Review by JaredTheTwitch
"Assassin's Creed 2 Critique"
Assassin's Creed II is a third-person action-platformer by Ubisoft and is a direct sequel to Assassin's Creed 1. Like Assassin's Creed 1, "This game was produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs" which is kind of perplexing since Assassin's Creed 2 doesn't seem to bash on a race as badly as it did in Assassin's Creed 1.
Assassin's Creed 2 is about a man named Desmond who lives in 2012 but after the intro sequence, a bit in the middle of the game, and at the end, he's really not featured. Instead, you'll mostly be using a character by the name of Ezio. Desmond has to become an assassin by reliving the genetic memories of his ancestor, Ezio. He did the same thing in Assassin's Creed 1, reliving the memories of his ancestor Altair, but apparently that was just a warmup; some stretching before the real exercises begin. Perhaps he wanted to relive the memories of someone who wasn't water soluable or who doesn't summon the equivalent of a medieval S.W.A.T. team by running faster than 5 miles per hour. By reliving the memories of his ancestor, Desmond is able to align his DNA with that of his ancestor and inherit the combat abilities of Ezio such as fighting, wall climbing, etc. The science behind how this works doesn't make much sense but it moves the story along. It also means you don't die. Instead you get desynchronized from the memory and start over from the last checkpoint.
Assassin's Creed 2 takes place during the gay painty period of time in Italy known as the Renaissance. Players of Assassin's Creed 1 will probably be able to pick up the controls fast enough but people new to the series will have a hard time trying to beat the first few missions. For instance, in one of the first missions you have to race your brother up to the top of a tower. But if you don't know how the platforming works, you'll lose every time and you don't get time to practice. You'll also be placed in a brawl early on in the game. The game told me to use the 'main hand' button to attack a baddy and I did but all I did was swing at air while the baddy smacked the back of my head.
The controls are pretty bad and displays the game's nature as a console port. The game uses context-sensitive controls revolving around your 'main hand,' 'off hand,' 'legs,' and 'head.' The game doesn't tell you to press MOUSE1 to swing your weapon, it tells you to use the 'main hand' button. The 4 controls are even arranged in an X-box configuration and are the same colors as the X-box controller. However, I believe the X-box controller can be utilized in Assassin's Creed II which kind of makes you wonder why you didn't just buy the X-box version a few months earlier on a system that can likely play much better graphics at a stabler rate (unless you have a decent computer) on a high-definition television versus a 30" or less computer monitor (although the computer monitor can play in definitions higher than 1920 x 1080).
The controls are even worse during Quick Time Events. Why can't developers learn not to put QTEs in games anymore? They kill immersion and piss the player off. Due to the stupid controls, you aren't told to press the 'E' button during a QTE but instead to press the 'head' button. Not only do you have a split second to press the button, but you also have to figure out which button you need to press.
However, all the running and jumping everywhere gives a great sense of freedom. Misjudging distances and faceplanting the ground from three stories up kind of sucks but it's still fun. Some of the freedom was lost when the game starts putting archers on the roofs. You can easily assassinate them in the same manner that a paperboy throws a newspaper as he rides by a house, but it does slow down your movement around the map.
As the game is all about murder, there are many ways of murdering your fellow man. You can tackle them and shove a blade into the back of their throat. You can wait on a bench until a guard walks by, stab him in the neck and then put him on the bench where you were sitting. You can hide in a haystack, stab the guard in the neck and then pull him into the haystack with you. Well I guess all the murdering involves some method of shoving a blade into someone's neck. It does kind of suck that after you finally murder a main character (by shoving a blade into his neck) that he's still able to soliloquy. I want to kill him, not hear his life story and regrets.
Combat is a little bit boring and somewhat annoying. You can keep on bashing an enemy that blocks you and make combat take forever or just wait for the enemy to attack you and do a 1-hit instant counter that kills the enemy.
The music is very pretty and fits really well with the game but then when you go on YouTube to listen to the soundtrack, you find that it's the same theme over and over again played in different ways. It's still pretty though. There are also brothels and consorts in the game but you can't do it with any of them.
The game lasts approximately 20 hours and can probably be beaten in one rental period if played aggressively enough.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/16/10
Game Release: Assassin's Creed II (US, 03/09/10)
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