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Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
[see my review on 'Assassin's Creed': 'The Original Assassin Who Came Before 47 But Didn't Really'. Please note that there may be a few spoilers of the story of this game in the following review]
Little over two years after the release of 'Assassin's Creed', a sequel was released: 'Assassin's Creed II'. The game is a direct continuation of the story from its predecessor. You are Desmond Miles, a New Yorkian bartender who has been kidnapped and forced to relive the memories of your ancestors that are imprinted in your DNA in a machine called the Animus. The first game saw the reliving of Altaïr, an assassin of the Third Crusade. By the end of the game, you have discovered the importance of delving into such ancient memories: the organisation Abstergo who kidnapped you are in fact the modern day Knights Templar, and the war between these Templar and the Assassins is still ongoing. Abstergo, by using Desmond, have located certain powerful ancient objects known as 'Pieces of Eden' and strives to hunt them down. But they have no use left in Desmond, so Vidic, the scientist in charge, plans on disposing of him, before he is saved by Vidic's assistant Lucy. As the game ends, Desmond notices mysterious bloody symbols on the wall that only he is able to see due to the 'Eagle Vision' that he possesses through Altaïr.
'Assassin's Creed II' (herein shortened to 'ACII', and 'Assassin's Creed': 'AC') picks up exactly where AC left off. Lucy (who is in fact part of the Assassins and has been working undercover at Abstergo) and Desmond escape together to a warehouse where we meet two new characters: Shaun and Rebecca, and the Animus 2.0. The four of them work together in hidden quarters to learn more from Desmond's memories to arm themselves further against Abstergo. Altaïr has been put to one side for now, as Lucy reckons they were looking in the wrong place. Enter Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
Ezio is a young man from Firenze (or Florence) in Renaissance Italy (late 15th century). He is good-looking, charming and athletic, and although the gameplay within Renaissance Italy begins rather light-heartedly so the player can find his/her feet, a political plot surrounding the Auditore family soon emerges, Ezio's father and two brothers (one of which is only 13 years old) are hanged to death. Ezio, following his now deceased father's last words, discovers a secret room in his study which holds Assassin attire and weaponry. With his Mother and sister, Ezio flees to his Uncle's villa in Monteriggioni, where he learns the ways of the Creed, and seeks to take vengeance on those who conspired against his family.
With ACII, there's been quite a revamp. AC had its fair share of problems, though Ubisoft Montreal was lucky enough to gain recognition for what they were onto with the Assassin's Creed series. Whether or not the negativity they received caused them to scrap their protagonist, I don't know. But Ezio Auditore provides a far more likeable and interesting protagonist for the player; cocky but nice in character, and the Italian-ness offers far more appeal (no offence to any Palestinians - we Brits are just more familiar with the Romance of Italy!). A large portion of the style of gameplay has been reworked, too. AC featured a sandbox world (open, free roaming) with side missions to complete, and this is retained for ACII. However, these side missions became very repetitive after a while. What ACII offers is a less structured story that dictates what missions and side missions you have to complete. AC was dictated by the nine men you were contracted to assassinate; ACII possesses are more free-flowing and realistic story. There are still a number of people that you have to assassinate, however, but the build-ups to these assassinations are far more diverse, interesting and relative to the story. The side-missions that form these 'build-ups' include tails (where you have to stealthily follow a target to learn some information), escorts (where you may have to fight off some baddies) and less high-profile assassinations amongst others. There are also an array of optional side-missions, including races, beat-ups (usually some wench who wants her cheating husband taught a lesson or two), the very enjoyable tomb missions (you must find your way to an ancient Assassin tomb to find some treasure) and the glyphs (a series of puzzles spread across Italy). Like its prequel, the game is separated into memory sequences (originally 'memory blocks') that help divide the story and allow players to revisit missions and side-missions more easily.
The story is far superior to AC's. As aforementioned, the protagonist of Ezio is far more likeable, and it causes the player to take more interest into how his story unfolds, particularly due to the shocking tragedy of his family very early on in the game. It is clear, especially in this game, that Ubisoft Montreal have taken a lot of their style from Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Angels and Demons', particularly the latter. The concept of the Assassin's Creed series is all about taking some periods in history and building fiction around it. ACII takes three important figures in Renaissance Italy, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli and Rodrigo Borgia, and makes them into integrated characters, in that they play very prominent parts in the story. The game is in complete self-acknowledgement that it is fiction, however (which can't particularly be said for Dan Brown...). The game fuses scientific, mythical and supernatural elements into a historical time, which completely and utterly removes any possibility of realism - something videogames can get away with far better than other forms of fiction can. But within this world, there's perhaps even less realism in the way in which Ezio can climb buildings and use the aforementioned 'Eagle Vision' and what not. And however well designed the story is, I can't help but cringe a little while playing, with typically videogame-esque corniness making itself very much known within the cutscenes and dialogues. That said, Assassin's Creed offers one of the more superior stories in the videogame world, and ACII delivers on this front.
The gameplay is very good too, but could be better. The open world allows you to go far, and with the five Italian towns/cities combined, the map is very big indeed. Controls are good enough (better than AC), although Ezio will sometimes do something you don't want him to do, or go in a direction you don't want him to go, simply because the controls and options are so complex that the magnetic style can go a bit haywire and glitchy. The fighting system is much improved in ACII, and is significantly easier to manage, and the same goes for other forms of combat. The Assassin's Creed series really likes to think it's a stealth series, but when you compare it to games such as Hitman and Splinter Cell, it really isn't. There is no incentive in ACII for you to carry out any of your missions stealthily, when 95% of them are completely attainable (and easy) running in with sword drawn. The stealth elements that the game offers include your hidden blade, concealing yourself within certain objects (haystacks, wells) and blending (making yourself 'invisible' essentially by hiding yourself in a crowd), the latter of which is a cool enough idea, but isn't executed quite as satisfactorily. Furthermore, the game just is a bit too easy. There's lots to do and it offers hours upon hours of gameplay, but whatever happened to difficult games? I use to struggle for hours on certain of my old PS2 games. It seems that in a way, thoughtful and tough gameplay has been traded for a more stunning, cinematic experience, which, depending on how you look at it, isn't the worst thing in the world. Overall, however, ACII offers thoroughly enjoyable gameplay and you will often find your controller stuck in your hands and eyes stuck on the TV.
The experience of playing is helped along the way by the visuals and sound. Like AC, the game thrives on delivering beautiful landscapes and stunning views. One of the main points of the game (though the value of this feature isn't as prominent as in AC) is the 'synchronization', where the player is required to climb up the outside of a tower to reach the top and take in his surroundings, so that the map and HUD (heads-up display) offers more information in the area. And when you're on top of said tower, it's sometimes very nice to just chill up there for a bit - Ubisoft Montreal have put a lot of effort in to making some great visuals, and the graphics engine for the game is superb. It really makes for more enjoyable gameplay. Meanwhile, Jesper Kyd's score is fantastic for ACII. With far more character than AC, the score blends modern scientific sounds with Classical/Renaissance ideas, and the track 'Ezio's Family' is a particular favourite of fans, though mine is 'Leonardo's Inventions, pt. 1'. Jesper Kyd has such a distinctive and unique sound that he ultimately provides a lot towards the Assassin's Creed experience. It's some of his best work yet, and truly improves gameplay. Also worth noting is his influence of Zimmer's 'Angels and Demons', a film, as previously mentioned, with story and style very similar to ACII. Also worth mentioning is the great SFX that accompanies the game, from the horse gallops to the sword fights, and also the superior voice acting, whether the dialogue itself is cheesy or not.
The Assassin's Creed series is on the rise with Assassin's Creed II. Ubisoft Montreal have done themselves proud by building on the ground-breaking but flawed Assassin's Creed, but there is still a way to go. I've played the next two games, and although the stealth elements never even come close to the likes of Hitman and Splinter Cell, other areas improve. But ACII is a very important to the gaming world and your shelf isn't complete without it. It's thoroughly enjoyable and offers many hours of gameplay and a great cinematic experience; it is just let down by certain, important aspects.
I bought this game because I heard it had improved on the original, I thought it might just be a load of hype and that it would be repetitive again. However to my delight it has changed my view on the Assassins Creed series and keeps me wanting more.
It retains the vicious fun of the original when taking out guards and the variety of missions is a major improvement. The Templar missions and assassins tombs break the game up a bit if you feel like doing a puzzle also there are the 'glyph' puzzles which are a great addition. As to be expected the game is huge, each town has its own little side quests which are not essential to complete the game but if you want 100% be prepared to spend the hours finding treasure, doing contract killings or racing thieves.
My only qualm with the game is the Lute players and idiotic merchants who carry boxes, these are designed to draw attention to you but when doing a mission where you have to follow someone these really get annoying.
However this is a small detail in such a brilliant game which i would recommend to anyone.
The original Assassin's Creed has clocked sales of around 10 million units since its 2007 release; an impressive achievement for a new intellectual property. It's easy to see why the game was so popular, as it provided owners at the time with a justification for owning a HD console, during a period where many releases were starting to feel a little safe. It wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but then, it wasn't just a PS2 game with sharper graphics either.
Play ACII for 2 hours and you could be forgiven for thinking little was altered in the interim leading to its 2009 release. Play for 2 weeks however and exposure to a host of small but meaningful improvements, as well as generally more intelligent, adventurous design, will leave you in no doubt that the series has found its feet with this instalment.
As with the first game, ACII runs with an interesting, dual-strand narrative. The story sees Desmond Miles being sprung from confinement within the sinister, high-tech Abstergo Industries, before going into hiding with a small band of allies. Desmond's ancestors were assassins, and through a virtual-reality machine known as the Animus, he (and therefore the player) is able to relive their exploits, with the hope of shedding light on centuries-old conspiracies and what it is Abstergo are so desperate to find. Though something of a scientific leap-of-faith, the "genes with memory" trope offers plenty of gaming potential and narrative intrigue. The modern day bits have perhaps wisely been scaled back (amounting to no more than 1-2% of the play time) to offer further emphasis on the main meat of the game - what takes place in the Animus.
This time around you're following the Florentine Ezio Auditore, in 15th Century Renaissance Italy. The move to focus on a new lead protagonist immediately pays dividends, as though Altaïr was a solid hero in the crusades-set original and its portable spin-offs, the absence of a backstory or a broader, personal focus left him feeling more of a bit-part player than Ezio. Following the Italian nobleman's life from free-spirited teen to a forty-something assassin, his highs and lows are as grand as they are empathetic, and that the missions are significantly less mercenary in their nature than in the first game is a big plus too.
The game mixes open-world adventuring with elements of free-running and climbing, not dissimilar to the likes of inFamous and Prototype, only in this instance, it's not superhero antics you're getting up to, but the subtle art of stealth. It's accomplished stuff, with several tweaks enhancing an already-promising setup. Streets are bustling with market-holders, carnival performers, musicians, monks and courtesans all doing their own thing, there's a real sense of community - there's even the odd thief who'll pilfer your cash, forcing you to give chase. Braving the rooftops is usually the quickest method of getting from A to B, but attracts the attention of archers so it pays to be fleet of foot, though should you wish to be more methodical, you can hide yourself among the crowds. Ezio's is rewarded for inconspicuous behaviour; remaining "Incognito" ensures the city guard won't bat an eyelid, but should he become "Notorious", they're constantly on the lookout. Tearing down wanted posters and bribing heralds are two ways of reducing visibility, and because it isn't too fiddly or obtrusive, the whole idea complements the adventuring quite nicely.
Combat has been improved too. The original was weighed-down by frequent onslaughts that lacked finesse; in part due to the one-button attacks which lead to some protracted and tedious skirmishes. Whilst still relatively simplistic, the swordfights in ACII are less repetitive and place greater emphasis on blocks, counterattacks and the utilising of various cool pieces of kit Ezio attains. There's consequently lots more freedom; you can sneak up behind a guard and nick him with a poisoned blade; retreat out of sight and watch as his frenzied last moments act as a perfect distraction for the other guards. Meanwhile, there are less lethal ways of diverting attention from high security areas, namely hiring courtesans, who will help you blend in with the populous, and then can be instructed to distract specific guards. Smoke bombs are great too as they can aid your escape (or make taking out several guards significantly easier), and irritatingly persistent troubadours hindering your tailing of a target can be shaken off by throwing money on the ground. Almost without exception, these tools are great, because should you find an effective method in which to use them, their effect is both extremely satisfying and tangible thanks to the smart and receptive A.I.
Visually, there's little difference between this and the original, meaning that ACII looks just a touch dated. This is only in the most mercenary sense of the word however, as to ignore the sheer aesthetic beauty and intricate detailing of Florence and Venice in particular would be to do the game a disservice. It's still a thrill to climb hundreds of feet up a tower so as to see the awesome panoramic vistas of the city below, even if they are sometimes accompanied by a thin layer of fogging. Character animations look a little long in the tooth, but the overall presentation is supreme, with the white-washed menus in particular proving absolutely dazzling to behold.
There's always something to keep you occupied. Monteriggioni acts as a light business element allowing you to invest in the small city with the pay-off being cheaper prices and a better selection of weaponry and items in stores. It's a simple but rewarding idea, granting you a quantity of florins twenty minutes proportional to the value of the area. A particularly excellent feature that is rarely touched upon is the game's cross-connectivity with PSP spin-off Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines. For every boss you've slain in the portable version, you'll be rewarded with a version of their unique weapon in the PS3 game; a commendable bonus for those who've tackled both adventures.
As mentioned, the missions are far more engaging this time around. As well as the usual assassination, search 'n' find and scouting/following missions, there's a host of other adventures to undertake. The optional Assassin's Tombs are a real highlight. Typically based in sprawling cathedrals or catacombs, they reveal the full extent of the game's art design and platforming potential, mixing some gorgeous paintings and architecture with stomach-churning heights that often see you winding around a building and up into its wooden ceiling rafters. The tension when jumping on thin, rickety beams is palpable; you'll hold your breath for every one of them. Though this kind of concerted, labyrinthine design is not as apparent outdoors, they're absolutely brilliantly realised in the tombs, rivalling any of the modern Prince of Persia's for platforming nous.
There is inevitably still the odd peril caused by the controls, with Ezio occasionally jump off a rooftop in a completely unintended direction, seeing him lunge to his death. This isn't an issue that will necessarily be quickly fixed; the sheer number of interactive points on each building that can be grabbed and climbed is vast, so there are going to be times where the movement you instinctively believe Ezio is going to make is not what comes off. It's important to stress though that this is an occasional trouble, and the majority of the time the controls are very sturdily both on the deck and whilst climbing. Some of the cities don't allow for as instinctive a sequence of rooftop sprints as would have been preferable; Venice in particular, whilst a pleasure to explore, still causes frustration as you'll have Ezio hopping unceremoniously into the canals if you don't plan your routes.
At times enthralling and never less than engaging, the story produces a range of colourful characters that really bring things to life. Figures from history are brought to life in theatrical but powerful fashion, including the infamous Rodrigo Borgia as the chief antagonist, and the likeable Leonardo Da Vinci, who aids Ezio, not least by letting him test his prototype flying machine. The side-missions, which include beating up unfaithful husbands, racing around the rooftops and carrying out courier and assassination contracts are all of a decent standard, though it's curious that there's little incentive to tackling them, beyond a meek monetary reward for individual completion. They have no bearing on trophies or reaching 100% completion and as a consequence, leaves them feeling rather incidental. Fortunately, the story is more than worth the price of admission alone and should have you glued to Assassin's Creed II for a good couple of weeks. It's accomplished, addictive and marks a clear improvement over its predecessor - just what you want from a sequel, then.
==About The Game==
Assassins Creed II is the second installment in the Assassin's Creed series. It was released on consoles in November 2009 and in March 2010 for Windows. It is made by the company Ubisoft Montreal and is a historical third-person action-adventure video game. It is available on the PS3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The game takes place in an open world with nonlinear gameplay, this allows the player to roam around within various regions throughout fifteenth-century Italy such as Venice, Florence, Forli and the Tuscan countryside. The Animus from the first game has been given an upgrade in this game and provides in-game context for changes and additions to several game elements. Also the health system has changed and become more dynamic. The player can now swim in water and use Eagle Vision whilst moving around. There is also now a day and night setting to the game, giving it more of a sense of time.
==Price and Availability==
Assassins Creed II can be bought on Amazon for £7.48. You can purchase it from most stores that sell PS3 games either online or in the high street.
Assassins Creed II features the main character from the previous game, Desmond Miles who is trapped by Abstergo Industries (the modern face of the Knights Templar). The assassin whose memories Desmond has to relive in this game is Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
There are also some present day assassins that Desmond meets in this game called Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca.
Within the game there is a young Leonardo Da Vinci who helps Ezio by creating weapons for him.
Another character who is unseen but plays a big part in this game is subject 16, he left various glyphs in the animus that you have to decode to learn his story.
The game starts with Lucy rescuing Desmond from Abstergo and taking him to the assassins hideout. He then has to go back into the animus 2.0 and relieve the memories of Ezio. Ezio's memories begin in the renaissance in the 15th century. You see his father and brothers get arrested and executed which sets Ezio on his path to discover who was behind the conspiracy that got half his family killed. He takes his mother and sister to his uncle Mario's villa in the countryside. This villa plays a vital role in the game by providing you with a regular income as you pay to fix up the villa and the little town that surrounds it.
Throughout the game you collect treasure chests, eagle feathers and codex pieces all of which help you on your way to completing the game.
The trophies in this game are fairly easy as most of them are achieved by just playing the game. There are a few that require a bit of work, and a couple that can be quite tricky, For example you only have one chance to get the flying machine trophy as you only use it once in the game.
Assassins Creed is not my usual type of game, to be honest I normally avoid this genre like the plague. There's something about his game though that got me interested when I saw people playing it, so I rented it and right away I was hooked. I think it's the fact that it's not your usual run around killing people kind of game, in this one you have to be a bit sneaky. Oh and I love being able to climb buildings and jump across rooftops. All in all I really love this game and want to complete the whole series now!
I would definitely recommend giving this game a go if you're interested in it. Be warned though you may find yourself hooked and having to tear yourself away from it.
You play as Ezio, a fifteenth century Assassin intent on avenging his family after they were killed for political reasons. Actually, you play as Desmond Miles, who is reliving through the memories of Ezio using the Animus - a Matrix-style machine he is using to learn the skills of an Assassin. Modern day Templars are getting restless and it is up to Desmond to stop them, just as Altair did in the first game.
And already we have the first downfall to the game and that is the story which is mixed, unpleasantly with cutscenes that cannot be skipped. The story itself is not bad and the sci-fi element adds depth to what would otherwise be quite a basic story but the Ezio part of the story would be more than adequate for a game plot and, more importantly, would let you get on with the assassinations faster.
The original Assassins Creed was something of a flawed masterpiece. It was so fluid - the combat and free running felt so natural. It was, however, flawed with a dull story and repetitive gameplay. Peter Molyneux take note however, because it is heart-warming to announce that the developers have taken on board the criticisms of the first game and delivered a game that is on the whole, far better. The story has its flaws, though the Ezio-side of the story is decent, made far better by the personality of the main character - you actually care for him. The biggest improvement however is the assassinations.
Unlike the first game where each assassination required scouting and eavesdropping, the sequel thankfully mixes it up a little. There is still repetition of course - there's only a certain amount of ways you can stalk, kill and run from an enemy but it is all fun - a change from the relatively dull scouting sections of the first game. The gameplay stays pretty constant throughout the game though every so often you are tasked with something quite different - such as having a go on one of Da Vinci's machines.
The genius of the game comes from the free-running and fluid movement of the character both in and out of combat. With a variety of weapons at your disposal from swords to throwing knives there are multiple ways to deal with enemies, and combat will generally see you making use of quickly attacking, and then holding down R1 to go into counter-attack mode. Attacks and combo's are brilliant to pull off and great to watch on the screen with the one downside being that the combat is quite easy. As long as you can dodge and counter attack the enemies won't provide too much trouble, though when the combat is so fun, the ease of the combat is a small problem.
After a successful assassination of killing spree however it is time to escape and that is when the next genius of the game comes into play. Free-running is incredibly easy, the case of holding down the R1 button (high profile mode) and steering your character up building by looking out for ledges to grab onto. It's this type of movement that makes you want to take a break from the story and just aimlessly explore. The environments themselves are fantastic, with the only downside to them being the very-visible walls that block you from exploring too much until you proceed further in the story. Nothing will take you out of a game faster than a large white wall.
Away from the main story there is a little to do. Side quests will offer some entertainment for a while though the main quest line is far better. Other than that there's rare armour to find and the collection of flags which are situated throughout the several cities you can explore. Away from the story however most of my fun came merely from exploring and killing guards because side-quests and flag collection have little appeal, with flag collecting probably being the dullest way of artificially increasing game time that has been thought up.
You can renovate cities - banks and blacksmiths, tailors and stables. It feels quite useless however. Regardless of the open world, Assassins Creed is not an RPG and though you can have a lot of fun purchasing swords and armour every now and then, city renovation and multiple armour upgrades don't suit a game that will probably be completed in a few afternoons game-time.
There is very little truly negative to say about the game however. A small complaint is the difficulty in pulling off a stealth assassination. If you are after a stealth game, this may not be for you - which is strange since you are playing as an assassin. The aim of the game is to kill and then quickly blend back into the crowd which is in itself fantastic. There is a great feeling of blending into a crowd of people when there are guards searching for you, your heart pounding in the hope that you are not noticed. It is a brilliant mechanic and the series would not be the same without it, though mixed with the ease of combat it becomes extremely easy for a stealth assassination to become a mass murder. Increased difficulty in combat would definitely make you think twice about your assassination style.
Fans of the first game will love this one - it has improved immensely over its predecessor whilst still keeping true to the series, and because of these improvements, critics of the first game should re-assess their opinion of the series because it is rare a developer so thoroughly fixes the problems of the original for a sequel. Even wit the sequel (Assassins Creed: Brotherhood) already out this game is still worth a look at, and you can't go far wrong when it can be purchased for only £12.89 on Amazon.
Assassins Creed 2 is the sequel to the unique gameplay style of the first one, Assassins Creed, in which you played as Altair, an assassin working for the assassins order fighting the templars, led by Rodrigo Borgia, for control of the Apple of Eden. The second one sees you playing as Ezio Auditore - once again an ancestor of Desmond Miles - the second son of Giovanni Auditore, a powerful and respected banker in Florence during the 15th century. The game takes you on an epic quest of revenge over all of Rome, meeting some very important and powerful people on the way, one of which being Leonardo Da Vinchi, arguably the greatest artist and inventor ever to live.
The game sees you get revenge for your father, and 2 brothers deaths by the Pazzi family so they could rule Florence, but Ezio won't let that happen. After your father and brother get killed you find your mother and sister and escape to Giovanni's brother, your uncle, Mario's villa, introducing himself with the iconic line, "It's me, Mario!" With his help he teaches you the way of the assassins and the weapons they use to hunt down and kill the Pazzi family and the templars.
Desmond is also back and this time he is not alone. Lucy Stillman, the lab assistant from the previous game, helps you to escape the Abstergo facility and you go on the run with her and 2 of her colleagues, all of whom are from the modern day assassins order and need your help to find the Apple of Eden before the templars do.
The sequel to the first game sees a lot of new additions, varying from greater control of your character and combat skills to how you progress through the game like buying weapons and armour and also new stealth techniques. The story missions this time around are also a lot different they don't just include eaves dropping, interrogations and pick pocketing people to eventually go and kill your target, they now include missions where you need to protect somebody, or kill a certain amount of and tailing people without them noticing. You can also swim in this one instead of dying as soon as you touch the water.
You can also participate in a lot more side-missions this time around there are still the view points you need to synchronize with to view a larger are of the map. There are now 100 feathers to collect instead of various different types of flags. Now though, there are also proper side missions, these include races, assassination contracts and beat-up missions for unfaithful husbands.
The controls are very similar to the first game so if you understood those you should have no problems, but for new-comers, depending on how well you pick things up it could take a while to fully understand and master the controls, unlikely but still. The game should take anywhere between 8-12 hours if you go straight through the story, but more than likely you will do some of the side-missions to get 100% which could double the amount of gameplay you get out of it. The graphics are once again marvellous, this game shows the full extent of what Ubisoft Montreal can do. But don't be mistaken, this game still follows the roots of the previous one.
Over the last year I have really started to make use of my Playstation 3 and find myself playing more and more games. One of the catalysis's of this revival was Assassin's Creed an action and adventure game from Ubisoft where you take the role of an Assassin during the crusades. It was then perhaps inevitable that upon the release of the sequel that I would be buying that as well and becoming lost to the ancient worlds of 1400's Italy.
The game picks up from the end of the previous one after Desmond has helped the modern day Templar's to find what they are looking for. This time our hero has switched sides and through an ancestor in 15th Centaury Italy is trying to help the rebels find a way to defeat the Modern Day Templar's. This time the alter ego of the past is Desmond's ancestor Ezio Auditore di Firenze a fiery individual intent on seeking revenge on those who have played a part in the downfall of his family.
Exploring the Creed
As good as the original game had been it was massively flawed and had potential to become stale and stagnant if played for long periods of time. All of the missions were the same and it took forever to get from one City to another. Thankfully it seems that Ubisoft listened to these complaints and totally redesigned the assassination and mission aspects of the game. Gone are the long periods of time travelling from city to city, but perhaps more importantly also gone are the monotonous methods by which you obtained targets and information.
That's not to say the key aspects of those missions have gone completely, but the developers have integrated them into a much bigger picture. As in the previous game you have the full run of the Cities involved within the game. These include recreations of Rome, Venice, Florence and Tuscany.
Of course not content with simply overhauling the mission aspect of the game the developers have also recreated the opposition. Gone are the 1 dimensional enemy soldiers who could be dispatched with ease and in come a variety of different opponents who all fight in different ways. The addition of these opponents adds a bit of extra life and with the improvements to both the missions and the opponents the game has certainly moved forward considerably. It seems strange how much better this second instalment is as having played and completed the first game I hadn't thought there was that much wrong.
The core modern day story continues into this game giving it good continuity and the main plot has a similar motivation behind it, but the way the developers have gone about it make for a much more enjoyable game. The options are there to carry out only the main mission or to do side missions such as courier jobs and the assassination of other tactics. Even the lead character Ezio is a bit more pronounced and likeable than Altair in the original game.
I really feel that all of the changes that have been made from the original have contributed to this being a better game. The main plot of the game and all the side lines take a lot longer than the previous game but with more aspects and places to explore it doesn't feel anywhere near as laborious. The game has a minimum of 18 - 20 hours game play in it to complete it once and far in excess of that should you explore every city and do all of the additional tasks. This means that you get a lot of game for your money and with the improvements it seems to be a far better and more entertaining game all round.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the first game had been the graphics but this time round the developers have really surpassed expectation. They have made sure that every aspect of the game is visually stunning. The detail and use of colour in creating each city is breathtaking and worth playing the game for alone. They have taken the realistic look of the characters from the first game and even improved on them. This means that each cut scene and story filler looks like a movie rather than an animated section of a game. I really feel that the look of the game surpasses any possible expectations you could have of how this period in history will have looked.
Like the improvements in the graphics and the game in general it was inevitable that the games sounds would become more realistic. The conversations between characters seem more in keeping with the game and in the cut sequences in particular they really sound and look convincing adding another dimension to the game. Even the back ground soundtrack works really well and helps create the atmosphere of the time period the game is portraying.
Game Play & Control
As I've already mentioned the developers have redesigned the mission elements of the game and this improves the game play no end. I found with the previous game that after playing it for a couple of hours it became very repetitive. This time round they have kept the basic actions the same but in expanding the range of motions and skills you can carry out and learn have increased the playability of the game no end.
At times your character will still jump in directions you haven't asked him too but these are far less frequent than would previously have happened. The redesign of the weapon and fighting element of the game also add a new and interesting twist. The range of weapons you can carry has been expanded considerable, which also increases the types of assassination that can be carried out.
By eliminating the long travel segments and focussing more on the actual game play I feel the developers have managed to improve the game in ways I hadn't imagined possible. The various options open to you as Ezio are limitless, even the addition of the ability to swim is a big plus on the previous game. I was surprised by how good the new combat sequences are as well and the variations of ways to fight, all of which really add another feather to the bow of this game.
Before playing Assassin's Creed 2 I had felt that by far and away the best game I'd played on the Playstation 3 was Unchartered. The first Creed game had been enjoyable but it hadn't come close to the Unchartered series but what Ubisoft have done in developing this sequel brings it right up alongside my favourite Playstation game. The game play options are all there to be enjoyed and as it took me almost 35 hours of playing time to complete the whole game I really feel that Assassin's Creed 2 offers you value for money.
For fans of multiplayer modes this game will be a disappointment as it doesn't have this as an option but the single player story mode more than makes up for it. The third Assassin's Creed game on the Playstation 3 is due soon to carry on the story and I for one will certainly be buying it. If you haven't played this series yet I'd recommend starting with the original, if for no other reason than to see how much this one improves on what I'd previously thought was a very good game that just needed a tweak here and there. Instead a massive overhaul has improved this game beyond believe and makes Assassins Creed 2 my second favourite PS3 game.
Other Platforms: PC & Xbox 360
Age - 15 plus
first of all, what an amzing setting for a game! rennasance italy! this is a great historical adventure game. though not true to history it has recreated cities as accurately as possible and created a game with an atmosphere quite unlike any before it. you are basically playing as an assassin and you are given missions by random people to either assassinate people, save people or have races traversing across rooftops in venice! there is plenty of places to explore and find. but this game is a rather easy 100% completion which is the only thing that lets it down.
graphically this game is amazing, top notch, superb. though the story telling narrative is laughable due to the fact that you are basically reliving a past life through an electronic device of some form. once you get past the ridiculous opening sequence of the game you discover a land full of opportunities, higher bands of mercenaries to beat your enemies or use stealth tactics to assassinate quietly.
in this game there are some quiet amazing attention to detail like you can collect artworks from the period of the game too add them to your personal artwork in the gallery. when you have completed your gallery you will discover some quite amazing artworks that are 100% accurate and by many great and famous painters. which is one of the details that adds an amazing level of depth to the game.
overall there is plenty to do, plenty to see and enough replay ability to make you want to go back and play it through again. with the expansions for the dlc content this is a great title.
Assassins Creed 2 improves on its predecessor in almost every way. Placing you in renaissance Italy following the story of a son seeking revenge.
The gameplay has been greatly improved from AC 1 offering more variety of missions to complete. From general assassinations to following missions across three large and living cities. The combat system is pretty much the same as the before with the main tactic of countering enemy attacks, although there is now a much more variety of weapons and enemies.
The graphics has taken another leap forward, with more subtle improvements on distant objects. The waters of Venice look pretty realistic and the buildings have an authentic feel.
The story is interesting but ultimately disappointing, characters like Leonardo Da Vinci are more annoying than useful. It is more fun to do your own thing around the cities instead of completing the story missions.
There is a lack of re-playability in this game and once you have finished then it is unlikely you will ever want to pick it up again.
Every once in a while you find a game that exceeds all expectations and you appreciate as a true gaming masterpiece. We're in an age where generic rehashes are rife and the latest titles are very much the same game with a twist (just look at the halo series jeez!). Assassin's Creed 2 is everything that is right with games and more. It combines innovative gameplay, excellent storytelling and a little magic to create an immersive experience you'll crave to play more and more and more.
I did not play the first game due to hearing negative things but none of those things seem to be present in this amazing sequel. The story tells us that we're a guy called Desmond in the present day (maybe the not too distant future) who is part of a project in which people can relive the lives of their ancestors through a machine called the animus. Desmond's ancestor is Ezio, a 15th century italian man with an excellent character. Now Desmond has the appeal of an open wound but thankfully we don't see much of him past the opening section of the game. You play as Ezio Auditore and it is his story. Ezio is a very likable character and you will quickly empathise with him and his struggles. You follow his evolution from average polite son to deadly assassin. It's pretty awesome when you first get those Assassin robes on your back. Besides Desmond I'm happy with all of the characters, each one is introduced and developed well and contributes to the massive immersive world of Assassin's Creed 2.
The world is broken down into cities and towns which are all linked together via the countryside. To travel between towns you can walk, ride a horse there or use the incredibly convenient fast travel stations which allow instant travel between towns but for a fee. The cities and towns are large and it will take a while to reveal the whole of the map because to do so you must climb towers and 'synchronise' with them. There are 66 viewpoint towers in total to keep you busy! Each town has a different feel to it and it's amazing how the developers fit so much into the game. Florence feels different from Tuscany for example due to Tuscany being surrounded by huge walls and plagued by guards. The developers have done an incredible job of creating a living breathing world. Citizens will comment on your acrobatic skills and town heralds will spread news of an assassin being in town.
Different from the first game is the economy system in which you must try and make your family town of Monteriggioni prosper by spending your hard earned cash on renovating buildings. In return you get a sum of cash paid into the villa chest every 20 minutes. The better you make the town the more money you get per 20 minutes. Pretty much everything you do in the game contributes to the town even bettering your armour and weapon collection adds value. The game is packed with collectibles which will clearly take ages to complete the whole collection. There are eagle feathers scattered about which you must collect and they are surprisingly elusive! On certain buildings you must use the special eagle eyes ability to locate symbols hidden on one of it's walls. These symbols then unlock a puzzle which you must solve to gain extra knowledge of the unravelling conspiracy. Tombs of you Assassin ancestors must be conquered (I say conquered because each involves some heavy platforming) to finally receive a special piece of armour. Good luck getting your platinum trophy! I like this aspect because it helps get the most money out of the game and unlike other games this isn't tedious because each collectible holds a worthy reward to the game. Collecting codex pages not only helps develop the story but gives you more health for example.
You already have all of this and I haven't mentioned the gameplay yet. Well the gameplay is superb in that it's a bit of a mixed bag. It's hard to pin a genre on this game because of course it's an action game but also an RPG in that you're trying to collect and level up and also a platformer. It's the blend that keeps the game fresh and an experience like no other. The world is free roam so think along the lines of GTA or infamous, more infamous due to the platforming controls. Ezio like Cole can scale pretty much any building so long as there is something to grab onto. For the most part it works well but there are cases where you may be chasing someone and then you grab a wall and lose them. This isn't really an issue at all when you consider how well the game is put together as a whole. So you walk or run or climb around looking for missions or stealing from the general public or upsetting the guards or collecting things. There is a lot to do! There's little touches that make the game great such as the notoriety engine which is basically a meter that fills when you do bad thing such as murder or theft. It works much like the wanted meter on GTA except you can avoid guards easier as they don't have cars. There's little courier men walking around randomly and will run when they see you as they carry a lot of cash which you can steal from them. The world is dynamic and full of surprises. Posters will need ripping down if you're notoriety meter starts to fill. You can also bribe town heralds or kill officials who want you dead to reduce the meter. If you need to keep a low profile you can 'blend' in with groups of people walking around or hire courtesans to keep distract the guards away from you. Bards will come and hover around you hoping for a tip and drawing attention to you so you throw money at them to keep them away. You must be salivating by now at all of these amazing features.
Combat is carried out using a variety of weapons such as swords, daggers, throwing knives and everyone's favourite ... the concealed blades. Stealth kills are the most rewarding in Assassin's Creed and they are carried out using said blade but you can also up the ante and use a 'high profile' kill which is much flashier and sure to draw attention to yourself. Weapons can be bought from the blacksmith or some are awarded by following story missions such as the poison blade which makes people flip out and swing their weapons around before dying. Funnily enough the poison for the blade is obtained from the doctor who also sells you health replenishing medicine. On the subject of doctors and blacksmiths, there are a variety of shops throughout the game. These are: the doctor to obtain medicine, poison or just to quickly heal your character; the blacksmith for armour, armour repairs (your armour gets damages over time cool eh?) and weapons; the tailor to dye your robes a different colour and finally, the art merchant who sells paintings for your mansion and treasure maps.
Assassin's Creed 2 is a masterpiece and I feel that no review can truly do it justice. It must be played for it's sheer awesomeness to be realised. Go out and buy the complete edition soon to hit the shops, it will take you a good while to complete and will be the best addition to your game collection in a long time.
Assassins Creed 2 is a very fun game! You start of as a normal Italian man and you end up doing a few jobs for your family. Your Family get framed for a crime they didn't commit. Some of your fathers last words were telling you to go to your house and find the secret room. Once you find it you see a chest. This contains a Assassin outfit, A sword, A wrist blade and some papers.
Ezio (Your character) puts on the Assassin outfit and tries the wrist blade. But it doesn't work. He takes it to a family friend. The famous, Leonardo da vinci. Except he is not famous at the time of the game. Leonardo fixes it. Ezio is being hunted by the group of people that killed his father and brothers. His Mother and sister are still alive. He takes them to his uncles house where he learns he is a assassin. That he must carry on his ancestors work.
Assassins creed 2 is a very fun game. The only downside is that it gets boring after you finish it.
I gave this a 5 star rating! Amazing!
Assassins Creed II is an absolutely amazing game, the detail and adventure involved in the game is just stunning, and it had me hooked all the way through to the end of the game.
Assassins Creed II is an open world, non-linear type game that takes place in 14th Century Italy. The game allows players to roam freely across several different regions throughout Italy. The Animus 2.0 is a new addition to the game and provides historical information on the famous landmarks you see throughout Venice, Tuscany and the other regions you can explore.
Since the last game, alot has been changed. The health system is now more dynamic, with your health being recharged for minor injuries, although major injuries will require medical attention from the many doctors in the city. You know, obviously do not play as Altair from the 1st game, but Ezio Auditore instead. Having a new character to play as, means new abilities, like the ability to swim, and you will also have use of dual hidden blades to have fun with.
Like Assassin's Creed, characters based on historical figures are present in the game including Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Caterina Sforza, Lorenzo de' Medici, the Pazzi Family, and Pope Alexander VI.
Overall, a very very fun game that will have you hooked until the end.
Assassins creed 2 is one of the most amazing games that i have ever played. If you have not player the first game it follows a modern assasin that is searching memorys that have been past down by his ancestors. It follows an italian in the 15th century who is following in his familys foot steps and learning his trade.
The game contains amazing graphics and fantastic attention to detail. The plot takes the charactor over 5 large cities across italy. The game allows the player total freedom to move and fight within the cities.
The game has a main campagin that sees you seek revenge for the deaths of your two brother and father. Through the campagin you will make friends with other assasins and a famous young artist. As well as the campaign there are a number of small side missions that range from collecting feathers to delivering letters.
The one bad point of the game is the side mission that see you restore your uncles town. This is way to easy and a little boring but apart from that this game is amazing and i hope that there is a 3rd.
An awesome game that is a huge improvement on predecessor. The game allows free roaming (like the GTA's) and boasts large cities with vast landscapes and some excellent buildings to scale and dive off (including a large and excellently detailed Venice).
The character you play is called Ezio, and you follow him through his journey from being a Jack the Lad to a feared and highly skilled assassin. There are many new skills at your disposal and a huge selection of different weapons all with there signature kill moves (some of the spear kills are gruesome).
The games controls are very easy to master, with only a couple of buttons allowing you to unleash most of Ezio's impressive moves. The free running aspect of the game is incredible fun, and you will soon find yourself preferring to run and jump across roof tops rather than walk around the streets. However, the free running doesn't always respond to how you want it. On many occasions I found myself jumping to near death from a 4 storey building rather than jump to a beam I was looking at.
The game itself is quite long and will offer lots of playability, however there is a lot of repetition. The middle of the game seems to be drawn out. I recently completed it, but had a long break between play as I got bored from doing the same stuff all the time. However when you get to the end you will think "the juice was worth the squeeze" ha ha.
If I were running my own little award ceremony for video games, Assassin's Creed II would have to be a strong contender in the "Most satisfying creative development in a sequel" category... it would also probably be the only contender.
In my review of the first game I praised it highly for being an original, interesting game that had a strong sense of being developed by invested and enthusiastic developers. While it had flaws aplenty, it never felt lazy or cheap and it earnt a lot of respect from me on that basis. Assassin's Creed II continues down that path excellently while really taking time to correct some of the flaws of the first game. The final product is a game with great characters, an entertaining story and unique, addictive gameplay. Because of this it is easily one of 2009's best titles.
The games framing narrative takes place in a future where protagonist, Desmond, is using a device known as an animus to relive the memories of his ancestors. While the first game placed you in control of 12th century assassin Altair, the latest outing sees you controlling renaissance Italian, Ezio. Part of the noble Auditore family, Ezio moves from one iconic city to another, fighting against a sinister conspiracy. The Knight's Templars return as adversaries though the story is significantly more exciting this time around.
Immediately Assassin's Creed II benefits from a more interesting setting. The game will take you through cities such as Florence, Venice and Rome and its free climbing gameplay allows you to scale reproductions of some of the most fascinating and beautiful buildings in the world. Coupled with some truly beautiful graphics, the game is almost as inspiring as the cities themselves and it is a joy to look at and a joy to play through. In this world is a collections of characters ripped straight from the memoirs of Casanova as well as real life figures such as Leonardo DaVinci and the infamous DePazzi. The renaissance is not a common setting for a video game but it works excellently and it is one more way in which this game works to define its genre.
Exploring this world is made a little easier this time around with quick travel spots letting you jump back to previous cities, though you can always take a long journey by horse if you're patient. Smaller towns and settlements are scattered all around and exploring every region would take a long time. Townspeople, thieves, courtesans and messengers populate every city, everyone has their jobs to do and they'll get on with their lives while you do your thing. It's wonderful to feel like you're exploring a living, breathing world and the game accomplishes this moreso than any other.
As before the main thrust of your goals involves hunting down targets for assassination. This time around there is more variety to your missions and more flexibility in accomplishing them. It's nice to see a game in which failure to complete a mission a certain way will not force you to try again, most of time you need only achieve the ultimate goal. On top of this there are a variety of messenger missions, side quests and collectables. The repetitiveness of the first game is gone and forgotten.
Assassin's Creed II is my favourite game of the year, I would recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in action games.