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Assassin's Creed II (PlayStation 3)

91
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Big John WV (25282)
Written on  :  Dec 19, 2009
Platform  :  PlayStation 3
Rating  :  4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars4.29 Stars

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Summary

Become a Master Assassin!

The Good

To start off I never played the first Assassin's Creed, but I know the basic premise of it, in the not too distant future a man is taken to a secret facility, put into a machine that lets him relive his ancient relatives life through their eyes and discover their secrets and find things that can change the course of mankind. This game is the same way, picking up where the last left off, but this time being rescued by the order of the Assassin's and put into their own version of the "Animus" and relive another relative's life in 15th century Italy by the name of Ezio and discover another dark secret that can change the course of mankind.

The game's story itself is very well written, with a great cast of characters and voices and a nice alternate take of actual people that actually existed, some of which I'm sure will piss off people in the Vatican and other people of the Christian faith, but still the game is just a fantasy and shouldn't be taken seriously. The script has it's moments as well including some very subtle humour, some of which includes Ezio's mother at the beginning and a little homage of sorts to Nintendo's mascot, Mario, whether intentional or not.

The graphics are gorgeous too, with large open areas, bright colors and gritty backgrounds really makes the game shine, plus all the spurting blood when you cut the artery of an enemy which adds to the realism. Even the small things stand's out such as the droplets of water dripping from you as you emerge from water or the bits of hay after you perform a leap of faith and the cutscenes are pretty well done as well. The sounds and music are impressive as well, the music really delves you into the atmosphere of the period and the sounds of the clanking swords, flesh tearing, it gives it the feel of an interactive movie.

The controls are decent and it lends to the gameplay, climbing buildings and towers, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, surveying your prey, plotting your next move and when to strike...or you can just simply run up to him and casual stab him. The openness of the assassination's give the game some replay value, while there are times where stealth is required, most of the time you can sneak up on them and be sneaky or you can just run in out of nowhere and grab them before they can react. It also helps that the arsenal of weapons at your disposal is so diverse, giving you throwing knives to dispatch archers, smoke bombs for quick escapes and even a poison filled blade which can cause some hilarity at times when watching them go berserk. There is even a pistol modification which comes in handy from time to time, but it quickly draws attention.

Not only that the A.I. is very smart, they just don't watch idly by as you massacre people, they will act accordingly. Some citizens will run in fear, others will look for nearby guards, some have even confronted me, also the guards react too in different ways. While the larger and more armored guards will stay and fight to the end some of the less than adequate guards will flee in terror when you slaughter enough of their comrades.

The Bad

While this game has so many good features to it, there are some nuisances that does somewhat detract from it. While the graphics are great, some of the character models seem a bit strange at time during the cutscenes, the teeth looks weird and their eyes always appears glaze, but luckily the acting and script keeps your mind off of it. However, the sounds can detract from it a bit, there are times where it was late when I stabbed a guard and just seconds after he fell to the ground, you then hear the sound of the sword piercing him, but this rarely happens. Though I have noticed when you are on a horse and you go across a small puddle there is no splashing sounds, likewise when you go across cobblestone it's the same sound as if it was running on dirt.

There is a bit of collision detections at times, there are times where I have been to close to an enemy on a ledge and it seems like the game glitches and has it where you can't defend yourself and once you get hit you go flying off, luckily you can grab onto anything nearby if you are luckily enough. This also works the other way around, there is times where I have trapped guards into a corner and was able to keep them from attacking me just be simply standing to close to them on an edge. Plus there has been times where it seems like the game doesn't react properly, sometimes when I hit the button to deflect a shot it acts like I didn't press it or it occurs to late and I take a hit, but I have noticed that deflects don't work on the brutes, which are these huge guys with knight armor and battle axes. For some reason you can't deflect their shots and they can take half your health with one shot....but if you are unarmed you can easily grab their axe away from them when they swing and bury it deep in their skull. That to me bothers me, if the guy is large enough to overpower when you have a sword then it shouldn't be easy to overpower him when you basically helpless.

The puzzle aspect is fun at times when you have to unlock the videos though some puzzles are very vague on what you have to do and you have to experiment, unless you are in a hurry and check out Youtube for a quick and easy answer. The collecting aspect isn't bad at times when it comes to collecting the statues around the villa, 10 or 12 if I recall and the glyphs that uncover the puzzles, 20 scattered throughout the maps, but those feathers, oh man, 100 of these small white feathers scattered through the maps which is a bitch at times. On the smaller maps they aren't bad, but at Venice...good lord, there is over 40 scattered on these huge environments and it took me 2 hours alone just for that and that was with the help of a map online. Plus it acts as though it was going to contribute something major to the story, kinda like the glyphs and the codex pages you collect, but...meh...it was disappointing that they basically did nothing but give you a cape and weapon, though it is essential to getting the required trophies.

However, there is one thing that I really didn't care for and that was the lack of replaying old missions, even when the game is complete. The only thing you can do is show the mission names and the objectives, but other than that you can't replay them. Now to me that is really detrimental to the gameplay, not only does it keep me from replaying some of my favorite missions, but it also can mess you up in case the game glitches. During my first play through, for some reason the game glitched and three story trophies didn't kick in for whatever reason, well if there was a replay option that would have been an easy fix, I mean after all I does that way with the Assassin's Tombs, I discovered one and the trophy didn't kick in and I replayed it and got it. But without the replay option for the story missions I had to start another game and it took me over four hours to get the required trophies.

The Bottom Line

In the end this is a phenomenal game, with great storytelling, character models, voice acting and environments it really stands out in the action/adventure genre of the consoles and can even be considered for a Game of the Year nomination for just about every organization out there. Not only that, but the game lends to the assumption that there will be a third game, which will be fine for me. I just rented this game and beat it within 15 hours, but that was mostly sticking to the main story and not the many side missions that lay throughout the game, but still the game has some replay value and with downloadable content coming soon, supposedly two, it may give it some more replayability. Hopefully they will keep with the same formula with the third edition and maybe even add a multiplayer option to that one, still this game is definitely worth looking at, even if you didn't care for the first.