Assassin's Creed II Reader Review
So, the sequel to one of the best selling extended tech demos ever. Assassin's Creed was like one of those stunning girls you dream of going out with. You're overjoyed when she agrees to a date but then when the time comes you find out that she really hasn't got that much to say and you spend the rest of the night making small talk and staring at your pint, wishing you'd asked out the fat lass with the sense of humour instead. Thankfully this game is much better. If we're getting back to smutty date analogies then this game would be the equivalent of a beautiful lass with a great personality that likes to take things 'nice and slowly' . The developers don't credit you with much intelligence or expect you to be able to assimilate anymore than tiny additions to the gameplay at any one time. The first few hours are glacial in their progression and there are some laughable early missions. (the carry the box really slowly mission really stands out in that regard). Thankfully the evocative environments, excellent atmosphere and good voice acting make it easier for you to stick with it through the dreary opening sections. The facial modelling seemed really quite low resolution when compared to uncharted 2 (although I suspect that that will be an increasingly frequent observation until the competition catches up). The combat was quite good fun in its rather limited way. The combat animations are excellent. It was a shame that many of the combat skills were denied to you until so late in the game as it would have been more fun to have had them available from the start. The combat never quite reaches the heights set by something like Batman AA which is a shame because with some additional refinement, a greater array of enemies and a tougher difficulty it could have become tense and exciting. The game is good value for money with plenty to see and do. It is very generous with its achievement points. I was particularly pleased to see no achievement points allocated to the ridiculous collectathon with the treasure chests. The puzzles were quite a good idea and made for an interesting diversion. The assassin's tombs were also great and appealed to the collector in me. I was pleased to be able to run around the city this time without alerting attention from the guards. There is still the propensity to get stuck to bits of architecture that you don't want to. Occasionally Ezio would jump to his death when I had not wanted him to due to difficulties with the controls. Largely though the control scheme worked pretty well. To my mind the assassinations themselves still seem a bit imprecise. I have this idea of a game that incorporates the graphical splendour of Assassin's Creed with the intricacy of the Hitman assassinations. That game would be absolutely superb. All in all, a significant improvement on the boring original.
8 / 10