speedracerunt's Assassin's Creed II (PlayStation 3) review

Play it NOW!: Assassins Creed 2

Play it NOW!: Assassins Creed 2


A period piece, fictional or not, has always been something I have an affinity towards. Maybe it is the academic in me, but understanding events in world history can bring about a more comprehensive relationship between past, present and future. So goes the plot for Assassins Creed 2 or at least my interpretation of Desmond’s story arch. But unlike the first one, AC2 lets you spend most of your days inside the DNA of Desmond, living out his ancestor’s story. That story is of one Ezio Auditore da Firenze, and it is one of the many accomplishments of AC2 over its predecessor. On a more personal note, I was a big supporter of the first title, despite its short comings. The ability of Ubisoft Montreal to capture the atmosphere  of the crusades


was more than enough to get me on board, but the overwhelming satisfaction of taking a 20 foot drop off the edge of a building and impaling the skull of your target, is why I stayed until the end. It really is quite gratifying after a long day at work, regardless of impressions that I may be a sociopath. Happily, that feeling returns in AC2, with twice as many hidden blades, plus some additional assassination techniques. This variety beautifully applies to almost all the aspects of the game, eliminating the previous complaints some had about the repetition and monotony of the mission structure. Instead of the assassinations happening in a vacuum, many assassinations are paced differently from each other and required fewer side quests to get the mission started. There is also a personal motivation behind the assassinations and without spoilers; Ezio is way more pissed off at these people than Altair was in the original. The dialogue does alot to reinforce this obviously, but the choice of using "Ital-ish" dialoge had me turning on the subtitles so I could get a translation. Not bad for building the atmosphere, but it begs the question of why the full italian dialogue is not as good as the "Ital-ish"?

With more comparisons to the original, lets look to life outside the assassination racket. Certainly Altair had some personality besides that of a cold blooded killer, but we never saw it. With Ezio, you find out in the first few hours (yeah, it is tedious) that he is the typical Italian alpha male in his prime; climbing cathedrals, beating up punks from rival families, and wooing merchant’s daughters. There is character introduction, plot development and even a sick burn from the mouth of Ezio’s mother, before all hell breaks loose and you don the assassin’s robes. After some redemption, Ezio discovers there is an uncle who lives outside of Florence and he agrees to take you in, but does make a request to spruce up the Auditore Estate and the village that surrounds it. 

Now, on your days off from assassinating the Templers of Italy, you can actually engage in a meta-game, which involves you developing the economy of the town through monetary investments, in order to attract tourism and gain a substantial return. So much of a return, that by game end you will have more money than there is stuff to buy. But what kind of stuff can you buy one might ask? There is of course investing in the town directly, improving shops, guilds, a bank and various amenities but also art plays a huge part and the more art you collect from each city, the more valuable your estate is. Armor and Weapons also become art, with each piece you unequipped going on display at your estate. Combined that with the collecting challenges like roman statues, codex pages, feathers, assassin seals, etc and the entire process of managing this town becomes a game all unto itself, and is a nice break from the wash/rinse/repeat of assassinations. The blending is also an improvement over Altairs ability, allowing Ezio to blend with any group of people number 3 or more. Also, Ezio can hire prostitutes, mercenaries or thieves to walk along with him to blend or to go distract guards while Ezio searches for treasure. There are other small touches too, like catching thieves or messengers and taking their Florins, and hiding your opponents in haystacks after their grissly demise. All of these things were vital in really fleshing out the open world elements. It is a beautiful excursion through Renaissance Italy with plenty to do and very little to complain about in my opinion. So if your a fan of Assassins, Treasures and "Ita-lish" dialogue. Play it NOW!

*Completed story on PS3, played each type of side quest at least once and earned a Platinum trophy

**All images are a result of Google image search    
Republished from www.twocanplayblog.com 
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