Before I start thanks to Patrice P and Nine9inche for reading, thanks for taking a look please feel free to stick around and maybe even let me know what you think...as long as you say nice things.
Our new readers are probably raising an eyebrow and this 'review' but anyone who knows this blog will know all to well that up-to date reviews are not my thing. I review games as and when I get round to completing them and there's actually quite a significant backlog of unreviewed games, so much so that reviewing this year-old game is actually 'skipping ahead'!
The reason for this is the release of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, I might do a more up to date review of that like I am (sort of) with Reach, so I thought it best to review this game first!!
Wow! Now this is a job! AC2 reveals a lot more about the wider world of the Assassin/Templar feud, though there' plenty more to be revealed, keeping me hooked on the franchise. And of course there are again two storylines - I'll start with the historical one first.
. Ezio Auditore da Firenze is the son of a wealthy banker, Giovanni, who is also an Assassin. He builds up his skills getting into fights with rival families and running away from the fathers of the beauties he seduces. When his father and brothers are betrayed and executed, Ezio flees to his uncles villa in Monterrigioni where he discovers the hidden truth and trains to become an Assassin. He travels across Italy, killing those who executed his family, and hunting the man ultimately responsible, Rodrigo Borgia, leader of the Templars in Europe. He makes a number of allies on the way, thieves, mercenaries and courtesans, many of whom are members of the order. Ezio also collects the Codex, written by Altair, which reveals the location of The Vault a secret location linked to the mysterious Pieces of Eden. After battling Rodrigo for two key pieces, the Apple and the Staff, the vault is opened and Ezio becomes the prophet, delivering a message...to Desmond Miles.
. Desmond is a modern day Assassin, descended from Ezio. He ran away from the Assassins because he thought they were crazy...then ended up getting captured by the Templars in the form of Abstergo industries. However Lucy, and Abstergo worker is also an Assassin and broke Desmond out and brought him to an Assassin hideout where they had built their own Animus. Their aim was to trigger the bleeding effect, where the abilities of the ancestor are rapidly developed in the host through prolonged exposure to the Animus. During a rest period Desmond found he could fight and free run like his ancestor. But they also found more, Subject 16, Desmond's predecessor at Abstergo had gone mad through the bleeding effect and buried secret memories and Templar history in the Animus. Desmond received a warning from Minerva, an ancient being, who warned that more than just Desmond or the Assassin's future was at stake, but maybe the whole world's.
Like the first game...but a lot better. Having recently replayed the first game it is clear how much improvement was made in the second edition. Altair's sword is slow to draw and his climbing awkward compared to his Italian descendant. The introduction of swimming has made life much better, no instant drowning even in the smallest puddle this time! There is much more variety too, rather than a set of similar investigation missions followed before each assassination there are a wide variety of missions including the main assassinations. There is plenty of optional excitement too, like Assassination Contracts giving additional targets to track and fight, Assassin Tombs, free running puzzles to solve to find out about your heritage. And also a financial system and a town to upgrade and build for more money and better weapons. There's much more than this making for exhilerating gameplay, even when you're off the beaten track.
There's a fair bit of Sci-Fi in this, things that were only really hinted at in the first game, making for very exciting stuff.
Seems Abstergo aren't the only ones who can extract genetic memories. The Assassins put together an Animus team of their own comprising Lucy, who ran the Animus at Abstergo, Rebecca and expert computer programmer and Shaun a genius and historian to provide accurate information and hints for the subject. The Assassins claim their version is much better despite their limited resources. There are also a whole bank of new Animi at Abstergo...surely for some nefarious purpose...
Those Who Came Before
At the climax of the game Ezio comes face to face with one of these people...or a hologram of one anyway. Minerva represents a group of beings who predate humanity, as to their origins she simply states that they came before. They created humans and controlled them, but humans rebelled and won with their greater numbers and also survived a catastrophic event. Minerva warned that this event might happen again, but that it might be stopped, but Desmond would need to do it as these people are long gone.
Pieces of Eden
These mysterious artifacts left by Those Who Came Before play a larger role in this game and their history and abilities are partially uncovered, though it would take a while to go into it all. Here two Pieces, the Staff and the Apple are combined to access The Vault. The pieces were originally used to control humans and still are by those who master them, only a few seem immune, such as natural born Assassins.
The Truth is a series of puzzles left by the mysterious subject 16, uncovering Templar influences throughout history and the uses of the Pieces of Eden in modern times. Once all the truth is uncovered, this amazing video plays, showing the origins of the Assassins and two curiously named individuals...
YES!!!! Oh yes and no mistake, this game is completely satisfying, get it, play it, buy the new one!!