By megalowho 1 Comments
So I finished Assassin's Creed II last weekend and it's really been stewing with me, can't seem to shake it. A great amount of fun to play for sure, it kept me engaged and up late from start to finish. But after thinking about it a bit, what really put things over the top for me was the deliciously memorable ending sequence. The game just throws payoff after payoff at you, satisfying gameplay and story tricks one after another. You may be done with the unforgettable open world Renaissance Italy, but the setting they do throw you in is no slouch at all.
1. Ezio in Rome. I'd imagine everyone immediately climbed to the highest point possible and just soaked in the amazing scenery found at the outset of Ezio's final mission. The level is jarringly linear with plenty of guards and some forced stealth, and it's not always great. But it's all worth it because..
2. You've come to kill the Pope. In the Sistine Chapel. While he's delivering mass, and you leap from the rafters. I hadn't heard of Pope Alexander VI/Rodrigo Borgia before but he seems like a shady character from history and a pretty good villain in Pope-form.
3 You both use Pieces of Eden. The mythical items finally get some face time, giving you a gang of dopplegangers and Borgia, um, the ability to get up from almost being dead and turning invisible for a bit. Things get even more interesting when you find yourself outside the fabled vault, engaged in..
4. A Fistfight with the Pope. Maybe it's because Ezio called him an old man, but for some reason this guy agrees to drop all weapons and just fight it out for all the marbles. The hand to hand gameplay is particularly good throughout the game and the scene is intensified as Pope denounces religion, claims to have found god and wants to take god's power. Of course you kick his ass, as you are the prophet and not him. The lights start glowing, you head inside and totally meet a god.
5. She only wants Desmond. The way she warmly humors Ezio while glancing at the player directly is haunting. Then way she coldly dismisses Ezio as a vessel, a means for a distant ancestor to hear her words through genetic memory one day, is mindfucking. "But I have so many questions! Who are you?" "Shut up already. I'm here to talk through you, not to you." Plus the whole story of the ones that came before, extinct beings that created?enslaved? man and the coming apocalypse seems like a pretty good setup for modern day high stakes. Desmond says WTF and the credits roll..
6. You get to go stabbing as Desmond! The modern day stuff was so deep in the background at times that I wondered if we'd ever get any kind of real closure for Desmond in this game. Thankfully it's time to run and soon enough you're controlling him as the credits roll, Lucy tosses you a wrist blade and, well, you get to stabbin'. And just like the good student he is, Desmond is already killing like an old pro without a hint of remorse. The bad guy gets away in a truck of course, they'll see each other next time, and they set you up to play around in the Animus in The Mystery Machine during the drive up "north."
7. You're right back in your study at Monteriggioni, the ultimate throne room. The paintings of your many victims have been hung with care. Your collection of weapons, armor and artwork is on full display. You have codex pages and assassin tombs to read up on the lore. Mom is still praying. You can look at the book. You can explore your fully upgraded town, head to Tuscany, Venice, find more glyphs, chase couriers, achievement hunt, go poison happy..
There's unanswered questions and more places to go but for the middle child in a supposed trilogy, I tip my hat. All in all it's one of the best ending sequences of the year at least, highly satisfying on multiple levels. Hey, here it is!