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Assassin's Creed II - Assassin's Creed II

By Stuart Andrews
Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Assassin's Creed II

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Review Price free/subscription

That’s the bad news over, because if Assassin’s Creed II starts off being merely okay, it gets better and better and better the more you play. Ubisoft Montreal has done a great job of tightening up the core game mechanics, and an even better job of developing a structure that really works, pulling you more and more into the game as time goes on.

The free-running, for example, works much as it did in the first game, but now the environment seems better tuned for it, making a race across the Florentine rooftops a really fluid, exhilarating experience. Combat, meanwhile, seems to have been tweaked to make countering easier and ensure that you can take on more men without hitting a nasty end.

It’s easier to hide yourself in groups and so evade the notice of the local guards, while prostitutes can now be hired to mask your activities and distract your enemies from their posts. Assassin’s Creed was always at its best when it gave you an interesting challenge and a solid set of tools, then let you get on and do it your way. In Assassin’s Creed II your tools are more numerous and effective, and there’s always more than one way to skin a cat (or introduce some weasely Florentine merchant to his innards).

Better still, the sequel has found the right balance between freeform, open-world gameplay and an engaging mission structure. There’s no more of the ‘fulfil these four tasks then kill this bloke’ malarkey. Instead, you’re given a string of missions that build up towards the next major beat of the story, and the gameplay feels a lot more varied and interesting as a result.

One minute you’re sneaking up the Palazzo Vecchio to visit your imprisoned father, the next you’re escaping the scene of treachery, infiltrating a secret meeting or enacting the next stage of your bloody revenge. As in all the best games, it’s not so much that the core experience is always changing – climbing, free-running, stealth and combat remain to the fore throughout – but that there’s always some new twist, and a sense that your skills are being added to, pushed and tested.

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Chris Beach

December 8, 2009, 5:37 pm

Loving this game so far, the thrill of climbing the massive towers! And I like the side quests, esp the tombs which are more climbing puzzles ala Tomb Raider than the rest of the games. The economy side is nicely done to, and having treasure maps is much better than hunting all over for flags. The 100 feathers is a more reasonable target.





Although I do think they could have a kept a bit more of the 1st with regards to the actual assinations, I liked the building up of my knowledge of the target before attacking, ok you didn't 'need' to, but it felt more real. Now its just follow waypoint and kill whatevers there.

TheEvilGenius

December 8, 2009, 6:59 pm

1 dumb question, but does anyone know where that second screen shot on the first page takes place? The one with the boat frame. I've completed the main quest and don't recall seeing that location at all. Looks like Venice, maybe?





Also, whilst I really enjoyed this game, the controls are one of the most frustrating I've ever come across. The amount of times I've had a fluid free-running experience ruined, or a silent assassination blown because the controls have decided I ment to let go and leap into space rather than climb a ladder, for example, nearly drove me mad.





Finally, I think "Assassins" Creed is a bit of a misnomer really. Whilst I enjoy slapping a guard up the side of a head with a warhammer as much as the next man, it's not really very Assassiny is it? Most missions usually ended in either storming in or out of a location, sword swinging. You even lead a small army at one point! Less Hitman in Italy, more Ezio of War in places...





Other than that, the graphics are amazing, and Ezio is one of the most likeble characters I've played in a long while. He also looks THE MAN in that white robe/armour combo.

japester

December 8, 2009, 7:01 pm

Absolutly loved this game, but then again I'm a huge fan of the original. Finished it not too long ago but still feel compelled to continue playing to get all the trophies and collectables. The story in the glyphs is an intersting pull and the ending is - without ruining anything - still a "WTF".... quite literally ;op

Xiphias

December 8, 2009, 11:15 pm

@TheEvilGenius: I would imagine it's the Venetian Arsenal Shipyard pre-order quest.

Cub

December 8, 2009, 11:48 pm

@EvilGenius - I remember seeing that shot in relation to the "ShipYard" addon that came with the special edition... Will probably be released as DLC at some point!





The game is awesome, I finished it on Saturday after 2 weeks of pure entertainment from it. I found the controls fine whilst playing through it, I don't remember one occasion where Ezio did something other than what I expected. Bizarrely though, once I had finished the story and started working on a bit of Trophy whoring, I started getting frustrated at his movements, particularly when trying to sweep 5 guards off their feet in one go!





It was especially nice having been to Venice just last year, given the time difference it was surprising how many parts of the city I recognised :)





Would be tempted to grab a copy of the original if there weren't so many other great games out already vying for my attention. It gets no better in the new year either!

hankb6d

December 9, 2009, 5:14 pm

I am finding this a bit boring, just like the first one only bigger, feels like hard work and with little enjoyment or sense of reward.

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