Assassin’s Creed 2 Review

The simulation is starting and you are now a fifteenth-century assassin ready for revenge. The first game received a lot of criticism about the overall game mechanics and AI. Does the second game manage to bring the franchise up to par with expectations? Let’s take a hidden blade right to the heart of the sequel.

Good

Customization and Upgrades: This time around you get to customize your outfit and upgrade your armor and weapons. It adds a lot of incentive to the game and makes the player scurry around doing missions for more money. The mechanic adds a good sense of the economy early on and it keeps the player engaged wanting the next best piece of equipment.

Gadgets: First off we have the awesome dual blade. No longer are you tied to just a one kill scenario, you can take you foes down as fast as possible. Beyond the scope of the hidden blade we are treated to many more gadgets such as the hidden pistol, smoke bomb, throwing knives, a poison hidden blade and more. The new items add so many different ways to tackle a situation and it keeps the player satisfied.

AI: This time the AI is not as annoying. Before, in the first game, you would run by a guard and he immediately chased you. In addition you were constantly harassed by beggars on the street. In Assassin’s Creed 2, you have the option of maintaining a low profile by tearing down wanted signs, killing a corrupt official, or bribing the town’s preacher. You can literally run around and explore most of the town without getting smacked by huge annoyances.

However, the AI isn’t completely rectified. For example, some town folk run up to you and start singing a song while getting in your way. Fortunately, a little nudge usually does the trick, but there is one more flaw that can get on your nerves a bit. Although the guards’ AI is much more refined, they will constantly get in your way on roof tops. They give you a bit of time before they chase you, but it can get rather annoying at times when you are just trying to get from point A to point B and happened to stand in one spot for too long.

No Fear of Drowning: That’s right you can actually swim! In fact Venice engages players to cannon ball right into the water.

The Hired Help: You can hire bandits, prostitutes, and mercenaries to help you complete a certain task. In most cases this helps you avoid fighting so you can save time and sneak past those pesky guards. In addition, you can literally just throw coins on the ground and people will run at your money and cause a distraction. This is a great feature considering you won’t always find the marker you are looking for at every location.

Character Progression and Voice Work: You get a real sense of attachment to Ezio and his family. In addition, every single character is voiced very well.

Mission Variation: The original Assassin’s Creed suffered from repetitive missions that got tiresome after sometime. Assassin’s Creed 2 switches things up quite a bit more and keeps the player interested. No longer does each mission boil down a simple assassination.

Bad

No Graphic Improvements: Don’t get me wrong the graphics are pretty good, but they are about the same compared to the first game. In fact, they do not support Dx10 or DX10.1. However, this isn’t a big deal since the devs only used it for some minor effects in the previous game. Still, the Assassin’s Creed 2 was late on the PC and it would have been nice to have a bit more refinements and support for advanced graphical enhancements. In addition, you will notice that town areas are beautifully detailed, but once you take your horse out for a ride the environment looks terrible. You will notice grass popping in, low detailed textures, and unappealing terrain. Simply put the areas beyond the scope of the town are severely lacking.

Game Mechanics: You would think that they would improve the overall movement and fighting system from the first game, but it is still a bit of a complicated mess. If you are new to Assassin’s Creed you might find yourself fumbling with the controls a lot at first. Eventually you do get used to them, but it may take a while depending on your learning curve.

Story: I admit the overall theme is better than the first game. The story inside of the simulation itself is pretty good. As mentioned before, you grow attached to Ezio and the other characters in the game. However, the main story arch is based on some pretty crazy events. If you haven’t played the first game it may be a bit difficult to grasp the scope of what’s happening.

The Ending: There is a bit of a twist at the end, which was nice. I won’t spoil anything, but unfortunately, the boss fight was equally as annoying as the boss fight from the first game.

DRM: If you aren’t a fan of UBI’s online only plan, then you might want to avoid this title.

Conclusion

Assassin’s Creed 2 is a major improvement over the first game. It adds more gadgets, weapons, armor, and style. The player gets a much better feeling of progression in the sequel. Also, each area has its own unique look and the player gets a better contrast between each area as a result. Unfortunately, PC gamers had to wait a bit longer and there aren’t too many graphical improvements over the first game. However, the game’s flaws are overshadowed by some awesome missions and an engaging subplot surrounding Ezio and his assassin friends.

Assassin’s Creed 2 Review by FacTor-X