Review by lemonofdoom2
"Assassin's Creed 2, Not perfect but it's getting there."
If you've had you're head in a bucket for the last few years, or you're too poor to afford an Xbox 360/PS3. Chances are you missed out on a rather good game a couple years ago. Fast forward to now, and we have a sequel to that game. Suprise! This game is actually better than the first. Which is weird, since it's not following the tradition of terrible sequels.
The main problem every other person or reviewer had with A.C. has been corrected. No more faffing about, at least not really. There's still plenty of faffing about. Just not in the same way. My major gripe with the first A.C. wasnt the side-missions you played before you got to the big assassination. My biggest gripe was with the ridiculous flag collection aspect. There was no point, and it was redundant. At least in my eyes. In A.C. 2 they decided to replace flags with feathers.
"Oh great!" I exclaimed to myself, "I get to sink more time than I should have to into this game! All because of some little feathers the design team felt like sticking in random areas! GREAT!" Of course the design team could have stuck those feathers somewhere else. And while I'm on the subject, just because games like A.C., and [Prototype] have large in game areas; does not mean they should place a whole bunch of random crap in there for the players to find. It's one thing when it has to deal with main story plot. But it's another thing when they do it to simply add more play time. It begins to feel unfair to me, and potentially other players. I still havent found all those landmark orb things in [Prototype] or all the flags in the first A.C.
Let me move onto plot, in A.C.2 we continue the story with Desmond Miles as the protagonist, technically. Yet, like in the last one; you spend most of your time reliving the memories of one of your dead ancestors. This time it's Ezio. A man who lived during the renissance in Italy. As far as plot goes, it's rather interesting to see Ezio grow into a full assassin. Rather than a bloke who was at the top and had to start over for being to thourough.
As Desmond, you advance the plot. After the escapades of the first one, he finally escapes the Templars. He moves in with an uninteresting blonde haired woman, an asian looking chick, and an english man who will undoubtedly turn evil and/or betray everyone he's helping in one of he future games.
As Ezio, you get to kill. A lot. Though they don't always feel like TRUE assassinations to me. The assassination emphasis has taken almost a perfect 180. In A.C. you would practically be stalking the one you were going to kill. A.C.2 hits that gameplay part over the head and kicks it to the curb. The emphasis is a more chaotic assassination. A blade in the crowd versus A.C.'s cloak and dagger approach. Even known it is definetly different, it's actually rather nice. Though it seems that even if you do everything right, I.E. go in quitely and not a alert a soul, things will still go sour and you will find yourself chasing your target on the rooftops or in the streets. Luckily guard response time is a lot more relaxed since Altair's times in Acre.
While we're on the subject of killing people. You have a lot more options for weaponry. Like Ubisoft contacted a historian and asked him what was available to the people at this time. You have your one assassin hidden blade, you have the two hidden blades, you have shortswords, longswords, and daggers, Oh my! There are hammers and maces and even throwing knives. A poison blade if you want to watch a more hilarious death. Or if you feel like making your target spaz out and hit his friends too. Then you get a gun. Ah! There was our historical game, huh? Guns? Really? This is even explained in the game that Altair after A.C. looked into a piece of Eden and figured out how to make a gun. I'm suprised that wasn't followed up by a grassy knoll and Jesus on horesback situation. Even so, all this stuff you get, all plays rather well. Of course the bitter irony is, it's all useless. You're going to use the hidden blades to assassinate and your sword to fight guards when you botch the assassination. That's it.
In true Ubisoft tradition, they kept this game amazing looking. The shear look of Italy is astounding. From time to time I experienced a texture glitch. But of all my major complaints I do have, that one is rather small. As I can understand that they have a lot of detail being loaded up in a huge area. My major complaints all seem to stem from one little bug with auto lock. In fact, it's the only thing that would break flow for me.
And yes, I plan on explaining my position. I had a very simple mission. Go out, find a guy (we'll name him Ted. Since I don't remember what his name actually was.), kill guy without him noticing me kill him. So I eventually found Ted. He was having a rather boring garden party in some yard. So I locked onto him, and tried to do a jumping assassination. But he was underneath a ledge, so I landed on the ledge itself.
"Okay," I said to myself, " I'll just go over to a different wall and a different angle and try again." So I did, but even known Ted was only fifteen feet away. Lock on was trying to get me to target a guard picking his nose across town. Since Ted still had his back to the entrance to this jaunty little area, I decided to get old school on him. I climbed down from the wall and stood right behind him, a bystander on each of his sides. Now let me emphasize how close I was to Ted. If this was a prison scenario, he would have been considered my girlfriend. The people standing near him would have been considered prison walls. So I hit the assassinate button, and boom! Killed the people beside Ted, but not Ted. Instant desynchronization for killing two civillians. Start mission over.
I have many more little auto lock on bugs that I could explain. But I'm not. In just about every single way, AC.2 is better than A.C. 1. Chances are, if you played the first one. You will like the second one more. If you're a fan of the Tenchu series, you could do worse than this game. Either way, I think this is a game that every major console or p.c. owner should have in their catalog of games.
-Huge enviroment, beautifully detailed.
-Combat system is much improved.
-Guards don't send S.W.A.T. teams on you if you so much as break wind.
-About 20 hours of gameplay. Not including the feather collection thing.
-Game is rather easy overall.
-Like in Fable II and Borderlands, Money in the game only serves an early or short term purpose before it is entirely useless.
-Game gets glitchy with it's assassinations, sounds, and auto lock. NOT OFTEN. But it does happen regularly enough to be mentioned.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/09/09
Game Release: Assassin's Creed II (US, 11/17/09)
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