"My name is Desmond Miles. I'm a prisoner of war ... a war I never knew existed, waged by two groups I never thought were real - Templars and Assassins."
At the end of Assassin's Creed we left Desmond Miles still in the hands of Abstergo, a rescue attempt having failed. His time in the Animus has also had a strange effect on him, it has enabled him to use the "eagle vision" that his ancestor Altair had used and as he watches Dr Warren Vidic and his assistant Lucy Stillman walk away Vidic has a red aura - enemies show in red.
Desmond must try to escape from Asbergo before they decide he is of no further use to them (like his 16 predecessors), but before be can think of what to do Lucy returns and puts him back into the animus and we witness the birth of Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. Ezio will be Desmond's new animus alter-ego, and Renaissance Italy will be his play-ground.
One of the best things about the AC games, for me, is the freedom-to-roam game play. You play the game at your pace and you can travel anywhere within the map (providing you have completed the necessary steps to open the area).
There are a number of mini side games - all available as you:
- villa statues - first of the collectables - collect all eight and place on their stands to receive hidden treasure along with a trophy "myth maker"
- glyphs - find the glyphs, solve the puzzles and discover what subject 16 left behind
- feathers - collect all 100 feathers and receive a special gift from Ezio's mother (if you collect and return more than 50 feathers you will receive a gift from Ezio's uncle)
- codex pages - to see what Altar did once he had the apple of eden
- seals - raid the Assassin's tombs and recover the 6 seals to get Altair's armour.
- paintings - purchase the latest and famous artworks and decorate the Villa Monteriggioni
- collect all the treasures and gain a trophy
There are many trophies to collect, for example "street cleaner" hide bodies in the piles of hay, and so on, and after a while you will receive the "street cleaner" trophy. Some of these trophies are automatic (you get them for completing a chapter of Ezio's life), some are easier to discover than others. I doubt I have discovered them all.
The controls are extremely natural to use (I'm a beginner at this game playing so the controls had to be easy to handle and they were).
With the "Platinum Edition" you receive the downloadable areas (DLC) as standard on the disc, meaning that you can use them without having to spend the extra money for a download. These are: "Battle for Forli", "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "Templar Lairs".
Remember to repair "Monteriggioni" to increase Ezio's income and allow him to purchase upgrades for armour and weaponry faster, as well as throwing coins to distract enemies, and bribe heralds. You need to return to the Villa and speak to Claudia in order to get your income and this can be a bit-of-a-bind when you are doing something else and keep getting the on-screen reminders that your income has reached the maximum.
When I played the Resident Evil games (on the Wii and more recently on PS3) I didn't think any other game franchise would be able to captivate me as much - that was until I started playing Assassin's Creed. Once I started playing AC I was hooked, not just by the game play but by the story too.
Assassin's Creed 2 has taken that further than I thought possible. I like the new avatar character of Ezio and the Renaissance period. I know an amount that period and it is interesting to see how they have linked it all together.
It is a superb game. One that has built on AC with both game play and story rather than regurgitating the same game play, or completely altering the game play that it is known for.
I am a big fan of the Assassin's Creed games and am 100% pleased with the second instalment in the series. As you most probably are aware, it is a direct sequel to the first game and continues where the first one left off. It continues the story of the war between the Assassins and the Templars who have been fighting a long and secret war for ancient artefacts known as Pieces of Eden. The story still takes place between two time periods which are the present (2012) and a distant period in history through the use of a new version of the Animus, the Animus 2 point oh.
This time around the historical period and main Assassin hero/protagonist has changed, and you experience the story of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an Assassin during the 15th century Italian Renaissance. In the current day, the story still continues with Desmond Miles who uses the new Animus 2.0 to relive Ezio's memories.
I'm not going to spoil the story too much since it is best discovered by you playing the game. Having played the first game in the series which had the main problem of being unbelievably repetitive, Assassin's Creed II was surprisingly refreshing and much had been improved upon. The game has a lot more variety to it and it doesn't ever feel like you are doing the same tasks over and over again. I found the story to be much stronger this time round, and the player will feel more connections with the protagonist. Everything about the game from its gameplay, settings, as well as beautiful music (composed by Jesper Kyd) just combined for one of the best Assassin's Creed experiences around. The music and settings just complemented the story even further. I cared about what was going on in the story.
If you play one Assassin's Creed game then getting used to the gameplay and controls of the others will be easy and of second nature. That doesn't mean that all of them are the same, and therefore nothing new and boring. It just means they play out in the same way but with a lot of subtle differences. In this game the controls feel more fluid and responsive, as well as being given a wider variety of gadgets and weapons to make use of. You are able to purchase weapons, armor, upgrades as well as medicine. Speaking of medicine, the health system in this game has been greatly improved upon as you can increase your health through purchasing better armor and decrypting discovered codex pages.
The varieties of this game just go on forever, such as having your own villa which you can purchase paintings for, upgrading and renovating the town of Monterrigioni in order to get more income into the villa's chest. The missions are a less linear since there are a wealth of side missions which are optional if you wish to experience them. You can carry out Assassination Contracts, explore tombs, do courier missions, take part in races and many more fun side missions. In terms of collectibles, this game has 100 feathers which are scattered throughout the locations. Collecting all of them would be tough without a guide, but very rewarding nonetheless.
I have been itching to purchase and play Assassin's Creed II for a long time and recently, I finally decided to buy it. I'm so glad to have experienced such a fantastic game as this and will look forward to experiencing all the subsequent games in the series. However, I will have to purchase the Complete Edition or the Game of the Year Edition of this game, because I am reviewing the initial standalone edition of the game which isn't complete with extras like 3 Templar Secret Locations and additional sequences.
This game is well worth your time and money since it is fantastic and since it's over three years old at the time of this review, you can probably pick up a new copy for a very cheap price. I got my one for under £10 which to me was jaw dropping. Give it a go, that is after you have played the first game in the series.
With the Game of the Year edition, you get all the additional features that an AC fan would definitely want to experience. These features are not in the standard edition of the game and buying this version will give you all of the additional content such as DLCs and Templar secret locations to explore. Since, at the time of this review the game has been out for over three and a half years you can even get the Game of the Year edition with all the additional content sometimes cheaper than the standard game without the extras.
The extras include extra sequences that are Sequence 12 (Battle of Forli) and Sequence 13 (Bonfire of the Vanities) which give you a few more hours of plain awesomeness and do chip in to the story gap which you would notice without these sequences since after Sequence 11, it jumps straight to Sequence 14. There are also three Templar Secret Locations to explore which are Arsenal Shipyard, Palazzo Medici, and Santa Maria Dei Frari. I didn't find these locations to be anything spectacular but they give you extra places to explore and to loot more chests to obtain a decent amount of florins.
With everything said about the main game, as well as the extra content, you should purchase this version since I made the mistake of buying the standalone game first, and then ended up wasting more money on this version in order to play the additional content.
More suitable for younger teens because of the violence level, very educational content also. My son is only 12 and I was looking for a game which differed from most others in the Death tolls, although there is violent content it goes as part of the story as against the mindless killings which take part in other games.