After my struggle with the first game, I then entered the world of Assassin’s creed 2. A world that was so much clearer, smoother, and fresher. My mind was completely blown away at the change and improvements the assassin’s creed team has done with it and was able to see how the series went from being some half ass attempt at a franchise to a real one.
Character among characters
The first game had some pretty basic characters that help set the tone of the games past setting and present setting. However, it was only in the present time characters that were given more detail to with Desmond and Lucy. Altair did develop from some jerk to an assassin with a better view on morals and ideas but it didn’t talk about who he is or what was motivating him. Assassin’s Creed 2 has the fabulous Ezio, a very loveable man. He enjoys life and all of its wonders. He has revenge on his mind but still offer his services to help anyone in need. He is willing to take advice as he learns the ropes of becoming an assassin while still making his own judgements. He has such color to his character that you just can’t help but love the man. The supporting case also help bring life not only to the setting of Italy but to the interactions with Ezio. The bickering between Ezio and his sister, Claudia, the lessons from Uncle Mario, and the wonder friendship of Leonardo as he help Ezio make gadgets and decode the codex (How exciting :D). Back in present times, Desmond has a more clearer goal now that he is working with the underground assassins. Along with Lucy, he has the information support and British, Shaun Hastings, and Rebecca Crane, the techy. The game doesn’t provide enough screen time for these characters but their part in the story, including Desmond, are meant to develop overtime and for when we leave the animus they help us understand the state the world of assassin’s creed is in.
Controls can easily make or break a game and it certainly broke my experience with AC1. However, AC2 was a whole another story. Ezio is a faster climber than Altair as he can turbo drive up a wall as long as he has a straight path. This makes climbing so much more enjoyable since it doesn’t take so much of your time. Later on buildings will have high ledges but soon Ezio learns a new move that allows him to reach them, opening up a new set of climbing abilities. The designers also layout some interesting climbing paths, making sure that the player isn’t always going straight up all the time and have moments where they’ll have to find the right path.
Ezio is also moves fast in combat as well, getting hits in without delay. While some people say that the combat is similar to AC1 where you wait to counter a person's attack, but the timing for counters are easy to execute and seeing a group of enemies just crumble one after the other by being defensive is pretty cool. Deepening combat is the additions of disarming enemies, instantly killing the disarmed person and having a new weapon to fight with, and some special moves like throwing dust or smoke bombs to blind your opponents. I shouldn't forget the double hidden blades and how awesome it is taking out two targets at once.
Lastly, the mission and activity structure has been redone. Small missions like races and assassinations are all optional and don’t drag the main story missions that actually progresses. Some of the activities like the assassin’s tombs and collecting feathers have some nice rewards that makes them worth doing. The economic system is a pretty cool feature by investing money to the small town of Monteriggioni for it shops, renovations, and upgrades helps make the town looking good and you gain a profit over time, making the task of earning money less of a burden on the player and giving them more focus on the main mission. There also paints to collect, weapons to buy, dyes to wear (Ezio needs to look good :D), the list goes on and on. And that’s what makes this game great, it feels full of options while the previous game just limited you too strictly.
AC1 really has left me a scar that is hard to heal but AC2 was able to heal that deep wound. I give my thanks to the Assassin’s Creed team to pulling the series from a bad start and able to push itself to the top. I could had finished Ezio story from here and just read the wiki for Brotherhood and Revelations, then just wait for AC3 to come out. However, I wanted to experience it properly, so I got myself a copy of Brotherhood. Stay tune for my thoughts on that soon.