>**MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD**
My previous AC2 post was cut short, but in retrospect that’s probably a good thing. I was still at least a good 5-6 hours away from finishing it, and yet my original intention with that post was to try and guess where/when/what the sequel was going to be. Now that I’ve finished it (as well as being finished with it), I can honestly say that I have absolutely no idea – and that’s also a good thing.
First things first, though – the game itself. At the end of the day, there’s really only 2 things that really bothered me about the experience – the freerunning controls tend to get screwed up at the worst possible times, and the final boss is one of those bosses that refuses to die, no matter how many times you kill him. I hate that. It’s absolutely my #1 pet peeve in game design. And in this particular case, it’s not like the guy is a wizard, or has particularly strong armor, or superpowers – he is, in fact, a fat fuck. And the fact that the game forced me to whittle this asshole’s health down to zero 5 times and he still didn’t die… GAAAAHHHHHHH.
That aside, AC2 is a lock for my #3 position for Game of the Year, which is remarkable considering that as recently as a month ago I wasn’t even sure I was looking forward to playing it. Everything in it is refined and polished, from the combat to the graphics to the storytelling. I was perhaps a little underwhelmed by the end result of the glyph hunt (especially since I was hoping to assemble the pieces myself), and I ended up getting the super-badass armor a bit earlier than I was expecting – I almost thought I’d done something wrong – but it’s a remarkable experience through and through, and if the improvements from AC1 to AC2 are any indication of Ubisoft’s dedication to getting it right, then AC3 is going to blow us all away.
And speaking of AC3, let me get back to my opening paragraph. A lot of people were pissed off about AC1’s ending, which was less of a cliffhanger and more of a dull thud. (I kinda liked it, actually, since it was abstract and vague, but I understand the criticisms.) AC2’s ending could technically be called a cliffhanger, since nothing is resolved, but it’s a bit more satisfying in that you still feel like you accomplished something, even if it’s mind-bogglingly enigmatic. It doesn’t feel like a setup for the final part of a trilogy – it feels wide open, like they could go anywhere.
I could see AC3 taking place all over the place, actually. My knowledge of history certainly has quite a few holes, but considering that the game ends in the very late 1600s, and the codex map that you eventually unlock in AC2 is ultimately a map of the world, with certain locations marked on each continent, it’s entirely possible that you could go all over the globe. I think the most logical place to go would be the colonial US in the 1770s – lots of political intrigue, Freemasons, and different cities to visit. Plus, one gets the feeling that the events of the near-future are taking place in the US, so since Desmond is already on the run, you could see him following the literal footsteps of his ancestor. But I could also see the game taking place in WW2 Europe, too. The glyphs talked a lot about Rasputin, too, so I could foresee some time in Russia. And if the game requires some globetrotting, there’s lots of Mayan ruins to run around in. Considering how strange AC2’s ending is, I could even see Atlantis showing up.
Anyway: Bravo, Ubisoft.