By HatKing 4 Comments
If you've been keeping up with my blog posts, which really isn't hard considering this is my second one, or if you've been paying any attention to my status here then you are aware I decided to check out Assassin's Creed 2. I'm not going to beat around the bush, odds are you already know anyway, I enjoy the shit out of this game.
I'll give you all a little bit of my history with the series. This was about two years back, two games were coming out that I was somewhat interested in and I had about sixty bucks burning a hole in my pocket. The games were Kane and Lynch and Assassin's Creed. I was pretty amped about Kane and Lynch because I was a big fan of the Hitman games, so I was expecting something of that level of quality, but this is about Assassin's Creed not Kane and Lynch. Due to the lack of information coming out about Assassin's Creed at that time I decided to go with Kane and Lynch and GameFlew(tm?) Assassin's Creed. So I got Assassin's Creed played a few hours of it and put it back in the mail. I hated the weird half assed missions they forced you to do before the assassinations and I hated the long winded boring ass conversations between flat characters.
Anyway, several months passed and I heard about this sequel. At first I pretty much ignored it, no point in paying much attention to something I knew I wouldn't like. I'd say it was about October when I started seeing articles on places like IGN and Giantbomb talking about how much better it was going to be, claiming that even if you didn't like the first one to check it out. Skeptical I started watching videos and reading articles, sure enough they claimed to address all of the issues I had with the game. I decided I'd check it out and I rented it.
I'll spare the details of how the game works, I'm sure everybody knows at this point. The game is complicated, so I read up on the plot of the game I didn't complete, I was somewhat impressed and a little disappointed I didn't push through just to see the story pan out. I popped the game in having a strong grasp of what was going on and was impressed right away with the flashback reminder thing so many other games could use(I'm looking at you Mass Effect 2).
The next several days of my life would be spent playing many hours of this game, I'm still not done or bored. I have to say the most impressive thing so far would be the characters, they are really likable, Da Vinci is amazing. Now the game may not be historically accurate, but when you're playing it you are sort of willing to look past that, I mean I highly doubt any soldiers in WWII killed 1,000 Nazis with the butt of their gun so why should I care about cloaked men with dagger fingers killing armed guards in renaissance Italy? Point is, the story, if you are willing to look past some of the goofy sci-fi and unreal parts of it, is actually totally enjoyable. Honestly I've never played a game where I've said to myself so many times "this could really be made into a movie pretty easily".
The combat is good for what it is, it isn't revolutionizing the action adventure genre but it is very functional and the kills are great to watch. I'd like to see more reason for using the different weapons aside from the aesthetics of it. I don't feel like there is any differance between using a sword, a dagger, a mace or a stolen weapon. The hidden blades and unarmed combat seem only different in the fact that the counters are more difficultly timed and the kills are more rewarding. At this point I'm just using the weapons I think look the best. Same goes for the armor, at a certain point you are good enough in a fight where it doesn't really matter how much health you have, you are probably going to kill anything before it can touch you. In a way this is good, it is nice to forget about looking at stats and just be able to enjoy stuff for what it is, it might seem shallow but I find it refreshing after Borderlands.
I suppose I should talk about some negatives of the game, well the great thing is that there are none. Okay, I'm kidding, but there aren't a lot. First would be the free running, it is a damn cool idea and it works pretty well, although it can be unpredictable at times. I'll find myself chasing a man across rooftops when he jumps to another building I follow pursuit jumping over, but not in the same place he had, as a result the game assumes I'm diving to the haystack seventeen stories below. There are a lot of examples of this sort of stuff, the game assumes what you want to do and gets it wrong, you'll often end up running in the wrong direction. Luckily there isn't very many missions that have you chasing people across the rooftops, that are required anyway and you'll also get better are coping with it. I have a few smaller gripes, the map in the menu seems relatively uncooperative, the symbols are too large and overlap each other and you can't view maps of territories you are not currently in. The fact that the controls of the face buttons are constantly displayed on the HUD, to me, shows a lack in confidence in the intuitiviteness on the developers behalf. There are moments when I catch myself looking up there just to make sure I am in a possition to jump to a ledge or assassinate a target. This could be fixed with some simple in game cues. Really that is pretty much it, I haven't beaten the game so there might be more, but I'll talk about that stuff at a later time.
So there you go, my general impression of Assassin's Creed 2 so far, sorry that got way too long again. I am roughly twenty hours in and can see myself easily sinking another twenty hours just messing around with distractions, finishing the story and the DLC that is on the way. I hate to speak too soon, and I haven't played everything on my big list of 2009, but as of right now I feel like this could be my GOTY. Although to be honest I don't much care for having a GOTY, it seems silly that I have to pick a favorite everything, like the little kids who ask what my favorite color is... who really cares?
Just like in real life, I solve all my problems with haystacks.