Assassin’s Creed 2

There are some games that are never worth the price.  Other games could be considered at a discount.  A few, however, are worth full admission.  Assassin’s Creed 2 is worth buying at a discount and could even be worth a full $60.  The gameplay is excellent, if unchanged, from the first installment.  If the gameplay for a game is “excellent” and can only be considered to be worth full admission, then there must be a critical flaw in the game.  The flaw for Assassin’s Creed 2 is the plot.  A plot that had to have been written by a committee of Dan Brown, L. Ron Hubbard and Al Gore.

Well, that’s a rather odd combination…especially since none of them had a direct hand in the game’s writing.  When the game’s plot is analyzed, however, these three names and their ideas can be found.  For instance, Dan Brown’s “contributions” can be found in the overarching plot.  Like the first game, Assassin’s Creed 2 is not about the adventures of an individual in a historical setting.  Instead, it’s about the distant descendant in 2012 reliving those memories via computer generation.  What’s really going on in the game is an age-long rivalry between the assassins and the Templars.  The Templars have “covered up” historical truths to placate and control the masses while questing for Pieces of Eden…which are powerful artifacts they will use to placate and control the masses.  The idea of a millennial plus long conspiracy involving Templars sounds eerily familiar to Dan Brown’s work…it doesn’t help that the game tries very hard to be convincing of this conspiracy.  All the in-game puzzles to unlock “the truth” tell the player every event (the atomic bomb testing, landing on the moon, among others) was to acquire a Piece of Eden.

That is, obviously, not true and seems silly that people could be convinced of it.  However, that’s underestimating how stupid some people are.  How many people bought into the “truths” of The Da Vinci Code, despite that it’s obviously a work of fiction?  If I was to get into teaching, I wouldn’t be surprised if, while teaching a high school history class, a student listed “Rasputin stealing Czar Nicholas II’s staff” as the beginning of the 1905 Russian revolution.

L. Ron Hubbard’s influence can be seen in the sci-fi elements of the plot, but is most obvious at the end.  The end reveals that there was another alien civilization that predated humanity.  This “civilization” then created humanity in their own image, although both sides fought each other when the humans rebelled against their alien masters.  The humans won out, thanks to a natural disaster, and afterwards, both sides work to preventing such a disaster from occurring again.  Oh and these aliens take the names of Roman gods…

The disaster that weakened humanity and L. Ron Hubbard’s intergalactic gods was, in fact, a solar flare.  This is laughable, more so when the protagonists hype up the sun as a bigger threat than the Templars.  True, the sun burning out would suck, but that’s a couple billion years away!  Solar flares are more of a danger to astronauts/spaceships and the very idea one could “reverse the polarity of the earth’s magnetic field” is right there with Al Gore’s claims that global warming climate change is melting enough ice to flood the planet.

Metal Gear Solid has long carried a reputation for fucked up plots.  Assassin’s Creed series has taken that title and wears it proudly.  Good writing indicates a sensible plot and likable characters.  Both Assassin’s Creed games lacked this and it diminishes what would otherwise be a game worth full admission.

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