Currently Playing: Assassin’s Creed II (X360)

At last, I was able to finish Assassin’s Creed II for the Xbox360. After more than a month of trying it out, I really had little time to play as much as I wanted. Anyway, the game is here and done, after playing the original Assassin’s Creed, I did expect a lot from the recent installment. I wondered where the story will go and how they used a new character named Ezio and not to continue using Altair.

The story continues immediately after the first game. If you’re a newbie in the franchise, the short intro can help which tells you that the Templars are using your character “Desmond” to use his ancestors memory “Altair” to figure out where the secret of Eden is, but the start of the game can really get confusing. You start out seeing weird symbols on the walls and you have no idea what they are, but if you’ve played the first game, you’ll know that it’s exactly the ending you saw in the first game. You start out by escaping the facility that you’ve been lying down in the first game. Trying to escape actually gives you a glimpse of the how everything will work in the new Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, which is nice to see. After you escape, you’ll meet a new team to help you through your embedded memories. This time, you’re not working for the enemy, but you’re working to help the Assassins to figure out what the Templars are planning. This time, you’re trying to access the memory of “Ezio” who is a descendant of Altair.

Let’s start with the graphics, it looks amazing. The original Assassin’s Creed still looks amazing today, but looking at the sequel, it looks great.  The city details are incredible especially when you reach a top of a building where you can synchronize which allows you to see the city. Slight problem with the details, it pops up on a certain distance. The problem is minuscule to the point that you won’t mind too much, but it is there.  Ezio’s clothes are another improvement, other than having a lot more detail than before, you can change some colors. But the colors are preset so you can’t make a full customization. I don’t see why you would do this though, I don’t even know if it really helps the character hide. Some characters have lots of detail which is impressive, but there are some important characters that seems like its not as refined as others.  Although I do have one particular serious bug with the graphics, for one point a puzzle didn’t load properly while I was activating it. Supposed to be there was a scene where a handle should show up, but it didn’t. When I reached the handle, it was like I was Superman floating in the air with arms up high. It’s a bug, not really part of the game. I never got to see the bug again though.

The controls seem more refined than it was when I played the first game. Moving around is just as good, but the improvement seems to be noticed when fighting. Fighting in the first game felt like it a tad clunky, slow but working. This time, it feels a bit more responsive but I never got the hang of targeting while I’m fighting. The new additions like hiring courtesans, thieves and fighters are great additions which I enjoyed a lot. Courtesans can distract guards, thieves does pretty much the same thing too but can run on top of buildings like you do, fighters on the other hand can fight enemies off.

I like the addition of instant travel, it makes travelling a lot faster, but then again, I miss using the horse as much as I enjoyed using it on the first game. I barely used the horse at all. I did enjoy riding the carriage but it felt rather short, I really wanted to do more missions with it. This is the same way I feel about the glider made be Leonardo Di Vinci, it felt underused. I was excited to play around it more, but it felt so short. I was surprised that the game ended without more missions using the contraptions.

The missions themselves are interesting especially during the first part of the story. It shows that Ezio is very involved in it. The problem gets in the middle of the game where Ezio doesn’t care much anymore. He just follows whatever people tell him to do. He doesn’t question, he doesn’t check if the people he talks to are real or not. It just feels so different from how you knew Ezio at the start of the game. I really wished that Ezio showed a growing personality instead of fading in the middle of it all. You can pretty much focus on the main missions in this game without bothering going to play the side missions. For some reason the first game really compelled me to complete the side missions. This on the other hand, I didn’t much care for it. Even though I was able to unlock the race, assassin and other side missions, it felt a bit too late to get me interested. Then again, there were tons of things to do, completing the city your are in, making improvements, buying paintings, looking for feathers, looking for secrets here and there.

Each time you make a crime that is seen by the public, you get notorious and posters are posted through out the city. Removing the posters and other stuff can lower your profile. The problem I have with the posters, is that, sometimes it’s placed in real awkward places like on top of a building.

The music is pretty good and interesting. Not a lot of music in the game is ear catching but there are a few tunes that is unique and nice to listen to. It has a little touch of the old game, but most of it are fresh. The characters are well voiced too, although I am getting a little tired of Nolan North using the same natural voice as his character in Uncharted “Nathan Drake”.

The game’s ending is interesting, which I actually liked it than the first. I won’t go into details, but it is better than before. The last fight is also a good reminder of what the first game was. Although I think the first game had a harder last boss than this one. I just wish there were more interesting interactions in the modern day setting like the first game. This one is a bit too rare, but good nonetheless.

At the end, you can go back and review everything, but it also gives you a hint that there are missing parts in the game. The missing parts are obviously made for you to pay up more on downloadable content. That really depends on you if you’re interested to pony up more cash for what you have paid for.

Overall, the game is impressive. You can spend lots of hours doing tons of stuff. It’s not as repetitive as the first game but it is fun. If you’re a fan of the first, this is no doubt a better game. Although I can recommend it as a rental, I think it’s good enough to keep one for your own. This is a great game that I enjoyed from start to finish.

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