Game Rant reviews Assassin’s Creed 2
When Assassin’s Creed was first released, I myself had high hopes. After playing the game all the way through, I was ultimately disappointed with the overall product. A good game, yes, but definetly lacking in some areas. Assassin’s Creed 2, released on November 17th, hopes to remedy the mistakes of its predecessor. So buckle up, grab a bite, take a bathroom break for all I care! The review starts now.
In Assassin’s Creed 2, you start out as the main character from the first game, Desmond Miles. Things at Abstergo are a little shaky and you begin by escaping the building with Kristen Bell (ahem, I mean Lucy). There is an interesting little scene before the escape, however, where you get to experience the birth of your newly discovered ancestor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, first hand. It adds a bit of charm to the game, and it’s nice to see Ubisoft adding a bit of background to this new character.
After escaping Abstergo Inc., you meet up with the Order of Assassins, some old friends of Lucy’s. They introduce you to the Animus 2.0, the machine that will let you live more of Ezio’s life. After you enter and have first tried out some of the adventure, you can already tell this is a whole new ball game. The interface is cleaner, the graphics more crisp. Where the first game didn’t offer much for customization, the second game has nothing but. You can do everything from choosing new weapons, to changing the color of your clothes, to even getting new (and old) sets of armor. It makes the game much more enjoyable, and makes you really feel like Ezio is progressing with you.
Altair, the first ancestor you worked with, is a far more quiet guy than Ezio. Where Altair was an angry individual, caring only about his job, you really feel for Ezio. The murder of his family early in the game drives him to become an assassin, similar to his father before him. Mind you, much time has passed since Altair’s time, set in 13th century Israel, and Ezio’s 15th century Italy. With this change in time, your technology improves as well. That’s where your friend, one “Leonardo Da Vinci”, comes in.
Leonardo, a friend of the Auditores, will equip you with everything you need for your quest. The first game gave you a sword, dagger, hidden blade, throwing knives, and your own bare hands. Ezio is a much luckier guy, equipped with two hidden blades, one of which can later have poison added, all of the above, a flying machine, a pistol (just a small one…), and much more. It pays to have friends in high places.
Speaking of paying, these items may all come for free, but your upgrades do not. You are now given currency, called “florians”, and you must spend them on whatever takes your fancy. If that means buying the newest sword, it must be done. Need some medicine for the ailing assassin? You have to budget your cash. It adds somewhat of a role-playing element to an otherwise straight-forward game, and makes your decisions more strategic. I never had much trouble finding money, handed out during main and side quests, but you have to dedicate yourself to doing everything if you want all the upgrades.
Now, the central theme of the game: Combat. Combat is improved, and I found myself enjoying the random visits from the guards more than I did with the first game. Assassinating two guards at once is a blast, and I couldn’t get enough of seeing the shocked faces of their comrades. Using bullets and poisoned blades on your opponents adds an element of strategy to the game, and can make your battles much easier.
What happens when close-up confrontation isn’t enough? Well, that’s where you need to call in assistance, which can come in many forms. You can hire mercenaries, thieves, or even prostitutes to distract the guards. While they are busy with your hired help, you can walk past them and complete your task. If you need a quick get-away, you can use smoke bombs if you have them… but the city is again your best ally. Throw money on the ground to attract a riot, and allow yourself some cover from the enemy. It’s only 10 florians, and it makes for a much cheaper get-away.
Missions can range from delivering packages, to races, to beating up unfaithful husbands, and of course, assassinations. Assassin’s Creed didn’t offer much for variety, but the sequel has much to do. You will get bored little often, and I found myself immersed in the main game for hours on end. I kept telling myself “just one more mission”, and it turned into many more.
The storyline is quite engaging, but like the first game, loses its audience on the last legs of the main quest. Ubisoft loves its cliffhanger endings, and there’s no shortage in Assassin’s Creed 2. While the ending isn’t nearly as dissatisfying as the first game, it still might disappoint some.
Of course, when you’re done with the main game, there’s much to do for some extra achievements. You can search for hidden statuettes, feathers, and other such collectibles to truly complete the game. They are similar to the Kingdom flags from the first game, and are just as difficult to find. I didn’t find myself in sweats looking for all of them, but I’m still working on them out of some twisted mission of duty. That’s just one example of how the game draws you in.
In closing, Assassin’s Creed 2 far surpasses its predecessor and makes for a very enjoyable experience. You can find a few flaws here and there, but nothing that should deter you from the game completely. The game is well worth the purchase, and you will find yourself playing it until the very end. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some feathers to find…