Assassin’s Creed II Master Assassin’s Edition Review: A New Life, A New Creed, A New Beginning

Assassin's Creed II Review: A New Life, A New Creed, A New Beginning

Come from the rooftops, steadfastly swift direction at night, let your blades be the serene guide. As an assassin you will learn: truth is written in blood. Assassin’s Creed I abashed players worldwide by allowing them to explore the political depth of war and intrigue through the eyes Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, an assassin dedicated to a group interested in shifting the pace of The Crusades in a war against the Christian Orthodox Templars. Unfortunately, repetitive gameplay combined with a poor set of voice acting contributed to the fall of Assassin’s Creed I as a mediocre title with no variety. Ubisoft is marked with unfaltering dedication and persevering power when it comes to Assassin’s Creed II. Assassin’s Creed II completely alters the perception of the prequel, providing stunning gameplay, brilliant voice acting, and most importantly than the former: a medley of variety that is badly needed for any game to be a success. Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II heralds a vivacity unseen of the Assassin’s Creed saga, and pronounces an unwavering view of the life and struggle of what it takes to defend the honor of family in Renaissance Italy.

Assassin's Creed II Review: A New Life, A New Creed, A New Beginning

Assassin’s Creed II begins the epic story in 15th century Florence, Italy and introduces Ezio Auditore da Firenze as a suave and charming charming protagonist in a fight against nobles of the Pazzi Family. Ezio is a young Florentine nobleman who is both a ladies’ man and a charismatic character unlike Altaïr. Ezio is wealthy, has a father that is apparently a Banker, and a brother that he always engages with in friendly competition as life keeps looking at him in the eyes with a flare. After a grand conspiracy shatters this vision, Ezio sets out on a revengeful path and metamorphoses into an Assassin by utilizing the innate Auditore fighting style abilities he had since he first kicked his feet after being born.  Along the way, Ezio meets various friends who include very prominent figures such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci. The level of depth to Ezio Auditore da Firenze is undeniably more approachable than the reclusive Altaïr, which provides for more contrast in the storyline and the conception to a grand beginning. Ezio has to change not only emotionally but also physically in his fighting style to protect his family as the entire Florentine officials try and hunt him down. The storyline has more uniqueness, and provides room for a level of sympathy from the audience to really allow them to become connected with the idiosyncrasies character and consequently the harrowing storyline.

Gameplay presents an extraordinary detail as Assassin’s Creed II comes with more variety and profundity due to more missions, and various enhancements to the city of Florence, Italy. Assassin’s Creed II rids itself of the repetitive nature of gameplay, which has seen an extraordinary change since Assassin’s Creed I. With more than 20 mission types, Assassin’s Creed II heralds a new form of a mission structure for Ezio to take part in. Looting and pick pocketing missions have been entirely removed and various mission types are related to side quests that take a part in the story-arc in general. Missions provide the corridor to an exciting gameplay adventure and allow core gameplay features to be fully realized. What Assassin’s Creed I lacked, Assassin’s Creed II delivers on with mission mechanics.

Assassin's Creed II Review: A New Life, A New Creed, A New Beginning

Along Ezio’s journey in Assassin’s Creed II, players will find themselves aided by famous Renaissance figures, most noticeably Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolò Machiavelli. Some few interesting characters make reappearances, and provide an interesting plot dynamic and enthusiasm for engaging with characters and not being the lone wolf skipping from rooftop to rooftop. The various friends players come across give Ezio an affability that is admired and a storyline that is more intriguing than just plain and mediocre.

Assassin’s Creed II leads the gameplay facet of a notoriety system, allowing Ezio to become recognized and for the environment to dynamically change response around him.  A high notoriety makes the consciousness of civilians and guards increasingly vigilant of Ezio’s movements. Dividing the notoriety comes between different cities, so the player can gain a sense of dynamic gameplay that aids in the change of day to day life. Affecting notoriety comes intertwined with the realistic gameplay mission style: Ezio kills informants and good people for bad thugs in turn leads to the notoriety increasing. Should he do good things for a lot of people, notoriety drops and Ezio becomes the lively town prince that he is presented as to his close friends. To aid the change in life, the gameplay further adds a day/night system, which is not scripted anymore. A day and night system in Assassin’s Creed II presents a level of continuity and realism that the living world badly lacks in the previous iteration. A notoriety system combined with a day/night cycle gives Assassin’s Creed II substance that is both exhilarating and revitalizing.

Assassin's Creed II Review: A New Life, A New Creed, A New Beginning

Combat mechanics are fluid and furthermore have a level of electric progression both emotionally and physically with Ezio’s character in Assassin’s Creed II. As the storyline increases, and the proficiency gets more and more difficult with enemy A.I., Ezio learns to adapt. The subtle changes from the way he wields his sword, to the way he sends enemies catapulting into the water to drown change as he embraces more of his inner assassin as the gameplay carries on. Various attacks are different and come in the same style as the first title: punch, grab, knee, and throw are made of variations with the right trigger button, and have nuances to them that are simplistic but also varied. In terms of combat weaponry, Ezio gains access to various weapons, which work on an upgrade system with shops or the ability to scavenge them off of defeated enemies. Most prominent in amazing feats of weaponry includes Ezio and his two hidden blades beneath his gauntlets and also a gun below his left hidden blade. In addition to normal weapons, certain allies or friends will be able to give Ezio special devices that allow him to complete certain missions or use it to traverse around the huge landscape, making a major addition to Assassin’s Creed II and weapon variety. With over 45 kinds of new weapons, Ezio will be sure to get the target but also be more fashionable to the sense of action in Assassin’s Creed II. The additional new system for upgrading and acquiring weapons provides flexibility to the world that really gives the free-roam scale meaning and every weapon more powerful than before.

Assassin's Creed II Review: A New Life, A New Creed, A New Beginning

A newer conception leads to more depth in the interaction of the combat with the environment  and an introduction to monetary reward for engaging with enemies, both sorely lacking with Assassin’s Creed I. After killing an enemy in the previous title, the protagonist would simply run away for cover into a group of monks as an outdated and extremely repetitive factor or tried to climb away at buildings in a faster pace, rarely escaping enemies in the process. Assassin’s Creed II allows players to furtively loot the bodies of defeated foes and also steal openly in public or be stolen from, adding a whole new factor to gameplay with the monetary system of Italy. Ezio is able to use money to heal himself from street doctors as a new element to gameplay, and uses money for bribes  to local courtesans for various reasons to be seen throughout the variety of mission structure. The monetary system follows closely behind the weapons upgrade cache to enable players to use the already well established upgrade system for different kinds of weapons, allowing the character to feel play a part with the economic community rather than just social and political influences of the 15th century. While enemies are degraded after a humilating loss, Ezio can also use stealth tactics to hide the bodies in various ways that are increasingly surprising throughout the game. The more in-depth combat within Assassin’s Creed II creates a stunning compliment to include stealth based tactics and an introduction to a monetary system that engages the culture of 15th century Venice, Italy.

With combat comes greater enemies and A.I. talent. Assassin’s Creed II lives up to provide challenging enemies but also logical enemies that do not make it impossible for you to escape into the crowd. Ezio encounters heavily geared swordsman, to halberdiers, civilians and plain enemies in the crowd from a notorious family. While enemy A.I. is talented, they still slightly lack in a sense of believability. Sometimes as Ezio navigates through a path, an enemy will notice him from too far away and reclaim how he looks so familiar, and then all of a sudden everyone starts chasing him. There is no strong sense of believability in the approach, which makes the enemy A.I. seem at times unpersuasive as a whole. Assassin’s Creed II provides enemy A.I. who are mostly intelligent in their tactics and more skilled at fighting and approaching an assassin than ever before even if they are not very realistic.

Assassin's Creed II Review: A New Life, A New Creed, A New Beginning

Assassin’s Creed II has a more dynamic music system and does not start scripted anytime something awkward happens.  The Florentine culture and music is included with every note, and does not ruin the temperament of the music by feeling overly action intense. Most of the music is calm, and the brilliant part about the musical integration lies with music being played amongst the crowd in the environment itself, making the environment even more lively than before and showing the culture of the entire game. Custom soundtracks can still be used, but this creates an interesting blend between music and in-game music of Florentine culture that revolves around flute compositions that convey 15th century Florentine culture that combines for a baroque inspiration that is brightly conveyed with the amazingly detailed environments. Music in Assassin’s Creed II is lively, entertaining, and most of all appropriate this time around to the culture of the surroundings.

Assassin's Creed II Review: A New Life, A New Creed, A New Beginning

Climb the rooftops, drop down from the sky, or just swim in the sea; everything is presumptive in Assassin’s Creed II. Ezio is an assassin that changes with the struggle he has to endure, and provides an invigorating glimpse into what it truly means to rise to the occasion for the first time. With powerful weapon selection, an incredible variety in mission gameplay, inspiring cutscenes for a deeper storyline plot than ever before, and a living and believable environment in the world of Renaissance Italy, Assassin’s Creed II gives players a trek they will not tire to experience multiple times. Grab some hidden blades and ensconce with undulating robes of renaissance Florentine culture: it is time to live life by the way of Ezio Auditore da Firenze and relive the Assassin’s Creed on an unprecedented scale.

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