A Creed Indeed
Assassins Creed was a title that quickly became one of my favorites. At times its gameplay was repetitious, but for a majority of the game it swept me away into a world I hadn't thought could exist in videogames. The graphics, the fighting and the movement of Altair, the game's protagonist, was a spectacle that came together nicely in a time period rarely explored by a game. However, AC1 had its fair share of negatives, and while sales soared, there was much to be improved.
Enter Assassins Creed 2 with a new character and during the Italian 15th century, a particularly important time in history. Unlike the previous installment, the main protagonist has much more depth and intrigue. Ezio Auditore, the son of a Florentine banker (and assassin) is thrust into action when most of his family is wrongfully executed by a rising politician. While the characters in the first AC came off as a little stale at times, Ezio is completely full of life. Brash, mouthy and determined to exact revenge, Ezio launches a quest to get justice for his family. The story is great, and the character development is also top-notch.
Voice acting and facial animations are decent, while the fighting gameplay is excellent. Some of the most brutal videogame executions take place in AC2, and they're completed masterfully. As Ezio builds his empire and skills, he will acquire new weapons and fighting techniques, which really makes continued encounters a lot of fun. Graphics leave nothing on the table; the cities of Florence and Venice are magnificent and a real treat to explore.
More than just a great story with good gameplay, Assassins Creed 2 offers a lot more to do than the original installment. Everything from the side missions, which vary greatly, to the ability to customize Ezio's own villa with artwork and weapons - everything offers MORE to do, see and explore. It's a wonderful polishing of AC1.
There are some downsides to AC2. The story does lag on for a bit, and some of the assassination targets do lose their individuality as they all sort of meld together. It seems like several may have been tossed in just to boast a lengthy game. The voicework does have a lot of rehashed lines as well.
Without giving too much away, the 3rd installment of Assassins Creed will have a lot riding on it. Though AC2 was a brilliantly polished game, it was not an overhaul or a giant leap forward or a reinvention of the series. Fans will be eager to see where the story goes, as will I.