Review by nicknicknick333

Reviewed: 11/23/09

A game significantly better than its predecessor, and that's saying something

First off, let me say that I was a huge fan of the first Assassin's Creed. The game was, in my opinion, very close to perfection. From the seamless movement to the gruesome counters, the game wowed me from the moment I popped it into my disc tray on release day. So it should go without saying that I pre-ordered Assassin's Creed 2 and started playing it immediately. The wow factor was definitely still there and many negative aspects that plagued the first game were gone. Assassin's Creed 2 is a must play for anyone that owns a 360.

Gameplay 10/10
Perfect in every aspect. All the smooth free-flowing action of the first one is back and several gameplay mechanics are added and implemented perfectly. One small issue with the first game was the occasional moment where Altair would do something that was the complete opposite of what you wanted him to do. This time around, the controls are sharper and those small moments of frustration are gone. Everything works the way you want it to and it's excellent.

Combat is essentially the same as the original. Blocking and countering are still critical to success and balanced attacking is necessary to combat. The combat is slightly more challenging than the first since you cannot turn around to block another enemies swordstrike while facing an opponent in front of you. The difficulty is a non-issue though as the game is far less difficult than many other recent games, which may actually be an unresolvable issue for some. The combat is brutal and fulfilling and full of all around awesome.

Added pieces of gameplay such as races and capture the flag are great and work excellently with the slick controls. There are plenty of missions, collectibles and other various things to do to keep you entertained between missions.

Graphics 10/10
Simply amazing, probably the best graphics of any game on the 360. There are small occasional flaws but nothing that cannot easily be overlooked. The textures are excellent and the people look like people. Some complain that the characters faces are not sharply defined but this creates a more realistic look in my opinion and adds to the games intangible feel. More important than the way the people look is the way they move. One thing that has always bothered me in video games is the robotic movement of characters during cutscenes, no more. Assassin's Creed 2 sets a new standard in human movement being integrated into a game, it looks elegant and more importantly, real. The blood and brutality of the original makes a triumphant return in an even more brutal fashion. This is where the graphics matter most, and where they truly blow you away. The graphics really draw you into the game and make you feel as if you are Ezio or Desmond. All the buildings look great, all the characters look great, everything is perfect in the graphics department besides the occasional visual hitch (I personally saw about 5 in my 18 hours of playtime to give you a rough estimate).

Plot 8/10
The game starts out great, picking up right where the original left off, and the webbing between reality and the Animus really creates a unique and intriguing plot. The only real issue for me is the final scenes within the Animus, mainly the last 25 minutes that you are inside. The ending is a major cliffhanger and I may be satisfied with the ending come Assassin's Creed 3, but for now, I really don't like it all that much. Aside from the ending, the story is excellent. The characters are original and refreshing and the plot twists are unexpected and very cool. The setting is incredible new and interesting and there is a lot to explore in Renaissance Italy. As with any great game, you feel as if you're there and you are the character. Ezio has a big personality and it really shows, he is a lot of fun to play as, although if you enjoyed the strong silent personality of Altair you may be in for a surprise. All around the story succeeds because it sets up Assassin's Creed 3 nicely and introduces some very interesting ideas, plot devices and characters.

Sound 10/10
If you hate games where voice acting bogs down the game, this is for you. The voice acting is sheer genius, the characters really fit with their voices and it generally enhances the game. The voice acting sucks you into the story even more so than the graphics, they really make you feel the sense of urgency and action of the game and the period. Ezio and Lucy really stand out as terrificly voiced characters. The italian used in the story is a nice touch and connects you with the games refreshing setting.

Sound effects are as high caliber as the voice acting. They match up with the action of the game and will occasionally send chills down your spine with their realism. The noises in combat are brutal and make you feel as though you are the one jamming two hidden blades into a Templar's eyes, simply awesome.

The music shines as well but is a little weaker than the mind-blowing voice acting talent. The soundtrack is still very good and fits with the setting and the nonstop action that is Assassin's Creed 2.

Overall 9.5/10
Assassin's Creed 2 is simply a terrific game. It brings you to the setting and connects you with it. It draws you into the story and never lets go. And the gameplay and graphics will blow you away. If you loved Assassin's Creed, get this game, it will not disappoint you. If you hated Assassin's Creed, get this, I have talked to friends of mine who disliked the first and love the second. The added gameplay elements and the amount of new things to unlock and do for fun will keep you entertained for far longer than the original did. Simply put, this game is a serious contender for Game of the Year and blows other contenders such as Modern Warfare 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum almost completely out of the water in almost every imaginable way. This game is a must own regardless of who you are and will keep you entertained for at least 16 hours (time to beat the game roughly) and much longer if you want to run around and cause havok which is also a blast. Simply put, GET THIS GAME!

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Product Release: Assassin's Creed II (US, 11/17/09)

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