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Assassin's Creed II - Assassin's Creed II

By Stuart Andrews



  • Recommended by TR
Assassin's Creed II


Our Score:


At its best, Assassin’s Creed II does what the original rarely managed: it makes you feel like a slick, medieval super-hero, flying across those iconic Tuscan rooftops, hurtling from a balcony, diving on your victim and administering the coup-de-grace, all in one fluid stream of motion.

Of course, there are still side missions. There are hitman missions you can take, chests to rifle, feathers to gather, posters to deface, officials to murder, pockets to pick and pages of a mysterious codex to collect, amongst other tasks. But while all these activities are beneficial, they no longer feel like the meat of the game. The plot no longer feels like a means to justify a set of side-quests, but the engine that moves the whole game on its tracks.

And what an engaging plot it is. For a start, Ezio is a more likeable hero than Altair. He’s more charming, more human, cheekier and even more romantic. He’s the second best dashing rogue we’ve had this year (Nathan Drake retains a fairly comfortable first place).

What’s more, Like the best historical thrillers, Assassin’s Creed II weaves together real people and events – Lorenzo de Medici, the Pazzi conspiracy, papal shenanigans and the Knights Templar – with fiction to create something that, while barely plausible, is consistently entertaining. Even the modern-day stuff, all very Dan Brown-esque, works a lot better this time around.

As the action moves from Florence to the Tuscan countryside to Venice, it’s hard not to get hooked in the conspiracies, counter-conspiracies and sudden, violent twists. True, the game’s depiction of Leonardo da Vinci won’t please most scholars. Sure, playing Assassin’s Creed II won’t make you an expert on Renaissance Italy any more than reading The Three Musketeers will make you an expert on 17th Century Anglo-French politics. All the same, as long as there’s enough blood, thunder, action and romance, a dashing hero, some swaggering villains and a cast of likeable personalities, who cares?

The settings help, too. With Florence and Venice, plus chunks of Tuscany and a taste of Rome, Ubisoft has some of the most attractive locations in the world to work with, and there’s something about scaling the Duomo or infiltrating the Doge’s palace that adds to the whole experience.

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.


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.


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


December 8, 2009, 11:15 pm

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


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!


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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