Review by Big8Ball

"Ubisoft turns things around and delivers ALL the goods this time"

I thought that Assassins Creed was a great game. Of course it had some glaring faults the most obvious one being its outdated repetitive nature but in the end I enjoyed it very much. Now, Assassin's Creed 2 is a little different. AC 2 is an epic game which improves leaps and bounds over the first game. It was a ton of fun and definitely a must by.

Graphics 10/10:

Gorgeous graphics help compliment the awesome locations. The graphics are essentially the same as the first game but I think more optimized. I think that AC 2 has better textures, and even more improved lighting and shadows. The graphics are very pleasant to look at and the world of renaissance Italy is recreated with stunning accuracy. All the cities and locations look exactly like their real life counter-parts and by playing the game, it's almost like taking a tour of Italy (A violent tour that is). I was just blown away by the way they handled the cities in the first game but in this game it's even better. Water looks a lot better and the graphics are essentially very crisp, clean and immersive just as I had expected. Lots more color as well as opposed to the dusty brown of the Middle East from the first game. Animations are great. Some slight screen tearing during some cut scenes but nothing bad enough to subtract a point.

Sound 10/10:

Sound is clear, crisp and accurate. Excellent voice acting as well. The music and ambient sounds that depict different locations is just awesome. Lots of great cut scene dialogue all throughout the game makes everything more enjoyable. The sound is just as good as the first game but even better in terms of dialogue and production. The in game sounds are also much more varied than the first game where you heard the same herald make the same speech over and over again. Great sound fits well and no ugly noises or hiccups to be found.

Story 10/10:

I liked the story because the main over arching story of Desmond Miles is interesting with a science fiction edge to it. Then the story of Ezio Auditore is a dramatic tale of deception, revenge and feuding between powerful Italian families. The two stories tie in together to create one big, epic science fiction plot that leave some questions to be answered in the next game. I will not waste time describing the story for you here but you can find the full layout of the plot with a simple web search. Overall, I liked the story and it was very intelligent and interesting. The story in a nutshell is Desmond Miles uses the animus to relive his ancestor's (Ezio Auditore) memories to learn the ways of the assassin. The overall progression of the story this time around is a lot more interesting and deeper than in the first game.

Game play 10/10:

Here is where the game really shines and differentiates itself from the first game. There are a lot of assassinations aside from the main story assassinations (which there are a lot of too). You can hop rooftops from Florence, to Tuscany to Venice as well as some other really cool locations. The free run system of climbing, running and jumping is faster and more fluid than in the first game. There are races, treasure collection and a light sprinkle of RPG elements added. You can customize your dye on your assassin robes, buy new weapons and armor and you have one heck of a safe house which you can upgrade as well. Gone is the repetitiveness of the first game. It seems like this time Ubisoft went out of its way to make everything as unique and different as possible. The weapons are awesome, throwing knives, daggers, swords, maces, lances, axes, smoke bombs, poison, duel hidden blades and an awesome concealed one shot pistol. There are also many varieties of swords, daggers, maces and armor. There are hidden tombs where you can engage in prince of Persia like plat forming to collect secret assassin seals to unlock something special. You can collect many things like art, treasure, feathers, assassin seals and codex pages. There are nice rewards for collecting all these items. There are also many points of view to be checked out as well as hay piles to dive into. You can win foot races around different locations. There are fist fighting events and secret glyphs that must be uncovered by decoding all different types of puzzles. There is a lot of content here and they really did a great job of getting rid of the rinse and repeat, copy paste method of the first game. You can swim now, under water too approaching your prey crocodile style. You will have huge battles being outnumbered by many guards and exciting rooftop chases. The wanted/chase meter is more gta-esque this time around which is good. You will also be able to play stealthy and assassinate targets with more precision and realism than in the first game. The game play tutorial is slightly lengthy but fun and very organic. The story of Ezio and his actual transformation from rough and tumble kid to master assassin is a blast to take part in. I think some of my favorite game play moments were during the assassinations in Venice during the carnivale (Sweet mask!). You will learn different techniques of blending in to your environment much expanded on from the limited blending of the first game. All the great things from the first game like the free running and combat system have only been improved and the main story missions and other special situations confronted in the game are truly wonderful and loads of fun. In this game you eventual develop to become a true master assassin putting all those who oppose you six feet under before they even know what hit them. This game truly captures what I was expecting from the first game and improved the game play in every area. Overall smooth, fun game play compliments the solid story and outstanding graphics. Game play starts in the Abstergo labs from the first game then jumps back and forth between the 1400's and modern day.

Overall: 10/10
Final Thoughts:

This game is all around awesome. It excels in every area of game design and the story was truly engaging for me. I would recommend playing the first game before playing this one because everything will make more sense for you. It is filled with drama, action, comedy and downright violence. It is definitely a gaming gem and ranks up there with the best games the 360 has to offer. Remember this is an open world game and while not incredibly interactive as far as the world goes, there is a lot to do. Definitely a must buy. So get fixed in some fancy robes, lace up your armor and polish your blade because you're headed for a little tour of renaissance Italy!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/01/10

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

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