Assassin's Creed II Reader Review
The impression I get with this series is that it is a little marmitey. You either love it or hate it. I know a number of people that tired quickly the first time round and never bothered completing the story because the game became too repetitive. I actually enjoyed the first one myself and had at least two playthroughs.
This time round the Ubisoft crew tried to address those issues. Major alterations to the game included:
- Ability to fight with hidden blade
- Ability to disarm opponents
- Removal of investigations (you know, those annoying beat-up, pick-pocket and eavesdrop missions) before assassinations
- Integrated more missions into the main storyline
- Seriously reduced the collection items (from 450+ flags to just collecting 100 feathers)
- Less Ďinteractive cutscenesí as Desmond where you canít really do anything but walk reaally slowly around and have a chat
- Money has been added to the game
Well I thoroughly enjoyed the game. Towards the end it was getting a little repetitive again, but I put that down to the fact that the game isnít often hectic and so playing it straight until completed wasnít the ideal way in which to play it. A second playthrough will be a more sedate affair probably made up of 2-3 hour blocks over the course of a week or two.
The fighting is a little more finicky in this one. I used to hold my own against an army of enemies in AC1 however in AC2 I really struggled to not get beaten to a pulp. The main reason for this was the change in blocking where you now seemingly have to aim the direction you want to block. I also either missed the tutorial or skipped through the one about barefist fighting and stealing weapons as it wasnít until after Iíd completed the game that I found out how to do it (from IGNís Jessica Chobot insider video no less). Due to that I am missing the stunning with dust and pike achievements, but I will address those in a second play through.
The graphics are fairly similar in style and look to the first game with some improvement. The environments are still bustling with life and the addition of a few more character models helps make the world seem more alive rather than a scary town of clones. More facial detail has been added and I was a little amazed by the terrible Ďtrout poutí they gave Lucy Stillman, however following her through Abstergo and watching her move in tight jeans soon made me forgive that issue.
After making a comment about how it looked like Danny Wallace had been injected into the game I found out it really was actually Danny Wallace. That man lives awesomeness.
The addition of a constant, if not slightly loopy, friend in Leonardo DaVinci was inspired and well worked into the story. I looked forward to those parts and even the mini-game where you had to take the horse and cart into town was a nice addition even if a little random to add such a thing.
Where the game really made improvements was by the introduction of money, factions and the animus database. The ability to grab chests of money and pay for courtesans or rogues to help you out was much better than trying to work out the sparse cover and the course of the monks you had in AC1. Money is also used to buy and repair equipment and weapons as well as health vials and accessories.
The animus database was incredibly detailed and interesting to read. The comments added so some of the entries by the modern day assassins are hilarious and unlocking ĎThe Truthí hidden by subject 16 was a nice aside. Well actually sometimes it wasnít, those puzzles were a little stupid and time consuming, not at all fun. At least I learned (or perhaps re-learned as we probably did it at school) what a Fibonacci sequence was. All the same, the little videos were awesome (if you havenít done it yet I wonít spoil it by disclosing the full vid) but didnít need that unlocking crap before hand.
They really took the best bits of AC1 and improved them whilst removing or lessening the crud for AC2. Overall itís a great game and if you liked the first youíd love this. If you werenít a fan then I donít think its different enough to change your mind but I could be wrong, especially for those on the fence. Even if you didnít like the first, try the second, go rent it out for a few days.