Review by DupsMckracken
"Assassin's Creed 2: Nearly Flawless Game Unfortunately Plagued by Ubisoft errors"
Assassin's Creed captivated its players with an amazing storyline that could have been taken right out of a Dan Brown novel. The first game was nearly perfect, though it was often repetitive (saving the citizens, eavesdropping, etc...) Assassin's Creed II fixed almost everything that was wrong with the first game.
Graphics/Sound: 9.5 / 10
The Graphics are nearly flawless. The are a huge improvement from the first game. There are times, though, that bodies will pass through walls and such. The towns are beautifully designed, though the tower are definitely cookie cutter-like, meaning that when you climb a viewpoint, many times the climbing patter is EXACTLY the same. This may seem like a minor issue, but it got annoying at times.
The music is really good, especially the chase/race music. Some of the songs get really annoying (such as the music when in the tombs.)
Game play: 10/10
The overall gameplay is vastly improved.
Monetary System: Creed 2 has added a monetary system. You can use this money to upgrade you villa (home), buy better armour and weapons, bride heralds (the guys that shout out news), and use it as a distraction while being chased. There are no annoying flags that must be collected in this game; there are, however, feathers to collect, as well as treasures (giving you more money). The only problem with the monetary system is that by about 5 or 6 hours into the game I had so much money that it didn't become an issue. I only collected treasures as I came across them, though I did upgrade my villa (which generates income) before buying any armour/weapon upgrades, so this may be why.
Feathers/Treasures: As I have said, there are no more flags, just 100 feathers. They are very easy to find, compared to the annoying flags. The treasures are a great way to collect Florins (the games currency). You can buy Treasure Maps, so trying to locate them isn't a pain in the ass.
Weapons/Armour: Ubisoft added war hammers, spears, and axes to the mix, making the combat even better. The variety of weapons that you get, as an assassin, allow you to mix it up in how you go about doing your missions. Smoke bombs, poison blades, throwing knives, the "wrist pistol" (as I call it), and your blades give you an arsenal that makes you a force to be reckoned with.
Combat System: Great, like the first one. The only complaint here is that the counters/special moves for the swords are exactly the same as the first game, so I wasn't really awed by using swords. Hammers and other new weapons, however, have new animations, many of which are pretty sweet looking. The assassination ability with the hidden blades has drastically improved. You obtain 2 hidden blades really early in the game, enabling to do stealth kill multiple guards/citizens(if you swing that way). You are also able to jump from greater distances; in the first game you had to be within, like 10 feet from your target to pounce.
Notoriety System: In the first game, the notoriety system was universal, depending on the memory sequence you were in (the later into the game, the more guards were aware of you.) In this game, by doing noticeable crimes, your notoriety increases, and if it gets too high, guards become easily suspicious. You can lower your Notoriety by tearing down posters, bribing heralds, or killing city officials. When you do something suspicious you see an icon on the screen that lets you know how close the guards are to attacking. This is so much better than the first game, where you had to base your hunch off of what the guard was saying and doing (drawing weapons, etc...).
Side-quests: Creed 2 has a ton of side quests, such as side assassinations, races, courier missions, and beat up missions. These aren't imperative to the story, though they are a great way to make some cash, as well as giving you something to do after you beat the game.
Free Running/Climbing & Moving in general: The system is vastly improved, for the most part. I occasionally get stuck going around corners, while climbing on a couple of towers (Viewpoints too, which are necessary to climb :( ). The ability to blend into crowds is also vastly improved. You can blend into almost any group of 3 or more people, which hides you from being noticed by guards and your targets.
The Trophies: Most of the trophies will be attained just by playing the game. Ubisoft, however, pissed me off royally when it comes to trophies. Most of the trophies were given to me. The game has essentially 15 memory sequences, most of which come with a trophy. When I beat it the first time, I didn't get trophies for the last 3 or 4 levels. Ubisoft also removed the feature that I loved on the first game, where you could reenter the animus and choose any memory sequence you wanted to play over again. In Creed 2 you can't, thus forcing me to replay the game over again to get the trophies that I should have achieved in the first run through. Along with this, there are a few trophies that are memory sequence specific (that can only be done during certain memories). To get these, I also had to go back through the game to collect these. I mention this because it is not an isolated incident. A simple Google search showed me that many, many Creed 2 players have suffered from not receiving their trophies. (This is why the game is a 9/10, not a 10/10). Setting aside this annoying glitch, the trophies are relatively easy to achieve.
Save System: On a profile, you can have up to 3 saves at a time, making this another aspect that Ubisoft improved on in developing Creed 2. (Personally, I had friends who wanted to start a new game, but didn't want to go through the hassle of making a new profile on my 360/PS3).
Controls: The Controls are smooth and well thought out. I did come across an issue, with the R1 button. If I held the R1 button during a cinematic, or when I dive into water, when I go to run, again, it won't register that I'm still holding down the R1 button until I release and repress it. I didn't take this issues into account in ranking the game, because there is a possibility that this a problem with my controller, not the programming.
The story is told in a very cinematic way. It had my attention the entire time. If you are a fan of the Dan Brown novels (Da Vinci Code, or Angels and Demons ), then you'll love this story line. It picks up right where you left off from the first Creed, so you should probably play the first one, or at least read up on it. This game definitely topped the first one as far as story and character development. They also fixed the voice acting. In the first game, you were in the Middle East and yet, Altair spoke without any accent. In this game, all the characters have an Italian/Spanish accent, giving it a more authentic feel. The game also uses a lot of Italian, so if anything, it's a learning experience.
Replayability/Game Time: 10/10
I beat the game in about 15 hours. This time includes collecting 50 feathers and about half the Treasures. I did only a handful of the Side quests, also. Completely syncing your memories probably takes about 20-30 hours.When you beat the game, you automatically just Free Roam, so anything that you didn't collect/do will be able to collect/do after you beat the main story.
I'm currently replaying the game (for the trophies) and I find it just as fun the second time. This is definitely a game that you will enjoy playing again and again.
This game is definitely a game to buy, though you should play the first one before playing this one; it'll help you with the free running controls (since they remain almost unchanged), as well as understanding the story, since it just picks up where the first left off.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/08/10
Game Release: Assassin's Creed II (US, 11/17/09)
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