Part 02: Monteriggioni, January 1500 - Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Learning to use the Cannons
After the loading screen transition you find yourself sitting on a horse talking to your Uncle, who has the opinion that if this is all over -- and he hopes that it is -- that can only be a good thing!
Follow your Uncle as you ride through the countryside, and you will trigger a CS in which you learn that your Uncle has upgraded the armory of the castle that is your family home, and it now includes cannon.
Ride through the city arch and then the streets, where the citizens greet you by name, and you have a reunion with friends and relatives. You dismount during the CS, and then the game transitions to you on foot, and you get a Checkpoint Save notice.
Before we continue let us take a quick look at the stuff under the hood here, so that you are familiar with it! Hit the Pause Button (which is the Start Button on your gamepad) and you get the Pause Menu, which contains the following selections:
- Resume (Go back to the game)
- DNA (Review the memories and your progress through them)
- Inventory (The new Inventory System -- more on that in a bit)
- Map (Your Map of the Current Area with objective markers on it)
- Database (The Database containing all of the information you have uncovered)
- Options (Standard Game Options Menu, you know how that works)
- Quit (Buh Bye Mister Man!)
Of the menu choices there are several that we need to explore...
In the Options Menu is a selection for Stats -- opening that choice gives you a number of sub-menu choices you can activate, with the default, Overall, showing you the amount of time you have spent in the Animus, overall time played, and the distance in meters that you have traveled.
The Fight selection gives you all sorts of stats on your doing of bad deeds, Navigation covers a variety of distances, Social tells you what a wanker you have been, Economy details what you spent and the things you acquired, which is actually pretty useful information.
The Rome selection is your key to learning how much you have accomplished in restoring the city, and can clue you in on where you should focus next, while the Guild and Memories selections provide you with raw stats that are mostly FYI.
-- The DNA
This selection gives you the percentage complete for the different Sequences, and for Additional and Secondary Memories. This is significant because unlike the previous games, you are actually able to go back and revisit the memories from within this DNA Menu!
There are several selections here, Armor, Weapons, Supplies, Items, and Outfits, as well as Trade Objects, but things are a little different this time around, starting with the new addition to the menu, Trade Objects.
When you open chests you encounter, there is a chance that they will contain a Trade Object -- a valuable item that you can sell, but that may also be part of one of the side quests obtained from merchants in the game. You will want to think long and hard about selling these objects if you actually want to complete the different side-quests in the game, because doing so can cause you to be unable to complete them!
The Armor and Weapon selections take you to the screens that allow you to equip the various slots on your body - you actually have to own some armor and weapons to do that though, so for now that is just informational, right?
Supplies include healing items, ammunition, and kit items that will make your life a lot easier. Each is limited to a certain number of items so you will want to keep an eye out for ways to increase the limits -- the U-Play reward mentioned earlier increased our capacity of bullets from the default 6 to 10, which is pretty spiffy and will certainly come in handy later!
Items are largely the collection stuff that you will be picking up -- an important part of the game to be sure as they are associated with other content in it, but also important because hey, we LIKE to collect stuff, don't we?
Outfits -- ah... The outfits are, well, I don't want to come off as a girly-man or anything, but you have to admit that the outfits in this game are pretty freaking awesome! Why not look cool when you play? That is what I always say anyway! This is where you can play around with how you appear to all those babes in Rome, man. Because you gotta look good for the babes!
The default display when you enter the Inventory Menu Screen includes the contents of your Pouch and your Bank Account -- which for me, at the moment, is 53,724 Florin in my pouch, and nada, zip, zero in the Bank. How the hell am I carrying that much gold?! You will notice that the Bank has a cap of 5,000 Florin -- what you probably do not know is that the Bank is not there as a place for you to put your money, it is there as a place for people to pay you money they owe you and the rent or tax on your property.
The reason that there is a limit there is because the amount increases over time, and you will need to visit your Bank and empty it into your Pouch, or risk losing money that cannot go into it once it hits the limit. So be sure to keep an eye upon that and empty it before it caps off, right?
The Map -- pretty awesome, eh? Well, it is a Map, you know how those work. On the Map are the icons for the areas that are part of your objectives, so if you ever find yourself wondering what you should do and nothing really stands out in the objectives menu display, check the Map mate! There is almost always something to do assuming you have not fully completed an area, that is.
The Database -- a very cool part of the Pause Menu, it allows you to revisit the clues and information that you have uncovered, as well as read Recent Entries that contain information about the people you have met.
Right now you only have a few entries to read, but as you just met up with Claudia, go ahead and open the Database Entry on her, in Recent Entries, to learn that she was born in 1461, that she is of Noble birth, and oh yeah, she is your Sister. Dude, who do you think you are, a Borgia?!
The bio section of her entry has a lot of useful information, especially if you have not played the previous game in the series, so I recommend reading these just so you stay fully-meshed into the game. While you are here you may as well check out the file on your Uncle Mario -- no he is NOT a plumber damnit! And of course, your own file. If you play far enough into the game you will only see the most recent files for people in the Recent Entries Section, so if you missed someone you really wanted to research, check the People selection off of the previous menu, as it has all of the intelligence files for people in it.
Under Locations you can review what you know about all of the significant locations you have uncovered, and at the very bottom of the menu is the User Manual, which might end up being wicked important to you if you play the game in spurts, with significant time gaps in between, as it allows you to revisit command and other information that you will need to re-learn in order to play.
The Manual includes entries on all of the commands as well as a really good section on weapon types that is worth a read regardless of how often you play. At the bottom of the manual you will find additional subjects covered, like replaying memories, using cheats, virtual training, and U-Play. Check those out, it is worth the time in reading them.
The DNA Menu System
-- Exiting the Animus
It is important to remember that you can exit the Animus at any time simply by opening the Pause Menu and selecting Exit. This will return you to being Desmond in Monteriggioni in the future, which is something that you will want to do regularly to check your email as you play, because there is a Trophy / Achievement for doing that that you CANNOT unlock if you do not do this!
A word of caution -- the Quit selection is NOT what we are talking about when we say Leave the Animus, you actually want to use the select that says Leave the Animus. As this will not become available until Section 2 you will have to wait until it appears in the menu, right?
-- Back on Track
OK now with that out of the way, head past the training ring to the Villa and take a look around the grounds. You can enter through a back door to see the room where a wall that displays the Codex Pages from the previous game. This is the only room you can enter at the moment -- the rest of the Villa is locked up tight, so when you are finished here, hit the Back Button to open the Map -- or use the menu to get there, either way works but the Back Button is a shortcut...
On the Map you will see three ! markers -- these are your objectives! Select the closest memory to the Villa and place a marker on it, and then return to the world and make your way to that point in the city!
-- First Memory: Flowers for the Party-based
As you approach the damsel in distress you learn that her crate of flowers is too heavy for her, and you offer to carry it for her. Along the way you learn that you are carrying the flowers that are meant to decorate your own party -- a surprise party being put on by your sister.
-- Second Memory: Fixing the Cannon
When you arrive using the new cargo-lift system to reach the top of the wall you find that the cannon are not working properly. Your quest is to locate the cannon mechanic and convince him to fix them -- which you do -- and then shoot the fixed cannon in a mini-tutorial aimed at teaching you to aim... Get it? Aimed at... Why do I bother?
-- Third Memory: Save the Stable Hand
The Stable Hand outside of the main gate to town has lost a special horse, and you need to help him recover it! Just follow the marker to the horse, mount it, and ride it back to the Stable Hand to finish the quest and memory!
Return to the Villa -- whose front door you can now open -- and you run into Caterina, who wants a military agreement from you. You see Mom, and Sis, and Machiavelli, who you give a debriefing to, describing what happened at the end of the last game.
The conversation that follows is rather interesting, but once it ends you will head up the stairs to the glowing door for a brief CS in which you undress and take a bath, whereupon Caterina comes to join you. This mercifully ends before we watch you do the deed, but no! More kissing! This is a freaking adventure game, not Debby Does Dude!
Ezio is apparently a stallion in bed -- but just as he is getting comfortable the town is attacked! No, Ezio, it is NOT a training exercise! It is an attack!
The advantage of mounted artillery
-- Under Siege --
A cannon shot destroyed your armor, losing you the artifact you were so proud of -- and your Uncle finds you and fills you in, telling you to use the cannons above the gate. You are mounted on a horse that you need to ride through the explosions and falling buildings to the city wall, which you will eventually climb to reach the cannons.
The trick to this is to concentrate ONLY upon the enemy cannons, ignoring the troops. Once you finish off the cannons on the left side, yours will be destroyed -- run to the right hand cannon and use it to do in the remaining enemy cannon over there. If you dwaddle or fail to shoot fast enough, you will fail the mission.
With all of the cannon now destroyed, work your way along the walls killing the invaders until you trigger a CS in which the Borgia tell you what a mutt you are, and execute your Uncle Mario. No more Italian plumber... Sigh.
Reach the Villa and fight your way to your Sister, then protecting her, follow her towards the rear of the Villa where you enter the secret escape passage that leads to the treasure room and beyond, where the rest of your family is waiting.
Using the escape tunnel you all get out, and then you dispatch your family to a safe shelter while you head to Rome to confront your enemy! As you ride through the country side the massive blood loss from your woulds finally takes its toll and you pass out, falling off of your horse!
The screen fades to white and another chapter is over.