In the second part of the nostalgic journey through the land called “reviewing retro games” we will visit sunny Italy. All this is due to Assassin’s Creed II , which causes jaw drop even thirteen years after its original premiere.
Assassin's Creed II is by far the BEST assassin game in the series and most likely won't change soon
Advantages and disadvantages
- Audiovisual arrangement
- A slightly lengthy story
My favorite – Assassin’s Creed II is an outstanding work
Last month, as part of the Retro Reviews series, we took a look at Pro Evolution Soccer 6 . This time we change the subject by almost one hundred and eighty degrees, and our attention must be directed to action games. Assassin’s Creed II , as the name suggests, is the second installment of the hit series about assassins. “Two” drew many conclusions from the mistakes that were made in the first part of the series and you can safely say that it is one of the best games in its field.
The above thesis is signed with both hands, because I have never concealed that Assassin’s Creed is my favorite series of action games, and the “two” in particular stands out from the competition. To delicately outline the theme and history of the series, let me introduce a few numbers.
- 12 – main games from the Assassin’s Creed series
- 15 – years on the market
- 155,000,000 – game copies sold (as of 2020)
- 1476 – the year Assassin’s Creed II takes place …
First of all, it should start with the fact that each game in the series by Ubisoft is based on a similar theme. The main theme of these titles is the fight between the Assassin brotherhood and the Templar Order . A characteristic feature of the series is, however, movement on the timeline between historical times and the present day using a machine called Animus. This is how we meet Desmond Miles , who is the main protagonist of the first few parts of the series. The Assassin, born in 1987, is a stream of many notable members of the brotherhood, and thanks to the new technology, he can recreate their memories. This is exactly where the fun begins!
In Assassin’s Creed II , the storyline is divided into two segments – the first of them takes place in modern times, where the conflict between the Assassins and Abstergo Industries (today’s Templars) begins to flare up. The second one takes us to Renaissance Italy, where we meet Ezio Auditore da Firenze . It is the young inhabitant of Florence who is the most important protagonist of the game. The plot and history at least delicately outlined? So let’s move on to the most important thing – the gameplay and what it looks like from the perspective of 2022.
Plus number one: brilliant gameplay
The game mechanics must be your first priority. I must admit at this point that Assassin’s Creed II , despite his Pesel, did not age that much . In recent years, I’ve played quite a lot of newer Assassin titles, and yet the return to “Two” was not as huge a traffic jam for me as you might think. Of course, the steering issue is different from Odyssey or Valhalla , but it’s still not a giant gulf. A few leaps of faith, successful kills and climbs of pretty Florentine buildings, and the controls are at your fingertips.
Well, the most important issue – assassinations . Above all, they are well embedded in the plot and visually brilliantly played. Each of our most important murders has a cutscene that allows you to feel the character of Ezio. But more on that a bit later …
So let’s get back to pure gameplay. The stealth system also presents itself at the highest level . Hiding among the crowd of onlookers so as not to attract the attention of the guards is one of the scenes that I remember the most. In addition, there is also the issue of efficient movement on the roofs or skillful manipulation of the character between obstacles.
All these factors contribute to the fact that to be a good player in Assassin’s Creed II , you need to be endowed with the following qualities by mother nature: patience, strategic planning and cunning . Only in the second place are the attributes that are strictly needed in action games, such as dexterity, speed of reaction and the ability to use weapons efficiently . Personally, I think this is what makes the Assassin’s Creed series so popular and well-liked. The combination of elements of a strategy game with dynamic action and, above all, the atmosphere of different eras causes an amazing experience .
Okay, stealth, but sometimes the situation forces players to take the final steps in the form of the aforementioned fight. What does it look like in Assassin’s Creed II ? First of all , the fight is very spectacular here due to Ezio’s acrobatic skills. The specially prepared “finishers”, which finish off our opponents, are also impressive. In addition, Ubisoft showed off by creating a wide list of animations that the character performs depending on what type of weapon is currently in use. On top of all this, there is also a hidden blade, which is actually the most dangerous device we can get.
Ubisoft also thought about a bit more crude players, so when playing Assassin’s Creed II , we cannot be surprised that there are often numerous hints to help in the game. In addition , the interface is also easy to use , in which we can adjust our equipment and weapons.
Plus number two: striking graphics
Now let’s admire the Renaissance Italy a bit. Ubisoft took care of the smallest detail! In the course of history, we visit not only the aforementioned Florence, but also Venice, San Gimignano, Forlì and Monteriggioni. All these places reflect the atmosphere of the 15th century not only thanks to the buildings, people and language, but also thanks to the graphics that were great at that time.
Today we look at Assassin’s Creed II from the perspective of Odyssey or Valhalla , so the pictures will not make such a shocking impression on us as they did in 2009. Nevertheless, the open world of the Italian Renaissance is breathtaking .
Recreating existing buildings such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore or the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari allows you to immerse yourself in the game to an unprecedented degree . Additionally, most of the locations are cleverly adapted to the player’s arrival. We are talking about numerous structures, ladders, protruding beams and huge chandeliers. All this makes Ezio’s agile parkour navigation extremely intuitive and uncomplicated.
The visual perception of the game is also influenced by the very surroundings of Italian cities . At this point, great applause goes to Ubisoft, who apparently took care of cooperation with historians who helped recreate not only the infrastructure, but also the fashion and technology of the time. The villagers look like peasants, the townspeople move like a townhouse, and numerous ladies of easy morals stroll the cobbled streets with pride. Tiny details such as hats, shoes or even our hero’s robes give the game a unique character. Of course, even works as outstanding as Assassin’s Creed II could not avoid funny and often frustrating bugs. However, it should be noted that for such a large open world filled with an enormous amount of detail, this is no reason to be ashamed.
In this segment, I would also like to highlight something that goes hand in hand with graphics, i.e. the audio layer . The interpenetration of English, Italian and Latin gives the game a special atmosphere. Anyone who has played Assassin’s Creed II for a while will surely know the famous “Requiescat in Pace” , which Ezio says after each important elimination.
In addition, there is also the hustle and bustle of cities with shouting shopkeepers, talking townspeople or prostitutes calling for prostitution. The fight itself is also well sounded. The skirmishes are accompanied by the sounds of a sword slicing through the air, the hitting of steel on steel, but also by the unpleasant cries of pain and death. Well… I guess that’s what an assassin game is all about!
Plus number three: great storyline
I have outlined the plot earlier, but the whole story deserves a separate segment. Of course, the main plot here is the Brotherhood of Assassins, but the number of side missions, hidden elements and logical puzzles makes Assassin's Creed II an extremely extensive production .
It is enough to mention that Ezio meets such figures as Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli or Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) on his way.. Numerous historical flavors are also hidden deeper. Additionally, the title saves the fact that it was published at a time when the slogan “political correctness” was not so common yet. This means that most of the historical facts are mapped one-to-one without any quirks or distractions that would satisfy any social group.
Returning, however, to the plot of the game – it is so wide and vivid that in 2010 and 2011 Ubisoft released two separate titles that continue the story known to us from the “two”. We are talking about Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood . These three productions make up the Ezio trilogy . In addition, Ubisoft has released several large DLCs that diversify the gameplay.
I realize that there are still many players in the world who have not yet played the second installment of the Assassin’s Creed series , so let me skip the details of the story . I will only write that among games this is one of the best and most engaging stories in which I had the opportunity to delve into.
Are there any disadvantages with us?
I thought about this section for quite a long time. I do not like to display laurels in which I would not mention at least one disadvantage of the game in question. However , hand on heart, it’s hard for me to mention the real disadvantages of Assassin’s Creed II . So I reached out to the language and checked what Internet users have objections to the game!
First of all, the slogan “too boring and long history” caught my eye . If you think about it anymore – maybe it makes sense. I am able to accept this argument as accurate, because I know that these types of games can get bored quickly. Especially when the plot comes down to killing more enemies. Okay for me (but not only that) the story is great, however it buys that caveat. Let’s move on.
Here you may not believe what I write, but people in 2009 complained that Assassin’s Creed II has… too much combat and not enough stealth! It’s scary to think what they would say, or rather they say about the newest entries in the series in the form of Origin, Odyssey or Valhalla , where the element of assassination has largely gone away in favor of a spectacular battle. After all, it was a fairly frequent objection, so I allowed myself to put it here.
Perhaps it is the power of sentiment that prevents me from seeing any serious flaws in Assassin’s Creed II even thirteen years after its premiere. There is also the option that “deuce” is simply the best game in the series. We will probably never find out about it …
Assassin’s Creed II Review – Summary
Everything, or at least most of it, so it's time to sum up a few words . First of all, I have to start with the fact that after a deeper reflection and returning to Assassin's Creed II , after a few years of break, I reiterate my opinion that this is the best game in the series .
Still, it might surprise you, but it’s not my FAVORITE game from the Ubisoft series . Number one in my heart will always be Assassin’s Creed III and the story of the Kenway Family.
This issue may be raised one day, but for now let’s devote a few more moments to the brilliant “two”. Visual setting? Masterpiece. Gameplay? Masterpiece. Plot? Breathtakingly breathtaking . I guess that’s the only way I can summarize these productions. Unfortunately, my eyesight does not notice serious flaws and minuses.
However, I hope that I will soon see a new game from the assassin series on the horizon, which is said to be already in Ubisoft’s publishing plans under the working title Assassin’s Creed Infinity . At the moment, however, the return to the roots has done me very well, so now maybe it’s time to recall the nondescript Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad?