I played the first installment of the game and while it boasts some really original concepts when it was released, it was very flat in terms of gameplay in my opinion. Now with the release of Assassin’s Creed II, it is as if the developers took their beloved gem and spent 2 years to bring it to a pristine shine.
I was very surprised by the sheer amount of improvements that Ubisoft have put into this sequel. It nearly made the first part a mere technical demo in what could have became a truly great game in the years ahead. Assassin’s Creed II is no exception. It is extremely rare to find a game in which they look back at the roots of their foundations, strengthened it and at the same time, expand beyond expectations.
Assassin’s Creed II takes place in the Medieval period. Flashforward hundreds of years past the histories in which you played Altair in the first game, this time, you play a young, coming of age, in-training assassin, Ezio Auditore. In a blink of an eye, he saw the destruction of his family that reeks of traitors who were responsible for their demise and conspiracies in which the family is involved unknowingly. The game progresses along with you controlling Ezio and slowly acclimitizing to the fact that his family belongs to a line of assassin’s and being the only male successor, he was forced to take his father’s role and swore vengence upon those who wrought the destruction of his family.
I haven’t played the entire game yet, but my first impression was the story was very compelling right at the begining. Ezio is alikeable character and Ubisoft has take a great direction in introducing a believable cast of characters this time round. By doing so, you immediately feel connected to Ezio and his family and you feel compelled to play through the game to see how it unfolds. Ezio’s boyish, playboy background is refreshing and it’s a fantastic journey throughout the time I have spent playing and seeing Ezio slowly maturing and learning the ways of an assassin.
Voice work is superb. Renaissance age in the 15th century taking place right at the heart of Italy surely demands some superb and belieavable voice over work with authentic Italian accents and Ubisoft invested heavily in this. Highly original voice work and its great to hear lengthy Italian phrases mixed in with the English dialogue. This major addition further adds to the atmosphere of rich renaissance culture.
I will be posting a short review and talk about other aspects of the game once I complete the core gameplay story. In the meantime, Ubisoft have produced an excellent 30 minute video prologue of the game. Those who are curious about the game should watch this short clip. Shot by real life actors in real life settings, most of the characters are eventually in the game. Acting and production values are superb.