Reviews

Assassins Creed 2-review

The original Assassins Creed split gamers down the middle,some loved the innovative free-running system and unique story and settings,whilst other’s loathed the game due to a lack of variety in it’s missions and simplistic control system.

However the creators of Assassins Creed payed attention to these people,looked at what they loved and at what they hated and learned from them,and thus Assassins Creed 2 was born.

Once again you will be living the life of one of Desmond Mile’s ancestors,more precisely Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
Unlike Altair from the original game,Ezio is no master assassin to start with and Assassins Creed 2 follows Ezio through a very large portion of his life (spanning roughly 30 years)
A tragedy in Ezio’s teen years moves him to seek revenge.

Thus over his lifespan Ezio becomes a deadly Assassin,and unlike AC1 where you were already a master assassin it is a welcome change to play as Ezio as he learns these skills through his experiance.
Ezio is also a much more likable character than the rather cold Altair (who makes an appearence in AC2 and plays and important part in the story) he’s a charming Italian,and is well acted and played.

As you might expect the story deepens in AC2,as subject 16’s background is slowly revealed and new information is learned with some amazing revelations at the end of the game.
However,i’ll leave this review spoiler free by saying the story is engrossing and keeps you playing.

Thankfully the modern day part of the game does not interfere to much,unlike the orignal game where you were dragged back into modern day fat to often with nothing to do in those little interludes.
For the few times tat you are brought back to the modern world it’s for good reasons and some nice gameplay touch’s.
Desmond is less of a useless lump and now seems to have toughened up,making for some intresting changes in his character,as the game progress’s Desmon also becomes an assassin thanks to the bleeding effect,which see’s him learning the same skills Ezio does.
This opens up many intresting possibilitys for the next game.

The new economic system is the biggest and by far best change to the gameplay,players now earn Florins as they complete missions which can be used to buy new armour,weapons,smoke bombs,throwing knives,healing items and poison.
Money can also be invested in your own private Villa and small town which you gain access to early in the game.
You can upgrade the town and villa,which in turn earns you extra money every 20 minutes (real time)
Your villa also stores all your weapons,armour,collectibles and more whilst your town has many shops.
It’s a fantatic addition to the Creed world.

Ubisoft have also addressed the variety issue in many diffrent ways.
Gone are the investigation missions that plagued the first game,in it’s place is a more natural and free flowing missions system which builds up to each major assassination.
It’s almost taken it’s cue’s from GTA’s mission structures and it works very well,everything seems far more natural now and flows better.
They’ve also added in side missions,which are entirely optional throughout the game,these include assassination contracts,couries missions,race’s and even beating up unfaithful husbands.which takes me smoothly to the combat.

While the core mechanics of combat remain the same,Ezio is by far a superior fighter that Altair ever was.
Thanks to a massive increase in the range of weapons,you can now fight with mace’s and massive two-handed swords and axes now as well,making for some brutal kill animations.
The new Disarm move is fantastic,by fighting unarmed you can now counter and attack and steal your opponents weapon and get an insta kill on him.
It’s fantastic to watch as you disarm a masive armoured Knight and bring his huge two handed axe swinging down into his shoulder.
Combat is improved by new enemy types as well,such as the Brute who is a massive armoured foe,and is best fought with your dual hidden blades or using the disarm technique.
Other enemies wield massive pikes or spears and can attack you from a good distance and are best taken out from combo kills.

Graphics are still amazing,and cutscense are now present in the game,however the facial animations can sometimes be a little ugly.
Attention to detail is still staggering and this is by far the best looking sandbox game yet.
Venice and Italy as a whole look amazing as this game takes you through these beautiful cities and landscapes.
Animations are once again a joy to behold,Ezio moves,climbs and leaps with precision and grace and the combat animations are brutal to behold.

A raft of smaller additions also make there way into Creed 2,such as driving boats,faster climbing and extra equipments such as smoke bombs.
You can now pick up dead bodies and either hide them or use them as distractions and the new smoke bombs add a nice extra tactic to your arsenal.
Poison is introduced as well,you can now prick any person with a small needle to deliver this poison,which drives the victim mad and they will begin attacking people around them.
Use this on something like a Brute and he will most likely do some major damage to his allies as well as cause a great distraction.
However the game does not make use of these items well enough,they get introduced but after that the game never forces you to use them,so many people will forget these abilites exist and never use them,as such the game should of had a mission or 2 after each item and skill is introduced where the player could get used to using these items and abilities.
The hidden gun is a neat new feature as well,allowing for some nice long range kills,as well as your new Double Hidden Blades which allow for some satasfying kills.

Collectibles return,but in a much better form.
Around the world there 100 feathers to collect,however you do get rewards this time round.
There are alos 20 Glyphs which when found,act as puzzles which slowly unlock a video made by the illusive Suject 16.
The new Assassins Tombs are a great addition as well,these indoor area’s are parkour playgrounds,designed to challenge you i many ways.
Some simply ask you to work out how to get to the tomb,others see you using precision and speed as you race around the area to hit switches in time.
Others provide enemies as well to test your techniques and often see you trying to chase down a guard through a fantastic chase sequence before he alerts the other guards.
All in all there are 6 of these tombs,each one gives you a Seal and collecting all six is well worth the effort for the reward your recieve.

All said and done Assassins Creed 2 is a fantastic game that solves most of the originals flaws and provides a breathtaking adventure and gripping story that will keeped you hooked in its 15 hours of campaign time.
And after that you can always add another 10-15 hours in side missions and collectibles and just general mucking about.

One of 2009’s best releases.

SCORE’S:

Graphics: 90%
Gameplay: 92%
Lifespan: 90%

OVERALL: 92%

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