Assassin’s Creed II – Review

Last Edited – April 12, 2010 by Randall Crock
Filed under: Gaming, Review

And we’re back. Classes have picked up recently, and I haven’t really had time to think about writing blog posts. Anyway, my review of Assassin’s Creed II:

The box art for Assassin’s Creed 2

Assassin’s Creed II is the sequel to Ubisoft’s hit Assassin’s Creed (obviously). We pick up where AC1 left off, with Desmond still under the control of Abstergo, and having some crazy visions around his room and the office. We start off breaking out of Abstergo and fleeing to a group of other Assassins and settling in to training. This game follows Ezio Auditore, the son of an Italian assassin, and his growth and development as an Assassin. The main plot follows the betrayal of the Auditore family, and Ezio’s quest for revenge. Back in the real world, this exercise is to teach Desmond the ways of the Assassins by having him learn while watching his ancestor learn the same things.

People had quite a few problems with the first game, most of which have been fixed in the second with the addition of a few new gameplay elements and an extension of old ones. There is still quite a bit of repetition in the “do X task Y times, then you can kill the guy you came for” area, but there are more tasks to complete. There are a lot more smaller assassination missions to accomplish and they keep the races from the first game, which I enjoyed immensely. They also added in a letter delivery task, which seems a little contrived but they are fun nonetheless. I am a little dissapointed that they got rid of the “save citizen” tasks, but to be fair there were too many of them in AC1.

The new menu system for AC2

Ubisoft has also added in an economic system, where completing missions, tasks, and other objectives earn you money which you can use to upgrade your weapons and armor. They have also added many more weapons to the system, and allow you to choose your loadout and even to steal weapons from people you fight. You can also hire groups of people to fight or distract guards to allow you to get into places, or to escape. They also integrate the three groups you can hire: cortesans, thieves, and mercenaries, into the story and Ezio’s development as an Assassin.

They also include a collection and improvement system for your country villa which you can use to earn even more money. You collect things like art, weapons, armor, and can upgrade and improve pieces of your city which allow for even more unlockable content. As you complete more of the missions and sidequests, your villa make more and more money for you, allowing you to purchsae some of th emost expensive items in the game. This is an intersting feature, especially if you like RPGs, but is also a little unneccessary. By the end of the game I had so much money I had no idea what to do with it, and I just kept getting more from my villa.

A smith’s shop, one of the new markets
available in AC2

Now on the the meaty part, the actual assassinations. Like in the first game, in AC2 you travel from city to city finding your enemies and eliminating them. You travel to locations like Venice, Rome, Florence, and a couple other Italian regions to take your revenge. The envrionments are absolutely amazing, keeping the awesome views from the first game, and expanding what they do with the city’s layout and organization. To complete your assassination, you again must complete a couple side missions, but you can move on to the actual target more quickly. With AC2 you are also forced to plan your route more, and be more patient since it is harder to outrun guards and escape.

They have added three new types of guards to mix up combat and escape. They have added Seekers, who prod and look in hide spots to find you. Ubisoft also added fast guards, who are much better at chasing you across rooftops, as well as heavy guards who are slow, but do massive damage. The hiding system and crowd system has been updated as well, and now allows you to blend with any group of people just by staying near them. The blend system is really intuitive, and makes getting away easier in some cases. Ezio can also swim, and use water as a way of breaking line of sight to guards.

The new blend system allows you to blend
with any group of people.

I really enjoyed this game, but I also didn’t have as many problems with the first one as some people. The missions can still get a little repetitive, especially if you go for a 100% playthough like I did. The market system could have been improved, as well as the balance of weapons you can choose. It would have been nice to see war hammers do more damage to armored guards than a sword.

Overall ACII was awesome and I am looking forward to the next installment (there was some more really blatant foreshadowing again) with as much rabid fervor as I was for this one. My biggest complaint is probably the DRM that came with the PC version, but that can be excused since it is not as bad as it could be.

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