Assassin’s Creed 2 EP23: I Believe I Can Fly

By Shamus Posted Friday Nov 18, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 79 comments

Link (YouTube)

Sure, you can slam a flaming flying machine into the roof of the Temple of Plot Door after conspicuously flying over the Greater Italy Archer’s Convention being inexplicably held on the rooftops of Venice. But if ONE GUY spots you after that, it’s insta-fail. You can feel this game shifting (without a clutch) from one mechanic to the next. Okay, now you’re free running. Now do the flying machine. Now do a stealth section.

Didn’t we steal a bunch of uniforms two days ago? Wouldn’t it have been worth a shot to slip into one of those and try walking through the front door? Risky, sure, but compared to lighting a dozen fires and piloting a flying machine? Interesting that Ezio just happened to arrive at exactly the right moment. If he’d been thirty seconds sooner or later everything would have played out differently. How was Abe Lincoln going to explain the bloody corpse if Ezio hadn’t shown up to take the blame?

This was a classic case of Cascading Plot Failure for me. The above sequence wasn’t uniquely horrible, but as objectionable or questionable events unfold, I begin thinking about them more, trying to MAKE the game make sense. This causes additional scrutiny, which reveals more questions that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Pretty soon everything that isn’t explained becomes a gaping plot hole, because I lose faith in the writers. This isn’t as bad as Fable 2 or Fallout 3, not by a long shot. But it was at this point in the game that I stopped caring. I didn’t think the writers were playing fair and it felt like they were just making this up at random.


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79 thoughts on “Assassin’s Creed 2 EP23: I Believe I Can Fly

  1. Oh I am SO going to do this…


    It’s just a game Shamus.

  2. Jakale says:

    So, did Josh forget about the speedy athletic guards or had he really never encountered them?
    I never did understand the need for the flying part. It gets you practically to where you had gotten in the scouting session. There may have been a rooftop fence that I’m not remembering, but I’m pretty sure a dude with Ezio’s ample upper body could scale it without much grief.
    Also, I always get annoyed in plot points like with the Doge where the guy is on your side and dies without telling anyone you didn’t kill him, especially like they did here where all he would need is to yell Venice-Lincoln’s name.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ah,but it was a pointy fence.Ezio cant climb a pointy fence.

      1. scowdich says:

        Instead of an incredibly fragile flying machine, Leonardo could’ve saved everyone a lot of time by inventing a ladder.

        1. Johan says:

          “Leonardo, this is a beautiful invention, but have you considered adding rungs?”
          “Genius Ezio, pure genius!”

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Dont you know that you cant put ladders against a fence?It has holes damn it!

          1. SKD says:

            But, but, but… bars are the same thing as a wall except you can see through them.

          2. therandombear says:

            or use rope and tie the ladder too the fence. :p

        3. Dovius says:

          Or a big pair of wire-cutters.

    2. Dev Null says:

      I just got to this part of the game, and it genuinely made me laugh out loud. So I came back to finally read this post, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who lost it right here.

      I’ve just spent the last umpteen weeks scaling hundred-foot-high building facades, jumping off of same into haycarts, and generally leaping tall buildings with a single bound. Then I climb _down_ the face of this church – because cutting across its roof was the fastest way to where I wanted to go – so I can get to the shiny spot on the ground that makes Antonio tell me we should climb _up_ the face of the same church to get a decent view. But oh noes! I am confronted at the top by a 6-foot fence! I shall have to climb back down the vertical face of the hundred-foot-high building – again – and go ask Leonardo da Vinci to invent me a hang-glider, to get over the 6-foot fence?

      That is some truly awesome shark-jumping there Ubisoft.

  3. Cerapa says:

    How the hell did Josh pull that off?

    Or…wait…since he didnt desync, then it means that thats how Ezio did it!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Indeed,how?Every single time when Ive stabbed guard from the front,it would end with him being in the red just for a tiny bit,but enough to fail in this crappy mission.

    2. Kyte says:

      Frontal kills cause desync, as guards detect you right before dying. Josh pulled a stealth kill, which don’t cause detection. (Easy way to compare: If Ezio jumps, it’s gonna fail stealth missions. If he hugs, it’s fine)

  4. Gamer says:

    The last scene with the poison really pissed me off the first time I watched it. I was like “Really!”. I’d be one thing if he was long dead by the time we got there, but no. They used Hollywood poison. the kind that always kicks in at the exact worst time.

    1. Luhrsen says:

      It was Hollywood poison because they wanted to make a movie instead of a game. ;)

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        What is it with AAA game designers imagining they are film directors? It’s a different medium!
        It’s like designing a chess set with telephone pole sized pieces. “We know you bought this chess set to play chess, but we figured the Caber Toss was way more awesome. Really, you should be thanking us. Plus you’ll get some exercise, nerd.”

        1. Johan says:

          It’s the same reason early movies look so much like Broadway plays, and not just because a lot of them were simply plays put to screen. People tend to take a lot from the medium that they grew up with, and as far as stories go that would be books and movies for most of today’s writers.

  5. Mailbox says:

    I wished they had sad “A Dragon!” instead of “a demon.” Doge, early slang for Douchebag. He totally put you in a bind there.

  6. guy says:

    Wait, wait, didn’t the lincoln guy say it was a form of ARSENIC? That was seriously noted for how it killed victims slowly enough that you could blame natural causes. It does not cause instant bloody death. Couldn’t the developers have set it up so that you warned the Doge and he took a knife in the chest when his adviser panicked at your arrival and decided “screw this!”? That would have actually made sense.

    1. Klay F. says:

      Umm, don’t know what form of arsenic you’re talking about but arsenic in any appreciable amount kills VERY quickly. Almost instantly.

    2. Corpital says:

      The doge could have been feasting on delicious arsenic the whole day for all we know. Sounds more reasonable than these thiefs spotting its delivery on time und being able to cross the city without drowning.

  7. Adam P says:

    I shouldn’t be surprised that Josh managed to squeeze out success where he should have failed miserably. Falling into the courtyard like that should not have worked!

  8. danman says:

    Hey, found this on Reddit today and found it relevant to Spoiler Warning. This is apparently at Ubisoft in Montreal

    1. Winter says:

      No doubt. I saw that–wonder if it’s related…

  9. Eärlindor says:

    A couple of comments come to mind:

    I bought a whole bunch a games too Josh! We can be crazy together! :D

    As far as stupid insta-fail sections go, the new AC: Revelations is proving to be the worst. And it is for really stupid stuff too, “You can’t loot that body because Ezio was talking to his Turkish assassin friends! YOU WALK FIVE FEET AWAY! DESYNC!!!” Then I was trying to pickpocket a guard for his key and when he saw me the game would desync for me trying to become incognito again.
    Eh, maybe ACII and Brotherhood have similar sections and I just don’t remember.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      So, after (in my opinion) a lot of improvements to the gameplay in brotherhood they make a step back in Revelations? Now this is going to be a joy to play now that I’ve invested myself in the story.

  10. swimon1 says:

    The killing guards thing is probably my biggest issue with the plot in Assassins Creed (I’ve only played brotherhood, maybe it makes a lot of sense somewhere else). I have no problem with protagonists that are morally questionable or downright evil (Dexter is a great example of a protagonist that is interesting, sympathetic and evil) but assassins creed never admits that that’s what Ezio is. Even if you didn’t spend most of the games killing the only law and order these cities know without any sort of proof of wrongdoing it would still be a rather questionable character. Ezio kills people because he think they’re evil without any sort of justice system interfering with his murder sprees. Even worse these assassinations are motivated by a personal vendetta making Ezio completely incapable of being in any way objective about the whole ordeal.

    Again I would have zero problems with this if the game admitted that his motto of “we stand in the shadow to serve the light” is pure bullshit and he’s really just a tragic case of a man consumed by revenge and whether his victims are guilty or not is becoming increasingly irrelevant to him. Instead it’s all framed like Ezio is awesome and the last great hope for humanity, naturally talented at everything and his status as the messiah is not to be questioned.

    I get that murder is a lot more acceptable in games than other forms of media because it’s an easy way to create engaging gameplay (I mean easy in a comparative sense, it’s only easy compared to creating engaging gameplay without murder). Although most games that attempt story telling to the extent assassins creed does either makes the main character a lot more questionable (like No More Heroes) tries to make the protagonist a mold for the player so that we provide our own reasons for the protagonist’s actions (like Bioware’s games (if they succeed in this is a different debate (three layers of parenthesis!))) it’s after all easier to sympathise with your self. Or lastly to make the enemies more clearly evil or monstrous (like Skyrim… most of the time anyway). Assassins Creed has instead normal humans as enemies murdered by a clearly defined character that’s played as being completely good and I just don’t see how I’m supposed to sympathise with that sort of character.

    1. Sledge says:

      All this I could tolerate if you actually followed through with your vendetta, but instead you actually repeatedly don’t kill the man responsible for everything. *SIGH*

    2. Klay F. says:

      You know your complaint about murdering guards would actually be valid if said guards didn’t immediately try to murder you on sight. That alone makes your argument completely invalid.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      It would be fine if they went with just revenge,but they wanted ezio to overcome it at some point.And that wouldve been fine too,except that they rushed it horribly.One mission,ezio is consumed with revenge and mario is calming him down,steering him to the right path,and the next BAM ezio is free of all revenge and completely tranquil.That can cause serious whiplash.

      Meanwhile,in the desmond story,they are talking their sweet time.Oh yeah,this guy will be important,eventually,27 games in.

      1. River says:

        The part that pissed me off is that he was all “Killing you wont bring back my father and brothers” and im like “BUT IT WOULD SAVE INNOCENT LIVES YOU MORON, JUST KILL HIM”. Just think if hed manned up and stabbed him Brotherhood probably wouldnt have happened.

        1. Gamer says:

          That’s not even what killed me. I was like “You just murdered literally thousands of guards, doing nothing more than what they were fucking paid to do, and NOW you want to spare the life of this obviously evil man? What the fuck, Ezio?”

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Yeah,but thats more of a problem with story being separate from gameplay.Its a problem with lots of sandbox games like this.Thats why its hilarious listening to alex mercer moaning how hes a good person and such,while he has consumed half of manhattan just for the fun of it(and boy is it fun).

    4. Skyy_High says:


      Ezio certainly does realize, eventually, that his actions have been primarily motivated by revenge, and that he needs to move on and actually follow the Creed. The culmination of this is pretty much the end of AC2, when he spares Borgia’s life because it’s unnecessary to kill him anymore.

      As for the guards: they’re often supposed to be Templars. Even if they aren’t, well, this is the problem with having a main character who the plot says is pretty moral in a sandbox world; the player can act like as much of a douche as they want. The “real” Ezio would probably never kill a guard unless absolutely necessary (and would also probably never be seen going to or leaving his targets), but if they made you desync every time you killed some random guard, the game would be frustrating and boring for many people. I disconnect those segments of the game from the actual plot of the game; when I’m running around in sandbox play time, that’s , but when I’m sneaking in a mission, that’s Ezio.

      1. taellosse says:

        That’d be great, except that a big part of the focus of Brotherhood is fixing Ezio’s “mistake” at the end of AC2 in NOT killing Borgia.

        The real reason Ezio doesn’t kill Borgia at the end of AC2 is that he was a real person in actual history, and doesn’t die at that time, so Ezio can’t kill him until the date he really does die. Because it wouldn’t be much of a pseudo-historical conspiracy plot if all the real-life historical figures that are used as characters in the game didn’t die at the correct historical times.

    5. Eärlindor says:

      One thing that is funny is in AC: Revelations, you have to rescue some people convicted of theft and recruit them as assassins. The person in question that you talk to stole a simple piece of fruit, or something, because he didn’t have the proper means to survive. After rescuing him, Ezio says, “To be an honest man one needs honest work,” then you recruit the guy… so… becoming a murderer is honest work? “Clears the conscious,” huh? It’s a little silly how you hire these people left and right to become trained killers (and crazy climbers). There’s even one guy who joins just to impress a woman–no really.

    6. karln says:

      Killing off law enforcement would seem in line with the Assassins’ goal of freeing all people to make their own decisions. It’s the Templars who want to control the populace.

      Also, the guards do attack on sight anyone they see on a rooftop. With lethal force. I think that justifies retaliation.

      I did think that sparing RB seemed to happen for no reason other than that the real-life RB didn’t die for a few more years yet.

      1. Otters34 says:

        BUT, the guards attack people on the rooftops AFTER warning you to get off them and giving you a chance to do so, and they obviously have problems with people doing illegal stuff using the roofs as walkways(the Thieves)already. Why should they let a(apparently)crazy nobleman armed to the teeth do the same?

        And besides, the dozen or so other ways of defeating guards(beating them up and taking their weapons, persuading them individually or by groups to leave their job and do something else, keeping them from receiving their pay, etc, etc…) are never broached. Given, Assassin’s do kill people, but they don’t seem to realize the many non-lethal ways of defeating their enemies.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          They don’t shoot at you only if you free run or do something like that that is suspicios. They shoot you if you simply STAND on a rooftop. How do these people repair rooftops, considering they are deadground.

          1. Otters34 says:

            Well, Ezio doesn’t exactly look like a roof repairman, does he now? Odds are the idea is that archers leave him be if he moves on(“Eh, must be on his way to some tryst..”),but sticking around on top of a roof when there’s a perfectly good ground to walk on? That’s just weird for most people.

            That said, I confess I fully realize how many holes are in that idea.

            1. 4th Dimension says:

              Well he obviosly is a crazy noble, out on the rooftop of his brand new house, watching stars.

  11. ccesarano says:

    Just a reminder, Shamus, that you should avoid Fable 3. Its plot will probably make your insides burst through your belly button.

    1. Raygereio says:

      Plot? Just the horribly bleh gameplay alone should be sufficient reason for that.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Hush!Shamus needs to play and rant on another fable game.Its been too long since the last one.

      2. Kalil says:

        I didn’t mind the plot or the gameplay. That’s because GFWL decided I didn’t actually own the game I bought off of Steam.

  12. Johan says:

    … But do you believe you can touch the sky?

    Also, did anyone else see that big guard fall over from running into his friends? At least it happens to NPCs too.

    Oh, and on fasttravel, NOW YOU KNOW WHY OBLIVION HAD FAST TRAVEL. It is good, it is useful.

    1. tengokujin says:

      D’oh, I should’ve continued those lyrics when I was reading earlier. Now I’ll be thinking about it every night and day.

  13. Paul Spooner says:

    Nice Calvin and Hobbes reference Mumbles. Bonus points for actually doing it.
    Yeah, those were some completely insufficient fires to create significant updrafts. I was really hoping they were more of a “whole burning buildings” fires than the “brazier” style.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Thats why brotherhood has partial synch.Yeah,ezio did this without alerting anyone,but if you wish,you can just make them all on edge,its cool.I loved it for that.Even though I went for perfect sync,and repeated a ton of missions just for that,it was nice to know that I dont have to.

  15. JPH says:

    I’m pretty sure the poison that guy drank was a chestburner from Alien. It’s a good thing you left before the xenomorph sprang out.

    1. Johan says:

      Well, at the end of the cutscene you do get to see him coughing up blood.

      1. JPH says:

        Which means he left at just the right time.

    2. Weimer says:

      I always thought that he ingested a cup full of exceptionally fierce Ebola virus. Alien is a good idea though.

  16. Corpital says:

    Didn’t the guards on the second target talk about some colored chinese powder stored in the ship? Bought for a festival? And stored in a ship some thugs are going to build a bonfire on?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Thats a red herring.Its used just for fireworks.

      1. tengokujin says:

        Dunno. Fire on a boatload of gunpowder sounds dangerous to me.

        1. 4th Dimension says:

          They actually set fire to a barge and put it NEXT to the gunpowder ship.

  17. BeamSplashX says:

    “How do I make it fly further?”
    “Perhaps add some milk or sugar.”

    Also, does anyone else think Rutskarn’s Italian accent sounds like an Indian/Arabic accent? I’m Indian and even I can’t do the stereotypical Indian voice unless I say “engineering degree.”

  18. AbruptDemise says:

    Everyone else has already commented on Josh’s magical undetectable bullshit near the end of the episode, so I’ll refrain from adding to the heap.

    Does Mumbles scare anyone else in the first half of the episode? Her angry rant, wanting to set a town on fire, not to mention the assumption she set a field on fire with gas because she wanted to write her name in the grass. She’s usually a bit less… some polite way of saying psychopathic.

    1. guy says:

      She is apparently a mean drunk.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      She punches people in the face,and you still get surprised by her actions?

    3. BeamSplashX says:

      Is it bad that my reaction to it was to smile?

      That said, “John Carmichael” made me squirm a bit.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        He is a super spy,paired with miranda and jayne,and they are trying to take over the world!Errr,I mean save the world.

        1. tengokujin says:

          He’s a gun-slinging albino filmmaker on his last day in the job. She’s a chain-smoking winged museum curator from a different time and place. They fight crime!

          Generated by

    4. Peter H. Coffin says:

      I just figured it was a pent-up level of envy over not being able to write her name in snow. So it seemed entirely reasonable.

    5. Chuck says:

      To be fair, lighting stuff on fire is a ton of fun.

      The only thing more fun is blowing stuff up, I think.

  19. anaphysik says:

    Are my eyes lying to me or do those rocks at the end defy gravity?
    Some of them seem to shoot off into the distance at a horizontal level.

    (I guess, *ahem* ‘Animus,’ eh?)

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hmmm,writing your name with gasoline…But gasoline is smelly…So when you write something with it,then that thing becomes smelly as well…Sooooo….

  21. 4th Dimension says:

    During the entire sneak section I was. Go LEFT LEFT. Yes down to that platform and then LEF.. not RIGHT you &!&”&%&%!. DESYNCHRONIZED!! Okay he must have fiured it out by now. Yes down then. NOT RIGHT YOU (/&/%&%/&%..

    and so on.

  22. Alex says:

    I’ll tell you what Ezio needed: Groucho Glasses.

    Works. Every. Time!

  23. PhoenixUltima says:

    Run across the rooftops! Fly on the flying machine! Now sneak past the guard! Assemble the silver monkey!

    1. rayen says:

      omg is that a legends of the hidden temple reference?

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,has anyone tried the new assassins creed:summer of love?

  25. Uscias says:

    It’s kind of terrifying how excited Mumbles got about setting stuff on fire xD

    1. Amnestic says:

      You say ‘terrifying’ I say ‘hilarious’.

      On a more general note, I’ve decided to replay AC2 alongside Spoiler Warning. Having the freedom to go do what you want (hunt codex pages, throw yourself off buildings, not listen to Rutskarn (;p)) seems to help alleviate some of the more egregious complaints, as well as giving an explanation for what Ezio was doing in the weird timeskips. Granted, the explanation is “climbing buildings only to throw himself off them and repeat”, but at least it’s *an* explanation.

      Just started the last Assassin’s tomb as I write this. Whichever moron at Ubisoft came up with the idea of there being timed jumping puzzles where the game switches between locked and free cameras should get fired. Out of a cannon. It adds an unnecessary element of difficulty which isn’t normally present in the free-roaming of the main game.

      And as a sidenote, I started a Mumbles Playthrough of New Vegas (genocide everything except robots). It’s going pretty well so far. Without quest completions though, I think my exp is more limited than if I’d done all the quests.

  26. Wtrmute says:

    Now that the Doge has been killed, it is time to elect a new one!

    Here is a paper from Hewlett-Packard explaining the Venetian electoral process and deriving some statistical properties off it (then proposing using some aspects of it for electing leaders in computer protocols).

    I hope the Templars have a large majority of the Grand Council in their pockets already, or they’ll have a rough time getting “Venetian Abe” to be selected after that CF of an election.

  27. rayen says:

    I know they wanted to make a big scene of the poison and chasing down Lincoln and all that and the worst part is with a few modifications that scene could have completely worked and wouldn’t have left the “if thirty seconds had passed one way or the other” crap. Ezio reaches the room and find the Clown man dead, then lincoln spots ezio looks at him and smiles, as if to say “yeah we knew you were coming.” then he dashes out of the room and starts screaming “murderer! murderer!” then you chase him down and stab him, then his line “it was for the greater good” makes even more sense because it shows he was perfectly willing to die for his cause. just as much cutscene twice as much emotional impact and most importantly, NO PLOT HOLES.

  28. Sumanai says:

    It would be great if every conversation involving Ezio would start with him saying “I’m Batman”.

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