Review: Assassin’s Creed II

THE TRUTH IS WRITTEN IN BLOOD

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Stealth / Action Adventure
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: November 17, 2009
Compatability (PS3): 2GB Mininum Space | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 720p / 1080i / 1080p
Compatability (Xbox 360): 4MB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p
Rating: 9.5

Assassin’s Creed II is everything its predecessor was meant to be, fresh, interesting and most importantly fun. As most know the first Assassin’s Creed was a very sub-par game and for many a very disappointing one. Fortunately this time around Ubisoft have got it right and Assassin’s Creed II is a delight. Nearly all complaints with the first game have been fixed and new features have been added to make the game an even more enjoyable experience.

In Assassin’s Creed II you play as Desmond who was previously captured by Abstergo Industries and was forced to go into this device called the Animus to relive his past ancestors. Abstergo need to know the location of a piece of Eden so Desmond plays as Altaïr, an assassin. Fast forward to the present day and Desmond has escaped with a bunch of modern day assassins, which their goal is try to make him an assassin by using there own Animus as training. When he gets into the Animus he assumes the role of Ezio Auditore da Firenze who is forced upon to be an assassin. Ezio gets embroiled in a political conspiracy which leads to his father’s and brothers’ deaths. Ezio now goes on a journey to avenge his family’s death and kill those responsible. Ezio’s story is one of conspiracy and secrets and for the most part is fairly complicated. The real story of Assassin’s Creed II is its setting, Italy during the Renaissance. Italy is a beautiful place in which Ubisoft has got every detail down to make a perfect virtual replica. You feel immersed in the towns and cities and being around the Italian architecture is majorly better than the brown and grey houses of the first Assassin’s Creed. You have reds, whites and gold which all blend into one of the best settings one can see in a video game. Nearly every city has its own personality and its own textures.

The level of detail in Assassin's Creed II is awesome.

To start off the game you have a long tutorial, which is about three hours long and shows off most of the games content and is a great intro to the game. In Assassin’s Creed II you’ll find out that most of your time is spent in combat. Combat is very simple with one button to attack and one to block and for defense you have the ability to counter or dodge. The main appeal is that it’s simple and easy to master. Also like the first game countering is very important. One of the most advertised things about Assassin’s Creed II is the double hidden blades, they are a very useful weapon when there are two or more enemies and help with the stealth aspect of the game. Other than combat you have free running which has been mainly unchanged but improvements have been made making it a smoother and quicker experience.

Assassinations are still here (obviously) and it’s the one thing that has improved the most. Previously you had to do a couple of side missions to find out more about your target and his location and then you assassinate him. Now the assassinations are more story related and the whole side missions, assassinate and then run away system have been completely ditched. Sometimes you just run in and kill the guy and sometimes it is more planned and more matriculate. This is one of the most important improvements and this makes the assassinations feel less than a chore and more of a fun set-piece. Other than assassinations one has a lot to do like side missions (less repetitive), collectibles (which are much better than flags) and you can also purchase weapons and armor from shops. This is a great feature and rewards the player for doing extra things which they had no reason for doing so in Assassin’s Creed. You can earn money by looting bodies, finding chests and completing missions. All these new features make this game miles better than the original.

Ezio can assassinate in various styles.

Something very interesting is the Database and the Truth. The Database is a source of all the information you encounter throughout the game including the buildings and people. It really pushes the history side of things and is interesting to read the extracts. Also interesting is the Truth, which is a cross between a collectible and a puzzle activity. Firstly you have to find the drawing scattered around the city left by the elusive Subject 16. Once you find the drawing you have to complete a puzzle to unlock a brief video segment which unlocks a bigger video which shows … well no spoilers allowed. The game itself is not the best game in the world and there are some faults. The most disappointing is that the facial animations in the cut-scenes are dreadful compared to the rest of the game and also the game can sometimes become repetitive. But the pros outweigh the cons and the great story, the amount of stuff to do and the varied missions shun the facial animations and the minor repetitiveness.

Ubisoft have made such a great sequel to a less exciting game and I hope that people realize that the game has a lot of improvements. So should you buy this game? Well yes if you were disappointed by the first game and of course if you enjoyed it. Most issues have been fixed and the improvements made make this a game of the year contender.

Reviewed by phillipsmy – February 9, 2010

Graphics
The level of detail is amazing. Few are the visual glitches apart from the disappointing facial animations.
 
Sound
The soundtrack is perfect. You can also choose between English and Italian. Outstanding.
 
Fun
Assassin’s Creed II is a bigger improvement on the original one. The game is lengthy and satisfying. One of the best of 2009.
 
Final Score

 

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