Review by Andy7L
Insane amount of depth, fun, beauty, and more good stuff. All the details are here.
In all honesty, the only thing wrong with Assassin's Creed II are a few hiccups on the "parkour" elements of the game. Sometimes, you'll get frustrated by a seemingly irrational move on your character's part, that sends him towards a different angle than you intended to jump or otherwise scale towards. Half the time, it was your own fault, but you'll curse the game for not compensating given the rare yet frustrating camera angles you're handed, in tight and tedious areas of extreme altitude.
I've already covered all the bad things about the game. What few missteps you'll face with climbing aspects are outweighed tremendously by everything else going on here, and all of it, no exaggeration, is spectacular. Quite honestly, anyone who doesn't appreciate the sheer detail and depth of interactivity in Assassin's Creed II, has not spent more than a few hours of the game, or simply wasn't paying attention. There is more to do in this game -- and all of it fun -- than most other games put together.
From a control standpoint, Ezio (your character) can sprint, climb, attack and counter-attack, horseback ride, row boats, take on a flying machine, utilize all kinds of projectiles, blend into crowds, stalks, disarm others, grab, swim, and hide evidence of your assassinations. All of it is taught in doses as you advance exponentially through the story.
From a story standpoint, you're talking a cinematic and well polished experience with commentary on religious and political corruption, set in a beautiful recreation of Renaissance Italy with great voice acting and real life historical figures making cameos.
From a goal standpoint, Ezio is not only faced with primary "story" missions, but side missions that are just as engaging and rewarding, and an almost obscene amount of collection missions, each with their own rewards upon completion. Best of all, you do it all at your own rate.
100 feathers are to be found, plus 8 hidden statues in a castle town, countless treasure chests, 6 hidden seals in 6 separate "tombs" that must be explored, 30-some odd "Codex" pages to find and decipher for a combined message, secret "glyphs" at various landmarks (each of which present you with a puzzle featuring real life historical elements, to crack for a greater piece of the story), a compound that displays all the paintings you've purchased across the entire map, weapon upgrades up the yin-yang, and just for kicks, you can color Ezio's outfit however you see fit. I might even be forgetting a few things.
This game -- in all seriousness - is damn near perfect. It really just gets better and better the more you play it, always rewarding you in a multitude of ways. You will spend hours upon hours upon hours collecting, fighting, and scavenging the world map (which by the way, morphs and expands as you progress the story), at times only stopping yourself because you're too afraid the experience will end too soon.
I was not an Assassin's Creed fan before playing this game. I never played the first one, but I may now. All I can say now is, I will be first in line, midnight launch, for Assassin's Creed III. Buy this game, now.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Assassin's Creed II (US, 11/17/09)
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