Revisited – Christ, the Coliseum, and Violence

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This is one of the first pieces I ever wrote for another site (back in 2013). Still love this scenario. The Assassin’s Creed series is often the Adventures in Odyssey equivalent of the Imagination Station

I left Christ in the Roman Coliseum; I left him to die.

Carefully scaling the Coliseum walls, I slowly made my way towards my first targets: three would-be snipers. Quietly, in succession, I stealthily stabbed each in the back. Not one of the snipers knew of my existence. I am the wind, the shadows, the reaper of death. I am justice incarnate.

My second target: saving the actor playing Jesus Christ in a play. The irony of a Passion Play in the Roman Coliseum does not escape me. Who knows how many Christians fought for their very lives within these walls? Some believers even torn to shreds by lions for the amusement of Nero and the people. I shudder in disgust and then slip on the disguise of a Roman soldier. Christ awaits my saving grace.

Events quickly unfold in a way I could not foretell. The actor playing Christ has been drugged! I effortlessly scoop him up as Borgia men flood in from all sides of the Coliseum. My mission: get Christ to a doctor. Holding him, I can clearly see his crown of thorns and the fake blood smeared on him. I know his only hope is a cure beyond the battle ensuing around me. Suddenly, the world grinds to a stop.

– Reality Confronted –

If you haven’t guessed, my PS3 locked up as I was escorting the drugged actor to a doctor. I was frustrated. A day has since gone by and I have yet to try again. My wife reminds me that it took Christ three days to resurrect, so why not give the game a rest? My conscience is restless. Nine hours of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has left me with questions. I find myself questioning the digital bodies I have left de-rezzed; I find myself questioning what I am learning about life, beyond the fact that assassinations from the air look awesome. Perspective is everything.

I know that at the end of the day I will return and continue my “historical” Roman adventure. But I want to keep in mind that violence is reality based. Violence is also something that is worshiped within American cinema and culture. I believe that the reason on-screen violence resonates with people so much is due to the fact that it is usually carried out in the pursuit of justice. The Bible says this though:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Romans 12:19 (NIV)

and this:

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

I realize that Ezio’s actions in Brotherhood are simply a part of a fantasy world. I also realize that God is an avenger and a dealer of justice. Though I know that the worlds of fantasy and reality can sometimes blend, I want to be mindful of who and what I am allowing to shape my soul. So God help me.

First Impressions: Assassin’s Creed Unity

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Tale as old as time

Song as old as rhyme

Arno and Elise

Les Misérables. The Count of Monte Cristo. Tales of hardship, revenge, and redemption. Classic literature depicts the nation of France as a country fueled by passions. Life is never easy. Royalty forever corrupt.

Assassins-Creed-UnityI started playing Assassin’s Creed Unity last night (3/25/15). The war of the Templars versus the Assassins is in full swing. Lightning swords, hidden blades, and historical tourism are loving rendered in next-gen console glory. The game is the most realized Assassin’s Creed game I have ever played. Much like Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Unity runs on an engine that allows the game to soar. There is rarely ever any distracting slowdown. The loading times are, for the most part, quick–more so miraculous for how much the game is loading–. Unity is both limber and taunt, ready to take the player on one heck of a roller coaster ride.

Buckling in

Arno Dorian is Unity’s protagonist. He is the French counterpart to Ezio, from Assassin’s Creed Ezio Trilogy. This is the highest compliment I can pay the game, at this point (I am a big Ezio fan). Assassin’s Creed III fell flat in the character department as did Black Flag. All I want is a character I can somewhat like, Arno delivers in spades.

1024px-Prise_de_la_BastilleMemory sequences of Arno’s childhood build back story and player empathy. The use of Arno’s father’s pocket watch, as a symbol of something lost, is fantastic. I also enjoyed the prison escape framed against the Storming of the Bastille.

Unity features slight game control tweaks that serve the series well. For instance, Arno now has the ability descend buildings in a quick manner. Sounds like a simple mechanical change but it is often breathtaking and crucial to game flow/movement. Sword fighting seems like a Black Flag upgrade. I can’t tell if I like it or not. First impression: Doesn’t feel tight but reminds me of Batman Arkham Asylum. Go figure.

I am excited to see where the Templar/Assassin romance could be heading. SPOILERS! Can love cool revenge? Can love overcome death? I can’t wait to find out.

(This is the 600th post on my blog. Woo hoo!)