Review: Assassin’s Creed II

01/11/2010 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Gamer | 1 Comment
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Killing fools like it’s 1482!

I’ve never played the first Assassin’s Creed (aside from a few minutes at a friend’s house), but after hearing all the accolades and all the mentions of it being a potential candidate for GOTY alongside Uncharted 2 (my personal choice) and MW2, I felt compelled to check it out. Here’s my impressions:

MAIN POSITIVE:

So what did I like about it? Obviously, its most striking aspect is the richly detailed and addictively immersive world. It’s simply absurd how gorgeous this game looks. Forget those tickets to Italy, thank you…I’ll be just fine visiting the place from right here on my couch.

And it’s not just the graphics that make running through the Renaissance streets so engrossing; Every random pedestrian I bump into, every silly antic I pull in one of the sprawling towns, they’re all met with realistic reactions from the environment. It doesn’t feel like I’m running around a world of hollow mannequins…the experience comes off genuine, a Venice, Florence, Tuscany, etc. teeming with life.

MAIN NEGATIVE:

Ok, so it all sounds great so far, right? But here’s the problem…as stunning as those streets and rooftops look, it can be a downright frustrating experience moving around in it. Ezio (the playable character) usually glides along gracefully enough, but every now and then, he’ll inexplicable decide, “Hey, I know you just want me to do a simple jump to that ledge over there, but screw you, I’m gonna run up this wall instead or jump off the roof to my death”. The controls don’t like you, and there will be moments that you’ll want to toss the sixaxis right through a wall. It’s inescapable, and a shame too, since the aggravation is enough to take you out of the moment and shatter your illusions of being a kickass assassin.

ANYTHING ELSE?

– It never gets old killing some giant meathead with his very own axe. Those kill-shot animations are so damn satisfying.

– The “follow/tail” missions desperately need to go. They’re mindnumbingly boring, overly long, and emphasize how stupid the controls can be at times.

– Combat gets very tedious after you kill the same group of guys for the bazillionth time. Yeah, I guess there are only so many ways a guard can look like, but the lack of enemy variety really puts a damper on the gameplay.

– Excellent side quest missions make full use of the beautiful work they did in designing the maps. The “Assassin Tomb” platforming sequences were a blast and especially well thought out. It took a bit of planning to traverse through them efficiently, and they’re also set up in a way to prevent control issues from interfering.

GRADE: 7/10 (looks like a Ferrari, drives like a mule)

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