Big long gap between reviews, as I have not had the time or money to purchase anything new.
Assassin’s Creed 2 is a large improvement on it’s predecessor. It includes the same basic concepts of investigation and assassination, but also include many new features that provide a much better play-through than the original.
Following the events of AC1 the hero, Desmond Miles, escapes the laboratory where he was held captive and joins the remaining Assassin’s in the fight against the modern Templars. He is once again shoved back inside the Animus (v2.0 this time) in order to train him using another ancestor’s memories.
The forebear in question is womanizer, troublemaker and all-round badass of Florence, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who is certainly more fun to play as than angsty emo failure Altair, who never showed his face and had no back-story other than ‘he screwed up and now it’s his second chance’. This new assassin is every bit more enjoyable to play.
Gameplay is better not just due to the character upgrade, but also due to the shiny new gadgets Ezio can use. As of this writing I’ve only got the one hidden blade and a sword, but the trailers announced that Ezio would be able to use two hidden blades, smoke bombs and even a rudimentary gun. They are all repaired, designed or provided by a 30-year-old Leonardo da Vinci who is great to watch bounce around his home as he exclaims how intricate the workings of the hidden blade are.
Leo’s fizzing personality is only one of many new allies that assist the Assassin during the story, with much better voice acting, body language and facial expressions for everyone. In the first game there was a scary quality about eyes that put you off looking too hard at people, but it’s been fixed in the new game with more natural-looking curves in the faces that really, really look good. Big thumbs up there. Only nitpick is Lucy’s lips, which look like they’ve been put through a pumping machine ordered off a late-night infomercial. Erugh.
Techinical gameplay is also much improved, with hiding in groups of people no longer restricted to scholars. You can hide in stationary groups of chatting people, moving crowds and even quartets of 15th century prostitutes. A database is also now available, giving historical information about everything from important plot characters to locations. It’s great, and makes you remember that history is happening all around Ezio.
Assassin’s Creed 2 is a excellent game, with a well-told story, easy-to-use gameplay features and a really good characters. I recommend you pick it up from your local game store or even just try it.