Review by Shadow3003
"The Evolution of the Creed"
Assassin's Creed, it was a game of high promise. A new Prince of Persia if you would and while it did deliver a great experience the first game left a sour or lacking taste in other people's mouths. Assassin's Creed II however should not dissapoint. 2 expands in all areas of the game creating a whole new experience that only shares with the first game in name and in story.
It is hard to get into the story without causing spoilers, so I'll keep it brief and to what was expected. The story picks right back up from where the first game left off. After a quick recap of the events of the first game you pick up and make your way to your new and lovely Animus 2.0. You are then put in the boots of Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. What follows is one of the most engaging and truly mind blowing experiences! The best part? Unlike the first game you hardly see any interruptions of out of the animus experiences like the first one. You are there to play and follow as Ezio and that is exactly what you do.
I love the Assassin's Creed storyline for it's bold direction of religion, culture and identity. It really makes for an interesting story and while the 1st game certainly told a great story, 2 hit the field running and didn't stop. You will play for hours on end and still have more to do. Everything is done to prepare you for the third and final installment and I can already say that I can't wait.
What do you expect? The game looks beautiful, slightly different Desmond and Lucy took me by surprise, but I quickly fell in love with the art and it can't really get better. Graphics are graphics, you have your eye candy, now play to have fun!
The soundtrack for this game is pleasing to the ears. I absolutely love the soundtrack "Firenze Rooftops" which plays during races and when you are being chased by guards. It just invokes such great spirit! There isn't anything to dislike with the sound approach that the Montreal team took for this game.
Finally onto the part that matters, what really sells this game for being the fun piece it is. Like I said this game only follows along the lines of name and story in the first one. Everything about the gameplay has been improved and changed for the second installment. So we'll look at some of those features in detail.
For the general gameplay everything feels a lot more fluid than the 1st game in my experience. Climbing was easier and I didn't find myself running into to many problems of Ezio just refusing climb something even though the ledge was right there like in the first game. You have all your classic moves and of course a few new things as well. Blending has evolved completely from the first game and is especially important to perform assassinations at time and for notoriety (more on that in the coming paragraphs). Everything just feels a lot more polished in general terms which makes playing the game that much easier and more exciting.
Quests are divided in the most basic of forms...storyline and side quests. You don't have to do side quests to further the story, they are there for those that wish to earn more money to buy items and/or to get additional story information. You could play through the game completely without a sweat this time around, but I think you'll discover that you'll be wanting to shoot for a number of side quests still. It adds more depth to the overall game are actually quite refreshing from the few ones you had in the 1st game. Races are like the flag runs, but much harder and fun. Beat ups are just fun to do and you get to protect women's honor, what more could you ask for? Delivery is rather boring, but the letters that you are allowed to read are entertaining making it worth it. Assassinations are fun and can be challenging. Collection quests help add to the story, unlock content (the feathers) and one of them leads to the best armor in the game! Yes the quests have truly stepped up.
Combat has stayed the same at the core, but you have a lot more of an arsenal now with all the different kind of weapons you have. Although I'll be honest all you really need is your hidden blade, which is what I ended up using about 80% of the game. The weapons are all interesting though and can definitely add a different kind of spice for the game. The mini gun, in my opinion, proves to be one of the funnest toys that you end up getting. So while you have all your old moves like counter, which is actually a little more difficult to execute this time depending on the enemy and weapon, you have new moves as well that you can learn using all different kinds of weapons. You also have ways to disarm, blind and stun opponents. Finally your fists can become an effective weapon at the very end if necessary as well.
The new systems in the game add for some of the interesting parts of the game. The health system has completely changed with you not really having that infinite bar like you had in the first game, but you'll come to discover as you play the game and through the use of bought medicine you never really have to worry about death once you've hit about DNA sequence 3. The notoriety system was an interesting idea as well. As you performed acts, like stealing, killing guards unprovoked and others the populous slowly begins to recognize you more easily. In the end you could become notorious and are almost immediately caught every time guards pass by. This is where the new blending methods come into play. By moving with groups, hiring groups to distract guards, throwing money and many others you can avoid being detected long enough for you to lower your notoriety by finding wanted posters, bribing a herald or assassinating a key witness against you. The money system actually ended up working out rather well. Initially it can prove to be troubling to get money, but as you do quests of all sorts and discover your hideout money just rolls in for you to use. This can be used for new weapons, armor, items, cloth dying (change the way you look to something you prefer more of!) and paintings. The system just works.
Assassin's Creed II is truly a great play. It took me about a week of some solid play time to complete just the main story and now I'm working my way through for all those extra goodies spread throughout. If you played the first game give this one a try. I'm sure you'll be surprised with what you find. If you don't wish to buy the game, give it a rental and enjoy the story. That alone makes the game and sets everything you need for the 3rd game. So what are you waiting for? Check this game out!
Final Score: 10/10
Tip: Turn on the subtitles option before you start the game! Italian is thrown around a bit and the subtitles actually translate a majority of it. Really should have been on as a standard!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/23/09
Game Release: Assassin's Creed II (US, 11/17/09)
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