Assassin's Creed II: Battle of Forli Reader Review
Lets face it, as far as locations are concerned, Forli was Assassinís Creed IIís least inspiring! Dwarfed by the size and majesty of Florence and Venice, it was a squalid little town surrounded by mud huts and ugly peasants! So the decision to set the first piece of downloadable content here is a little perplexing. Battle of Forli sees Ezio enlist the aid of Caterina Sforza to defend his piece of Eden from the Templars. Things quickly go tits-up, and itís up to Ezio to sort everything out with his unique repertoire of murder and more murder! Thus begins a brand new adventure that reinvigorates Assassinís Creed II after months of gathering dust.
At least thatíd be the case if Forli included anything worthy of note. The new sequence consists of the usual fare; escorting allies from A to B, finding targets using eagle vision, assassinating named antagonists, and so on. The single addition is the ability to play about in Da Vinciís flying machine, launched from the lighthouse at the north-east of the map. This is purely a cosmetic aside that doesnít affect the plot. The early missions have a heavy emphasis on large running battles. But as Kristan pointed out in his review these are devoid of challenge and simply showcase how ludicrously overpowered Ezio is in combat.
So in terms of gameplay Forli doesnít stray from what came before. Thereís nothing wrong with that of course, Assassinís Creed IIís gameplay won great accolades after all. But as youíve already explored Forli extensively during numerous side missions you will have seen it all before. The expansion doesnít open any new areas apart from some dreary countryside in the north-west. In absence of additional side-quests or mission types you canít escape the notion that weíre shelling out money to play the same bits all over again.
Plenty of criticism surrounds this downloadable trilogy, most of it to the effect that Ubisoft is cynically forcing game owners to pay extra for the entire story. If Forli is anything to go by, the opposite is true. Without ruining anything, the episode has only tangential relevance to that of the main game and could easily be missed without great disadvantage (unless youíre desperate to know the origin of Ezioís facial fluff). It also has no closure, ending on a cliffhanger to be resolved in the next (paid) episode. Clocking in at around one hour it isnít even the longest sequence in the game, and certainly isnít the most fun!
Assassinís Creed II was a great game, and I can think of worse ways to spend £3.19 than to purchase more of it. But really, if weíre expected to pay for downloadable content it needs add something worthwhile, be it new locations, story arcs, or (more dubiously) gear. Battle for Forli has none of those things. It takes you to locations already explored, introduces characters already met, and presents challenges already completed.
In summary, donít bother.