A Look at Assassin’s Creed – AC2: A Baby

By Charlie Jubilee Posted Thursday Sep 21, 2023

Filed under: Epilogue, Charlie Writes 14 comments

Right off the cuff, the first thing I noticed about AC2 is the color. The animations and character models aren’t great, but that’s to be expected from a game that released in 2009. The main setting is renaissance Italy and the game captures it well. From the style of clothing to the beautiful locations, AC2 really brings the setting to life. On top of that, it has subtitles. Oh subtitles, how I’ve missed you. My audio processing disorder weeps in happiness.

This game starts out with Desmond still captured until Lucy comes in, covered in blood. Of course, even though she’s in a hurry, she sticks him in the animus to live out the experience of being born.

Putting aside the fact that being born sounds traumatic to remember, it’s an interesting tutorial. Rather than tell you the controls, the game has you experiment, learning how to lift your head, arms, and legs in the form of an infant that was born not breathing as your father tries to coax you to life. It’s a novel way to start a game, but it did bring up the need to look up the controls every once in a while, as the game never outright tells you what to do. In that moment, your father declares your name; Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The most beloved of protagonists in all the games.

Wiggles legs
Wiggles legs

After that, Lucy pulls Desmond out of the animus and takes some sort of memory bank out of the machine. Together, they escape Abstergo after passing by and fighting a bunch of guards. During this time, Lucy doesn’t really want to chat even though Desmo0nd seems to think it’s the perfect time to ask questions and make idle commentary. While Desmond does discover eagle vision in this sequence, he is mostly just following Lucy. Eventually, Lucy shoves him in a trunk to hide him, and in my opinion, to shut him up.

When they arrive at a warehouse set up as a base of operations, Lucy tries her best to convince Desmond to join the assassins. She wants to train him using the animus bleeding effect, which Lucy later explains causes someone who uses the animus to not only gain the abilities of their ancestors, but also causes confusion about who they are. It’s risky, but Desmond agrees to do it. He has questions, but he trusts Lucy. The team Lucy works with consists of Shaun Hastings, a brilliant asshole that coordinates movements and information between assassins, and Rebecca Crane, a much nicer technical genius that built a better animus than Abstergo ever had. It’s a quick and dirty introduction, but considering how fast the beginning of the game is paced, that makes sense.

Finally, we hop back in the animus. It’s 1476 in Fiorentina, the city Ezio lives in. We are about to fight Vieri de Pazzi, who has apparently slandered our family name. Of course, Pazzi throws a rock at us as the fight starts for implying we slept with his sister and for some reason that results in a scar on the mouth that matches one Desmond has exactly. It’s worth noting that Ezio and Desmond look exactly alike. It’s weird, even considering the fact they are related, that a guy from the 1400’s and from modern times would have the exact same face, build, and lip scar.

Gosh, what a cawink-a-dink
Gosh, what a cawink-a-dink

We learn to fight to the detriment of Pazzi and his men, and eventually our brother, Frederico, joins us. The game does a good job of making him out to be the older brother that Ezio admires, even though there isn’t a whole lot of connection to him later in the game.

Anyway, when we win the fight, Frederico makes us rob the guys we beat up to pay for a doctor to look at our lip. We loot all the definitely not dead guys and then follow our brother on a trip across rooftops to see a doctor, who doesn’t seem surprised to see us up to trouble. Afterwords, we race our brother to the top of a church and have a nice brotherly moment, before running off to sleep with Cristina, our apparent girlfriend who is never seen in this game again. In the morning, her dad catches us and we run off and away from a bunch of guards.

We head home to be greeted by our father, Giovanni, who feigns disappointment in us, only to say it reminded him of himself at that age. Again here, the game does a pretty good job of emotionally connecting you to Ezio’s mom, two brothers, and sister, but I’d say it does the best job connecting you to the father. Giovanni clearly loves his son deeply and that shows in small but significant ways. For the rest of the family, it’s the other way around. You admire the older brother, Frederico, you collect feathers and dote on the younger brother, Petruccio, and you beat up the sister, Claudia’s, cheating ex out of devotion for her. For the mom, Maria, you run an errand where you meet Leonardo da Vinci, who at the time, is a young man. However, as you work and deliver letters for the father, the father-son connection is deeper than the relationships with the rest of the family. This shows even in Giovanni’s death.

While out completing some shadier tasks for Giovanni, shit goes down. Ezio comes back to find his home ransacked, his mother and sister hiding with a servant, and his brothers and father arrested. Ezio has the servant take Claudia and Maria to her sister’s house and he takes off to go see Giovanni in jail. Luckily, Giovanni has a secret room in his office that contains some armor, weapons, and a letter clearing their family name. We head off to deliver the letter to Uberto Alberti, who more or less plays the role of a lawyer or judge, and does business with Ezio’s father.

Ezio, like his father, trusts Uberto to exonerate them. This turns out to be a mistake. Uberto doesn’t present the evidence, and instead hangs Ezio’s father and brothers, judging them guilty of treason.

Petruccio just being a literal child about to be hanged over there
Petruccio just being a literal child about to be hanged over there

Right off the cuff, the start of this game is far more compelling and emotional than the last. While Altair’s story is compelling, it lacked a lot of emotion that Ezio’s story has right from the start.  On top of that, even though the controls aren’t exactly intuitive, it is far easier to get around without jumping off buildings on accident. All in all, the start of this game has sucked me in, ensuring my interest for the time being.


From The Archives:

14 thoughts on “A Look at Assassin’s Creed – AC2: A Baby

  1. Sleeping Dragon says:

    The most beloved of protagonists in all the games.

    As stated before I’m going to be an outlier. To be fair the older Ezio in Revelations is probably my favourite AC protagonist so far (up to Syndicate, I think it’s a low bar to clear) but the young one is an insufferable git and while I understand the idea of the story is that he matures into a responsible Assassin, which is meant to also lead Desmond on his journey into responsible assassinhood and evetual sacrifice, I think it’s written very poorly. The “gets over his revenge” angle makes him spare literally the one person that everybody in the Assassins would want him to kill and who makes the world a worse place to live with pretty much every single of their actions.

    To give credit where it’s due on the technical level pretty much everything is just better about AC2 compared to the OG. It looks so much better, it plays so much smoother, it has more variety in environments and activities.

    I do think the baby thing is a bit gimmicky but I liked it as the idea of establishing a sort of kinaesthetic connection between the controls and the character’s body. I think it also ties neatly into the idea of the animus and that Desmond is actually experiencing those movements.

    It’s worth noting that Ezio and Desmond look exactly alike.

    They… what?

    1. Vernal_ancient says:

      The “gets over his revenge” angle makes him spare literally the one person that everybody in the Assassins would want him to kill and who makes the world a worse place to live with pretty much every single of their actions.

      That ending was incredibly frustrating. The one responsible for everything, the one kill you’ve been working towards the entire game, and you don’t even get to actually kill him because Ezio decides to be a walking cliche at the last moment

      Also the fight was surprisingly boring for a sequence that involves beating the crap out of the Pope

    2. Charlie Jubilee says:

      Yeah, Ezio and Desmond have the same face model.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I swear I’m looking at the faces and sure, they do look similar but not the same to me, I always thought Desmond was much more squinty though that might be something like the AC3 model. In my defense I’m bad with faces and the fact that the haircut alters the shape of the face ever so slightly may be enough to fool me.

  2. MrGuy says:

    I didn’t love the “you’re a baby!” sequence, but man was it done better than the only other game I can recall starting with you being born – Fallout 3, where it’s the start of like 15 minutes of boring tutorial.

  3. MrGuy says:

    Maybe it’s my head canon, but the “looking the same” and “have the same scar” I always put down to Desmond “connecting” to the animus. Sort of like with the baby sequence. The focus in AC2 (unlike AC1) was for Desmond to “become” Ezio, and so he needs to experience Ezio as a projection of himself. So Ezio, to Desmond, looks like Desmond.

    Desmond’s experience in the animus is certainly based on and related to Ezio’s experience, but doesn’t mirror perfectly. There would be no point to (say) the team giving you advice or you having any agency in if all you were doing was playing out scripted actions exactly as they occurred. There’s nothing for Ezio to choose.

    The rock struck me as a combination of these 2 items. It might not have happened exactly that way – maybe Ezio got a different scar from this fight, or got stabbed instead of hit with a rock. But Desmond experiences Ezio’s “you got injured” memory as getting Desmond’s scar.

    TLDR: It’s the bleed in action.

  4. Kincajou says:

    Heya Charlie (and Bay, as I believe you’re the one who handles the website’s back end),

    Is there any chance you could add a tag like “AC retrospective” or some such to the series? I’ve missed a few posts lately and it’s quite difficult to read things in order if they are only in the “random” tag!

    1. AG says:

      If you search the archives for “creed” (or similar strings), that should work too. But of course you’re right and this should be properly tagged.

      Going further, I would also appreciate a separate category for the different new series for easier clicking forward through them.

    2. Charlie Jubilee says:

      I can talk to Bay about it. Sometimes I forget to tag it as Epilogue, which is what it was supposed to be tagged. That’s fixed now.

  5. beleester says:

    It’s a novel way to start a game, but it did bring up the need to look up the controls every once in a while, as the game never outright tells you what to do.

    This was even worse on PC, because it still shows those little Xbox icons even if you don’t have a controller plugged in. I was able to work out the XABY buttons with a little bit of guessing, but I remember one part (I think it was learning to send courtesans to distract someone?) where it asked me to push a rounded grey button that I’d never had to push before and I had to go into the menus to figure it out.

    1. Philadelphus says:

      YOU are the traitor, Uberto – and one of THEM! You may take our lives this day – but WE WILL

      …we will…what? What will we do? Never take our freedom?

      Also just a small typo, I’m guessing “a guy from the 1700’s” should be “from the 1400’s” given the date earlier of 1476.

      Edit: whoops, that wasn’t meant to be a reply.

      1. Charlie Jubilee says:

        It was a typo, and I fixed it.

  6. Sivartis says:

    It’s 1476 in Fiorentina, the city Ezio lives in

    Slight correction – Fiorentina is the adjective in Repubblica Fiorentina, the Florentine Republic. The noun form of the city’s name is either Firenze (original) or Florence (anglicized).

  7. Lex Icon says:

    Whole thing on the front page for me, boss.

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.