Review by midnightgreen20
"Does this game really live up to the hype?"
I haven't fully played through the game, so I know I can't fully review the game. Yet, after playing through a third of the game I think I know just how it all pans out to be. Assassin's Creed II takes off from where its predecessor ends, with Desmond realizing that he is the key figure in the war between the Knights Templar and the Assassins. In this game he steps back into the Animus in order to use the "bleeding effect" to learn in the current world how to fight like an assassin. The story follows the life of Ezio, a man who's father and brothers were killed in a political conspiracy. Ezio learns the ways of an assassin in order to take revenge for his family's death.
The story so far has been okay but there is a bit of a drop off. At first Ezio is motivated by revenge but after the first few assassinations, that point is lost and it merely seems like Ezio will kill for anybody. It's such a shame because the beginning gets you really attached emotionally to the story but once more layers of the conspiracy are revealed, it almost seems that the story has to really reach out to give you a reason to kill the targets.
It's pretty much the same as the first, both in a good way and a bad way. The good thing is that the freerunning is just like in the first, so traveling the towns can be pretty fun. Plus the environments look much nicer and have more livelihood to them than the first. Of course, there are times when you'll need to be precise with your acrobatics and this is where the game falters. Sometimes you'll move too fast for your own good and jump before you line it up. Sometimes you may want to jump on top of an object but the controls won't pick it up and instead you jump completely off a building. Combat has changed, offering you more moves such as dodging and disarming opponents to sweeten the experience. But the way you pull those moves off are just like how you countered in the first game, so really it doesn't make a change. It's just a matter of pressing ONE different button. Of course, the AI still just stands and waits for you to counter them, making combat not so fun. Unfortunately some missions will require you to fight your way through as opposed to using stealth. There are more mission types this time, but they ulimately converge. For example, races are back and there are missions where you deliver letters. That's fine and dandy, but they are almost the same in that you have to get from point A to B. The only difference is how you get there. As I said before, some main missions require you to fight, some you have to follow a person before you kill them, and some you just have to beat them up. But there isn't much variety even with new mission types. To a degree, the additions seem nonexistent. Side missions are OK but the Villa ruins them. The Villa is an area where you can upgrade it (similar to Sim City or Rollercoaster Tycoon) and you reap the profits every so often. After you start to upgrade it, which can be done very quickly, you make a ton of money early on, ridding the need of actually doing the side missions. It's almost as if they're there only if you really want to 100% the game.
With a game that is said to average 20 hours of gameplay, the first few hours make the game feel great since you do get to see what they added in. After that, the game seems to fall off. True it does have more to do and isn't nearly the bore as the first one was, but you still get the feeling that something is missing. I'm opting to play it to see how the story pans out, but that doesn't mean that I'll be really excited to see it. A lack of variety in the assassinations really puts a hamper in the potential of this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 12/07/09
Game Release: Assassin's Creed II (US, 11/17/09)
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