Review by CaliGamer25850

"This is a hell of an improvement over the first title."

Okay, you may have read my review of Assassin's Creed 1, and you probably know that I don't hold that game in high regard. However, the rest of the series is amazing, and is a great franchise from Ubisoft (because I wouldn't expect anything less from the guys who made Rayman). Anyway, I think the first game was underwhelming, but this game, Assassin's Creed 2, is really good.

Okay, the game itself was first developed in late 2008, where we were teased by trailers and GameInformer that the sequel to the first Assassin's Creed would be set during the Renaissance. As the months went by, we learned more about the game, such as new weapons, new missions, as well as Desmond's new ancestor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. More information during E3 2009 and Comic-Con 2009 revealed a lot about the game, including a 6-minute gameplay demo. As expected, fans were really stoked, and wanted to play the new game.

Finally, in November 2009, Assassin's Creed II was released, and was met with critical acclaim from both fans and critics alike. The game is still lauded as the best game in the franchise even to this day. I personally think Assassin's Creed III is the best, but AC2 is a very close second. I first played this game back in February of 2011, and loved every minute of it. It was from there that I started playing all the games in the franchise religiously. It was like the first time I played a Sonic game.

For all those wondering, no, I am not lazy with my reviews. I really take my time and pour my writing into every review I do. In fact, this is my second review for GameFAQs, due to my first one having inappropriate content. Since then, I have always wanted to redo it, and now I have my opportunity to clear the air about what I think about this game. On with the show.

Story: 10.0 out of 10

Picking up where AC1 left off, Desmond and Lucy escape the Templar company Abstergo, and flee to a secret hideout so that they can train Desmond to be an Assassin. After being introduced to some of Lucy's friends, Shaun (the historian who is kind of a jerk) and Rebecca (a quirky and energetic computer geek), Desmond is put into a newly-redesigned Animus to relive the memories of his ancestor, Ezio Auditore.

Back in Florence, during the Renaissance, a teenage Ezio finds out about a conspiracy in the government involving his family. His family is betrayed when Ezio's father and brothers are executed on crimes of treason. As per his father's last request, Ezio continues his work and becomes an Assassin. After exacting revenge against the guy who betrayed them, Ezio leaves the city with his mother and sister to seek refuge in Monteriggioni, a town ruled by his uncle, Mario (no, not that Mario…).

Mario trains Ezio to become an Assassin so that he can enact revenge against the traitors, who are part of the Templars, as well as bring honor to their family. After two years of training, the two go to a nearby city, San Gimignano, to kill Vieri de Pazzi, Ezio's childhood rival who has been making life in the countryside a living hell.

After sharing more secrets, Mario then tells Ezio about the Codex, which was written by Altair, and that a family friend, Leonardo da Vinci, is able to translate them, so logically, Ezio heads back to Florence. After saving Lorenzo de Medici's life in an attack, Ezio is given orders to go to the countryside to make them pay. It takes two more years, but Ezio eavesdrops on a Templar meeting, which is where he first meets the Grand Master, Rodrigo Borgia, who then tries to attack Ezio, but it fails.

Ezio meets up with Lorenzo one last time before going with Leonardo to Venice so that Ezio can stop the Templars from taking over. As soon as they make it out of Forli, we then go back to Desmond, as Lucy has him do tests seeing how much of Ezio's abilities he retained. As he does this, the two have a talk about how Subject 16 found out about the vault and Abstergo drove him insane in the hopes to figure out what secret it guards. After Desmond is done, he collapses on the floor, and…

Hey, it's Altair! Not really, because it's just a dream. Anyway, Altair follows a cloaked woman through Acre, and the woman turns out to be Maria, and… yeah, and after an intriguing, yet ambiguous, realization about his ancestry, Desmond wakes up and then goes back into the Animus, as Ezio and Leonardo have finally made it to Venice.

Ezio works with the various guilds around the city for six years to stop the Templars, who are represented by the Barbarigo, a merchant family who had designs on the government. After that, it is revealed a Templar ship went to Cyprus to obtain something, and in 1487, then come back to Venice, and Ezio tails them to Rodrigo, who then challenges both Ezio and his friends. After Borgia gets away, the guys are revealed to be Assassin's, and one of them, Niccolo Macchiavelli, inducts Ezio into the Assassin order.

Desmond gets pulled out of the Animus again, but decides to go back, as they are almost done and Abstergo may find them soon. After having a miserable time holding on to the apple, a Piece of Eden that the Templars brought to Italy, Ezio finally reconvenes with the other Assassins in 1499, and not only did Borgia become Pope, but the Vault is under the Vatican in Rome. So, Ezio goes to St. Peters, fights with Borgia, and unlocks the vault, where he unlocks a message left by one of the First Civilization, Minerva, that Desmond receives, ending both the story and the memory.

Desmond is pulled out one last time as Abstergo breaks in and both he and Lucy fight them off. The four Assassins escape to another hideout as they try to ponder the message, ending the story.

I really love this story, and to me, it is one of the best video game stories I have ever seen. Barely any plotholes, and the plotholes that do exist are resolved in other games. There's also a nice amount of room for speculation on the continuity of the games, as well as how involving the story is.

Gameplay: 8.8 out of 10

The amount of weapons you have is improved from the last game. You still have your fists, sword, hidden blade, dagger, and knives, but now you have more weapons, such as the Poison Blade, the hidden pistol, the smoke bombs, and you can also pick up weapons now.

The combat system is also pretty good also. Not only can you do combos and counters with virtually every weapon you can use, but you can also use both melee and ranged attacks pretty well. Not as well as future games, but for a sequel, they do pretty good. Also, you can learn new combat moves such as dodging, taunting, escaping, throw sand, and even sweep them off their feet.

The stealth system is nice, as enemies can take their time to detect you and you can tell which level of detection they are in. You can try to hide, but you have to leave the yellow circle, as the guards will investigate you're last known position, like in Grand Theft Auto IV, meaning it takes a while for the guards to vanish. You can also use people to vanish, and you can even steal from them. Also, you can use Eagle Vision in third person and while moving.

The free-running is better than the last game, as you can climb faster, do a few new moves, and even do leaps of faith into flowers and water. Oh yeah, Ezio can swim. Also, if you move out of areas where you are allowed to go to, you lose synchronization, which is your health. You can refill your health by taking medicine from doctors.

Horses return, but they still can't move within city walls. You can also use row boats, but unless you're in Venice, they aren't that useful. So yeah. You can use a Flying Machine in one mission, which is pretty fun as hey, you can fly, especially back then.

The gameplay system is pretty good, for what it's worth. It's better than Assassin's Creed I, but yeah.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10

Aside from the usual main missions, you can also side missions, such as collect feathers, do races, do beat-em-up events, accept assassination missions, and the like.

You finally have a money system, which can be used to buy things from shops, such as weapons, armor, art, clothing, ammunition, medicine, and the like. You can also loot treasure chests and dead bodies for money and items. Also, you can now earn money from missions. The city of Monteriggioni is yours, so you can be able to improve it so you can earn a lot of money. You can renovate buildings, improve shops, put stuff all over your villa, and earn a lot of money that way.

Also, you need to find all the Codex pages in order to beat the game. Most of them are found in banks all throughout Italy, but you have to take out guards before claiming it. This is also a good way to get more health, as armor upgrades and codex pages give you more health squares. You can also hire groups of thieves, mercenaries, and courtesans to distract or fight guards. The Assassin's tombs are also pretty fun, as not only do they have puzzle and free-running elements, but they also give you seals you can use to unlock the armor or Altair.

Also, Subject 16 left some puzzles for you to do, as when you scan a glyph with Eagle Vision, you get to do some kind of puzzles to unlock part of a secret video, and when you reveal all 20, the video is pretty awesome.

Yeah, the game mechanics are awesome, in this game. They're still good in Brotherhood, but they wear out their welcome in Revelations.

Graphics: 9.2 out of 10

I really love how everything looks. The character models, the buildings and environments, the countryside, the eagle vision, and the cutscenes. I mean, seriously, you can't help but love how everything looks in this game. Hell, every Assassin's Creed game has amazing, if not outstanding, graphics. I also like how the cutscenes have more interactivity than the last game.

Sound and Music: 9.1 out of 10

The voice acting is incredible. I mean, the best voices in the game are both Desmond and Ezio, and due to Ezio's voice being the current Sonic voice, and that the voice fits Ezio incredibly well, it why I really like it. In fact, this was one of the best voice casts of any game in 2009. I like the sound effects and stage BGM, due to them having a great amount of ambiance.

Replayability: 8.6 out of 10

The game itself is incredibly fun to play through, but I really wish you could replay missions like in later games. However, there's no multiplayer. Also however, you can download some of the downloadable content and exclusive uPlay content, giving you some pretty neat incentive on playing.

Final Recommendation: Buy, buy, buy, BUY!!! This is a really amazing game that will really make your video game collection impressive. I've beaten this game twenty times, and each time never gets old at all. This is a definitive game, and it won Game of the Year from GamePro. It is definitely worth getting.

Final Score: 9.1 out of 10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/03/13

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

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