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Vitals – System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC // Release Date: November 17, 2009 (Xbox 360 & PS3) – March 9, 2010 (PC) // ESRB: Mature // Genre: Action // Developer: Ubisoft Montreal // Publisher: Ubisoft // Players: 1
If you’ve played the first Assassin’s Creed you will know that it suffered from repetitive mission syndrome. Well I’m glad to let you know that the sequel, Assassin’s Creed 2 has been cured. Yes I know I am late to the Assassin’s Creed party but I have more good news, I was able to play the game with both of the DLC available along with the content from Ubisofts Uplay.
First I should explain Uplay. For those of you with Xbox 360s imagine using achievement points to unlock additional content for your Ubisoft games, or trophies for PS3. By playing Ubisoft games you can earn Upoints by completing certain sections of their games and use those points to get bonus items or maps – as in this case things like a larger throwing knife capacity or even unlocking Altair's costume can really add to the enjoyment of the game. Keep in mind that Uplay content and DLC, available through the PSN and Xbox Live, are different from one another.
I realize most people have already heard something, probably good, about Assassin’s Creed 2 so let me sum it up. To say that Assassin’s Creed 2 is an improvement over the first is an understatement. Gone are the repetitive missions, instead missions are varied, well paced and interesting – not once was I bored throughout my 30 hours with the game.
Characters are fleshed out this time as well; you take control of Ezio as a teenager and will see him grow up to become an adult. Unlike the first Assassin’s Creed I actually like the main character. Ezio has a certain charm to him and as you find out early on is quite the ladies man.
If this is your first foray into the world of Assassin’s Creed then you might not completely understand everything that is happening. The game takes place sometime in the near future and focuses on the war between the templars and assassins. You play as Desmond who is training to become an assassin by playing through his ancestor’s memories – like Altair from the first game and Ezio in this one – by entering the animus.
Combat hasn’t changed much from the first game, though you can pick up weapons dropped by your enemies. You can also buy weapons and armour from blacksmiths within the game, medicine to heal yourself on the go from doctors and can also change the colour of your outfit from the tailor. This time around you can avoid fighting if killing every guard isn’t your thing. You are able to hire mercenaries to do the fighting for you, hire thieves to steal and watch as the guards chase after the thieves or even hire courtesans enabling you to sneak past the guards and claim the treasure.
If you are the type of player who likes to collect everything in a game you will find yourself with more than a handful to do here. Treasure chests and feathers are littered throughout the massive game world. Speaking of the game world, Italy has been beautifully recreated on your television. Minus the noticeably short detail draw distance and the almost Gears of War amount of pop-in, everything looks fantastic. Major cities like Florence and Venice look great and thanks to them for having so many buildings you will lose yourself just climbing, exploring and taking in the view. The cities feel alive thanks to having numerous NPCs on screen. Most of the civilians just walk about minding their own business, but others carry supplies to shops, repair buildings, clean the streets and let’s not forget about the annoying bards that follow you around singing – I didn’t kill any I swear!
This game is fantastic all around with the exception of a few minor hiccups. Often I found myself jumping off of rooftops by accident because Ezio and I didn’t agree on which way to go. The DLC is really the biggest disappointed of the entire game. Both episodes are buggy as I had numerous occasions in which the the dialogue stopped working and I would get stuck on ledges, unable to move until a guard hit me. The first of the two DLCs, Battle of Flori, felt the most incomplete as it had the most glitches and was extremely short, clocking in around an hour even though I was doing other things like texting and getting drinks. The second, Bonfire of the Vanities was less buggy and was a decent duration though only because it was so darn difficult – classic case of bad game design. I had to do some fights over 10 times before I could continue on.
After all is said and done this game is just simply brilliant. Assassin’s Creed 2 was by far one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played. This is how an open world game should be. A story that doesn’t miss a beat, interesting characters, fantastic combat, assassinations that look deadly when pulled off correctly make you wish you could record it and show your friends, how can anyone not want to play this game? Keep in mind the game has gone down in price drastically so there is no excuse to not have this on your shelf.
– Amazing open world gameplay
– Fluid combat system
– Ezio is such a badass character
– No more repetitive missions!
– Pathfinding in the game can get a little wonky
– Horrid downloadable content
– Graphic pop up is very noticeable