Review by ShadesReviews

Reviewed: 12/10/12

Hugely improves on the original!

Have you ever played the original Assassin’s Creed? If yes, you will know that it was a great game with some flaws. If no, then Assassin’s Creed 2 is an excellent start to the series. It majorly improves on the original game’s flaws.

Assassin’s Creed 2 has some great gameplay aspects such as stealth aspects, great combat and a variety of different ways for you to kill people. There are a lot of different weapons for how you want to play the game. It also includes fluid fast parkour, which allows you to free-run around different places in Italy. Still not convinced? Then read on!

Story: 8/10
The original Assassin’s Creed had a decent story, mainly focusing on the life of Desmond Miles and an assassin Altaïr who failed in a mission and was forced to complete other assassinations to become an Assassin Master again. Well, Desmond Miles is back but the game now focuses on a different assassin: Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Also back from the first game are the Templars, basically the evil guys in the series. They are trying to obtain the Apple of Eden to take over the world.

Unlike the Templars, Ezio does not want the Apple but simply wants revenge for his father’s and his two brother’s deaths. At the start of the game you play as Ezio as a 16 year old who is cocky and kind of annoying. Your father, Giovanni, asks you to deliver some letters then meet him back at the house. When you get back to the house, through many traumatic events (including the murders of your father, younger and older brother!) you learn about the Assassin order and how the Templars ordered the murder of your father.

Throughout the game you play as Ezio growing into a mature young man who learns to become a great Assassin. The prime goal in the game is to kill all of the Templars on the list your father left you while uncovering other mysteries of other characters such as Leonardo da Vinci. There is another side story to do with Desmond also going on but it isn’t touched upon much until Brotherhood.

Sound: 9/10
The music of the game is fairly good but nothing major. The only real tracks that stand out to me are the tracks that play when you synchronize an area (I will explain later!). The real reason I gave Sound 9 is because of the voice acting in the game!

The voice acting in the game is absolutely perfect – a mixture of English and Italian to create really quite funny scenes. One that stands out to me especially is when Ezio’s uncle Mario shouts
‘It’s a me, Mario!’ This made me laugh so much because it was a reference to Nintendo’s Mario and his Italian accent is really funny to listen to. Ezio making smart remarks when he is going to kill someone or is just having a chat with Mario is really funny to listen to. The other voice actors in the game are also very good but don’t have as many lines as Ezio does. Overall, the music and voice acting for the game is excellent.

Graphics: 9/10
The general art style of Assassin’s Creed is a very lifelike one that captures the reality and sheer beauty of 15th Century Italy. When you sit upon a ledge and look out to the city below, you realize how beautiful the game looks. Every part of the city is detailed excellently; whether it is the river, a large building or even another character in the game.

However, there is one minor thing that bothers me about the graphics in the game. First of all, sometimes during a cut-scene when Ezio is hugging his mother or sister, his hand will glitch through her back. Other times when you plunge your sword through a guard it will look kind of off or be flickering slightly. Maybe you will be sitting on a bench and the hilt of your sword will glitch through the bench.

Aside from that small complaint, Assassin’s Creed 2 is breathtakingly beautiful and quite frankly a joy to look at. Even the minor things in the game are amazing to look at. The graphics is one of the best parts of the game, no questions asked.
Gameplay: 9/10
The gameplay of Assassin’s Creed 2 is very much like the original game but improves by quite a lot. There are a lot of different aspects to cover in this section including parkour, stealth, weapons, extra content and combat. So much to cover, with so little space, oh well. Better begin!

Assassin’s Creed is labeled as a stealth-action game and it goes live up to that title very much. The stealth in the game is very well executed, no more sitting on benches and waiting! Before you can kill a target, you have to follow them and the stealth comes into play very much here. You have to follow them at a safe distance or they will notice you and you fail. But, get too far away and you will lose the target. Whilst playing, I never felt at a disadvantage, I felt like if I failed then it was my own fault and not the game. Kind of like I was actually stalking someone in real life… Don’t do that at home kids!

Another major aspect in the game is the unique parkour allowing you to flee from guards or just get around the city quicker. By holding down R1, you can run across rooftops and see the city from high or climb epic structures and discover new things. The parkour allows you to explore more. Most games give you a linear structure to follow but with the parkour, it actually allows you to explore the uniqueness of all the cities.

There are a lot of different weapons in Assassin’s Creed 2. Each different weapon is used to suite a different play style. The primary weapon in the game is the sword. This is mostly used for fighting a group of enemies rather than just a few. The hidden blade is used for taking down singular enemies or when you are chasing a target and need to jump and plunge it through his head. If you need to flee from a massive group of enemies then the smoke bomb can be used to distract them. Or maybe you need use the throwing knives to pick off guards from rooftops? However you want to play the game, there is a weapon for you!

The general combat of the game is excellent. When fighting an enemy, there are a few things you can do. Square is the attack button, this is used for swinging whatever weapon you have equipped. When an enemy swings his weapon, you can press R1 and Square to counter their attack and kill them. Also you can press R1 and X to dodge and enemy attack. The combat is very well executed and mainly depends on your play style because of all the different weapons.

There are a lot of extra things to do in Assassin’s Creed 2, from all the viewpoints to all the feathers and even all the hidden blade upgrades. In every area you access in the game, there will be a certain number of ledges where you can jump off. These are called viewpoints. Getting all of them in an area will allow you to see the entire map. Feathers are just feathers you can collect in the game to help you unlock something at the very end of the game. There are also things called Assassin Tombs that contain pieces of something. By collecting all of them you are able to unlock Altaïr’s Armor. This is the strongest armor in the game and never breaks. There are a few other things but I won’t mention them all, you’ll have to find them for yourself!

The whole game flows very well. When you choose your target, first you must put your stealth skills to practice and sneak into where they are hiding. Then you must use your parkour skills to solve puzzles. Then you need to use combat skills and different weapons to fight off the guards and then kill your target. Throughout these bits are other side missions that you can play to delve off the story for a bit. These keep the game interesting and constantly fun to play.

Conclusion: 9/10

Assassin’s Creed 2 is an amazing game that hugely improves on the first one. Despite some graphical glitches and the fact that sometimes you can feel like you have too much to do, it still is an excellent game that will hold your interest in story and keep you entertained in gameplay.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Assassin's Creed II (EU, 11/20/09)

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