Review by eth0stheholy
"Assassin's Creed II, so much better than the first."
Good day reader, first off let me thank you for choosing my review and as a reward I promise you will receive an unbiased opinion from some one whom has also completed the game fully with 1000/1000 gamer score points. Quickly to answer the question that everyone has been wondering, yes it is INFINITELY better than the first one, now onto my review.
The graphics in Assassin's Creed 2 are well done and I saw no problems at all. The buildings are very close and similar to their real life counterparts, and I have been to Florence, and the Tuscany country side, Ubisoft did their homework and made it as authentic as possible. Every action in the game is well done, there is no chop or skip in movements, each time your blade touches a guard's skin it's a work of your death crafted art. The look of the characters was amazing to me, I think Ubisoft did a great job on the costumes, and capturing the renaissance period. One of the best parts visually is watching the drops of water fall from Ezio's clothes after getting out of water, yes he can swim. I also enjoyed seeing the blood on his clothes and hands from his victims. Ubisoft really did put a lot of effort and thought into how they wanted this game to look and it was beautiful.
The gameplay has undergone some changes in this sequel; combat has a few additions, new weapons, and new styles of attacking; and assassinations can be performed from almost anywhere, including that trusty bundle of hay, however what hasn't changed is the almost exact same execution moves, and the still extremely annoying blade deflecting off of the guard's. Another annoyance I found was that while I can take guard's weapons, I can only purchase swords and maces, apparently there is a rule against axes and spears in the world of assassins, disappointing for the reason of each weapon affects different guards in different manors. For example the heavily armored guards can not be countered with a sword or dagger, however they CAN be countered with an axe, if any one has told you other wise well they need to expand their horizons a bit and get away from just one weapon, and this is why I'm and you should glad you picked my review;. Ubisoft has also added the ability to customize your character much more; almost each aspect of Ezio has the ability to be changed. Players will be able to switch armor, weapons, and even dye the color of their clothes. Armor does affect your over health, the better the gear, the more life. This matters greatly as health does NOT regenerate over time as it did in AC1. You may gain life back with time only if you lose half the block, one it's all gone, it stays gone. The remedy for this is to visit the nearest doctor, who looks creepy with his beak style gas mask. Fear not, your can get your own stash of medicine from the street doctors, as well as the newly added poison. Now to address what most people had disliked from AC1, how the game just got boring after the third level. This is NOT the case in AC2, when the developers said they were improving that they held to it, there is plenty to keep the player entertained, however some of the side missions are practically the same as their counter parts in AC1. Interrogations are now known as Beat Up, and the Race is the same as gathering the flags for the piece of info in AC1. But, a very good modification on the side missions was made, they are NOT required to progress in the story mode what so ever, and they have a motivation behind them other than having a full DNA Bar. Players are given a Villa, a home to hang their hood, doing the side missions will net you more cash and in turn you can use this to buy the new gear, and upgrade/decorate your villa/town. To top off the side quests they have added in searching ancient Assassin's tombs and being a Assassin for hire. Feathers have replaced the flags, and they are MUCH easier to track down, and they have covered all of Italy with treasure for you to collect to your heart's desire. They have also changed the way that players will blend in with the citizens of the city, you're not just praying and slipping in with monks anymore, you can blend with everyone simply by walking amongst them. If you should need a distraction then there are the fierce mercenaries for hire, thieves more than willing to get back at the guards, and the beautiful courtesans who will do anything for the right price. Hiding spots are the same, your have your bench and trusty bundle of hay that can protect you from a 200ft drop, but be warned, you may get stabbed while hiding if your not paying attention. The controls did cause me some pain as I found myself running up the same wall 3 times or jumping off a building when I meant to go to a ledge, etc. However, at the end of the blood filled day, the gameplay is much better than in AC1, Altair would have ran up that wall 6 times before giving up, that bugger had an arrogance rivaled only by Anakin Skywalker.
The story in AC2 picks up immediately after AC1, to which every one will rejoice that Desmond has discovered how to run. The story has drastically improved, the characters will warm your hearts or they will be the villain you just love to hate. Each character's personality is amazing, from the young Ezio full of life to Leonardo who is just beginning to discover his genius. These characters truly make the game an amazing experience that will have your controller stuck to your hands until you finish this epic tale. Another improvement is that the story flow has jumped levels as well; it's not that same boring old go to this place and kill this person so we can achieve our overall goal. You're not working for some Master you are doing each act for yourself, each target you assassinate has made things personal. The flow from Desmond to Ezio and vice versa is also much improved. It feels like moves as it should, not We're stopping for the day because I'm the guy with the white coat and I said so! It's just an overall much more enjoyable story line than AC1. I won't say much about it so that you can enjoy it for yourself.
The score for the game wasn't anything amazing; however it did have its moments. In my opinion I believe the voice acting was spot on, I think each character's voice fit them perfectly and you can tell as time goes on that Ezio sounds more mature and his voice has aged as well, it's outstanding that Ubisoft put that much detail into this, I could only wish that they had put more detail into the musical score of the game, the story was amazing and it could have been better if it had the music to go with it.
Replay Value 5/10
As in the last AC1 there really isn't much to do after you have taken everyone down, and collected everything, all of which can be done in the first run through. For you achievement hounds like myself, you can gain every single achievement in the first play through with only 1 achievement with the potential to miss, which I doubt you will because I don't think anyone could resist doing it. The playtime of the game is decent, 4-6 hours a day for 5 days and I had the game completely beaten with all achievements, but I don't think I will ever play it again, so if you're not a collector like me than this is a rent title.
The game is worth the money in my opinion, you're not going to find anything like it for a long time, the story, characters, and game as a whole is beautifully crafted with the players in mind. From the first kill to the last death, it will have you hooked and left waiting for your next opportunity to don the cowl of the master assassin. Do NOT let this epic tale pass you by; you'd regret it if you knew what you missed. If you're running low on cash, rent or borrow, because this is one game you can not afford to miss, instant classic.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/14/09
Game Release: Assassin's Creed II (US, 11/17/09)
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