Review: Assassin’s Creed 2

18 Nov

After buying Modern Warfare 2, I was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to play anything else on my Xbox 360. That was, until I went and got Assassin’s Creed II. The sequel to the game Assassin’s Creed, has improved gameplay and its new features make this game both familiar and new at the same time. Sort of like jumping into a Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit when you’re an adult. Oh it’s fun, and you remember it being fun, but it’s fun in a different way because you’re not drowning in a pit of balls since you’re not 3 feet tall anymore. Much like the creepy adult in the ball pit, Assassin’s Creed II stands over it’s predecessor in every way.

Assassin’s Creed II takes place right after the first one ends. Desmond Miles, a bartender who apparently is a descendant of a line of assassins, escapes his “prison”, the Templar owned research company Abstergo, with the help of an Abstergo employee, Lucy Stillman, played by the lovely Kristen Bell. They escape to a hideout of modern day assassins where the story revolves around Desmond trying to train to be an assassin via plugging into an Animus. Once in, Desmond re-lives the life of his ancestor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Italian nobleman, playa, and soon to be assassin. After a life changing event causes this playboy to don the white cape and hidden blades, Ezio begins to uncover a plot that goes beyond treason. And yes – I said hidden blades.

If you ever played the first one, you know what I’m talking about when I say that there’s some sort of satisfaction one gets after stalking a target from the rooftops of a city, then jumping down and totes assassinating them undetected then totes escaping afterward and having an assassibration (an assassin’s form of celebration) somewhere else while guards search for you. However, you also know the frustration from the first game of having to complete the same missions over and over. Sure, when you first play it, climbing to the top of a huge tower and looking out at the city below you is mind boggling. But when you just want to kill someone and call it a day, doing these tasks definitely slowed the game down.

Assassin’s Creed II took the mechanics of the first game and polished it up. Now the missions just happen. It’s a lot easier to have the mission or target just there at a certain location without having to worry about climbing up steeples or shaking people down for information before you can stabby mcstabstab a guy. The side missions are there, but it’s no longer necessary to complete them before heading to your main objective. The free running seems much smoother than the last game. Rarely does Ezio just sit there on a ledge dry humping a wall because the computer has no idea which direction you want it to go. They also added a new feature: swimming. Sure it’s not so amazing that you can’t control yourself, but for those that played the last game and wondered why this super assassin can’t doggy paddle – this new feature is a thing of beauty.

But enough with the climbing and swimming, let’s talk about the fighting! The fighting in this game has definitely improved from the last one. First of all, the unarmed fighting has improved. Fighting wit yo mits is no longer clunky and stupid. Constantly pressing the attack button allows you to string together a combo. They’ve also allowed the player to counter attacks without a weapon in your hand. And honestly, a punch in the stomach and a chop to the throat looks real cool in the game, jus’ sayin’. You can also attack people with your hidden blade, another new feature. Unlike the first one, you aren’t limited to just countering attacks with the blade. You can now go buck wild on a Renaissance man (preferably not Danny DeVito) with your blade. Disarming opponents is another added feature to the fighting and more ways to assassinate a guard minding his own business rounds up the awesomeness.

Now, I’ve only just begun playing this game, but so far, I’ve been nothing but impressed. There are some parts where you wonder, “Hey, this guy already knows how to free run?” Or, “Hey, he just killed that guy without feeling any emotion or regret afterward.” But to tell you the truth, I was too busy free running and killing people to not care about these things. I was also hesitant about the new monetary system that this game had. But now, I can’t see why this wasn’t done before. Paying for a trip to the doctor to get healed, buying treasure maps, tailoring your assassin wardrobe, and hiring mercenaries, prostitutes, or thieves eliminates all repetitiveness that the first Assassin’s Creed had. Players can expect a game that has great animation, a great story, improved game mechanics, and the chance to explore Italy without leaving your home when you play Assassin’s Creed II. If I had to rate this game, I would give it a 9.5out of 10.


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