Storyline: In the first installment of the game we met Desmond Miles, a regular run-of-the-mill bartender who gets kidnapped by a company for no apparent reason. But …is that really the case? Actually, it turns out that this “bartender” just so happens to have some of the most interesting ancestors one could hope for, and this organization (Abstergo) is trying to learn the secrets his ancestors once possessed in hopes of gaining control of the world and making the Templars a force to be reckon with.
Desmond is immediately introduced to a machine called the “animus” in which he could relive memories imbedded in his DNA that once belonged to his ancestors. The first Assassin’s Creed focused on 12th Century ancestor Altair who roamed the ancient world of Jerusalem. Yet the second installment takes a different approach. This time Desmond is transported to 15th Century Italy, where he assumes the role of a younger and less mature ancestor Ezio Auditore. Unlike the first game of the series, this time players are introduced to the character at birth, where one can test out the controls in a nifty little tutorial. As players progress a bit farther, they live a day in Ezio’s adolescent years as the game continues to teach players the basics of the game with simple tutorials and easy missions.
During the first parts of the game we get to learn a lot about Ezio’s family and we quickly learn that he’s not the most likeable individual. But just as we are getting settled with character development, the plot hits us right in the face as Ezio’s family is captured and sentenced for treason. Ezio learns a few secrets from his father which eventually leads him to discover some hidden truths of his family (yes, they are assassins). Eventually his family is hung and as Ezio snoops around for answers he discovers that his family was not only set up, but they were also part of a political war that was raging behind the scenes of renaissance society. Once he gets some answers, Ezio sets out on a bloody rampage to seek revenge against those who put an end to his family’s life.
Gameplay: The gameplay is pretty slow for an action/adventure game, yet it gives that feeling of what it’s actually like to be an assassin. The game has basically two options when it comes to adversaries; either stand your ground and fight, or flee the scene. Players can do a variety of things during combat, such as taunting, blocking, using weapons, or stealing it from opponents. If one is lucky enough even reversing an attack is possible, and a fantastic kill sequence will initiate.
The game mostly focuses on missions of different varieties. Of course the most obvious one is assassinations contracts in which players find the target and kill them without making so much as a scene. The eavesdropping missions make their return in where one tracks down an individual and listens to valuable information from afar. There are also pickpocket missions where one follows an individual and steals letters that could hold valuable information. Its one of the easiest of missions, yet still very fun.
Those who have played the first game will be delighted to see a few changes made to this installment. For one, the roaming is given a bit of a touch making it easier to explore the world more freely. There are times when the camera angles aren’t the best, so players will find themselves going to the doctor from heavy falls rather than cuts and bruises from battle. Another interesting little quirk added is the use of double assassin blades which just doubles the fun when its time to go hunting. The maps are massive as well, meaning there’s lots of exploring to do in this one.
But one of the major differences between the two games is the addition of a monetary system. With the system, players will now have a variety of ways to use their money. Whether it be purchasing weapons, buying medicinal items, hiring mercenaries for help, or distracting guards by paying thieves and hookers; players can truly navigate through the game besides just tailing and killing unlike its predecessor.
The villa is also a neat addition to the series. There is an option in which players can invest money in their city of refuge, and if enough money is spent it will grant them nifty perks such as hidden treasure chests, discounts in stores, as well as bringing income into the villa itself. It is also the place where players can store their collected artwork along with various weapons and armor they might have previously purchased. And if players need some combat tutorials explained or if they just want to polish their skill, they can always go back to the villa for some much needed training.
My opinion: I personally played the first one and I loved it to death. Many people had problems with it, but those “problems” that might have arose in the first one are easily fixed and vastly improved in this second one. The first one seems more like a prototype for a magnificent game such as this as the game seems more intuitive than its predecessor. It is very addicting and despite the many tedious side missions and tasks, I still found myself doing every single thing possible in the game. There were a few cons of the game. For one, you had to go all the way back to the villa to changes weapons and armor. And like I mentioned earlier, I had to heal more due to falls than from actual brawls. The monetary system is also very simplistic. It is extremely easy to upgrade everything in the villa and players become insanely rich instantly, which kind of ruins the fun of having money in the first place.
There are a lot of pros as well. For one, the maps are extremely huge compared to the second one. Along the way you come across historical monuments and such and the game gives a bit of info by pressing the select button which I find rather intriguing and very interesting. There are also the fast travel stations which allow players to navigate from place to place rather than wasting so much time traversing through the city. The auto recovery is also taken out so players have to go to their nearest medic to heal their wounds, which in my opinion makes the game a bit more realistic. One of the major pros of the game is how they try and incorporate conspiracy files and such where one has to use their brain and decode the information before being able to access files.
If you have a craving petty theft, stealth assassinations and terrorizing the normal folk, then this game is for you.
All in all, I think it’s a very enjoyable game with hours of fun just waiting to be explored. Its also very mind stimulating which can be frustrating at times, but yet good. I give this game a 9 out of 10.