pretty ryo

In Memorium: Da

Da was born late November in 1946, the fourth child and only son of French-speaking parents and grandparents who immigrated from Quebec. He spoke French for the first six years of his life and for the rest of said life had a faint French accent, saying things like "t'umb tacks" instead of "thumb tacks," or "de" instead of "the."

Lowell Massachusetts was a working class holdover of the industrial revolution; his first job as a teen was to work in one of the old factories before he took a job at a bank. His skills in mutual funds eventually lead him to be valuable as a software engineer back when everybody did coding on punch cards (if you have no idea what that is ask your parents/grandparents).

During this time he went to a singles club at the historic Old South Churc in Boston, where he met the certain someone who would become his wife. Their courtship started with a canoe ride that, like a romantic comedy script, capsized and left the two of them drenched from head to toe. Undeterred, Da took the both of them to a Marx Brothers movie and then found the most poorly lit restaurant on earth to hide how soaked they were for the rest of the day. The cashier at the restaurant asked if it was raining when he was handed wet and crumpled money. They entertained each other with terrible puns and play on words, enjoyed each others company and watched horror movies. They broke up exactly once, getting into what was to become one of their famous misunderstandings. Time apart made Da realize how special Mom was and, once more like a romantic comedy, tried to find her again by going to places he thought she would be to discover he only just missed her. After six months of looking he finaly found her at the Esplanade and told her, "I lost you once, I am not going to lose you again." They were together ever since.

It took six years to get us, a long story with a twice-blessed ending. Da inevitably bought as many books on twins as he could, and the two of them called everyone they knew to spread the good news.

Da was, above all else, a worker through and through. Programming is a long, intensive job that doubles in workload at quarter end and requires long conference calls with other teams or clients or a 2am call to find out a server has crashed or a program has failed and needs to be fixed immediately. There were parts of the job he hated but in the end he loved his work.  When the two of us were in college studying computer science (Another story: he suggested when we were in high school that we should take at least one computer course to have a job skill. Like our Da, we discovered we liked the work and went to college as budding computer scientists) and given an assignment that made categorically no sense, he tried to help us. We stayed up to eleven at night trying to reverse engineer what the program was supposed to do, we wanted to go to bed exhausted while he was excited to have made headway.

Da was also, in many respects, a traditional "man." He was a protector and care-taker. He was always volunteering himself to do favors or jump in to help. To our shame, the two of us sometimes took advantage of this, saying, "Da, if we ask nicely can you do this thing we don't like to do?" and he would do so without protest, even when we added, "It's okay to say 'no' you know." Even when we moved to Connecticut he would make the two hour drive to Mémé's to deliver groceries or foodstuffs. He always shrugged off problems, saying he was fine when he wasn't, doing everything even when he couldn't, making promises that were impossible to fulfill, because he wanted to help. A candy tray at his desk was always filled with goodies for his coworkers. The kitchen was overstuffed with food to make sure we had enough, he would compulsively buy extra things in case it was needed, shelves were consistently overflowing, he was a packrat.

His giving nature, inevitably, made him  his own worst caretaker. He neglected his health and did not eat right. This culminated in 2008 when, after years of what we all thought were gallstones, became so bad that Mirror had to drive him to the ER and discover that, in fact, it was not gallstones he suffered from but years of silent heart attacks. His heart was only working a 5% capacity. He had quintuple bypass surgery and two months of recovery. He became a diabetic, and in some ways was forced to finally, finally take care of himself. Or at least, do a slightly better job of it.

An introvert, Da's favorite pasttimes were reading or watching TV. He had shelves and shelves and shelves of books and DVDs and old VHS cassettes, things he either bought or recorded or loaned from the library. He was most relaxed stretched out on the recliner, watching an old black and white documentary on WWII, or reading from his History magazines, or reading some kind of 50s high adventure or mystery. All four of us would spend our Sunday nights watching Charlie Chan, or Nero Wolfe, or Sherlock Holmes, or some other show or serial or mystery. I've lost track of the times we've come in on him watching the Hunt for the Read October, and it was a yearly tradition to spend the Fourth of July watching Gettysburg. He loved the history or war, and his favorite war was WWII. In high school I once had to do a report on the Battle of Gettysburg and asked to go to the library. Instead he walked into the den and walked out with a dozen magazine articles and books for me to use as resources. For music he was a fan of the classics: often he was listening to the Song of the Volga Boatmen or popular music done in panflute. He also like the Opera.

Because of his computer and banking background, Da was great at mental math. Not as fast as Mémé, he could tally grocery items and know what the total would be. His wit was renowned, if only because everybody would groan at his terrible puns. There is a story from work of a manager coming in and giving a great analogy about knowing work environments by examining bathrooms, and Da didn't miss a beat by saying, "Well, thank you. We're positively flushed with pride." A common game at supper was to point to various objects in the room and use them in some kind of groan-worthy pun. Bananas are appealing, fork over the next joke, we give three chairs for that one, and so on.

And then, last Wednesday, he game down with the flu. He of course said he was fine, only admitted he was sick enough to stay home from work (which for him was as much as an admission as anyone would get that he was very sick). His heartrate and blood pressure were off, and as the night wore one he lay in bed with Mom watching TV. He went to the bathroom, came out, and instead of going back to bed staggered out of the room.

The stairs open out just outside their door.

He fell down the flight of stairs. There were screams, CPR, two resuscitations and two hospitals, but Da's spirit had left as soon as he fell. He was sixty-nine.

Da, we know you're French through and through, but we're going to give you an Irish blessing as you journey back to God:

May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
'Til we meet again, we meet again,
May God hold you in His hand.

It was a pleasure knowing you, Da, we loved you more than words could say. We look forward to you giving us puns in the future, burping our backs and calling it a hug. We look forward to going to Harkness and sitting on your bench, and we look forward to knowing that you will still see us off to work, just in a way that we can't see.

Nous t'aimons. Bon soir.
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pretty ryo

An Awesome Autumn

.... I don't know if I could live in a place that didn't have all four seasons. Most especially fall. There something special about a crisp fall day, the sky is always a little bluer, and the colors are AMAZING.










pretty ryo

Ending Today

... Was a job and a half.

Today was a vacation day, we went down to the shore, watched a movie (Inside Out, cried often, LOVED it, recommend it), ate at a seaside restaurant, typical fair.

What was decidedly NOT typical was going home. Somehow we got lost between leaving the restaurant and getting on the route that leads to the highway, spent an extra twenty minutes doing a big loop in the opposite direction of how to get home before me (the designated navigator), was able to get us back on track. It happens at least once a year, no big deal.

But then we're driving home and a GIANT FREAKING THUNDERSTORM decided to pass over us. Seven p.m. turned dark enough to be 9 or 10, rain was hard enough for Da to slow down to like 20mph and even with the wipers at super-fast one could barely see to drive, lightning turned everything white and we could hear the thunder through the car engine, the blaring radio, and the pouring rain. Which in turn freaks me, the thunder-phobic, out to no end and leaves me a bundle of nerve-wracked stress. It followed us all the way home.

And, to compound matters, because visibility was shot all to heck, Da smashed his car into our garage. He now has a long white streak of paint on his very black car and - we think - a sizeable dent in the rear door (it's hard to tell because, you know, visibility).

I'm having a nightcap after this.
Defeat

We'll Still Have Snow in June.....

There are parts of our yard that look like this:


Ground? Honest to Goodness GROUND??


And we think, praise be! We're finally having enough melting! Spring might actually be approaching! Maybe!

So when they talk about the snow pack being around 7 inches or so in our area, we kinda agree with them.


What we SHOULD look like.


But then there are parts of our yard that look like this:


Our Poor Fence


Still over Two feet. Or three feet. We're still going to have snow when June arrives.... No matter how many days of 60 degrees we have.....
pretty ryo

CRASH

Heard an EPIC crash yesterday, through the roof had collapsed or something. Stuck out heads out the window and saw this:












That is our used-t-be-many-feet-thick ice dam that extended along the back of our house from end to end Last week started a heatwave - meaning temperatures actually went above 20 degrees. Not only over twenty, but over thirty! i.e. above freezing! We actually had a day over fifty!

Like... we can see our roof now! And... there's this thing under all the snow, I can't remember the last time I've seen it... I think it used be called the ground.

But the point is, after ten days of warming and melting and refreezing, the ice dam on the back of the house had yet to disappear because it doesn't get as much sun as the front, and it was the back of course that has created all the water damage in our house. But now, at last, it has fallen - apparently all at once - and has left that dent of a line in the snow and all the shards on our sunroom roof.

I almost dare to hope...

Is this a sign Spring is coming?
pretty ryo

Got the Roof Shoveled

Remember when our back patio looked like this?



Well, we just got our roof shoveled of the X feet of snow on it (Mirror say's it's five feet. I don't have that knowledge in my head but I don't question her). Like we've been saying, all that snow had to go somewhere, and now our back patio looks like this:



Our bulkhead looked like this:



And our back steps... well, we didn't get a pic, but picture a pile of snow that is shoulder high. The people who shoveled our roof were nice enough to snow blow our main paths,



so even though they're a bit narrower now we can still get around the perimeter of our house. The did not, as you saw, get the bulkhead and the back steps, and so, in my good clothes, I did some snow blowing. I'll preface this by saying that the high temperature of the day was NOWHERE NEAR TWENTY, and we had wind strong enough to make it feel like sub zero. And so, not remotely dressed for the weather, I blew the bulkhead and the back steps. By the time I was done the driveway looked like this:



And I looked like this:



I think it took me over three hours to warm up.

Oh, and we're going to get another 6-10 inches tonight and another foot Tuesday.

Fun times.
confused

Where does it all GO??

There comes a point.

There comes a point in a snow season where one remains nothing but befuddled and confounded.

Just what is one to do?

Our driveway currently looks like this.

<


Note how tall the snow is on either side. Frankly this amuses me greatly and always makes me laugh. Especially when our walkways look like this:


Front Walkway

Back Walkway


That's some tall snow. Comes up almost to your hip in a few places, depending where in the yard you are.

But the problem is that all the snow that's cleared from the driveway has to go somewhere. And we're starting to run out of places to put it.

One more decent snow storm and we won't have a mailbox anymore.



Or our snow-blowers won't be able to throw the snow over the bank where our garbage bins go.



We've already lost width on our driveway, making it narrower than it should be.


Narrower is NOT better.


If we're not careful, we're going to lose things under the snow if it gets much higher.


What happens if we need our well repaired?


And the snowbanks keep getting higher and higher.


Almost taller than my car!


There's no point in putting down the windshield wipers if we're average 2-3 snowstorms a week. Some major, some minor, ALL dumping at least 3 inches of snow. And it has to go somewhere. Note the end of the fence there. We worry that it will eventually topple with all that weight. So we always dig in front of it.


Fence is still leaning.


And a snow-blower can't fit there. That's like digging your own grave. The only place to shovel is up, which hurts after a while. (This is why snow-blowers are a gift from God.) We've gotten so much snow this winter, we can't even blow all the way to the fence without leaving leftovers.


Leftovers


But this pic is the kicker.


Snowbanks Taller Than The Fence


WHERE does the snow go?? That doesn't even get into the sunroom. See the sunroom is the flattest roof we have, which is a danger of collapsing if too much weight of snow is on top. You've seen us clear it off before. But again, all that snow has to go somewhere.



We have to be careful of snow by the sunroom door in case it backs in under the door, there's just SO much snow. But wait! I can hear people asking. Why not push the snow off the other side?



Because the other side is the bulkhead which is it's own headache to clear, especially since the metal of the bulkhead is very good at making ice to chip off.

Nor does any of this get into the ice dams. See, with heat leaching up through the ceiling and hitting the roof, the roof warms and melts the snow from the bottom up. This creates a flow of water that rolls down to roof, hits the cold air, and then freezes into ICICLES OF DOOM that we have to knock down every morning.







Note that the ice on the first floor is from what has fallen off the second floor to create new icicles.

And Thursday is another snow storm. And Sat-int-Sun is another snow storm. And Tues-into-Wed is ANOTHER snow storm.

WHERE DOES ALL THE SNOW GO?????

*headdesk*
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Defeat

Septic Nightmares

So yeah, a blizzard blew through earlier this week. We didn't get the worst of it, only 20 inches or so, but that wasn't the big event of the week. Oh no. That was today.

See, today, while doing the first load of laundry (re: routine), water started spilling out from the top of the toilet into the bathroom. This left us with a lot of water to clean up.

StandingWater photo StandingWater_zpsj750aaig.jpg


That's about a quarter inch to a half inch of water to slowly mop up to a bucket and then drain down the sink. We had called the plumber, and as an experiment while waiting, just after we finished cleaning the floor, we flushed an upstairs toilet. Water flowed up over the toilet again. We had to clean up all that water.

Again.

Oh, and this all started at 10:30 this morning.

Plumber calls back, explains that from what we explained, it's not plumbing, it's the drains, so he's called his drain guy and will be on the way.

Drain guy calls, saying he'll be there in a half hour.

... WHAT?? We just had another inch or so of snow this morning and it's STILL SNOWING!! So I grab my coat and run outside to start clearing the driveway, because we remember our hill, right?

I'm running up and down the hill in the snow (thankfully light flurries that aren't sticking like they were earlier, but still) and I clean the hill, the top, front walkway, and steps, all the while sweating up a storm as I try and finish this as fast as possible. I skip doing the back walkways, since that leads to the well (won't be an issue, this is drainage) and the bulkhead (guy will come through the house, no need, I'm exhausted.)

I finish, come in, and it's 12:30 and I'm starving. (Duh, workout and I had breakfast at 6am).

Image is at school oblivious to all this.

JUST as the microwave goes off for my lunch, the drain guy arrives.

*headdesk*

Mom says she'll handle lunch while Da and I get the drain guy to come in, down the the sopping wet basement and explain everything. I crawl upstairs a while later to find Mom has done nothing and I have to finish getting lunch.

Grrrr. *sigh*

We hear all sorts of noises and clanks and groans from the basement, and Da is staying with the drain guy to act as info-sponge to regurgitate it all back to Mom and me when he randomly comes up to either run hot water or flush a toilet.

Drain guy starts snaking our pipes, because there's clearly a blockage somewhere, but he can't find it.

Which means it's the SEPTIC TANK. So he calls his septic guy.

*further headdesk*

See, there's this one section of our yard. Don't know how well you can see that black bog in the middle of the pic, but:

DreadedBog photo FearfulBog_zpsepcjbi47.jpg


For years and years (a decade at least) we've had this happen every winter. The ground is so damp and wet that snow treats it like water or a lake. We call it a bog, and it's a natural little part of our yard that creates a small basin that water doesn't drain from. You can smell the standing water from it every summer. It terrifies us that this might be where the septic tank is and that means we've had a bad septic tank for years and years and not known it.

(It's not like the previous owner told us where the septic tank is.)

Cue lots of panic. And reassuring. And more panic. And more reassuring.

Finally the septic guy arrives just as Image gets home to discover this mess. Image and I hightail it out of there to get the food shopping done for the week (God knows how long this was going to take) and get at least an hour of peace and Not Dealing time.

We return to find out all they've been doing is snaking the pipes to see what the hell's been going on, and trying to find the septic tank.

LookingForSeptic photo LookingForSeptic_zpsyfuessqp.jpg


Thankfully, this is nowhere near the bog.

Eventually, the septic tank is found.

SepticFound photo SepticFound_zpsnx8ateht.jpg

Alternate View:
SepticFoundView2 photo SepticFoundUpperView_zps3tsscbvv.jpg


And by finding it, they poke their little camera snake through a blockage that was just before the septic tank.

They can't see the septic tank very well, but the drain guy and the septic guy have ensured that we have enough flow to last for a few months, and come spring, the tank NEEDS to be cleaned/flushed. They still spend another hour doing clean up and stuff, but finally, we can get back to two batches of laundry, the dishwasher, a bath, and oh yeah, cleaning the septic water that's backed up into the bathroom. Bleach works on that right?

DoneAtSunset photo DoneAtSunset_zps6xxakytf.jpg


We've only gone from 10:30 am til sunset dealing with this. That's not stressful, no not at all. >:( Laundry is still going, so is the dishwasher, but *yeesh* are we glad the day is over.
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pretty ryo

AC Unity

So. The game.

We'll get the obvious out of the way. Paris is gorgeous. I CANNOT stress enough that walking from a darkly lit house into the bright golden light of late afternoon is breathtaking, or watching light bounce off gold trim in a rich house or palais, or watching the clouds drift in, block out the sun, and cause a rainstorm to splash mud and muck up everywhere while running. It's soooooooooo pretty you're left saying, "My god, this is just a VIDEO GAME." I remember when the PS3 came out and as great as the graphics looked it was still a game; we've finally hit the point where you don't necessarily tell the difference.

A lot of the development diaries talked about the three pillars of an AC game. You can tell - here and other places - where they put in blood sweat and tears. The new animations for free-running are stylistic and always fresh as Arno runs either up or down a building (and my gawd, it's satisfying descending a building). The cover system was new to us; though we're told AC fans have been asking for this for years, we looked at it skeptically, struggling quite a bit before we finally "got it," and then it made sneaking into palais and houses fun.

Fighting is fun to watch - Arno is a fencer first, and we like watching his swordplay in particular - meh on the others. The violence is still brutal, and for us at least a little jaw dropping sometimes. The difficulty factor has most certainly ramped up, they don't forgive you for being a newb and we died many, many times because we were and always will be button mashers, and AC combat really doesn't want you to button mash. Two or three enemies is one thing, but with the alarm bells from Black Flag one can easily get swarmed with half a dozen enemies on screen, all screaming and calling you corpse or maggot (which sounds like something else and always makes us double take). Enemy language is particularly brutal - it's not just random sound bites of Italian curses but some very ugly threats, leaving the two of us wishing we could sometimes mute them.

Paris is divided up into different districts, and each district as three sub-districts (burrows?) that each have their collection of chests, crowd events, chests, Nostradomus puzzles, chests, murder mysteries, chests, chests, and oh yes, chests. The number of chests with loot in this game borders on absurd, and most of them cannot be touched until sequence 9 when you become a level 3 lockpick. For OCD twins like us who like to have all chests and loot plundered as soon as possible before we look at memories, this grated on us to not end. The chests come in four colors: white (normal) red (lockpick - soooo many of those...), yellow (initiates, need an initiate profile and to level it up for given chests), and blue (social. aka you need the companion piece or else the chests will just lay there for all eternity noooooooo they must be opened and the map cleeeeeeeeeeaaar!)

By far, the best parts of single player were the Nostradamus puzzles and the murder mysteries. Nostradamus makes you nostalgic for the glyph puzzles of AC2 and Brotherhood. You have to find certain images laying around a particular district, and each picture gives you a poem/clue to the next location. Most of them are not obvious and require you to remember the names of different landmarks, or simply know the Cafe Theatre really well, or just be damn lucky. Murder mysteries play out in a similar venue; like the Arkham Asylum or LANoire games you turn on your eagle vision to find all the clues and then accuse someone of murder. As the difficulty ratchets up multiple people look like good culprits, and you absolutely have to have all clues to make the right decision to get the best loot. One particular memory failed to give us access to one of the clue locations - a glitch we assume - and we were tearing our hair out using the clues we had to determine the culprit - it was the only time we looked up a video walkthrough, to make sure we were right.

On top of these diversions there are Paris Stories and social club missions. The former gives you a touch or nuance of the setting, the latter "frees" the burrows and reduces the number of Templars mouthing off to you. Mission givers range from the assassin council, Napoleon Bonaparte, le Chevalier d'Eon de Beaumont (and we will decidedly NOT talk about how much we squealed when we realized they managed to sneak him in) to random schmuck on the street. These missions are generally shorter, sometimes lighter, and quick one-offs.

The big thing they focused on, what they spent the most time on, is coop. Not only are there the standard mission objectives, there are synch points to collect to level up Arno and types of gear you received depending on how well you play. More over, some missions have randomized entrance points and locations for loot that makes every playthrough a little bit different. We did multiplayer only once before this - back in college when a friend let us play their xbox (yes, that far back), and the people on the mike learned that we were girls and, well, some deeply, deeply creepy things were said. Here, however, the players we've been interacting with have been polite - and twice we were lucky enough to play with people who spoke French (and we assume they were actually French, because it was early in the morning when most gamers here in North America are asleep). The breadth of people playing mutliplayer, the pleasant surprise when a player glitches into your game to invite you, has been satisfying when we thought we were never be fans of multiplayer.

And the assassinations, too, are fun once you understand how it's done. You explore the area your target is at and "create opportunities" that make infiltration and escape decidedly easier. There was one assassination in the sewers where, because we blocked certain grates, flooded the tunnels with smoke making escape easy. Another encouraged us to free prisoners who then became allies as we stormed the location. Another had us steal keys that led us into an unguarded section of Notre Dame. The nostalgia for AC1 is strong here; it's not an action set-piece like recent games but rather a "by your style" open concept mission. Tack on optional objectives for challenge and some of these memories will be damn fun to replay.

But - and here comes the but - while there are many things in Unity that the developers spent time on, there is one glaring thing they did not spend a lot of time on: the writing.

This can perhaps be best summed up with "More please!"

Elise de la Serre as a developed, competent, strong female character? More please! An assassin council diverse enough to have a black guy and (le gasp) a woman? More please! Friendship with Napoleon Bonaparte? More please! Bellac? More please!! Arno's ruminations of the Creed? MORE PLEASE!! The main story has thirteen sequences - but each sequence has at best three memories. This compared to AC1 that had six investigations and an assassination; AC2 that had memories that were as many as 11 sequences long; Brotherhood that averaged 4; Revelations that guaranteed 4; AC3 that was 3-4, and whatever Black Flag was. The beginning sequences are as follows: cutscene with the council, one memory where you get the name, and then the assassination.

This leaves no time - NO time - to develop the arc of the character you're supposed to kill. All of Altair's assassinations were distinct in that you took the time to get to know why they were being killed. Ezio was on a quest to add names to his list and learn how for the conspiracy went. Brotherhood introduced each assassination as well as each ally you had to help with the assassination. Revelations even had a red herring. Two of them. But the recent trend of the AC games is to just throw a name at you and set you off. I couldn't tell you a single thing about the people I killed. Soul room conversations have been replaced with Arno having the deus-ex-machina ability to leech memories out of his targets, so instead of moving last words or confessions we get "oh, did you see that face? It's the next target for the next memory! Off we go!" And then we repeat with the report to the council.

Not only to I not remember my targets, I don't remember my allies either. The assassin council? Utterly bland. The Mentor? All I remember about him is the murder mystery introduction memory and the co-op mission that plays off that murder mystery. Bellec? "Pisspot." And it hurts to say that because some of these characters are clearly meant to be memorable. Mirabeau's moments in the council meetings are meant to illustrate the stress he's under and what his arc might look like. Bellec has this breathtaking moment in the murder mystery memory, but there was absolutely zero buildup to that moment. Hell, we don't even remember the names of the other council members; outside the woman and the black guy I THINK there's a third, but damned if we remember anything about him. Arno is meant to be the character who takes personal responsibility very seriously, but he talks less than Altair in the side missions and memories. You can see that the ideas are there, that they wanted the narrative to be sweeping and nuanced the way that AC3 was, but it simply falls short.

And then there's Elise. She's the first female character after Aveline that we respect. She is Ezio of AC2, driven utterly by revenge and blind to everything else around her, ultimately including Arno. Instead of making her incompetent at living like Sofia, she leaves the game to do her own thing instead of making Arno do it all. It's a simple dialogue shift, but it gives a huge boost to making her a character. She's not a damsel in distress but rather doing something her own way. Just those tiny moments make her respectable. Not likeable, but respectable.

We differentiate the two because while we respect her we don't like her. There's only so many times she looks down and to the side when Arno says something, or have her very modern hair wisp over a smokey-make-up eye before it becomes trite. We knew what was going to happen to her the minute Ubisoft announced she existed, and lo, that's exactly what happened. Point for point, beat for beat. The two of us were make predictions on every memory we saw her. "Will this be the one with a fluffy romantic setting? Will this be the one where she [spoiler goes here]> Will this be the one where she [spoiler goes here]? Will this be the one where she [spoiler goes here]?" And it was yes to every one. What's the point of making a female character strong and competent if you're going to grind her under every trope that exists? It's not the insult that Sofia Sartor was, but jeez, developers, why not take a risk?

And I think that's the point where we're at. The AC franchise is suffering the first person shooter problem. We don't play first person shooters because (we fail at them epically but also because) their stories are meant to be trimming as you go from one campaign to another. We fell in love with Assassin's Creed because every memory and story it told was to the development of the plot - either Altair's or Al Mualim's. Brotherhood lived up to its namesake because its memories were devoted to Ezio realizing the need for a brotherhood, working with the npcs as well as the recruits, and using that momentum to kill Cesare Borgia. AC3 was meant to be a nuanced and evocative exploration of the meaning of freedom to the people fighting the American Revolution.

Unity is not united. Arno at the end of the game is alone because of the choices he and others made, and we do not have the cathartic release of satisfaction or the sense that something is building towards a form of unity or even the sense of loss. We're left with an admittedly poignant meditation of the Creed, but it does nothing to articulate the themes - if any - of the game. Even Black Flag had a theme - watch Eddie Kenway fall to rock bottom. His story built that. Arno's does not. And we're left wanting.

More please.

I suppose this is what fanfiction is for.