The sequel to the highly praised, but flawed 2007 title from Ubisoft has finally arrived, but will AC2 share the flaws of its predecessor?
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Tongue twister: Assassin's Creed 2 picks up right after the original AC ended, with Desmond Miles in a jail cell at Abstergo, a company that has technology to relive a person's ancestor's memories.Without spoiling anything from the first game, Desmond is wanted by Abstergo to access his ancestor's memories. In the last installment, the big bad men at Abstergo kidnapped Desmond and ran through a particular ancestor's memory. That ancestor was none other then Altair, and that's what made up the first title in the series. Throughout the first game you did little outside of playing through Altair's memories, but when you weren't rooftop running you were inside the lab of the people who kidnapped you. As you progressed through the game, you discover that one of the employees working with you and your memories - Lucy - may be on your side and trying to help you out. At the end of Assassin's Creed, you discover that you are in the middle of a war that has been being waged for years between the Templars and the Assassins. Obviously Desmond's ancestor Altair was an assassin, and behind the scenes, Abstergo is the modern-day face of the Templars. This time around, Lucy comes to free you from imprisonment and ask for your help. After escaping from the facility, Lucy brings you to her rebel assassin friends, including a British computer wiz and a technological innovator, both of whom are indeed highly trained assassins. The favor Lucy asks of you is to join them and become an assassin to fight against Abstergo and the Templars, but in order to do so you will need to be trained. Instead of undergoing years of training, you will instead access another one of your assassin ancestor's memories to learn what he learned in becoming a killing machine. This time, you will be reliving the recollections of Ezio Auditore di Firenze as he eventually learns the way of silent killing. The story of AC2 is a bit far-fetched, but it gives good reasons to travel back to the 1400s and play as an assassin.
Bore your enemies to death: Ezio's story begins with his birth. You get to see Ezio being born and named, and you will also get a quickie tutorial of what each of the face buttons control. A (X on PS3) controls the legs, B (circle) controls your free hand, X (square) controls your main hand and Y (triangle) controls your head allowing you to, at this particular moment, cry.You are then fast-forwarded to Ezio's young adulthood, as he has street fights, loots bodies for money, races his brother, has, err...intimate time with his girlfriend, runs away from guards and acts as a courier. It is obvious that the beginning of AC2's levels act as a tutorial, but for some odd reason you won't hear about this tutorial stage of the game clocking in at nearly 1 1/2 hours from any of the "major" review sites! This 90 minute plus of learning the ropes is a huge problem for gamers that have already played the first installment of Assassin's Creed. For roughly 1 1/2 hours we were "taught" different traits like how to blend in with a crowd, pickpocket townsfolk, and deliver messages throughout the city. The game play during this time is extremely slow and void of any real conflict or combat scenarios. In fact, you are very deep into your ninety-minute gaming time frame before you even get to sport your infamous Assassin's clothing.
Don't use that disc for a coaster just yet: Although the first hour or so of the game is extremely boring and offers little value to anyone that has already played through the first game, after you get through the tutorial section of the gameplay the action in the game actually begins to pick up.After the end of the "training" missions, you are free to do nearly anything you please and most of the city is available to explore. It also seems that the city has many more guards on the hunt for you, and that in itself leads to many more combat situations. You cannot often avoid all of the guards in the area, and after sleep-playing your way through the learning phase of the game you will be itching for action. In addition to more combat, the story becomes more exciting as you will be allowed to assassinate more guilty targets and uncover the truth behind this rather complex state of affairs.
Deja vu: When you finally get to engage enemies consistently you will discover that the combat system is very similar to that showcased in the first installment of the series. Assassin's Creed 2's combat engine is the same used in the original, and as a result you will notice that the clashes you engage in will feel very familiar to AC veterans.You will often be dueling with multiple enemies at the same time, and as such, counters make up most of the eye-catching kills in battle. Whether with your sword, fists or even your hidden blade, (yes, you can use the hidden blade to fight against swords...somehow) you will often be using the counter system to dispatch of your foes with style. While the counter attacks are awe-inspiring at first, they quickly begin to wear on you, as was a problem in Assassin's Creed 1. You may even become aware of the fact that many of the counter animations are the same from AC, just copied over to AC2. In addition to your battles, the roof hopping in AC2 is also exactly the same as in the original. The way Ezio jumps, falls, rolls and climbs is a simple duplicate of what you went through when exploring with Altair. There are some new things to do in your spare time though, such as looting dead bodies for money to use to buy medical supplies, clothing dye etc. and picking bodies up and hiding them (or simply throwing them off into oceans!) However, while little features like that are nice they cannot carry the game or hide the fact that there isn't enough new features in AC2. Now, that's not to say that exploring the world isn't fun, but it just doesn't have much lasting value if you have played the first title before as you have probably seen most of what you see in AC2.
Wait...these aren't new anymore!: The gameplay isn't the only thing copied over from AC, as Assassin's Creed 2 even seems to have nearly the same visuals as the original!While there are some decently detailed buildings to scale and the assassin clothing you don in AC2 do look to be meticulously detailed, the actual character's faces and unclothed parts of their body are blocky and rough. As well as that, besides the actual buildings common items such as boxes and carts simply look to be blank squares that were just scattered around the world. Thee visuals in AC2 are not terrible, but that is simply because the graphics in Assassin's Creed were far beyond their time. You won't be complaining about the eye candy in AC2 all the time, but the graphics engine has shown its age (it is 2 years old!)
Rent vs. Buy: Assassin's Creed 2 is a decent game, and there aren't many things that are that wrong with it really. However, while this title does everything OK, it doesn't do anything very great.The visuals are only decent, the combat and gameplay are carbon copies of the original and the story can be a bit confusing at times, but it does not fail at any aspect. If you were a fan of Assassin's Creed and never tired of the game, you are well off renting this one and seeing if you want to spend $60 on Assassin's Creed 1.5 (I don't recommend it) but if you got sick of the original long ago, it is best to just stay back from this one altogether.
If you were a fan of Assassin's Creed and never tired of the game, you are well off renting this one and seeing if you want to spend $60 on Assassin's Creed 1.5 (I don't recommend it) but if you got sick of the original long ago, it is best to just stay back from this one altogether.
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