rabalais42's Assassin's Creed II: Discovery (Nintendo DS) review

All the Ideas, None of the Execution

Assassin’s Creed Discovery covers the further adventures of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, the main player of Assassin’s Creed 2. The game starts off aprubtly, giving only a brief recap of AC2’s story, and completely glosses over anything to do with an Animus, a major story point on the console game. Ezio spends his time rolling around Eastern Europe, but I never quite understood the significance of characters or the Templars. Overall, the story of the game falls flat. There simply isn't a plot point to hook players in, and I found the story more of a means of moving Ezio from place to place

Missions in the game can be broken down into one of 3 subests.  You’ll either be searching out a certain point on the map, sneaking past enemies to reach a point on the map, or being pursued by opponents while escaping an area. Unlike it’s console brethren, Assassin’s Creed Discovery is a sidescrolling game, which both lends to and detracts from it’s gameplay. With only 3 types of missions, the game gets repetitive fast, and while some missions provided me with a satisfying and exciting experience, more often than not the game’s mechanics played against me. Ezio won't always grasp onto points in clear jumping range, and will often refuse to grasp at ledges when falling. Fighting multiple enemies is essentially an impossibility, and stealth missions tend to bounce between baby easy, and unfairly hard. Standard guards can be dispatched at any point their back is turned to Ezio, using one of about 5 stealth kill animations.  It won’t take long, however, before armored guards and archers become the bane of your very existence.

Archers are gifted with above average vision, which makes hiding more difficult, which wouldn’t be a problem if archers weren’t camped out in tight spaces that make hiding nearly impossible. I felt like avoiding being detected by archers was less a matter of skill, and more one of luck, a profoundly frustrating flaw during the game’s stealth missions. Armored guards, while rare, have the ability to put a stop to any momentum you may have reached during an escape mission. When confronted with such an enemy, I was more likely to restart the mission than fight it out, simply because Ezio wasn’t equipped well enough to repel his attackers. The game has combat that is functional when facing an enemy head on, but when surrounded or facing any circumstance in which enemies attack quickly, Ezio doesn’t stand a chance.

This isn’t to say that AC:D doesn’t have it’s high points however. I found some of the escape missions to be enthralling when they worked properly. Ezio moves at a blinding pace, helping to liven up what could potentially be dull missions, and the game animates gorgeously. I found the soundtrack, while nothing spectacular, helped to add atmosphere to the game’s environments. I was pleasantly surprised by the effect the backgrounds gave to the levels, helping to create a passable recreation of Assassin Creed 2’s impressive draw distances.

When it comes down to it, AC:D is a playable facsimile of it’s console brothers. It does it’s best to present Assassin’s Creed on a handheld, and for the most part hits big points. It’s in the game’s execution of these ideas that things begin to fall apart. Repetition sets in quick, and the game isn’t well suited to stealth. If you found yourself wanting more of Ezio and the Templars, then Assassin’s Creed Discovery may be worth a look, but it’s hard to recommend the game for anyone else.

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