Firstly, many thanks to Sheylara and New Era, for it is through their graciousness that I had a chance to play Assassin’s Creed II on the Xbox 360.
Dear Sheylara also honoured me to write a short commentary on it. But, but.. there’s so much to talk about in this game!
For players who have played the first game, Assassin’s Creed, here’s a piece of good news: Assassin’s Creed II has come back improved. While some of the old moves are intact, many more new ones have been added. There are also new weapons and loads of new content.
The game does start out a bit slow but get through it and you’re in for a treat.
One notable improvement is the lack of repetitiveness that had frustrated players in the first game. Back then, players were made to repeat these steps for each assassination target: Eagle View (to synchronize map), followed by Intelligence Gathering, followed by the assassination.
That was tedious and boring, but it’s history. Eagle View is now optional, so the repetitiveness is gone. Every assassination target now has a different mission leading to it, making the gameplay much more interesting.
Not to provide a spoiler, here’s the short version: Playing as Ezio, your family has been wrongfully accused and executed before your very own eyes. In anger, you become an assassin to exact vengeance upon those responsible.
Ubisoft has done a great job on the graphics, from the scenic city views on rooftops to close-up architectural details on castles, chapels and fortresses. These words come to mind: Splendid, spectacular, and breathtaking.
The game takes players back to the old days of Italy in Florence, Tuscany, and Venice, for which good virtual impressions have been made.
Movements such as running, jumping, and climbing are extremely smooth and do not have the slightest blocky feel. One particularly amusing graphic effect is the “wet look” your character gets after taking a swim. It lasts 10 seconds or so before you dry up.
The double-kill-air-assassinate technique is by far the coolest and my personal favorite. It involves first picking out two targets, both close to each other. From a high ledge, Ezio will leap into the air and land on both targets simultaneously, plunging one blade into each. Awesome and truly elite.
The controls are simple yet sophisticated. By the middle of the game, you would have access to an arsenal of at least five weapons, plus access to another five or six assassination techniques. Most of the moves can be performed easily with the Xbox controller, so I forsee a short learning curve for new players.
The gameplay is fantastic, with each mission being different, as well as optional quests, secret missions and bonuses to cater to hardcore fans. The best part about this game is that every mission is like a puzzle with numerous ways to solve it.
Did I mention you could hire mercenaries or poison a target? What about the exciting carriage-chase mission with Leonardo da Vinci? There are so many fun elements in this game that I could never do it justice with such a concise review.
Try it out yourself. You won’t regret it!
Rating: 4.5 / 5