Assassin's Creed II
Assassin's Creed II is an action, adventure, stealth, sandbox video game released in 2009 created by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows as a sequel to Assassin's Creed from 2007, the game was rereleased and remastered on The Ezio Collection for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2016.
Why It Rocks
- Great graphics for its time. Unlike the first game, the palette is much better.
- The story is still as interesting and as good as the first game.
- Ezio is a great protagonist.
- Accurate depiction of Renaissance Italy.
- The plot of Assassin's Creed pulls together a bit of The Matrix, a lot of historical fiction, and throws in elements of the madcap conspiracy theories found in a Dan Brown novel.
- Eagle vision got improved to be cleaner, making the player easier to see and can be used in both first and third person view.
- Movement speed in Assassin's Creed II has been significantly increased from the first game, enabling players to fluidly zip around the city.
- The animations are still excellent, and Ezio's body realistically adjusts to his environment as he climbs and vaults past obstacles.
- Rodrigo Borgia is a very sinister antagonist.
- The controls on PC are fully customizable.
- Amazing soundtrack made by Jesper Kyd, the same composer from its predecessor.
- After completing all the story missions in a certain area, you're given a cape that won't make your notoriety go up.
- The capes that make you permanently anonymous in an area will only take effect in that area.
- Lots to do from races, beat-up events, message deliveries, and assassinations.
- There's more variety in enemies.
- You can fast travel between cities.
- You can swim!
- A new addition to the franchise was the notoriety meter, which when caught undertaking socially unacceptable deeds, the notoriety meter in that individual city or location increase. The only way to decrease your notoriety meter is by doing one of three different things:
- Removing wanted posters, which would lower your notoriety by 25%.
- Bribing heralds, which would reduce your notoriety by 50%. (Note that you will give the herald 500 florins for this and while that may come off as a negative since this is the only method that requires money, you can pickpocket him and get your money back, but you still get notoriety.)
- Assassinating officials who gave false witness, or selected key guards, which would reduce your notoriety by 75%.
- You get to explore almost all of Italy.
- Combat has been improved where instead of just constantly spamming attack, you have to strategize in some cases since stronger enemies are more prone to counter or dodge. There are also new combat mechanics like disarming and taunting.
- There's now a currency system that the player can use at one of the many shops in the world. This includes,
- Art shops, where you can buy paintings and treasure maps.
- Tailors, where you can dye your clothing and buy pouches.
- Blacksmith, where you can buy new weapons, armor, equipment, and ammunition.
- The Doctor, where can buy medicine and poison
- You can get currency by either stealing from civilians, finding treasure chest, or from Monteriggioni.
- Speaking of Monteriggioni, it's used to store paintings, weapons, and armor, you can gain more currency by upgrading Monteriggioni.
- There are glyphs through out the world that can only be found using Eagle vision, which will unlock puzzles that were setup by Subject 16, for you to find "The Truth".
- Lots of new equipment like, smoke bombs, poison, blunt weapons, spears, and a hidden gun.
- There are 6 Assassin seals in the world, which can be found in Assassin Tombs, and when all have been acquired and placed in the right spot at Monteriggioni will unlock the armor of Altair, the strongest armor in the game.
- The voice acting is great.
- Ezio acts like a "Gary Stu" (Which is a fictional character that are always competent or treated perfect, like; there's nothing wrong) in the story. Some examples include when at the end of Sequence 12, he gets stabbed by a target he killed and didn't realize it until that person was already dead. Until the end of the game, Ezio claims that he lost too much (well, he only lost 3 family members whom he lost at the beginning of the game).
- The pacing is not very good and feels disconnected.
- The Sequence 13 is the hardest and blandest sequence in the game for various reasons.
- Some missions like memory 6 and 8 are brutally counter-intuitive.
- The majority of memories in this sequence are filler.
- Unlike Sequence 12, this sequence was originally intended to be a important role in the game, but it was scrapped and later was sold separately as a DLC, meaning it had possible reasons of Christmas rushing.
- While it looked good for its time it noticeable hasn't aged well and in some cases looks worse than its predecessor especially with the character models. This is mainly due to the ugly shading and the change in art direction. Thankfully, the shading was fixed in the remastered version.
- The strong attack and counter-grab were removed in this game and the hidden blade(s) will counter-kill every enemy attack that isn't a strong attack making it somewhat overpowered.
- Some missions were designed to be a traditional stealth game, unlike its predecessor that didn't have crouch button because it wasn't necessary. The game was originally designed to be a "Social-Stealth Game".
- Speaking of stealth, the stealth system got way worse than its predecessor, they can detect you quickly, even for 15 feet away. This is can be very frustrating when doing a mission that you cannot get detected, even assassinating an enemy and getting detected at the same time will count as a desynchronization.
- The throwing knives are also worthless since the guards will always detect you when you throw a single knife, even from behind thanks to the broken stealth system mentioned above. Even its predecessor didn't had this problem.
- Similar to the previous game, there are 100 feathers in the world, but the main problem is there's no map for them, meaning you have to find them all by yourself.
- After you collect all 100 feathers in the game you get the Auditore cape, which upon wearing it, makes you notorious in every city except Monteriggioni, making it completely useless.
- There are QTEs that pop-up during cutscenes, which can make it hard at times to enjoy the cutscenes.
- The only downside of free running is that there are moments when the camera doesn't present the best view of what's over the next rooftop. Overzealous free runners will take more damage from falling off buildings than they'll ever take from a sword.
- The PC version of the game utilizes Ubisoft's Uplay platform, which includes a digital rights management (DRM) system that initially required all users to remain connected to the Internet while playing. In the initial retail version, any progress made subsequent to the last checkpoint was lost if the Internet connection was severed. Ubisoft stated that if the disconnection was temporary, the game would pause. In addition, the company argued that there were numerous checkpoints spread throughout Assassin's Creed II. The company was also criticized by overseas members of the U.S. Armed Forces, who could not play the game while in locations with sporadic and expensive connections. Ubisoft has since published a patch to finally remove the DRM: the PC version of the Retail Edition or the Digital Deluxe Edition now requires a one-time online activation, after which the game, its activation key, and the Uplay Account will be bound together and the game can be played offline, even with the Uplay Launcher logged in offline. The game can then be activated many times on the existing or new machine and still be played offline.
- While the controls on PC are fully customizable, there's still no denying that this game was designed for a controller.