I just realized that I never posted up my thoughts on Assassin’s Creed II. It’s only after I purchased the recently released DLC of “Battle of Forli” that I remembered that I had this draft sitting around, just itching to be published.
It’s been awhile since I played through the first game but ever since I finished Assassin’s Creed, I had been longing to get my hands on the next installment. I endlessly checked through the forums. I watched in awe as it was demo’d at last year’s E3 event. I repeatedly watched the teaser videos that were released prior to the game’s release. I was pumped!
Everything I had seen, read or heard had me eagerly anticipating the next chance to re-enter the Animus and unravel the secrets of the Assassins and Templars. Unfortunately; I, personally, found a lot of disappointments.
As in the original Assassin’s Creed, we continue the next chapter in the story arc as Desmond. He has escaped the templars and has relocated to a new secret location housed by the Assassins. It is here that Desmond begins shifting through the memories of a new ancestor: Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
Now here is where things begin to deviate a little from the previous installment.
Ezio is the complete opposite of Altair. Ezio is inexperienced and lacks finesse. He absolutely annoys the player with the fact that he is not at all stealthy. But who can blame him? Ezio had no idea about his assassin roots and it clearly shows! I will forgive the game developers for not letting me have a moment’s peace while I try to survey the towns and forcing me to enter into countless fights with the local guards. I get it. Ezio’s not an assassin and he’s not really trying to become a great one either. Fine.
Ignoring the fact that I can’t be remotely as steathly as I was in the first game, Assassin’s Creed II has some things that is does really well. For example, the cities are absolutely goregous! It’s amazing how much detail went into the creation and accuracy of all the buildings. But I will ignore how obivious the courtesans were. Last time I checked, courtesans were supposedly discreet. I mean the game even tells me so. But whatever. Let’s move on the the good stuff.
The story and voice acting are incredibly engaging. I found myself muting my XBox Live party just so that I would be able to hear every Italian syllable.
But with all the pretty visuals and story, I was constantly distracted with annoying missions that I found myself having to sit through and dicpher for hours. By the time I finally figured out what I was supposed to do, I was too tired or frustrated to even play anymore! I know that the developers were proud of the fact that the game was organic and that the missions would naturally come out of the story but didn’t anyone else notice the pattern of the missions? Race through some buildings or long hallway where you have to jump your way to success, go collect something I need so I can help you, then assassinate this dude and finally repeat. I could be alone in this but I felt like I was doing the same 3 type of missions in each memory sequence. And I have asked others that played the game and they didn’t notice the pattern. So, I could be alone on this.
Oh, and speaking of assassinations. It was extremely disappointing to set yourself up for a stealth kill only to learn that the game doesn’t want or allow you the opportunity to perform a stealthy kill. What the hell! Really? I went through the entire game just assassinating people and frantically running away because all the guards knew who I was! That’s not really satisfying.
But instead of bitching more about the game, I’ll just link you to Zero Puncuation’s review. I’m pretty much on the same page as him. I think Assassin’s Creed II was a good game but I personally found it a bit disappointing. The story was great, but the gameplay just wasn’t up to par.
I’ll skip the grading for this one…