Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: Ezio Auditore, one of the main characters of the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise.
Ezio is the main character of “Assassin’s Creed 2“, “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood“, and “Assassin’s Creed Revelations.” These three games in the franchise follow Ezio from young adulthood all the way to old age. But first, back story. Ezio is the eldest son of a wealthy family. His father and brother are eventually hanged because of an evil political plot. Ezio then gets his father’s old assassin’s gear and hunt down his father and brother’s killers. Ezio joins his uncle Mario in his villa and over time becomes a professional assassin and joins the assassin’s order.
At the start of “Assassin’s Creed 2” , Ezio is only in his early twenties and is a very care free guy. He’s got a happy and rich family, he gets any woman he wants, he runs around the city of Firenze without any rules. Things are good. His father and brother’s deaths quickly throws his life into turmoil. Without any real training, he had to defend himself from guards. His inexperience shows in the cutscene and dialogue, but when the fight starts, that isn’t the case. This occurs a lot in the game. Ezio is young and not well taught in fighting, but he continues to be super ninja lord with a sword much like Altair. He is a fit man and would often run around town parkouring, so that aspect of him makes sense. He would be strong and agile, but skill with a sword was something that he was never taught. Without this proper training, you can still hack through fools like paper. The game tries to make Ezio seem inexperienced by feeding you abilities, but it doesn’t work that well. The abilities come pretty fast and they are minor things like, “So, now you can disarm.” Basically, the “Assassin’s Creed” power fantasy makes Ezios inexperience and youth kind of disappear.
There is another issue I have with Ezio that the game mechanics indirectly create.
When Ezio completes his first assassination, it is a very extreme and emotional part. Ezio is freaked out over having killed his first man but he is also filled with elation. He starts screaming out at the crowd of people, “I am Ezio Auditore!” and proclaiming himself to be important. All this reaction is supposed to relate to the time when Ezio has first claimed blood. He is no longer a simple and innocent young man. However, this moment is kind of ruined because you slaughtered fifty guards on the way to this mission. You can murder whoever you please freely in between roaming around. You might have to even climb a couple buildings hundreds of feet up in the air. You are supposed to be new this game of being assassin, but Ezio kills and jumps around like an old pro. This problem also occurred in a similar way in “Far Cry 3”, which was also made by Ubisoft. It seems like Ubisoft likes this idea of learning along with the game character, but they don’t seem to get it right.
I do have a lot of things I do enjoy about Ezio, though.
To start things off, Ezio is just cool. He is the kind of guy that boys look up to thinking, “I wanna be that awesome!” He is strong, fast, smooth with the ladies, good with a sword, all the testosterone filled goodness you could ever want. Of course, there are a ton of cool main characters like Ezio, both male and female, but Ezio adds a little extra to the roll. He is so cocky and yet loveable at the same time. He will brag about his sword skill and then help an old guy buy some fruit. He is suave but gentle, smooth but loving to family and friends. He is just a very likable and happy guy, but when the killing needs to be done he takes care of the job. You think you would hate him and his cocky attitude and real Italian persona. He’s the stereotypical kind of loaded Italian playboy. As you play the game, though, you find out there is more to him then that initial behavior. My favorite part about Ezio however, is his great growth through his three games.
Now, yes, it is kind of unfair to have three games to grow as a character but it happens sometimes. With most characters, you look at how they do through one game, but I think the three game dynamic with Ezio is very interesting. In “Assassin’s Creed 2”, Ezio is very driven by revenge and is an angry young man. He wants blood, and his early tastes of it get him elated and wanting more. He enjoys the feeling of strength and control his weapons and skill give him. Once you get your revenge, though, Ezio learns a lot of life changing things. He learns of powers greater than him and that revenge did very little to fix things. Once the events of “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood” start rolling, Ezio is wrapped up in much more important events. Ezio is older now, and although is still going strong with being an assassin, he is wiser now. His drive is no longer revenge, and he does not kill with as much crazed feeling, but with more calculated reasoning. He goes after this with a strategy in mind. His age does not slow him down at all, he is still going strong with the same cocky suaveness as when he was younger. Once you get to “Assassin’s Creed Revelations”, Ezio is very old. He has been through many journeys and has abandoned his family and home for a greater purpose. In his old age, Ezio is very smart and does nothing without methodical thought. He also no longer revels in the thrill of battle, and although he still kills, it is now very much out of necessity. He wants to stop doing this, but he knows he must continue. His drastic difference from his youthful vigor really shows the wear and tear that being an assassin does to him.
Now for the verdict of Ezio, the great assassin. Ezio gets Good. I do have problems with some of the ways that Ezio discovers things. These problems though mostly occur because of the nature of the game’s mechanics so I can get over them. I think Ezio is a very good assassin character and one of the best Ubisoft has done. I am no longer a big fan of the series, but I think the first game to “Brotherhood” were the three best in the series and are worth playing.