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C+P Review: Assasins Creed 2; Assassini e Puttane! December 10, 2009

Posted by Santiago Azpurua-Borras in Copy+Paste Review.
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Ubisofts’ Assassins Creed plunged players in the role of Altair, an angsty Middle Easterner who’s just trying to get by. Paying the insurance on his horse, constantly buying those pesky throwing knives (seriously, I went through those things like candy) and of course trying to thwart a pseudo-religious conspiracy in which the Knight Templars are trying to take over the world. Or something.

But as it turns down, in the worst kept plot twist in any video game ever, you are not actually Altair! The player is one Desmond Miles, a confused young man looking for love in all the wrong places and playing way too many virtual reality games.

He straps himself to the Animus for the second time, this time, going to Italy during the Renaissance.

Does the sequel deliver? Or does it fall on its face like a poorly planned leap of faith?

Hit the jump to find out.

Assassins Creed 2 puts the player in the role of Desmond Miles, who is then placed in the role of Ezio Auditore.

Ezio is a much more likeable character than Altair ever was. Unlike Altair, Ezio actually has a personality is one of the more developed main characters in recent video game history.

Ezio is a family man, a caring older brother, a womanizer, a good friend and above all else, an assassin.

Ezio is given a whole slew of new weapons, a second hidden blade, new moves for said hidden blades, new guard types, a money system and a fast travel system (oh dear god yes.) One can now also poison enemies, which sends them into a frenzy attacking nearby characters as the crowds just watch and calmly walk away when his body slowly stops twitching on the ground. You also get ninja smoke bombs, and a gun. A gun that Leonardo Da Vinci himself builds for you.

Ezio is tasked to find the conspirators who ultimately framed his father and younger brother and sent them to their death. Along the way Ezio will make many new allies for whom he will work as an errand boy in exchange for information on his next target.

The story is interesting and good, but it gets a little convoluted by the second half of the game. Luckily, AC2 keeps a convenient database for you if you ever need to look over some plot details.

It is nowhere near as repetitive as it sounds. If there were an award for “Best Pacing within a Game,” Assassins Creed 2 would walk away with the trophy in hand. The game is never slow enough for one to feel bored, but it is never fast enough to feel overwhelming.

The missions are a little more varied this time around. One can partake in races, assassination contracts, delivery missions and my personal favorite: “Beat em’ up” missions in which Ezio is tasked to beat up a cheating husband.

The environments are also much more vibrant, with day/night cycles to keep the game feeling a little more “real.” Within the environment there are factions one can hire for some much-needed distraction.

Thieves pick guards’ pockets and lead them on wild chases across the map, mercenaries start fights, and courtesans (obviously the best choice) calmly seduce them away from whatever area they were guarding.

There are also collectibles to be had. Gone are the flags of the original Assassin’s Creed; this time,  you’ll be scouring the rooftops and alleyways for  feathers and glyphs.

The glyphs are worth talking about separately. They are 20 different signs hidden among the world that can be scanned with the players eagle vision. These signs give you access to really bizarre but interesting historical-fiction-conspiracy puzzles (apparently Thomas Edison had it out for Nikola Tesla) that have to do with the main plot of the game. These unlock different clips of a video only called “THE TRUTH.”

Fact: Leonardo Da Vinci was a huge nerd.

Even better, AC2 gives you your own town that you can slowly restore to its former glory by collecting armor, paying for renovations, collecting feathers and buying art. The town then collects an income for you — but for some reason the chest has a certain limit on how much money you can hold, so you’re forced to return to the Villa every hour or so if you want to keep making money.

Intriguing, no?

But alas, the game is not without its faults. First off is the beginning of the game itself. The tutorial section of Assassin’s Creed 2 is literally about four hours along. It’s absolutely ridiculous. But once the game gives you total freedom there is nothing like that ever again.

Another complaint I had with the game are the awkward quicktime events. Some of them make sence, such as killing two guards who have taken you hostage at the same time. And then there are quick time events for giving hugs and handshakes. No, seriously.

Ultimately, Assassins Creed 2 is better than is predecessor in every way. Ever. And with the holiday break right around the corner, this single-player adventure will keep any gamer content as he stabs fools in the face.

C+P Score: 4/5

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Comments»

1. Verendus - December 28, 2009

I agree – AC2 is, basically, the most improved sequel this side of Half-Life. Though I do agree with you on the tutorial bit – especially since you don’t find out about disarming until long after you’ve got access to plenty of weapons anyway.


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