Some music whilst you read, if you please. (Might have some spoilers from the original Assassin's Creed, I'm trying to omit them though, I might miss some. You've been warned) Assassin's Creed II: The Review
Abstergo, the modern-day equivalent of the Knights Templar, had been using Desmond to locate powerful out-of-place artifacts called "Pieces of Eden". Using the "Eagle Vision" ability he gained as a result of the "bleeding effect" (from overexposure to the Animus), Desmond is able to see messages and symbols written in blood on his bedroom wall, written by the former test subject, named "Subject 16". Lucy Stillman, a former researcher for Abstergo and a member of the modern-day Assassins, frees Desmond and brings him to a secret hideout for herself and two other Assassins, Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane. With their own version of the Animus, dubbed the 'Animus 2.0', they invite Desmond to help them discover the memories of his ancestor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, for two reasons: to train Desmond in Assassin skills through the bleeding effect, and to find other Pieces of Eden.
Ezio after assassinating two people at once with the duel hidden blades.
The storyline is engaging as it leads you through the 23 year span of Ezio's life as an assassin from the age of 17 to the age of 40. I have never felt so immense and compelled to play this game, I started, then I struggled to set down the controller for sleep. I must say the story is top notch, filled with twists and turns that you never see coming.
Graphics are delicious, with the vibrant distinct cityscapes and country side. Of course we are only talking about the the background. Character Models haven't really changed much from the original Assassin's Creed, but there are a little bit of graphics boost in them. Also as you can expect from Ubisoft, the creators of Splinter Cell, the shadow detail for the time of day is spectacular.
A new assassination move, being able to attack from a hidden point.
Sound Now the soundtrack for the game is beautiful and elegant, well representing the actions and has an appropriate Renaissance feel to it, since that is part of the setting of course.
Now weapons have their own clashing sound, for example, hitting a Mace against a wall, makes a different sound then doing so with a dagger, or your hidden blades. Also there is a plethora of grunts, so killing adversaries and other people, doesn't annoy you via sound.
Uh-oh, that guy is a goner.
One last thing, the crowd. This is probably one of the most important noises as it is happening everywhere, you might be listening to a herald, talking about how you assassinated the Pazzi family right before you bribe him to shut up, or just listening to people yell at you for climbing buildings and shoving through them.
Controls are vastly improved from Assassin's Creed, as all the motions are much more fluid and life-like. Of course this comes at a cost to the Jump Assist. This is like Aim Assist in FPS's but obviously with jumping. If you loved jumping around in Assassin's Creed, this game will take some getting use to, as you can't just sprint and jump across buildings as Ezio won't automatically find the first ledge he sees, but just jump right where you told him to. You may find yourself falling a lot, in the first sequence, but you will get the hang of it.
Now Gameplay is delicious as well. The fluidity just makes the game twice as enjoyable. Also the new weapons, such as Dual Hidden Blades, Pistol, smoke bombs, and other weapons which you can purchase to make you stronger, add a little more variety into this game. Along with the many different submission, such as extra assassination contracts, races, and cheating spouse beat up events, make this game last for a long while, and that isn't even counting all the things you must collect.
Ezio looking upon the City of Venetia(Venice).
Also once more, the crowd. Its a living being, as they won't just stand in the same spot forever. At night, almost all people except guards are tucked away in their homes, making the streets barren. At dusk, the guard shifts change, allowing you a few minutes of freedom to grab codex pages without having to battle guards or pay for a distraction from the prostitutes, thieves, or mercenaries. Also occasionally, the citizens will attack you for knocking stuff out of their hands if you don't run away, and no guards are present to ruff you up for them.
Controls/Gameplay:9.5 out of 10 Buy, Rent or Skip?
This game is most definitely a buy. It may be confusing a tad bit if you haven't played the original, but Assassin's Creed II is, in my opinion, the best sandbox-style game out there.
Leonardo Da Vinci and his Flying Contraption.
Keep watching in the next coming months as I review the two DLCs for ACII, "Bonfire of the Vanities", and "Battle of Forli". Sir Manguydude, OUT!