest thing ever, this coupled with the fact that he’s a symbol for peace between Serbia and Croatia makes him the perfect civillian hero, why would you ever make him a bad guy?

          • Gamer says:

            Nah. Tesla was never technically either an Assassin or a Templar. But when JP Morgan and Edison pulled his funding, ruined his reputation and stole his Apple (they were Templars and they didn’t like him trying to make information free and easy to find/acquire), the assassins requested that he use his power to destroy the Staff. They told him they’d understand if he decided to stay neutral, but would really appreciate his help. He agreed to work with them for this one time. I don’t know anything past that.

            Didn’t mean to imply he was a Templar. That was just a wall of text I didn’t really edit.

            • Nimas says:

              I’m glad someone said something about Telsa, dude was amazing.

              http://www.cracked.com/funny-284-nikola-tesla/

              Yes I know Cracked.com is not the best historical site, but I find it kind of amusing ;)

            • Supahewok says:

              And how’d he destroy the Staff? By firing his death Laser of DOOOOOOM across the Atlantic Ocean in the 20’s. And he did not have a Piece of Eden, which means it was powered purely by whatever energy source he made. Remember, these were the days before nuclear fission. He had some amazing theories, but nothing like that. And you would think that a lot of people would notice a bid ol’ Death Ray of DOOOOOOM shooting away, but nope. Not even the Templars knew what happened.

              • Supahewok says:

                Okay, it wasn’t even the 20’s, it was 1908. Which makes it even more implausible.

              • Maldeus says:

                I think it was a (clumsily handled) reference to the fact that Tesla did, in fact, invent an electrical death ray, but then destroyed all his notes on it because he was afraid that some nation might decide to actually go to war with it, which would make death by electrification a common sight on the battlefield. Death by electrification is not a good way to go.

            • acronix says:

              Tesla was too cool to not be his own Third Option.
              Of course, the writers HAD to make him help the assasins at some point to put the “See? Cool Historical Figure Number # helped them, they are good!”. Too bad they don´t seem to be very smart.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          All the way to adam and eve actually.

  20. Wes1180 says:

    Did anyone else notice that the apple showed leonardo the plane tank and a couple of other things at the beginning?

  21. DirigibleHate says:

    When you were listing off Templars – the Subject 16 sequences list Joan d’Arc as an Assassin, and her sword was a Piece of Eden.

    Also, she was burned as a witch by Templars.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      No, Joan of Orleans was only one in a string of people that aquired one of Pieces of Eden and used it for their own goals. Then Templars swoop in, kill/discredit them and take their POE. There are fiew actual Assassins wielding POE. Mainly because the know dangers of using those artifacts, and because most of them mess with peoples minds which is contrarily to their Creed.

      Most of the time when Assassins acquire a POE, they don’t go on a conquering spree, but they try hiding them.

      • acronix says:

        That explains why they seem to be losing.

        • 4th Dimension says:

          Yeah, but POE are tools mostly of domination, so by not using them they are moraly right.

          • Supahewok says:

            Except the Apples at least are also great tools of learning, it’s how Altair came up with a map of the world, modern steel (or a very strong alloy) for his armor, the hidden gun, and the poison shaft in the hidden blade. Probably more than that. And I think a comic or facebook game or something shows that the “Crystal Skulls” are communication devices. Shroud of Turin has the power for miraculous healing, although nobody since Jesus has been able to use it without bad stuff happening. So the Pieces of Eden do far more than control the masses.

  22. Thomas says:

    Thanks for all the work you put in Josh. This episode must have taken you so long to play and then you had to edit it all together and you edited in a way that was still entertaining instead of just hitting the skip button. It was a really good episode

  23. silver Harloe says:

    Josh, thank you for the work, but… that was really, really cruel of you to make them sit through your collecting codex pages instead of just telling them “no, I need another day so we can load-game at the next plot point” :)

  24. Amnestic says:

    As a sidenote with regards to last episode (since I just started keeping up), you CAN use the Hidden Blades as a weapon in the first fight with Rodrigo. You can’t use them to assassinate (because of lolstory), but you can certainly beat on him with them as an alternative to the sword.

    Smokebombs aren’t effective on Rodrigo, nor his guards though. I guess they have invisible gasmasks on. The best tactic for killing him fast? Steal a spear off one of his guards and sweep the leg, then kick him in the crotch while he’s down. Anyway, just finished the game so I guess I’m all prepared for the next video tomorrow.

    On Josh’s intro text it says “Josh Viel: Papal Fisfighter.” I choose to believe you meant “Papal Fishfighter”.

    Also I *like* the sarcastic Mean British Guy. Especially if you don’t have the DLC installed (as I didn’t). When he brings up the Bonfire of the Vanities, Rebecca interjects that she liked that movie and he tells her to be quiet while the grownups are talking.

    Edit: Also, Giovanni (Ezio’s dad) had all the codex pages and translated them all. Which means that sometime between him doing that and the start of the game (you can collect codex pages before you even get your assassins garb) he managed to lose pretty much all of them. Nice job dad!

  25. Jokerman89 says:

    Gotta say, i enjoyed this season more than New Vegas and Bioshock….it wasnt bad at all.

  26. Ira says:

    I said it before and I will say it again. The back-story of the Assassin-Templar conflict is cartoonish and hilarious. I love it.

    I will also reiterate the truth: Warren Vidic is just a crazy man with a lot of money who made a bunch of virtual reality simulations of his conspiracy theories, and the modern day assassins are idiot conspiracy theorists who fell for it.

    The games suddenly make so much more sense.

    Honestly, though, the part that mystifies me about all this is why Ubisoft thought we needed the framing story at all. Just remove the Assassin-Templar thing entirely, remove the people in the modern day, and remove the Animus. Write a plot that makes sense without needing to constantly go ‘oh, the Animus did it’. Assassin’s Creed does really well in making these gorgeous historical environments, and the basic gameplay is pretty fun too. So remove the framing story entirely, and say ‘this is a story about a nobleman in Renaissance Italy who tracks down and destroys a conspiracy after they murdered his family’. There we go. Gameplay justified. You can now write a sensible and sane story on that basic premise.

    When I did play AC2 myself, when I got to the final quarter or so of the game, my reaction was pretty much, “Okay, who got all this Stargate garbage in my game about historical assassinations?” I still have no idea at all why anyone thought that meta-story was a good idea.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because it easily explains away all the gaming stuff that people are playing the games for.Scaling tall buildings just so you could jump off them would be pretty jarring if not for animus and assassin super powers.

  27. Joel D says:

    Probably the best episode in a while. Hearing you all shoot the bull is a refreshing change from listing and relisting Ubisoft’s mistakes :)

  28. Dante says:

    See, this is what happens when things go tits up.

  29. ACman says:

    So… Which game next?

    Lots of talk about Deus Ex.

    Some suggestion of an Elder Scrolls game.

    Perhaps one of the crew will luck on the mythical method of recording KOTOR gameplay.

    Allow me, spoilers and spoilerettes to suggest a fine Polish production: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.

    A game Shamus hasn’t played. Can the man cope with being so green?.

    The story is interesting – The combat is broken. Will they accept the challenge of bitching about a great story with a sub-par combat experience, a feat they have not managed since Season 1: The Mass Effect Deconstruct.

    Will Josh find new and interesting ways to break a game?
    Will Shamus bitch about a plot hole the likes of which mankind hath not yet seen?
    Will Rutsgarn again cop shit for participating in larps and being the progenitor of poor puns?
    Will Mumbles demonstrate her powers of inebriation or will she just talk about how much she likes looking at tits again?

    Find out next year(?) on Spoiler Warning!!!!!

    (Please provide unwarranted speculation below.)

  30. scowdich says:

    Something that particularly irks me about this game is Leonardo’s near-instant cryptography skills. He shows all sorts of ability in translating, decoding, and transposing encrypted codex pages, when to the best of my knowledge, all the code-related anything he did in real life was writing backwards.

    • Thomas says:

      I think it’s a general problem with him, moreso than him not inventing much, is hes not shown taking any effort in anything. If they’d shown a ‘many nights of hard work’ montage for every codex page, breaking the encryptions would have seemed harder and more impressive for us and him

    • acronix says:

      It gets worse in Brotherhood. While he stops decrypting anything, he apparently managed to make every single modern-day war machinery, from a tank to a gatling gun. All that while in real life he just had sketches (or, if you want, schematics of really impractical weapons).
      I´m surprised they didn´t make him invent an army of automatons too.

  31. Drexer says:

    Yeah, AC obsession with tying every bit of history into their lore can get quite annoying at times. I’m happy enough at least my country’s history hasn’t been touched by Ubisoft games yet.

    *Goes do some googleing*

    OH WHAT THE HECK

    “During the Renaissance the country was ruled by Manuel I, who had close ties to Spain and the Templars.”
    “Assassins being present in India as well, he sent a fleet of thirteen ships to Calicut, led by Pedro Álvares Cabral.”
    “Vasco da Gama and a fleet of 800 men to Calicut to root out the Assassins”
    “sending a clear message to Portugal and making clear they didn’t accept their interference.”

    “Manuel then ordered a lock-down in Lisbon, preventing anyone from escaping, and forced all citizens to convert to Christianity.”

    Seriously Ubisoft? Is there any person from any coutnry you won’t turn into a Templar?

  32. Mathias says:

    It makes sense that Edison was a Templar when you consider how big of an asshole the historical Edison was.

    Curiously enough, Nikola Tesla was an Assassin, I think.

    On the note, Columbus discovered America, but it wasn’t until Amerigo Vespucci landed in America, hence why it carries his feminized name. That happened in 1501 or around that time, so they technically don’t know that it’s a new country yet.

    Someone feel free to correct me on Vespucci’s voyage.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Tesla was too cool for that Assassin/Templar nonsense.

      Yeah, Amerigo Vespuci was the guy that confirmed Columbus was an lucky idiot, whose theories about the size of the western ocean (distance to Asia) were wrong. He proved that by proving what C discovered was a completely new continent.

  33. Fat Tony says:

    17:05

    Did Mumbles just Fluttershy yay?

  34. Tharwen says:

    I now have an image of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla having a slapfight.

  35. Venalitor says:

    What if Ezio finds a way to travel forward in time and assassinates Desmond?

  36. Oxymandias says:

    I know that the decision process for choosing which games you are going to play is involved and the last thing you probably want to think about right now is playing the sequel to the game you just completed, but is Brotherhood an option for a play through in the future? I really want to see brotherhood and I would really hate to watch someone else’s play-through and then re-watch it again when you guys do it. I kinda already did that for This assassin’s creed and bioshock…

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