There’s no denying I’m weird. After buying both DiRT 4 and a 60-day subscription to Final Fantasy XIV in the last 10 days, yesterday I suddenly had the thought: I should play Assassin’s Creed II. Why? I have no idea!
I started AC2 back on the PS3 but as is typical, never finished it. Last year Ubi bundled AC 2, AC Brotherhood and AC Revelations into the Ezio Collection and I snagged a copy for PS4 when it was on-sale. There it sat on my PS4 Pro until yesterday.
Sometimes things happen for a reason I guess, because I’m loving the game more than I did when I first played it. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I recently watched Medici: Masters of Florence on Netflix, and it takes place in the same time and place as AC2 does. Now the names that AC2 throws at me are familiar, as are some of the landmarks.
As an example, in the show they talk about the Santa Maria Del Fiore, a church that had never been completed because the architect died before the dome was built and no one knew how to build the dome without breaking some strange Florencian law against buttresses. In the show Cosimo Medici finds an architect who can finish the dome in order to try to curry favor with the people of Florence. I thought that was just made up for the TV show, but in fact the same story is mentioned in AC2, leading me to assume it’s true.
I mean neither the Netflix show nor AC2 are documentaries but both give you a sense of this time period and what people were like and when show and game agree on details it suggests that these details are taken from history, and then a quick Google search can confirm that. Somehow it makes the game seem more alive to me. Stuff that happens matters to me more now. For instance pretty early in AC2 Ezio’s father, older brother and younger brother are all hanged for treason. I don’t even remember this from the first time I played but now it really made me angry; his younger brother was maybe 10 years old! Why did it bother me this time? I guess because it now feels like the kind of thing that might have actually happened in those days.
The same thing happened when I played AC: Black Flag after watching the Starz show Black Sails. Again both are works of fiction based on historical facts and many of the names and some of the plotlines are similar. A bit of google shows they are similar because these events actually happened. These people were real.
I never really grabbed on to the historical aspects of the Assassin’s Creed games and I kind of feel bad for overlooking them until now.
Of course even in its re-mastered iteration AC2 looks kind of dated, but the voice work and the lore both still feel current, and that helps a lot.
Now I need to see if I can balance all three games without losing track of any of them!