AS­SAS­SIN’S CREED II

Molto bene. The bel­lis­simo Ital­ian Re­nais­sance fol­low-up was so good it spawned its own tril­ogy – mag­nifico!

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - ASSASSIN’S CREED -

We can’t over­state just how im­por­tant As­sas­sin’s Creed II was for the se­ries. Not only was it a huge step up me­chan­i­cally, feel­ing in­fin­itely smoother to play than the first out­ing, it in­tro­duced a new hero – Ezio Auditore da Firenze. A suave Ital­ian dis­cov­er­ing his fam­ily’s his­tory with the As­sas­sin Or­der from the out­side in, Ezio cap­tured not only the hearts of fic­tional Ital­ian women, but also the hearts of every­one who played as him. What made it par­tic­u­larly spe­cial was you started play­ing him from birth (in an only mod­er­ately trau­matic tu­to­rial scene that taught you the con­trols by get­ting you to wig­gle your lit­tle baby legs), and – with his jour­ney con­tin­u­ing through two non­num­bered fol­low-up games, As­sas­sin’s Creed Brother­hood and As­sas­sin’s Creed Rev­e­la­tions – fin­ish­ing as he hangs up his As­sas­sin robes for good.

Re­nais­sance Italy is cap­ti­vat­ing from the very be­gin­ning. As­sas­sin’s Creed II starts off with Ezio’s bach­e­lor youth in beau­ti­ful red-roofed Florence, be­fore the young as­sas­sin takes a mur­der tour through­out dif­fer­ent re­gions of Italy, cul­mi­nat­ing in the won­der­fully canalled Venice (leap­ing from out­crop to out­crop over the wa­ters is un­for­get­table), which is fol­lowed by a quick jaunt to Rome at the end, where Ezio learns more about his As­sas­sin

“A THRILLING COM­ING-OF-AGE STORY, WITH ALL THE RIGHT DASHES OF PULPY SE­CRET PLOTS.”

lin­eage and seeks re­venge for the death of the rest of his fam­ily. And we have to give a shout-out to some of the best cos­tume de­signs for videogames out there (a strong part of the se­ries a whole). It’s a thrilling com­ing-of-age story in its own right, with all the right dashes of pulpy se­cret plots and ap­pear­ances from fa­mous his­tor­i­cal fig­ures like Leonardo da Vinci, who (of course) makes some fan­tas­tic gad­get up­grades for Ezio.

LIKE A FINE VINO

Fol­low-up As­sas­sin’s Creed Brother­hood picks up im­me­di­ately af­ter, be­ing set al­most en­tirely within the Rome of the pe­riod, as Ezio be­comes more in­grained in the As­sas­sin Or­der, ris­ing to the rank of Men­tor of the Ital­ian Brother­hood. As­sas­sin’s Creed Rev­e­la­tions fol­lows him as an older man jour­ney­ing to Con­stantino­ple to learn more about Al­taïr and un­cover his hid­den vault.

The jump from the first game to As­sas­sin’s Creed II was im­mense. Me­chan­i­cally ev­ery­thing felt smoother than ever – climb­ing build­ings no longer took an age, move­ment an­i­ma­tions felt nat­u­ral, and com­bat was much faster-paced, with more tools in your arse­nal to help out than ever. The vis­tas of Italy of­fered much more va­ri­ety than the samey cities of be­fore, and, per­haps most im­por­tantly, the story al­lowed for a lot of mis­sion vari­a­tion. No longer did it feel like you were just tick­ing off items on a check­list be­fore be­ing al­lowed to do a main as­sas­si­na­tion mis­sion. You felt you were fol­low­ing Ezio’s jour­ney, with all the twists and turns that en­tailed. And there were plenty of ex­tras, with things like hid­den tombs of­fer­ing one-off plat­form­ing chal­lenges in unique lo­ca­tions, from maze-like crypts to chases up St Peter’s Basil­ica. Ezio’s life was con­stantly ex­cit­ing, packed with fan­tas­tic ar­chi­tec­ture to park­our all over. Through­out the Ezio tril­ogy the games con­stantly re­fined this game­play un­til it was a near-per­fect rep­re­sen­ta­tion of its ini­tial premise. Some­times these sys­tems would get over­com­pli­cated, feel­ing bolted onto the pre-ex­ist­ing game un­nec­es­sar­ily, with things like craft­ing and re­cruit man­age­ment be­ing a bit too much by the time Rev­e­la­tions re­leased. But me­chan­i­cally things were silky smooth, and the story of Ezio drew to a nat­u­ral, emo­tional close. Few other games have man­aged to con­nect play­ers to a char­ac­ter so strongly over the course of a se­ries since.

FOR­MAT PS3, PS4 RE­LEASED 2009 PUB UBISOFT DEV UBISOFT MON­TREAL

Hid­den blades and swords are still in, but Ezio adds plenty more weapons to his arse­nal.

Air as­sas­si­na­tions and the dou­ble hid­den blade changed the way you stalked prey.

One of da Vinci’s real-life fly­ing ma­chine de­signs made it into the game.

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