Assassin’s Creed 2: Veni. Vidi. Ezio?

Have you ever wanted to learn a foreign language but just don’t have the time? Well, do I have a game for you. It’s called Assassin’s Creed 2, and you’ll learn the beautiful language of Italian. Ever wanted to learn how to say “bastard” in Italian? Or how to solicit a woman? Simply turn the subtitles on, and let the learning begin.

In all seriousness, Assassin’s Creed 2 is a mixed bag. On one hand, you’re an assassin, which is only trumped by werewolves, pirates, and ninjas on the cool meter. On the other hand, the game continually puts you in situations where you not only don’t feel cool, you feel like a damn moron running around in a cape. And if you’ve ever run around in public while wearing a cape, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Like the first Assassin’s Creed, this game is about two things: killing and parcour, or as the game calls it “free running”, but come on? Who are you trying to kid? You jump off buildings, you hang on to ledges, you swing from chandeliers all in an effort to not be seen so you can make that kill and bathe in the blood of your enemies. In theory, of course.

In reality, for some reason, the developers decided to take the stealth out of the stealth killing for a lot of the game. Without giving away any plot, you are presented during the first 1/3 of the game with exactly one (1) opportunity to kill your target stealthily like the cold hearted, uno che va in culo a sua madre that you are. It takes hours of gameplay until you actually SNEAK UP on your target. The next few targets after aforementioned Oblivious Deadman know you’re coming and you get forced into the game’s mediocre combat system in order to kill them, which is far less satisfying than knifing someone with that sweet wrist blade of yours.

Which brings me to my next point: for the most part, the developers did a great job expanding the assassin’s arsenal this time around. From smoke bombs and poisons, to mauls and maces, to throwing knives and even bullets, Ezio is armed to the teeth. What makes this cool is that the weapons are purchasable and upgradable, although honestly I didn’t really feel that much of a difference from an upgraded weapon to the regular. The different weapon types, however, feel very different—a staff or battle axe move way differently than a sword or knife, which is a good thing. The armor upgrade system feels much more realized, although (without giving too much away) if you do a side quest, you get the best armor in the game free of charge, so it kind of nullifies the whole buying armor merda.

Are you picking up on the Italian yet, folks? Bene!

Speaking of side quests, I think Assassin’s Creed 2 is one of the few games where I actually spent time doing the side missions. This is because these missions actually offer you tangible rewards for their completion. I even did a “find all the statues” search and collect quest, which usually makes me want to gauge my eyes out, but I was short on money, and each pair netted me 2000 florins. 2000 florins was a lot of money back in Ezio’s poor days, when he would do anything for money. It wasn’t a pretty point in Ezio’s life. Let’s just say there’s a reason why that hood covers his face.

As far as the currency system goes, though, the developers made an interesting choice. You can upgrade your villa, which earns a revenue equivalent to a percent of its net worth every 20 minutes. The catch is, you have to travel all the way back to your villa to collect it. Now, this is A) one of the most annoying things in the game and B) the only way the developers could have implemented this revenue system without breaking the game’s economy entirely. See, I, like many fiscally intelligent gamers, invested a lot in my villa right off, and by halfway through the game, I was earning 10,000 florins every 20 minutes, which is a good chunk of money. But I was exceedingly far away, and usually I wanted to go from mission to mission without stopping to visit Ezio’s annoying sister (that testa de merda). So I just let my money accumulate. If the gold was deposited automatically into your account (ala Fable 2) there would be no point in any of the shops, as you basically would have enough money to buy anything in the game whenever you want.

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Assassin’s Creed 2: Let the Hate-lympics Begin!

I think I should preface this review by saying that the first Assassin’s Creed WAS NOT A GOOD GAME!! It was extremely repetitive, ridiculously easy and lacked a real story. Not to mention the story that did exist revolved around the Templar Knights. Can you say “gigantic gimmick?”

So Assassin’s Creed 2 is much better than the first in that–OH WAIT, no it isn’t. The only thing I would say is better is that Ezio’s life actually has things happen, instead of just being full of random assassinations. This also made the game slightly less repetitive. Missions became a bit more interesting when I knew why I was doing them. The problem is that those very missions were still pretty much the same. They tried to remedy this by changing a number of things.

One addition was missions where you lead a small group of soldiers to various places and they fight with you. I think this is a relatively stupid choice because the title of the game is ASSASSIN’S creed and not Big Stupid Brute Carrying a Large Dong-Shaped Sword’s Creed. You don’t even have to fight in many cases. I just stood back and went to go make a sandwich, while they killed all the guards (I really did do that). The sweaty losers at Ubisoft also added vehicle missions. While typing that, I coughed and said, “gimmick” at the same time. It was impressive. I didn’t have a single shred of anything even resembling fun on those missions. They were annoying and I died more than two times on all of them.

Speaking of dying, I never once died in combat. I’ll get to that later. Almost every time I died, it was due to the free running system being significantly worse in this game. It was like watching Saved By the Bell for years and then watching The College Years. I was left with a furrowed brow and a deep hatred for sequels. While Altair can only jump slightly longer distances than a normal human, Ezio can jump 30 feet. Apparently, he was raised in Kenya. I was constantly jumping too far, or thinking I could make a really long jump, but I always found that “No one’s ever made the first jump” was an appropriate Matrix quote. Making jumps in this game requires a lot more precision. Annoying amounts of it, in some cases. It can be very unforgiving at times. That might have a lot to do with the immense amount of glitches I ran into though.

Two reviews. Two pictures of Keanu Reeves? I might be a bit gay.

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Guest Review! Assassin’s Creed 2: Buono Gioco!

Spike TV gave Assassin’s Creed 2 its action adventure game of the year award for a good reason. With several improvements over its predecessor, AC2 is one of my favorite games of the year. The brutality mixed with subtle humor appeals to my inner demon, but I did grow up on Aliens and Police Academy.

Graphics:

First off, the graphical improvement in AC2 is apparent when the player is given a recap of the previous game using footage from the prequel. I didn’t really think the graphics of the original were Miss USA potential but more like little Miss Arkansas. In AC2, faces and outfits are well detailed on the main characters and slightly less detailed on minor characters since they obviously don’t matter as much as the whorehouse nun. Buildings and scenery look beautiful up close and at a distance as you can see across entire cities from high points. The quality graphics make this game easy to watch and play.

Story:

The story is entertaining but the real gems are in the secrets that the game hides inside its glyph puzzles. Pictures will have secret messages inside them that aren’t mandatory to solve but shed some light on the history of the Templars and Assassins and the historical figures that pledged allegiance to either side. I found myself becoming engrossed in the games subplots, sometimes finding that my jaw dropped by its own accord.

Gameplay:

Even though the player has to simply hold a trigger and a button to climb buildings like a badass, it is still a pleasure to scale the highest towers to get to the viewpoints that clear the fog on the city map then jump off into a wagon full of hay.

The combat system is elegant and brutal. Button mashers need not apply since the combat requires the player to time enemy attacks and counter them. The animations on counter kills are brutal, ranging from throat slits to impaling both eye sockets with the assassin’s hidden blades. With many weapons new to the series the combat never gets old. My favorite animations come from using the dagger. Watching my character slit a throat and turn to the next guy like nothing just happened screams badass.

The good: Fun to play, easy on the eyes, pretty good story.

The bad: The brutality of the combat is good for me but may not be for everyone, namely girls and babies or, as I like to call them, Wii owners.

The Verdict: If you enjoy action adventure games, a good plot, and don’t mind a little blood Assassin’s Creed 2 is the game for you.

Guest review written by Malonish

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