"Insieme per la vittoria!"note Together we will be victorious!
Carlo: We kill thinking it's best for us, do we not, Messer Ezio? Ezio: I do this not for myself. Compio questo sacrificio per il bene superiore. Requiescat in Pace. (I make this sacrifice for the greater good. Rest in peace.)
Played straight with being able to loot treasure chests as you find them, though most of the treasure chests are located in areas where people don't want you to find them... Also, you can buy a map of their location in each city... Do the citizens just not want to loot them or something?
Sometimes the circumstances of your killings, or how wanted posters and heralds mentioning you only pop up when you get a little Notoriety (i.e. stealing or High Profile kills), even if you made a clean getaway with no witnesses. Or the fact that wanted posters often show up in places it is VERY unlikely the general populace would ever see them.
The fact that Brutes in heavy armor probably about half their body weight can scale building with no efforts is pretty appalling within itself.
Action Girl: Lucy Stillman proves herself to be quite handy at dispatching Abstergo guards.
Rosa, Paola and Teodora also fall into this, the first being part of the Venetian Thieves Guild and more than capable of handling herself with an arrow in her leg, the latter being Assassins and performing leaps of faith at the end of :Memory Block 11. Catarina Sforza also gets in on the trope during the Battle of Forli expansion.
After the End: The ending reveals that the current civilization, ours, is actually the world's second civilization. The first was destroyed by what is implied to be a massive solar flare that reversed the earth's magnetic poles, unleashing massive earthquakes.
A Handful for an Eye: One of the combat techniques Ezio can learn from Mario is a special attack for his Fists, where Ezio picks up quite a lot of sand and throws it at his opponent, disorienting them (as with the Smoke Bomb). If he attacks right afterward, he will instantly finish the opponent off.
The profile for Leonardo da Vinci outright states that he was most likely homosexual. Despite this, he does admit to spending some time at the local, er, "convent" for some quality time with ladies of the evening, so he's bisexual if anything. There's also the fact that this was probably true about the real Leonardo.
Antonio may also be homosexual, or he may just be flamboyant and effeminate. Although Leonardo does say "I've been seeing quite a bit of him lately- errr... as mutual friends..."
An Aesop: If the series itself does have an aesop to teach, it is that people should not allow others to choose their path and what they believe, but to decide it for themselves.
Ancient Conspiracy / Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: As of Assassin's Creed II, it might be safer to ask who wasn't involved in this mother-of-all-conspiracies. Name a historical figure. Yep, they're involved on either the Assassin side, Templar side, or were just shmucks/ descendants of Those Who Came Before who ended up with a Piece of Eden. A short list:
On the Assassin side we've got: Dante Alighieri, Niccol˛ Machiavelli, possibly Gandhi and Joan of Arc. Nikola Tesla wasn't an Assassin himself, but after the Templars had ruined him the Assassins contacted him to recommend that he assist in Tunguska. Marco Polo either was an Assassin or was associated with them, and the same holds true for Kublai Khan.
On the schmucks/Those Who Came Before side, we've got Jesus, King Arthur, Houdini, John F. Kennedy, and maybe Gandhi and John the Baptist. Oh and Cleopatra, Caligula, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, the First Emperor of China and King Xerxes? All killed by Assassins. However, those are just the ones famous by Ezio's time; Subject 16 mentions additional people.
Also, a number of major historical events, such as the Moon landing, the assassination of JFK, and the first nuclear detonations were done either because of or to acquire Pieces of Eden. The Tunguska Event, on the other hand, was an attempt to destroy a Piece of Eden by Nikola Tesla. It failed partially. Nikola Orelov managed to recover a fragment.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: Ezio obtains a pair of capes, the Medici and Venetian Capes, that mark him as a friend of them, keeping his notoriety from rising in Florence and Tuscany/San Gimignano (Medici Cape), and Venice. However, the reward for collecting all 100 feathers is the Auditore Cape, which makes you notorious everywhere except Monteriggioni; removing it sends your Notoriety back to whatever that was before you equipped it. Also, the game's ultimate reward is Alta´r's Armour, which is made from uber-metal that was literally only discovered with the help of the Gods. It maxes out your health bar and is completely unbreakable. Along with looking awesome.
Also oddly Inverted. Acquiring the Armor of Alta´r makes Ezio unable to change his appearance by dying his clothes, so Your Reward is Fewer Clothes unless you want to deliberately reduce your health bar and continue paying for repairs.
And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: The house in Monteriggioni becomes decorated with portraits of Ezio's assassination victims and with art objects that Ezio is encouraged to purchase. The appearance of the rest of Monteriggioni also improves as Ezio's actions cause the town to become more prosperous.
A strange subversion of this occurs as you build up the surrounding village. As more structures become upgraded, hidden statues and loot shows up. To sum that thought up: Craftsmen arrive, build up a building, and then hide a statue for you to find. When was the last time your handyman hid a pricless work of art in your drywall?
Both games have a thing for birds. Both protagonists are named after them, the presence of birds marks important/useful spots in the world, and bird feathers play a prominent background role in both games. Also, both Ezio's and Alta´r's assassin's garbs feature a beak-like peak in the front of the hood and a wing-like split in the back of the lower 'cape', thus emulating birds, especially when diving off of rooftops.
The art book for the first one explicitly compares Alta´r to a bird-of-prey, saying that it was a big part of the inspiration for the character's design. Side-by-side art pieces show artists emulating the shape of an eagle mid-flight with Alta´r.
Annoying Arrows: While bowmen can be very frustrating, especially while fighting other enemies in close quarters, its amazing how little damage their arrows do. Ezio can have five arrows sticking out of his torso and still keep fighting.
And then Rosa continues to move and fight despite have an arrow clear through her leg!
Anticlimax Boss: The last fight of the game is a fist fight with the Pope. You read that right. Problem is that he's a fat old man who flails his flabby limbs at you wildly until you grab him by the throat and throw him to the floor.
It's even more anticlimactic if you manage to grab him at some point. Then it just turns into deciding what combination of punches, headbutts, and knees to the face you want to use before dragging him up off the ground again and repeating. Should you so choose, you can kill him by repeatedly kneeing him in the groin.
Two words: Throwing Knives. They are unblockable, so fling a couple of them at him and he will go down without even reaching you.
Anti-Villain: Dante Moro. His master Marco Barbarigo tried to have him killed so he could steal his wife. His plan failed, but since Moro was left brain-damaged, Marco fooled him into divorcing his true love, and then hired him to be his personal bodyguard. And then married his ex-wife.
Apocalypse How: Somewhere between planetary societal collapse and species extinction in the distant past. And it's about to happen again in Desmond's time...
Armor of Invincibility: The Armour of Altair, which you receive for completing all the Assassin Tomb free-run missions. It offers the best protection in the game and is literally invincible (but unlike the Missaglias armour, which offers the same amount of protection and is breakable, doesn't allow you to dye your clothes).
This is even Lampshaded by Antonio, who claims that the real heroes are the thieves, mercenaries, and prostitutes: they work towards a common goal to ensure freedom for all.
Artificial Brilliance: Civilians and Guards both act a lot more realistically than they did in the previous games. The later will even start searching nearby hiding spots if you try to hide too soon, and seekers will pick and poke every hiding place they can find if you're notorious.
Artificial Stupidity: Don't worry, there's still at least a little bit of this trope to go around. In particular, the AI is only mediocre at freerunning, and will on occasion get stuck on a plank or fall off it. Theives are notiorious for this.
Speaking of thieves, there's a spot in Florence where a bunch of thieves are located a little too close to a roof guard. They won't so much as react while the guard injures and picks them off one by one.
Rooftop guards will also shoot Borgia couriers when they try to escape you, even if the city's guard is aligned with the Borgia. ...While ignoring you completely. Of course, once the Courier/Pickpocket is out of the way they'll turn their attention on you too.
Guards still have next to No Peripheral Vision, you can sneak up behind them rather easily even from the side. You can even shoot them with an extremely loud pistol and they won't find you if you're shooting from a rooftop.
Somehow the Corrupt Officials are so known to be such that passing crowds won't even pause when you publicly put a blade through the guy's torso (though guards will attack on sight of this). Rather conveniently though, these guys who "bear false witness against you" (Paola's words) only appear once you have quite a lot of Notoriety...
Bad Habits: As explained by Rodrigo Borgia, the Templars are not actually Catholic and only pretend to be so in order to gain influence.
Badass: All the Assassins for a start, Caterina Sforza is probably the best example since she is the only woman in Italy to rule over a city state. Also in the Battle of Forlý when her daughter is kidnapped if you listen to the chatter at a certain point it turns out that it runs in the family.
Big Fancy House: Villa Auditore, the mansion that Ezio uses as his base of operations for most of the game, actually becomes fancier over time as he earns enough money to restore the surrounding town into a thriving economy.
You can explore the Palazzo di Medici using the "Templar Locations" variant of the Bonfires of the Vanity DLC; it's pretty damn impressive too (though it's a little bit messy since you visit it during a Templar attack).
The Palazzo Ducale in Venice. It is the home of the Doge, after all. Notable in that it lacks the Benevolent Architecture that many other buildings have, making it impossible to enter. Except in Memory 5 of Sequence 8. Or if you use a glitch to climb it.
Bilingual Bonus: Naturally. The game takes place in Italy, and though the game is mainly english throughout characters will talk some Italian from time to time. One that stands out is Ezio's uncle Mario saying "Casa, dolce casa" (quite literally home, sweet home) when you get to the Auditore Mansion.
Bittersweet Ending: Ezio spends twenty years hunting down the conspirators and searching for answers, only to at the end be told to keep quiet while the grown-ups are talking, and he leaves with absolutely no understanding of what transpired in the Vault.
Blade Below the Shoulder: Ezio's hidden blade is significantly upgraded over Alta´r's. For starters, he can use it as a weapon in standard combat; it is however one of the weakest weapons in open combat. Then he gets one on his right arm too so he can stab two guys at once. Late in the game you get a hidden gun attachment to it, as the intro movie promises. The hidden blades are the only weapon in the game that can counter-kill an enemy regardless of his status, although it's difficult to pull of regularly because the time window for the counter-kill is the shortest of all. And, best of all, this version of the blade no longer requires you to give up a finger to equip it.
According to the Codex, all of these were 'granted' to the Order by Alta´r.
On a side note, you get an achievement on the consoles if you wear the cape once in every city.
Book Ends: Once Ezio's story properly starts, the first scene is a fist fight with his biggest rival. His story ends with a fist fist against his mortal enemy.
Break the Cutie: In the beginning sections of the game, we get a glimpse into the life Ezio leads. He has a loving family, a carefree and wisecracking personality, and seems to have carved a comfortable niche for himself. All that changes when his father and brothers are accused of treason and executed, while he watches helplessly. Seeing him transform from a charming young man into a revenge-driven assassin is painful to watch, and he just barely manages to avoid becoming no different from his enemies.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Subverted. During Minerva's exposition, she looks directly at the camera and actually tells Ezio to shut up so she can speak to the one controlling him. Then it turns out she's talking to Desmond.
Random NPC: Isn't that illegal? Eh, not my problem...
Call Back: The 3-episode miniseries Lineage, which takes place before the events of the game, contains many plot points that are later mentioned in the game. Some of these include: the assassination of the Duke of Milan, Giovanni being an Assassin, and the Pope's approval for the destruction of the Medici family.
Catch Phrase: "Requiescat in pace." Said by Ezio as a parting sendoff to all of his targets, preceded by an Italian-language, target-specific line. There's a variant in the final boss fight where he says: "Requiescat in pace, you bastard." Then the boss wakes up. While it's used in both the English and Italian versions, in the Japanese voice track it's translated (nemure, yasuraka ni).
The Templars also have "May the Father of Understanding guide us."
Camera Screw: Thankfully it's at least possible to set the action camera frequency, but it's still not possible to disable it completely.
Character Outlives Actor: Likely the fate of Rosa, who had been a love interest for Ezio but suffered Chuck Cunningham Syndrome after that game since her actress, Lita Tresierra, was killed in a car accident shortly before production began on Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Despite the character never appearing in the games again, the novelizations for Brotherhood and Revelations say that she eventually took over the Rosa in Fiore from Claudia and became an Italian Assassin leader.
Charged Attack: When bare-handed, Ezio can pick up a handful on sand and blind enemies with it. He can charge his throwing knives during a fight and toss up to three at once. Heavy Weapons can be charged to guard crush enemies and potentially disarm them. Spears can be charged to sweep enemies off of the ground.
Command And Conquer Economy: With enough florins saved up, you can order your Architect to renovate your village back into the thriving economy it used to be.
Conspicuously Selective Perception: Better about it than the first game: guards are smart enough to flush Ezio out of hiding spots if he hid while just out of sight. Also, guards will recognize Ezio more as the story progresses. You can, however, lower his infamy by tearing down wanted posters, bribing heralds, or ganking corrupt officials (who apparently no one but guards will react to). There are also minstrels, who become really tiring, really quickly. Especially when they travel in packs.
The main role of mercenari is to provide a fighting distraction for guards so that you can assassinate them while they're distracted. If you try to assassinate from the front even a 'distracted' guard is likely to block your attempt... but then he'll just turn back to the mercenaries he was fighting, as if you were never there. If the mercenaries started fighting with the guards and you just perform one-hit kills, it doesn't count as combat (this is an important note when trying to get "no-hitter", especially with the 10-Brutes-in-60-seconds mission, as you have to initiate combat by detection or non-fatally attacking the guard yourself before letting the mercenaries take over, for subsequent kills to count).
While escaping from the Marco Barbarigo hit in Sequence 9 Dante Moro is guarding one of the exits, and cannot be assassinated, attacked or shot (the latter only alerts him to your presence.) Wouldn't want to make Sequence 10 any easier, would we?
Cool Old Guy: You wish you had an uncle as cool as Mario Auditore. Funny, smart, and a pretty good mentor.
Counter Attack: Significantly revamped, but the basic function is still present. Some timing windows have changed, and the ability to steal weapons by countering when unarmed has been added.
Cosmic Deadline: At the end of Sequence 11, right after Ezio is officially inducted into the Assassins, the Animus somehow glitches up and corrupts Sequences 12 and 13, skipping ahead to the final Sequence 14, which takes place 11 years after Sequence 11 and has Shaun helpfully inform you that Ezio's mortal enemy is now Pope Alexander VI. The broken segments are later "repaired" as DLC: "Battle of Forlý", followed by the "Bonfire of the Vanities".
Critical Annoyance: Same as in the first game, except this time it doesn't make a lick of sense as the health meter now represents actual health.
Actually, the health meter is still a synchronisation meter however, as noted in the manual, it has been re-named to "health" by Rebecca as it seemed more interesting. As such, it makes just as much sense as it did in the previous game.
Custom Uniform: It's not clear if the Thieves have a per se uniform or they're all wearing the same kind of outfit for convenience, but Rosa and Antonio clearly don't use the same garb.
Cutscene Drop: It doesn't matter if you kill your target by shooting him from afar, throwing him off a roof and/or into the instantly-fatal-to-NPCs water, or slashing him with your sword as you gallop past him on a horse, somehow Ezio always instantly ends up kneeling on the ground with the target dying in his arms. This even happens when an ally specifically tells you to shoot the target.
Regular guards may also stab hiding spots that are in areas under investigation, but the Seeker tends to do so even when there's no disturbance.
Rodrigo Borgia isn't lacking either, guessing that Ezio is watching him on the mission you are formally introduced to him, and cutting off a typical "we aren't failures like your last minions" speech (trope?) by pointing out that the Pazzis were brought down by one Assassin.
Damsel in Distress: The sequence where Ezio meets Rosa in Venice follows this pattern when he has to rescue her after she is hit in the leg with an arrow. Being an Action Girl, she's able to limp away a rather considerable distance and fight, with Ezio assisting in a basic Escort Mission. Eventually she collapses and Ezio has to carry her in his arms to a gondola to escape.
Dashed Plot Line: Going from one memory to the next involves jumps of several years.
Dating Catwoman: Desmond briefly experiences one of Alta´r's memories as a result of the "bleeding effect" that shows both Alta´r and the Templar Maria having fallen in love. You can even find a portrait of Maria drawn by Alta´r as one of the Codex pages.
He also realizes that he is a descendant of that one time they did it on top of a tower in Acre, as his memories of Alta´r in that instance end at the moment of conception.
The real life event this part is based on turns this up to 11. After trying to have Lorenzo de Medici killed, and failing, Francesco de' Pazzi was quickly questioned, then hung from the Palazzo della Signoria - along with about a half dozen other conspirators. The following day, another 14 guards in the employ of one of the conspirators were hanged, then left there all day, before being cut down and propped up against the Palazzo wall, weapons in hand, as if they were on guard.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Justified in the sense that you never die, you just "desynchronize". Nonetheless, there is literally no penalty for desynching. Just that you have to restart whatever memory you may have been playing when it happened.
Ezio. Borgia stabs him in the stomach after besting him with the Papal Staff, but when Ezio gets back up to challenge him to the fistfight, there is no effect on gameplay. Oddly enough, in the DLC, when Ezio is stabbed in like fashion by a dying Checco Orsi, he goes unconscious and nearly dies.
Equally, Rosa: She is shot through the leg trying to climb a secure building in Venice. Rosa rolls and runs off, with Ezio following. She actually makes it quite far before finally collapsing.
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The final boss of Assassin's Creed II is Pope Alexander VI, who by this point almost has both keys to the Vault, the Apple of Eden and the papal staff — aka the Staff of Eden — and is virtually unstoppable. So, what does Ezio say to him? "Go fuck yourself."
Dirty Coward: The "running Templars" you encounter in some of the Assassins' Tombs and Templar Lairs, who are near-impossible to catch just to add insult to injury. Fortunately, all of them except the first (the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, a story memory) may be replayed.
Distracted by the Sexy: You can hire Courtesans not only to act as a "mobile crowd" in which you'll blend, but also order them to distract a group of guards, allowing you to slip past them.
Doesn't Like Guns: Curiously, the modern Templar guards in the ending scenes all use telescoping batons in trying to capture Desmond and Lucy, because they have orders to take Desmond alive.
Which till doesn't explain why they don't employ the sort of tasers you can use at a distance, though. Pretty sure a few of those would have put Desmond and Lucy on the ground. Nor does it explain why the modern Assassins side didn't defend themselves with guns; Desmond might be explained away as being more skilled (thanks to having recently lived a lifetime as Ezio and another as Altair,) with the hidden blade than with a gun, but the warehouse fight could have ended in a few long bursts from a machine pistol if Lucy had used one.
Doppleganger Attack: Alta´r apparently shared this knowledge with Ezio through the Codex, since Ezio uses this trope to its fullest when he fights the Pope. It works quite well and even the Pope congratulates him on this trick.
Double Entendre: Early in the game, Ezio's mother complains that he needs to find an outlet for self-expression, while Ezio claims he has plenty of outlets. Her response? "I meant besides vaginas."
Downloadable Content: Two pieces have been revealed: one named "The Battle of Forlý", the other "Bonfire of the Vanities". It was widely speculated that these two events were the missing Sequences 12 and 13, which has been confirmed by Ubisoft.
There are also several bonus downloadable items depending on what retailer you preordered the game from. This is also Ubisoft's first game to integrate its community-based Uplay system, which lets you gain points ("Units") redeemable towards DLC for certain Uplay-enabled games.
Dual Wielding: Ezio has two hidden blades. Most of the time, they don't operate too differently from Alta´r, but they do allow you to shank two guards at once.
Due to the Dead: Ezio pays his respects to all the targets he kills, except for Uberto and Vieri. The first he gives a Bond One-Liner, the second causes him to fly into an Unstoppable Rage until Mario stops him and gives the last rites.
Can be averted in Vieri's case by throwing knives (if you find the right position to throw them from) or by surprising him (possibly by bumping into him) (at 1:01), but with Borgia the only way to do so is a game-breaking bug (in the sense that you won't be able to complete the memory).
DRM: At launch, the PC version required a constant internet connection to play the game. Any interruption in that connection either from the user or Ubisoft's servers would result in the player being kicked out of gameplay. Several months after launch, this was changed and the game only required an Internet check when first starting up.
Thankfully, this has been removed, allowing one to play offline without a connection.
Easter Egg: There's a Giant Squid in the Assassin tomb under Santa Maria della Visitazione. Here's a YouTube video showing how to see it.
Wait one minute on the first menu (before pressing enter to start) and a short video (the game's E3 trailer) will play where you use a gun for an assassination.
The Agiles have a habit of dodging most attacks that you make, but if you can force them to block they'll eventually tire, opening them up for a One-Hit Kill, and as with the beret-wearing regular guards all counter attacks are fatal to them. There's also several "degrees" of regular sword/bludgeon-wielding guard, proportional to the amount of armor they're wearing and the coverage of their helmets.
Enemy Civil War: Archers will attack pickpockets and Borgia Couriers if they get onto roofs near enough, even though the Couriers will try to call for the guards to help them. In Bonfire of the Vanities you will see guards fighting each other even though they all appear red in Eagle Vision.
Evil Sorcerer: Pope Alexander VI aka Rodrigo Borgia, Templar Grand Master can be considered this when he fights Ezio.
The Evils of Free Will: To permanently secure their domain over the world, the Templars plan to launch a satellite with a Piece of Eden onboard, which will apparently allow them to mass hypnotize the entire planet. Even better? The date that the satellite will be launched is December 21, 2012 (the end of the Mayan Calender); this was hinted at in emails in the first game and some of the symbols that Subject 16 drew, and it's confirmed in the second game.
Averted. While Ezio cannot select any of these as his carry weapon, if he sheathes his sword/dagger, he can pick up a dropped enemy weapon and he is lethal with them. They all work properly, have full counter-kill animations and move-sets, even if they do tend to use the same move-sets for axes and two-handed swords, and spears as well as polearms. (Running a man through with the front of a halberd all the way up the hilt is hard. But Ezio makes it look easy.)
There is also another one where when you counter a polearm guard while using a polearm, Ezio flourish-twirls the spear right into the guard's eye.
Fashionable Asymmetry: Ezio's assassin outfit has several examples, though they're not at Final Fantasy levels of dramatic. One hand gloved, one bare. Half-cape over one shoulder. Once you have the piece, an armored spaulder/pauldron goes over the other. Lastly, and this can be easy to miss, Ezio's left hand hidden blade has a white-silver finish, whereas his right hand blade has a black finish.
Fisticuffs Boss: It ends like this. Yes, you have a fist fight with the Pope.
Flat "What.": The first reaction to the completed "The Truth" video? "Wow."
Fling a Light into the Future: Desmond Miles was the key figure in a scheme by an advanced species that communicated a warning to him through Ezio Auditore as he inhabited the body of his ancestor via the Animus 2.0. Needless to say, this caused Desmond to exclaim "What. The. Fuck?!"
Foreshadowing: Lots. In particular, plenty of the paintings Ezio can buy and display in Mario's villa foreshadow Human/Those Who Came Before couplings, and the Assassins' true nature.
Fourth Wall Psych/Gainax Ending: In in the final cutscene of the game, Minerva begins her monologue talking to Ezio, but turns to stare into the camera a few sentences in. When Ezio expresses his profound confusion, she tells him that she's not talking to him and continues to talk to the camera, despite his protests that there's no one else there. It isn't until the end of the cutscene that she confirms she's addressing future Desmond and friends. And maybe the player as well.
Gameplay and Story Integration: There's a scene where a Brute disarms Ezio and forces him to flee. A Brute can actually disarm you (save from the Hidden Blades) in game if you try to block his attacks too often.
Generation Xerox: Averted, for the most part, but Desmond has a scar on his face that exactly matches Ezio's scar that he receives in the beginning of the game. Whether this is a natural scar, or from the "bleeding effect" of the Animus is unknown.
Desmond has this scar in the first game, so it wasn't from the Bleeding Effect. Creepy.
Genre Savvy: Rodrigo Borgia seems to be the only one able to see an Assassin in broad daylight and in his fight with Ezio, after being knocked down, he simply uses his powers to restrain and stab Ezio rather than engage him again.
Good Old Fisticuffs: The Beat-Up missions have you going around getting into fistfights with adulterous husbands. Additionally, attempting to steal from men more than once will provoke them to carry out a little street justice themselves...even the monks want a piece of you! Like the Hidden Blade, unarmed fighting has also been upgraded; Ezio can block, after a fashion - it's more like automatic dodging - and counter in unarmed combat now, as well as disarm enemies.
This is Ezio's only combat mode throughout his pre-Assassin life, although it's not til his training at Monteriggioni that he learns to disarm. Later on, during the contests for the Golden Mask, he's supposed to stick to unarmed fighting— though, when the last set of enemies bring weapons into the pit, you're allowed to use your own with no penalty. And of course, the final fight with Pope Alexander VI.
Gory Discretion Shot: When Ezio's little brother is hanged, the body ends up below the platform hiding it. His father and older brother don't have the same luck.
Gotta Catch Them All: Like the first game, there are a number of collectibles, like feathers, paintings, Assassin Seals, etc. Unlike the first game, collecting all of these will net you actual benefits (the paintings spruce up Monteriggioni, the Seals unlock Alta´r's armor, 50 and 100 Feathers unlock the Condittiero hammer and Auditore Cape respectively — and all of these mean more in-game revenue and a higher uncollected income maximum).
In-universe, they're all required for "100% synchronization" with Ezio, as are the DLC Sequences 12 and 13.
Gratuitous Italian: Almost every other sentence is Italian. Thankfully the game gave you a subtitles option to figure out just what the heck the characters are saying. In an optional cutscene, Desmond even thanks Rebecca for the Animus 2.0 having subtitles!
The foreign dubs (particularly the French dub) aren't quite as bad about this, but they'll occasionally throw in a word or two of unsubtitled Italian every so often, provided the Italian word is close to the original word.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: Different kinds of guards react differently to Ezio when searching for him; polearm-carrying guards ("Seekers") will poke their weapons into stacks of hay looking for him. However, Ezio will relatively early on learn to make kills from hiding spots.
Guide Dang It: The answers of Subject 16's glyph puzzles can sometimes cross into this, as Shaun's advice becomes less and less helpful throughout, climaxing with Puzzle 20 where he outright admits to having no clue, even though it's explicitly declared on-screen. Another Guide Dang It comes from the fact that while you get helpful maps showing every one of the hundreds of treasure chests in the city, updated in real-time (each opened treasure chest's icon disappears from the map), there's no such option for the ultimately more important feathers, considering what you get out of collecting them all.
Hammerspace Hideaway: The haystacks can apparently hold an unlimited number of corpses, their weapons, and still have room for Ezio to hide in.
Healing Potion: The sequel dispenses with the 'sync' thing of the first game and gives us a regular health meter that doesn't fully replenish on its own. Cue little vials of a miraculous healing concoction.
The change from the first game is implied to be a result of the Animus 2.0's superiority over the original Animus.
Highly-Visible Ninja: Ezio is possibly a bigger offender when it come to this than Alta´r. In Alta´r's time, the bright white assassin robe at least had the perk that it was reminiscent of the one the local scholars wore, which made masquerading as one or hiding amongst a group of them possible. Ezio on the other hand has no such excuse, but unlike Alta´r, he has the option of changing the robe's color to a more camouflage-friendly one. Interestingly, his father, Giovanni, apparently kept the robe in its white default color, making him qualify for the trope as well. Note that this does tie into gameplay: if Ezio passes into line of sight of a guard in an area he shouldn't be in, they spot him right away. If the guards are on high alert, they'll also spot Ezio if he's walking down the street without using crowds, picking him out based on his flashy clothes.
Henry Ford goes from the garden-variety anti-Semite that he was in real life to a lunatic who gave Piece of Eden 4 to Hitlerspecifically to start World War II, and who considered the Holocaust to be a good thing!]]. And he isn't even a character outside of the backstory!
Thomas Edison's... contention with Nikola Tesla is given a Templar flavor when he conspires with J.P. Morgan to prevent Tesla from providing free electricity as well as a worldwide network that would provide free information. Tesla's Assassin-suggested revenge: The Tunguska Event. (though the explosion in this case was from destroying a Piece of Eden).
Savonarola in the Bonfire of the Vanities DLC. Granted, having countless Renaissance paintings and sculptures thrown into a fire because you find them indecent is a bit of a dick move. But people forget that Savonarola's denouncements of such priceless artworks were very popular at the time, mainly because the continued patronage of fancy artwork by wealthy Italian families began to seem like a mocking gesture as poverty, plague, and other miseries continued to climb in Italy. He's definitely extreme, but probably had good intentions, and he certainly wasn't the conniving maniacal bastard he is in the game. (In fairness, the AC team aren't the first ones to portray him that way.)
Meanwhile with the Assassins, Rebecca refers to the Animus 2.0 as Baby.
I Know Mortal Kombat: Desmond obtains all the skills of Ezio by playing through a simulation of his memories, leading to a 'bleeding effect' that causes them to be assimilated into his own mind... along with other things.
Inevitable Tournament: Venice's Carnivale, featuring an unarmed-fighting event, stealing ribbons from pretty ladies, and...um... Capture the Flag. Played with in two ways: first, Ezio willingly enters the tournament as part of a Batman Gambit arranged by the local Hooker with a Heart of Gold to get a pass to a party arranged by his target; and secondly, although Ezio wins the contests the Carnivale organizers are paid off to rig the final results anyway in favor of a guy that Ezio had beaten in public as part of the fighting tournament and defeating a bunch of guards who'd entered with weapons. Fortunately, afterward you're then given a mission to steal the golden mask from the "winner" while he's distracted.
Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Loads of them. You can even buy maps that lead to these treasure chests. In addition, there are guards scattered around with nothing better to do than to protect a chest by a hay pile outside of town all day.
Infant Immortality: Averted. Ezio's kid brother Petruccio, who has to be only ten or eleven years old, is hanged alongside his father in the mission "Last Man Standing".
Shaun, whilst informing you about one of your assassination targets, recounts the time that the man, in order to stop a prominent family's plot against him, invited the entire family, including their children, to an Easter celebration, then had the children shot whilst their parents watched.
Infinity+1 Sword: The Sword of Alta´r, which has maxed-out ratings in all three weapon stats. Interestingly, it's one of the least ostentatious-looking weapons you can have (though the eagle's head pommel is a neat touch) and is actually shorter than some of the other longswords, despite its status as top blade. It's also apparently manufactured in large quantities by blacksmiths, since you have to buy the historically ancient blade.
Alta´r's armor is also the best in AC2, with only the Missaglias Vambraces having any advantage (3 Health to the Vambraces of Alta´r's 2 Health). While all four pieces have to be worn together, at 8 Resistance they never break (hence saving florins) and grant a whopping 15 Health, three times what Ezio started with.
The Hidden Blade is effectively one solely for the guaranteed fatalCounter Kills irrespective of enemy Health.
Ink-Suit Actor: Thanks to Lineage, which uses some of the VAs to live act their game roles, you can see that a lot of characters are modeled after their live-action actors. This video places the actor's pictures side-by-side with the characters, and you can see how many of them match.
Instant Expert: The purpose of letting Desmond relive Ezio's life is to gain the latter's skills. Ezio himself takes to the Hidden Blade very quickly, though he could possibly have had weapons training in the past for the other weapon types and the training with Paola and Mario has a montage flavor to it that Renaissance confirms.
Insurmountable Waist High Fence: In The Stinger, Vidic stands in an open semi trailer and mocks you while you fight his mooks. You can let Lucy handle the mooks and head straight for Vidic, but you can't get onto the truck, and it drives off when the mooks are defeated. Then Lucy tells you to just let him go.
While Assassin's Creed II is incredibly open world, there will be areas rendered unavailable during certain memories such as missions, and at points in the story certain districts won't be available to reach yet; staying too long in them will cause desynchronization with Ezio.
In the countryside areas of the game - there are hills surrounding all the edges of the map that act as literal versions of this.
Considering Ezio can scale sheer walls roughly twice his height with very little effort, insurmountable waist high fences are very rare, but very jarring when they appear. The guardrail on top of the Duomo in Florence is an example, and it comes to bite the player in the Bonfire of the Vanities. The guardrail on top of the Doge's Palace in Venice is a particularly egregious example, as even though it looks perfectly climbable, Ezio's inability to get past it is a plot point. The one at the Doge's palace is especially ridiculous. After climbing up the side of the building, Ezio and his companion come up against a 6-foot tall fence, through which they can see the Doge (who they're trying to save) talking to the man who's going to poison him. Their reaction: "Damn, we can't get past this fence. We need to find another way in." The "other way" involves a long process of killing guards and lighting fires so that Ezio can launch Leonardo's flying machine from the other side of the city to try to land inside the fenced in courtyard of the palace. Apparently that is, somehow, a simpler solution than simply climbing over the fence.
Internal Homage: In Bonfire of the Vanities you have to kill nine subordinates of the current villain who has the Apple before you can vanquish him. Sound familiar?
In the Back: If Ezio attacks an enemy from behind while the enemy fighting another opponent, he instantly kills them, usually by grabbing them and cutting their throats, running them through, or by playing Whack-A-Mole with their skulls using a hammer. In fact, the main use of the mercenaries is to provide said distractions.
If Ezio uses the Poison Blade on a target from behind, he lightly stabs the target in the back, injecting the poison. The advantage over the Hidden Blade is that no one will notice, and the target's subsequent descent into madness followed by death is a complete mystery to everyone else, who will only watch helplessly.
A straighter version of this trope is when you get the DLC pack that allows you to play through the Bonfire of the Vanities. After you kill the major villain, you can still go into that new section of Florence and people will still be burning stuff.
It Will Never Catch On: Ezio suggests to Antonio that he add milk or sugar to his cafÚ. Antonio scoffs, suggesting that coffee is simply an acquired taste. In another mission, dock workers complain about the ruling class importing an expensive powder from China, for fireworks.
Jerkass: Shaun Hastings, one of your handlers in the sequel.
Just One Man: Desmond claims that this is the reason he has no chance of fighting back against the Templars, but Lucy hits him back with: "Sometimes that's all you need." You'd think he'd have learned what one man is capable of after what happened in the first game.
Justified Tutorial: The first third of the game is one big long one for Ezio. We're introduced to him during a street fight; right after we're introduced to looting enemies for pocket change, with which to pay doctors for medicine (another new gameplay mechanic). Climbing rooftops and delivery missions for Ezio's family flesh out Ezio's life as well as refamiliarizing the players with his free-running and climbing abilities. Screwing up at the gallows scene introduces us to the concept of "hide or die," and is shortly afterwards supplanted with the courtesans teaching Ezio and the player with how to hide in plain sight by blending in with the crowd. Killing the Pazzi thugs near Leonardo's studio teaches us how to hide bodies by moving them around. Finally, getting our hidden blade shows us how we can use it to actually perform an assassination mission.
Karma Houdini: Neither the guard who pulled the lever at the gallows nor those who assaulted Ezio's mother are ever shown as suffering any negative consequences, nor does Ezio target them personally for those acts — though those guards may have been among those he killed along the way.
Lampshade Hanging: The sequel on the first game, no less! When Ezio kills one of his early targets and demands to know what he is up to before he dies, his target replies: "I'm sorry, were you expecting a confession?" Then he promptly dies, causing Ezio to angrily spout curses at him.
Also, in the instruction manual, above the control scheme for swimming is this: Lucy - Make sure to fix that annoying bug in the Animus 1.0 software which prevents ancestors from swimming!
There's also the aforementioned conversation with Rebecca where Desmond notes his appreciation for the subtitles - the first game lacked subtitles completely.
And there's a mission where Ezio has to assassinate his target, who is in a monastery filled with his personal guards, who are disguised as monks. The name of the mission is "the cowl does not make the monk". Gee, I wonder what that's a reference to?
Large Ham: The civilians, especially if you kill a guard nearby them.
Civilian: (Ezio kills a nearby guard) The Lord is my shepherd! THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD!!!
Bartolomeo. Seriously, just listen to his increasingly gruesome and hilarious rants while locked up in the jail cell.
(I swear when I get out of here I will SEVER ALL of your FUCKING heads and SHOVE them up your asses)! And do not think I will be matching heads to asses! It will be glorious, and they will sing of it for YEARS to come!
Also Caterina Sforza in the DLC. Try listening to her complete tirade, it involves tempting enemy soldiers to come over to her and try to grab her breasts so she can kick them in their balls so hard they'll fly out of their nostrils. This rant, according to contemporary sources, actually happened.
Leitmotif: Take a good listen to that riff that plays when Ezio and Frederico are on top of that church - you'll be hearing it a couple more times throughout the game.
There's also a riff that could be considered the "Assassin's leitmotif". Remember the choir that sang in the Masyaf background music for the first game? You hear that same choir singing in the San Gimignano bgm and when Ezio is officially branded.
Not to mention the tune sung by the female singer in a lot of the background music.
Legacy Character: The second installment adds Ezio to Alta´r's line, along with Desmond. Both of whom are full-fledged Assassins by the end of the game (or at least in Desmond's case, close to getting there).
Le Parkour: Strangely, the Assassin technique seems to have spread among the young men of Italy — the heralds warn against the Italian youth engaging in Roof Hopping, implying that they're proficient at this to an extent. The thieves are even better.
Lethal Joke Item: You see those brooms citizens might occasionally sweep the floor with? Those are apparently made with metal wires, because they animate, sound, and hit to just like reskinned maces. It becomes hilarious when Ezio walks away from a group of dead guardsmen holding only a bloody broom in one hand.
Lighter and Softer: Instead of Alta´r, the serious master assassin from the first game, the player controls Ezio, a happy and playful nobleman in Florence. Well, happy and playful initially, at least.
Limited Wardrobe: Ezio wears the same robes for over twenty years, though you can dye it different colors by visiting tailor shops.
Living Legend: By the end of the game, Ezio is famous among the assassins, and terrifying to the templars.
Losing the Team Spirit: The death of Giovanni, Ezio's father. In terms of gameplay, killing a high ranking guard or lots of guards quickly may cause the other guards to rout.
Also, aiming the pistol at someone for long enough will cause this.
Lost In A Crowd: Ezio being able to hide in any sufficiently large crowd of people (sufficiently large being about 4 or so). In place of the priests ("Scholars") from AC, Ezio can hire some... Courtesans to follow him as a mobile safepoint directed by him. People not noticing Ezio in that particular crowd is easier explained.
Lovable Rogue: Ezio. Especially in his younger years, though he never completely loses the charm.
Mama Bear: Caterina Sforza. Her daughter, Bianca, is a Sister Bear towards Ottaviano, her little brother.
Marked Bullet: The bullets Ezio uses for his hidden gun are marked with the Assassin symbol.
Master Swordsman: Ezio appears to be this, which is lampshaded by Francesco de' Pazzi while fighting his guards.
He's even better by the time he went to the Vatican, though due to the gameplay limitations of AC2 combat, this isn't revealed until Brotherhood. While he isn't able to perform "sub-weapon" attacks at the beginning of Brotherhood, Ezio had by that time learned to perform kill streaks.
Meaningful Name: Aside from many of the characters, the mission names themselves are mostly modern (or at least, younger than the Renaissance) slang that reflect the theme of each mission - for example, "Boys Will Be Boys" for a gang fight between the Auditores and the Pazzis; a mission where you ferry letters from one man to two courtesans is called "Casanova"; a fight against a large group of enemies is called "Last Man Standing"; and another letter-delivery mission is called "Paperboy". And that's just in the first hour or so of the game!
"Ezio" is an Italian name that comes from the Greek word for "eagle". Ezio's last name is "Auditore"; an auditor is a bookkeeper; the Auditores are bankers.
Cristina Vespucci happens to be the cousin of Amerigo, of, you know, American fame.
Mind Screw: There's a reason why Desmond's last words in the game are "What... the... fuck?" In addition, the Dream Sequence mentioned in Narm, below, sees you apparently playing as one of Alta´r's sperm.
Money for Nothing: Perhaps a lampshaded example. When the game begins, Ezio is Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense, regularly emptying his wallet on booze and whores. (He'd never call that a waste!) Of course, you jumped into his life less than a day before it went to hell; the local magistrate frames and executes his family, for which he ends up as Ezio's first assassination. After that He Can't Go Home Again, eventually settling in a broken-down slum. Here's the lampshade; keep up that behavior and you'll spend the rest of the game — and the next two decades of his life — in Perpetual Poverty. Invest in turning that slum into something respectable, and you'll soon have cash coming out of your ears.
Eventually revenue goes up way higher than costs, and other than broken armor there are no maintenance costs, meaning that near endgame having over 100,000 florins (when heals cost 50 florins) to Ezio's name is the norm.
Munchkin: As noted on that page's quote. Ezio lives in Renaissance Italy, and by the end of the game is armed with: a dozen unblockable throwing knives, two wrist blades that can deflect almost any close-range attack or (with good timing) counter-onehitkill any mook, a pistol, several doses of poison, armor made of a very light and strong metal that humans wouldn't have invented on our own, and at one point he ends up flying around on a hang glider, punting guards off of rooftops. Also, he can jump some six feet straight up while hanging from walls... while wearing armor and carrying weapons and coins.
Compared to the Templars of the previous games who (with only a couple of exceptions) were for the most part people who demonstrated (or satisfactorily explained) their intent of working towards the greater good of the people ala transforming the Holy Land into a state straight out of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, with many a reference to the "state of nature" and what not, the Templars in ACII for most part tend to come off as selfish dicks who are more interested in their twisted vices than the overall Templar goal of bringing about peace by stripping humanity of their free will and only see allegiance to the Templar order as a means of getting what they want. This is likely intentional on the part of the writers, who probably wanted to show the decaying effect an excess of power has on an organization, even one that has such reputably lofty goals as the Templars. It is worth noting that in the first game, there were also Templars who also used their power primarily for personal gain, i.e. Tamir, Majd Addin, and Abul Nu'qoud. A couple of the Templars in the second game are also decent people; Alberto Uberti comes off as a scheming killer out for revenge in Shaun's notes, but his letter to his wife indicates he only betrayed Giovanni because of fears for his family's safety. Dante Moro was little more than a victim of circumstance and the scheming of his superior.
The Motive Decay appears to be part of a general theme in the second game; in the first, both factions had very different methodologies but also remained fundamentally noble. In the second, however, while both groups have the outward trappings of nobility, both sides have actually decayed in their own ways. The Assassins' allies range from the corrupt (the Medici) to the brutal (Caterina Sforza) to the inept (the Barbarigo who controls Venice once the Templars are driven out). The Assassins freely utilize and associate with the dregs of Italian society: mercenaries, thieves, and prostitutes. Its subtle, but the Assassins over time have decayed much like the Templars.
No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: Averted. It's heavily implied that numerous prophets throughout history, Jesus included, were in fact the survivors of an advanced race similar or precursors to humans. Alta´r speculates that such prophets wielded real power, not just illusions from pieces of Eden. It's also explicitly shown that humanity was created as a servant race for these precursors, forming the basis for most of the world's creation myths, including the Book of Genesis.
Not Allowed to Grow Up: Even though Ezio's sister Claudia should be in her late 30s by the end of the game, she still looks and acts the same as her 15-year-old self from the beginning of the game.
The only obvious physical change Ezio undergoes between the ages of 17 and 40 is that he grows his beard a bit. He doesn't become any less physically fit over time, either.
Not So Different: Ezio's first mark throws this excuse at him: "You would have done the same, to save those you loved." Ezio's response is "Yes. I would. And I have." Ezio's later marks usually don't bother to defend themselves, likely in response to complaints about the speeches in the first game.
In Subject 16's hidden backstory messages, you see that the Templars have used assassinations as well. Notably for Abraham Lincoln (Booth is expressly listed as a Templar), and JFK (there are detailed plans to use a Piece of Eden to distract people with a fake grassy knoll sniper.)
Offhand Backhand: Press the Weapon Hand button when prompted during the cutscene where Ezio faces down Rodrigo Borgia in Venice, and he'll do this to a pair of mooks with his Hidden Blades, without so much as taking an eye off his target. Similarly, this is one of his low-profile double Hidden Blade assassinations, standing between his two targets and stabs them both in the face while staring straight ahead.
Offstage Villainy: All of the major villains get a short cutscene detailing who they are and why we should hate them. Then they come onstage and do their best to act as despicably as possible.
Some Templars, such as Jacopo, are shown to be misguided, and Ezio feels sympathy toward his targets.
Alta´r's armor was forged using the Apple of Eden, so it is pretty much indestructible, and doesn't need repairs from the blacksmith.
Older than They Look: Although Ezio appears to age over the course of the game, mostly due to facial hair, his uncle, mother and sister appear and largely act the same even 23 years later.
One Mario Limit: Averted for the most part with Mario Auditore, one of the prinicpal characters of the game who mainly has nothing to do with that other Mario, but the game can't help providing a Shout-Out, as in his first scene, Mario cheerfully introduces himself with "It's-a me, Mario!"
One-Woman Wail: Present in a lot of the soundtrack, most noticeably the title sequence.
Painting the Medium: In a conversation with Rebecca, Desmond thanks her for the implementation of subtitles.
Panty Shot: Given by Caterina Sforza in Sequence 12.
Paper-Thin Disguise: During Carnevale, Ezio wears a little mask to disguise himself. It works surprisingly well, given that he's wearing it under his hood. That is to say, the hood of his distinctive Assassin's Robes, which he continues to wear. Even during the rest of the game, this applies just because of him being able to be Incognito despite wearing the Assassin's Robes — aka the very robes he had been wearing at his father and brothers' execution — in public.
Somewhat justified with the fact that many travelers in 1500s Italy would wear robes with hoods to protect themselves from the forces of nature. In addition, guards wouldn't usually call out armed people on streets unless they had a reason to, which is apparent in the "Restricted Areas."
Perfect Poison: Ezio eventually acquires poison that he holds in a hollow section of a Hidden Blade. This likely means he transfers the poison to his target by a cut or prick (the in-game animation is a subtle poke). The poison acts so quickly that the target doesn't even have time to realize that he's been poked with a sharp object before it takes effect.
It isn't likely that poisons were so potent in Renaissance Italy, much less so in wide distribution, as you can acquire some from doctors.
Point of No Return: At the start of Memory Sequence 14, after finding and putting together the Codex you'll be given a choice to travel to Rome. Once you do, you won't be able to go any other part of the game until after you finish the story by defeating Rodrigo Borgia and entering the Vault.
Plot Lock: Throwing knives are disabled for at least one of the catacomb chase sequences.
You also can't grab on to Rodrigo Borgia if you enable your sword because doing so would give you the option to kill him way before you're supposed to.
You aren't allowed to brandish any weapons in the fighting ring in Venice.
Posthumous Character: Technically, all of Those Who Came Before. By the time the very first AC game rolled around, their race was extinct.
Even more technically, everyone who isn't a modern-day character.
Power Fist: You can buy a Metal Cestus for Ezio. It only goes on one hand, oddly enough, and can never be unequipped.
Precision F-Strike: Although the F-bomb is dropped several times throughout the game, there are several points where it truly serves to accentuate the scene:
In the beginning, Lucy yells at Desmond to "Shut the fuck up!" during their escape.
Ezio tells the final boss, Pope Alexander VI, the most powerful man in Italy and the entire Catholic religion, to "Go fuck yourself." Talk about balls of steel.
The last line in the game before the credits roll and The Stinger occurs is "What. The. Fuck." Desmond adequately sums up what's probably running through the gamer's mind or being spoken at the time.
Precursors: The plot reveals them to be a humanoid-like race that created humanity "in their own image" thousands of years in the past. The humanoids fought a war against the early humans, and were defeated thanks to the sheer number of humans there was. Both races however, were devastated by a apocalyptic event, but humans came up on top. Gods in all world religions are actually distorted historical truth about these humanoids.
Press X To Get Laid: Present, but much more merciful than most - the windows are not as tiny as normal and failure is not critical. They also tend to show up not just as a means of ensuring that the player is paying attention to not being dead, but to accomplish more mundane actions. Like taking off a young lady's dress. "Free Hand" indeed.
Random Encounters: Pickpockets and Borgia couriers. There are also several guards scattered throughout the various cities, who will attack you if you're infamous enough.
Rape as Drama: It's heavily implied that the men who came to arrest Ezio's father and brothers tried to rape Ezio's mother, who fought back. When Ezio finds her again, she is unable to speak and in a state of shock.
Rasputinian Death: The elderly, apparently physically frail Jacopo de' Pazzi is stabbed four times: twice in the chest, once through the neck, and once more in the neck/head by Ezio to "finish him off." He is still alive as Ezio administers final rites.
Francesco de' Pazzi and Bernardo di Bandino Baroncelli stab Giuliano de Medici 19 times. Which actually happened, according to The Other Wiki.
Reality Is Unrealistic: When including ACII on its list on the top 10 games of 2009, TIME criticized how the voice acting was a cheesy attempt at sounding Italian. Many of the game's voice actors actually are Italian, and the ones who weren't were coached by Italians to ensure authenticity (and unlike other North American games that may have only English, French and Spanish voice options, there's an Italian voice language option).
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Take a guess. Though he starts to roar less as time goes on, having spent most of his fury on the guy who directly executed his family. He's actually tired of revenge by the end of things.
Rule of Cool: In addition to stabbing guards in the back of the face still being fun, Ezio's hidden blades don't seem to have any mechanism to deploy them. They just magically come out when he flicks his wrists (while a Hidden Blade prop was made for the Lineage short movie, there's no official word as to how the prop blade was actually deployed, and there are varying designs on YouTube).
If employing the bonus Alta´r costume, the second hidden blade is there without even being visible at all.
Scenery Porn: The view of Italian Renaissance cities from viewpoints is to die for.
Science Marches On: You can occasionally hear the doctors advocating medicines based on lead.
Sequel Hook: The second game ends with Desmond and the other Assassins on the run from the Templars, trying to digest what they learned from the Vault.
Sexy Discretion Shot: When Desmond experiences one of Alta´r's memories as a result of the "bleeding effect", it shows Alta´r meeting the Templar Maria on a tower. Rather than him trying to kill her like Desmond thought (since Templars and Assassins are enemies), Maria beckons him over with a "Come hither" look on her face, Alta´r walks right up to her, and they start passionately making out, revealing they had been in a relationship. The scene then fades away and the next one we see, is of Alta´r and Maria cuddling in the hay (clothed), after having "done the deed". Not long after it is revealed that this was actually the conception of one of Alta´r's descendants.
Near the beginning of the game, Ezio pays a visit to his girlfriend at the time. After some kissing, Ezio begins to slip her dress off (or not, if you miss the quicktime event) and they fall over onto the bed. The last action you perform is blowing out a candle.
Also, sometimes, a civilian who sees you free-running will remark, "Another capering crusader. Che idiota." in a bored tone, apparently referencing the fact that many fans 'felt like Batman' playing the first game. On top of that, Rosa comes up to Ezio in one cinematic and asks him: "Why so serious?"
On top of that, if you knock an Italian man onto the ground, he may go "Oh no! Dinner is a-ruined-a!", a reference to the "Thumb" series of films by Steve Oedekerk (Otherwise known for Kung Pow! and, to a lesser extent, Jimmy Neutron), several of which feature a random Italian man who gets knocked down and laments the loss of dinner.
After you complete the first catacomb, wherein you are shown a series of platforms/ledges/jumps in a cinematic and then expected to travel the demonstrated pathway, you find the first Assassin tomb. It happens to be Darius, who assassinated the King of Persia.
Due to the nature of Shout Outs, you rarely see one that's a reference to a later work, but... There's an assassination contract in Forlý called "Mark and Execute". This game, released in November 2009, was developed by Ubisoft Montreal—the same company that developed Splinter Cell: Conviction, which was released just 5 months later.
There's at least one Venetian during Carnevale who's dressed uncannily similar to Superman.
Shown Their Work: The sequel contains a "database" of sorts, with blurbs of information on important people in Ezio's life and noteworthy places in the various cities. It's not necessary to know or view these tidbits. It looks like the game developers almost went out of their way to research and include them. The database is a cool feature with more than a few funny and/or snarky anecdotes.
The layouts of the city are also well researched and are practically identical to their real-life counterparts, albeit with changes that occurred afterward which are sometimes noted (for example, the Sistine Chapel doesn't look like its modern incarnation because you get there before it took on its iconic appearance).
A few oddities still pop up (such as the schiavona, which is indeed an Italian sword...from the 17th century), but many of the weapons are period-correct. Weaponry in the late 1400s was much the same as it was in the medieval period, just with a bit more ornamentation.
The plot itself, while obviously taking liberties on historical events of the era, nevertheless faithfully recreates many important events of Renaissance Italy's history, such as the Bonfire of the Vanities. It also effectively captures the cloak-and-dagger politics of the era: assassination and conspiracy were very much a part of Italy's political system during the era.
One of the few acceptable roles for a woman of Claudia's age during the Renaissance was to maintain the books of their home.
Sigil Spam: Not only is the Assassin's logo prominently displayed on Ezio's belt and bracers, but there's a giant version of it etched in stone on Mario's villa. After you pay for repairs, it appears on the flags around town. An enormous version also appears in a couple of Assassin's Tombs. The Templars show more restraint, typically limiting themselves to a pendant or ring, though modern-day Abstergo has a thing for crosses in their architecture.
Ezio had the Assassin logo engraved on his bullets.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Ezio and Rosa show elements of this, though there's no on-screen evidence of them going farther than snarky flirting.
Slut Shaming: The courtesans all wear a certain style of dress and have their hair up in points by law. This was to define and constrain them because Sex Is Evil.
Soft Water: In addition to the Soft Hay from the first game, the trope is played perfectly straight. Ezio's ability to swim is added to the Assassin repertoire.
Spam Attack: One of the animations you can get if an enemy is killed with Hidden Blade normal attacks is Ezio stabbing him in the gut many times.
Star-Crossed Lovers: In Carlo Grimaldi's backstory, we are told about how he became a confidante to a noble's daughter who was in love with a servant's son and wanted to run away with him. Grimaldi quickly rewarded the couple's trust by selling them out to the girl's father, to further his own political aspirations.
The Stinger: Desmond battling the Templars during the end credit sequence.
Giovanni Auditore. Under his secret tutelage, his sons Ezio and Frederico learned fighting skills and Le Parkour while remaining unaware of the existence of the assassins and that their father was one of them.
Story-Driven Invulnerability: If the plot doesn't call for Ezio to kill his target yet, even if the mission objective is "assassinate suchandsuch", then the target will be Immune to Bullets, Smoke Bombs, Throwing Knives, Counter Kills, and practically everything else you could use to kill them without having to wear them down.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Vieri de' Pazzi has the above in his first two appearances... but when it comes time to assassinate him, he's impossible to sneak up on and One-Hit Kill, even if you're literally right behind him clinging to the topmost ledge of his tower; as soon as you climb up, he and his guards all react and and draw their swords. He also seems to preternaturally sense your location, making it impossible to double back to assassinate him from behind (as long as you can find a high enough spot with a line of sight to him, you can actually kill him with a pair of throwing knives without ever getting close).
Suit Up of Destiny: Ezio continues his legacy when he puts on his Assassin's Robes for the first time. He doesn't take them off for the next twenty years, not even when making love... Except for that one time he had to impersonate a Borgia guard, and he puts on their armor.
Civilian NPCs can't swim. When you climb onto a boat and the owner leaps off in fear? He's committing suicide.
Particularly egregious since Ezio is wearing a small armoury and likely, by Venice at least, the same amount of weight in metal armour. Those civilians, on the other hand, wear simple cloth shirts, or robes/dresses of the same length (And probably composition) as his.
Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest: When Desmond relives Alta´r's memories without the Animus he gets into a place crawling with knights and almost nowhere to hide... except that said knights seem completely oblivious to his presence, even when he starts doing High Profile stuff.
Tempting Fate: Very early in the game, Ezio and his brother Federico take a quiet moment on top of a tower in Firenze to reflect on how good they have it and how lucky they are. It doesn't take long for the opposite of those reflections to be become true.
"It is a good life we lead, brother." "The best! May it never change." "...and may it never change us."
There Are No Therapists: You father and two brothers are killed, your mother is raped and now mute and unresponsive, your sister is scared out of her wits, and you've got The Knights Templar out for your blood? Time to murder half of the Italian nobility.
The Tetris Effect: Essentially the idea behind the Animus' "bleeding effect". Desmond relives Ezio learning his skills, and as such, knows them through memory and muscle memory alike. The bad news is that spending too long reliving your ancestors antics in the Animus can cause some major Sanity Slippage. Just ask Subject 16.
Timed Mission: the majority of the Assassin Tombs; the races; the courier missions; main missions requiring you to be somewhere or collect something within a minute; and to top it all off, if you are tailing a target to a meeting and you lose sight of him, then the game will give you a 25 second timer to catch up to them again. Some of these are quite frustrating, especially tailing missions: being seen by anyone other than civilians on a tailing mission automatically equals desynchronization, meaning you have to move slowly — moving fast to catch up to them makes you more likely to get caught.
Even more annoying in the tailing missions is the fact that the game will throw an endless barrage of crate-carrying civilians at you; disturb even one and it draws attention to yourself; if a guard is nearby, you may as well prepare to restart.
With the tailing missions, this timer doesn't show up if you have Eagle Vision activated; in that case, the target leaves a trail for you to follow.
Time Skip: As mentioned, the game leaps several years over the course of the story - Ezio is 40 by the endgame.
Took a Level in Badass: By the end of the game, the previously wimpy Desmond has absorbed enough knowledge from the Animus to allow him to mow down an army of Templar soldiers without breaking a sweat.
In fact, Desmond has absorbed so much of Ezio's badassery that he is fully capable of wielding one of the Abstergo goons' dropped collapsable batons as Ezio would wield a sword. This includes sheathing it in extended state on his hip (despite the fact that he's wearing blue jeans and no sword scabbard,) and slitting their throats with it.
At the beginning of the game too, regarding the fact Lucy pwns two guards, to which Desmond exclaims "Holy shit!" Desmond can also get a few kudos here as well, considering the fact he does assist Lucy in fighting despite the fact he sucks at it, and the fact he saves them from being trapped in a Labyrinth Laboratory by figuring out the keypad code.
Ezio himself was an ordinary Italian youth at the start, but started levelling after the Bad Stuff went down. The Hidden Blade and fistfighting have also been much improved from 1.
Training Montage: The combat tutorial is a playable montage, taking place over the course of a year as Ezio's uncle gives him Assassin training.
Truth in Television: The armors you can buy include a "Helmschmied" Armor Set. The Helmschmied Family was, in fact, a renowned maker of armor. It is also ironic that the Helmschmied Armor is weaker then the Metal Armor Set, a type of light plate armor, considering that the Helschmied Family was renowned specifically FOR its plate armor and was famous across Europe.
Turned Against Their Masters: The early humans fought against the Precursors in prehistory. Because of humanity's sheer advantage in numbers (and the possibility they got a hold of some of their technology, as implied by a secret video obtained when you get all the glyphs), the Precursors were mostly overcome by them.
Unexpected Inheritance: According to a family history recorded in the Auditore tomb in Monteriggioni (In a DLC), the Auditores aren't really nobles. They were founded by a fisherman who was a junior Assassin who ended up being the last person to have the information needed to access the accounts of an Assassin-run trading company after all the others were killed by Templars. He used the identity to create a new identity for himself in Romagna and started the Auditore family.
Unstoppable Rage: According to the Codex pages, the Templars murdered Alta´r's love Adha, and he went on a psychotic rampage killing the Templars responsible.
Upgrade Artifact: The Animus 2.0 which the modern Assassins used on Desmond to relieve Ezio's life as Assassin training for Desmond.
Useless Useful Stealth: The introduction of Seekers, combined with the increased paranoia and searching ability of existing guards, and the vast improvements of combat mechanics (while stealth mechanics are altered only a little) means it might actually be more efficient to become anonymous by killing all the guards than it is to run away and hide.
Add to the fact that Heavies and Seekers aside, pretty much all guards are very easily killable, so it makes little sense to run from them anyway. Even those two aren't that hard to kill if you know how to counter and/or combo kill using the hidden blades or if you use smoke bombs.
Worse, in the other two games in the arc with the introduction of kill streaks which allow you to slay whole groups of guards with relative ease, not to mention improved killcams that encourage you to kill rather than flee.
Subverted in missions that REQUIRE you to remain undetected, which might cause a Difficulty Spike for those accustomed to killing everyone.
Thieves will compliment you on how well you climb, courtesans will compliment you on your good looks - sometimes while you climb! -, and mercenaries will compliment how badass you are when you take down a small army of guards all by yourself. It's very rewarding to hear something other than "That idiot will hurt himself!" or "Must be a drunken wager or something!" from EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE DAMN STREET. As if they have nothing better to do than stick their nose into your business.
A quick-time event lets you hug Leonardo da Vinci in one instance.
The first half hour you spend in the game with Ezio's family makes you care about them. The snarky banter with his older brother and protectiveness of his younger siblings, as well as his relationship with his parents clearly demonstrate the loving upbringing he's had. Which makes it all the more wrenching when his brothers and father are hanged...and makes it all the more satisfying when you get your revenge.
Feel sorry for the beggars who slump against the wall, holding their hands out, and are polite enough to not get in your face? Toss them some coins.
Collecting all the feathers to help your mother mourn will cause her to finally speak to the family for the first time in decades.
Countering an attack while holding a spear occasionally results in Ezio shoving the spear right into his enemies' spines. The sounds do not help. Not to mention bringing down an axe into a guard's head, then letting him fall and leaving it there. In another polearm finisher, he impales the victim through the stomach and jams the weapon into the ground, and after a moment the body begins sliding down the pole. There were no psychiatrists in Renaissance Italy.
You can poison a guard and cause him to go slightly berserk before he dies. He will draw his weapon and swing it around wildly. At this point, many civilians will be watching him. Ezio can use his ability to throw coins on the ground to send greedy people into the mad guard's rampage and laugh gleefully as they are cut down.
Walk up with a hammer behind a guard fighting your mercenaries. The resulting instant kill is....crunchy.
One of the ending counterkills when using the dagger is to knee your oppenent in the stomach. Then as he falls over, writhing in pain, you grab him by the throat from underneath and then snap his neck your bare hands...with the accompanying neck-snapping sound effect, no less.
While Ezio is explicitly said to not kill civilians if you do it, you can cheat the system in Venice or other water levels by simply knocking into someone next to a body of water which is an instant kill. Particularly satisfying against the Bards. You can knock over whole crowds into the water in the Romagna wetlands by riding your horse through them. The few who are not knocked into the water will beg for mercy. If you want to be really cruel, you can knock them in as well.
The crowning moment of brutal for unarmed counters is probably the one-two punch that, on the second hit connecting, releases an audible cracking effect. Add that the victim falls while clutching his throat and, well, draw your own conclusions.
Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You do not lose health for killing civilians any more, but killing three within a short time still automatically desynchronises you and this time the "punishment" remains even after completing the game. The game also introduces "Notoriety," which goes up every time you perform a dazzling, dangerous, or otherwise just illegal action in broad daylight. Once fully notorious, the guards attack you much more quickly.
Wallet of Holding: Mixed usage. The amount of money that can be stored in the Villa's strongbox is finite. The amount that can be stored in Ezio's purse is not.
Claudia suggests to Ezio that he take the Villa's funds to the bank, but this isn't actually possible. Presumably the canon explanation for his endless pockets is the existence of banks, but the designers probably realized that filling out deposit slips doesn't make for compelling gameplay. When they first set up shop in the Villa, Claudia tells Ezio in no uncertain terms that once the chest is full, she'll skim the rest off the top.
The War Sequence: The final sequence of the game has Ezio invading the Sistine Chapel, running through an asanine number of soldiers along the way. Doubles as a bit of a Final Exam Boss because each section of the sequence tests all of the different skills you learned, whether it's specific assassination skills (such as stabbing them from a haystack or pulling them off a high ledge) or simple man-to-man (or perhaps more accurately, man-to-ten-men) combat. There's even a section involve horse-back riding. How a horse came to get on top of Rome's outer walls is probably best left unanswered.
Warrior Poet: Alta´r becomes one of these while writing his Codex.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: After you assassinate Vieri, Ezio acquires a letter where Vieri is diagnosed as this. Pity about the way he seeks attention.
Well This Is Not That Trope: In describing the tragic life of Bianca Riario (Caterina Sforza's daughter), Simon opens this way: "Some people live in a dream, Bianca Riario...was not one of those people."
Wife-Basher Basher: Ezio in the Beat-Up missions, though rather than beating them up for domestic abuse, he beats them for cheating on their girlfriends.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: Ezio delivers one of these at the end of the Bonfire of the Vanities DLC, stating that he was almost consumed by his hatred and desire for revenge, but that his family and fellow Assassins showed him a better path.
You Cannot Kill an Idea: Alta´r's notes reveal that he mused on this subject more than once, noting that the Templars sought to conquer people not with swords and arrows, but with concepts and ideas. This makes it rather difficult for the Assassins to fight back... But it also makes it rather difficult for the Templars to exterminate them.
Alta´r Ibn-La'Ahad...how does one wage war against a concept? It is the perfect weapon. It lacks a physical form yet can alter the world around us in numerous, often violent ways. You cannot kill a creed. Even if you kill all of its adherents, destroy all of its writings ľ these are a reprieve at best. Some one, some day, will rediscover it. Reinvent it. I believe that even we, the Assassins, have simply re-discovered an Order that predates the Old Man himself...