This follow up to Ubisoft’s critically acclaimed Assassin’s Creed (2007), provides for a better, bloodier, and larger-than-life experience that improves on every single facet of the first game. Continuing the story of Desmond Miles, a Matrix-esque story, you jump into a virtual machine called, “The Aminus”. Here he’s able to relive the exploits of his ancestors, placing him in the middle of the never-ending war between the Templars and Assassins. This time around we are introduced to a new ancestor named Ezio Auditore. Taking place in the Italian Renaissance, we are treated to a beautiful backdrop where Desmond relives Ezio’s life in order to learn the ways of the Assassin.
The free-running mechanics are back without much change. It still feels very natural as you control your player to scale 15-story buildings. However, rather than being forced to follow a repetitive mission process, Ubisoft seemed to take a cue from games like Crackdown or Grand Theft Auto. You have your main storyline missions and several side missions that can be completed. Additionally, Ubisoft has introduced a new monetary and weapon/armor/accessories upgrade system.
The Florins you earn from missions, find in treasures, or loot off passerbys (and even dead bodies), can be used to purchase new weapons, armor, and accessories. You can also use your hard-earned cash to invest in your family’s estate.
The family estate is sort of like your headquarters or home-base. It’s where you can purchase special fighting moves and collect the estate’s earnings. The earnings are minimal, but you can upgrade shops and other properties to increase the estate’s value… generating more income for you.
If you read other reviews, you may see multiple complaints of a cliff-hanger ending. I don’t understand why there was such an uproar. The first game did the same thing, leaving players with a lot of unanswered questions. I actually think this game did a great job of setting the stage for the third installment, much like Empire Strikes Back did for Return of the Jedi.
This is definitely one of my favorite games for the holiday season and receives a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The improvements Ubisoft has made has provided for a great open-world adventure that I can see plenty of gamers enjoying. The main mission of the game provides up to 17-18 hours of gameplay, not including all of the side quests and other diversions. It holds a mature rating, so I’d be cautious of buying this for your kids.
Even if you don’t like “stealth-based” games, Assassin’s Creed doesn’t follow the strict rules like in Splinter Cell or Metal Gear. It’s more like the Bourne movie series where you can cause a ruckus and then blend in with the crowd to disappear.
Replay Value: Moderately High