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    Assassin's Creed II

    Game » consists of 27 releases. Released Nov 17, 2009

    The second installment in the Assassin's Creed franchise follows the life of Ezio Auditore da Firenze as he seeks revenge on those who betrayed his family.

    axellion's Assassin's Creed II (Xbox 360) review

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    • axellion has written a total of 22 reviews. The last one was for LIMBO

    Defining the art of the sequel,

    The First Assassins Creed was a love it or hate it kind of game, most praised it for the expansive environments filled to the brim with people and featuring some of the best animation in the industry. It was however attacked, rightly so, for a lack of variety in the core missions. The team at Ubisoft Montreal as set out to address these issues in the sequel.

    Assassins Creed II begins at the exact moment that the first ended, our real world hero Desmond staring at the strange matrix like code on the wall. Anyone unfamiliar with the first game will be at a significant disadvantage to understanding the greater story arch here, AC2 gives almost no time to try and fill in newcomers to the millenia old Templar Assassin war, let alone the DNA memory device that allows Desmond to relive his ancestors memories. All we are really told is that the Templar's seek a artifact called the piece of Eden to control the world and we, that would be the assassins want to stop them. Thankfully we are dropped back into the animus and in our 15 century ancestor Ezio Auditore shoes fairly quickly. Despite some misgivings about the game being set in 2021 and all of our actions being merely in a machine I enjoyed the forth wall breaking in the first game, the game within a game. The sequel keeps us lock up in the animus for 90% of the game although they do a good job of keeping the feel of being inside a program, the comparisons to the matrix are obvious and numerous. Bits of code will fly from your target, messages from the machines operators will arrive in the form of historical descriptions of Italian landmarks and denizens. It is all quite well done and give the game an artificial feel.

    When we do arrive in Renaissance Italy, we are dropped into the baby booties of Ezio, we experience his birth and then shift to him as a young adult. The setting 15th Florence, a place and period almost never explored in gaming. Banking and the arts rule the day. A breath of fresh air in an industry filled with Medieval warriors and Elite special forces. The team in Montreal must have spent a great deal of t research into the various places and characters of the time. Peppered throughout are detailed examinations of real world buildings and historical characters of the era.

    Ezio is the son of a wealthy banking magnate and it takes a bit of time to get to the meat, that would be the killing. After some explosive events young Ezio is thrust into the dangerous world of murder. The Story is very well done and after the initial slow start it ramps up and pushes forward on a quest for vengeance and answers. Focusing on Ezio's assassin training and search for answers the story is well told, it can be a little confusing at time, Maybe it was all the Italian names, but I found myself wondering who I was attempting to murder at times. Never the less a thrilling very fresh story of Renaissance brutality.

    Leonardo da Vinci takes time off hiding codes in his paintings, to help young Ezio on his journey. Leo builds various devices and machines for our assassin, chiefly among them is the much hyped dual hidden blade; as much fun to use as it sounds. Leaping from rooftops and simultaneously piercing the sculls of two targets never does get old. In fact Ubisoft did such a good job keeping the art of killing fresh I found myself wanting to go back and seek out extra missions, and the various hidden items, as the credits began to roll.

    The most major fault with the original was undoubtedly the lack of variety and the general feeling that you had done this all before, eavesdrop on an informant, tail a lead, beat information out of a suspect. All leading you to the whereabouts of your target. This strict system of information gathering and assassination as been all but forgotten here. The story now flows much more openly and fluidly. Story missions are endlessly different and leading Ezio. It stays fresh as we move from city to city gathering information and exacting our revenge. Side missions litter world and are much more varied then in its predecessor, there are plenty of races, courier delivers, beat downs and assassination contracts to keep you filled. I found myself eager to complete the extra tasks as the game now sports a monetary and equipment system. In addition to upgrading your weapons and armor, your home base now acts as a small investment property, the more money you put into town shops and mansion improvements the more florins you receive back.

    The violent combat from the first game has returned mostly intact, with many more weapon choices and even the ability to disarm and use opponents armaments, combat has been expanded with more depth. Counter kills still rule the day, quick timing is required to perform a brutal, I may say beautiful kill. More heavily armed and armored adversary's do take I bit more to get through, a more skillful use of dodges and strafing are required. Free running and climbing are still very smooth and the superb animation continues thought the game. Some small miss steps are possible with the sprinting, this can be annoying in your more challenging platforming tasks.

    Rising industry star Nolan North once again finds his way into a game,he is quickly becoming the go to guy for gaming characters. Voice acting is quite good, authentic cliched Italian accents a plenty. Only issue here is the facial animations, Ubisoft flaunted there ability to replicate Kristen Bell's face during the first games hype, but the facial textures are beginning to show there age. Graphics in general have not held up as well as would have hoped, the vistas and the shear size are truly jaw dropping, at ground level the closes ups of characters have really been left in the past, Games such as Uncharted 2 have shown us the future are it looks good.

    Through out the long campaign: lasting a good 15 to 20 hours. Ezio is attempting to unravel a conspiracy century's old. Tracing its roots back to the crusade times of the first game. All set within the vast political and economic backdrop of Renaissance Italy. Assassins Creed II succeeds in almost every way a sequel should. Writing every wrong. Time and care was put into making AC2 what the first should have been. Vast cityscapes, incredible animations, vicious and exhilarating combat, and one of the deepest and well paced story's this year. It stands with the best action adventure games of recent memory.

    Other reviews for Assassin's Creed II (Xbox 360)

      Exactly what a sequel should be. 0

      Currently, the video game industry is driven by sequels; rather than risk a lot of money on a new series, game companies would rather stick to a franchise that has previously proven itself. Unfortunately, developers do not show any signs of relenting any time soon, so if they are going to maintain an entire medium mostly through sequels, they should at least know how to do it. Assassin’s Creed II is a prime example of how to make a sequel. The first way it proves this is by detaching its...

      24 out of 24 found this review helpful.

      Gaming's second most popular Italian. 0

        Assassin’s Creed 1 starred a preachy, philosophical, emotionless, characterless unibomber-lookalike named Altair. Killing was his business, but business was not good. First he had to pickpocket, eavesdrop and stalk random targets to obtain “information”, or rather grind missions to extend play, time about his victims-to-be. He would then proceed to attempt an assassination on said targets, one that would involve stealth and cunning…on paper. In practice, they usually ended in extended fight s...

      29 out of 30 found this review helpful.

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