Assassin’s Creed II – Review (PS3)

A lot of people complained (me included) when they saw that Assassin’s Creed II was nominated for a Game Of The Year Award (among others) at the VGA’s as it has only been out a few weeks.

But anyone who has played Assassin’s Creed II will be able to tell you why it was nominated – it is indeed that good.

The first Assassin’s Creed was a good game with some nice ideas and lovely graphics but it suffered from repetitive missions and the fact you had to synchronise viewpoints to access the next section.

No such problems with the sequel as Ubisoft have taken on the feedback from the critics and fans. For example you’re a lot more free to approach missions as you want to and the viewpoints are now optional – they reveal more helpful locations on the map but they aren’t obligatory.

The story picks up with Desmond Miles after the conclusion of the first game as he escapes with Lucy Stillman from the Abstergo Industries building and finds himself in a safe house with a new Animus, delving into another set of ancestral memories.

This time you’ll be playing as Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Italy in the 1400’s. This is a glorious setting as you move between Tuscany, Florence, Venice and more. The difference in areas is apparent and they have gone to a lot of trouble to make each feel individual.

As well as the main plot missions there are a wealth of side missions and collectibles – the ones that hooked me were the Assassin’s Seals. These are objects hidden in tombs and churches that are basically climbing and exploring sections – once you get all six you can unlock Altair’s armour that is locked away in your Villa.

You can do races, collect feathers, find glynphs, beat people up and take on side assassinations among other things.

This freedom of choice means you never feel railroaded into anything and delivers a wonderful gaming experience.

It’s not without it’s problems though.

On occasions the combat and climbing mechanics are clunky and don’t respond in the way you need it to – annoying if you’ve almost climbed a huge building only to inadvertently dive down into the water instead of jumping up further.

My main complaint was the codex pages – collectables you could find and convert into extra health, weapon upgrades etc. But they are also integral to the game and you’ll need all 30 to do the final mission.

If I’d known they were that important I’d have picked them up as I went along – instead it meant before the last mission I had to go and find the last 14! Totally broke the pacing of the game/story.

But they are small problems within a hugely enjoyable gaming experience. Assassin’s Creed II is the game the first wanted to be – finally the ideas have been realised and I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Rating: 9/10

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  2. I feel bad for not playing this one yet, but its on my list. I look forward to giving it a whirl. As always great review.

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