Played through the new Assassin’s Creed DLC last week. Yes, yes; I know I should be writing, but a guy’s got to take a break now and then, right? RIGHT? And why not go back to Roma?
Allow to confess to you my delight at seeing dear old Leonardo again. And that’s the thing — for a moment, it felt like I was seeing an old friend for the first time in years. Not some NPC, not a character in a movie. Someone I’ve watched grow and change. Someone with whom I have interacted.
Now, before you get any images in your head of me weeping into my hankie at the sight of polygonally-represented Renaissance artists, let’s move on. The question is, why was this different? I’ve seen recurring NPCs before. Why did I smile when this one came to the screen?
The representation of the friendship between Ezio and Leonardo has been very satisfying throughout the series. In stalks a murderous thug, an armor-padded linebacker. Up from the ink-stained desk rises the bird-boned polymath. One man-hug later and you’re in. These two guys are genuine friends and have been for decades. Leonardo is more than the Merlin or the Q — he’s an actual part of the main character’s life. These guys know each other. The last beat of the DLC (which I will not spoil here) drives this home particularly well.
In a form surfeit with square-jawed white males in their thirties whose entire emotional range starts with a wisecrack and ends with a grunt, taking the time to show an actual friendship between men is a worthy accomplishment.