(http://assassinscreed.us.ubi.com/assassins-creed-2/For Mature Audiences 17 and over.  The ambitious sequel to the original series: Assassin’s Creed, returns as one of the most anticipated games of 2009. In this historical meets science fiction action-adventure, you assume the role of Desmond Miles, a man from the future.  Desmond will travels back in time to the Italian Renaissance Era as Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a 16th century nobleman turned assassin to recover an epic secret that can alter the course of history.  This title is available now on both Xbox 360 and PS3. The PC version will be available early next year set to release on March 16th, 2010.

(http://assassinscreed.us.ubi.com/assassins-creed-2/For Mature Audiences 17 and over.  The ambitious sequel to the original series: Assassin’s Creed, returns as one of the most anticipated games of 2009. In this historical meets science fiction action-adventure, you assume the role of Desmond Miles, a man from the future.  Desmond will travels back in time to the Italian Renaissance Era as Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a 16th century nobleman turned assassin to recover an epic secret that can alter the course of history.  This title is available now on both Xbox 360 and PS3. The PC version will be available early next year set to release on March 16th, 2010.

  

Presentation:

Being in the crowded Renaissance Italy, Ezio can jump from roof to roof, pick pocket, or even prey and assassinate targets throughout the game. However, aside from roaming aimlessly throughout Italy, there is an epic adventure to follow even though at times it may seem a bit slow to pick up especially in the beginning of the game. The tale itself makes many historical Christian-Judo references, something that fans of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ will definitely appreciate. You will interact with famous characters in history such as Leonardo Da Vinci, or Pope Alexander VI.   Instead of revolving around the Holy Grail, Assassin’s Creed centers itself on the Garden of Eden.

  

Graphics:

One highly notable feature of the game is the graphics.  They are truly amazing especially the masterpiece landscapes of Florence, Italy.   Having visited these and seen these historical places and landmarks in person, to see a recreated rendition of the world in the 16th century is definitely a treat.  Another notable graphical feature is the astrological number of places in the environment that Ezio can interact with and grab onto in the in game world.  It is apparent that a lot of detail was put into the game.  For example, when Enzio performs a climbing motion each limb movement matches to a protruding brick 100% during the climb of a brick building.  These little details really make the game a great sight during gameplay. 

          

Gameplay:

The word on the street is that the developers had put in quite a bit of effort into improving the flow of gameplay whether it is combat or platforming.  Still, how well the improvements are implemented is somewhat questionable.  The platforming sequences are extremely fluid with the use of an automatic action system where the player only needs to hold down a button to perform a series of truly breathtaking platforming actions.  However, this sometimes causes the player to accidentally jump off doing other unintended motions.  The seemingly overlapped combat sequences are extremely beautiful again.  With all new combat system packed with an abundant amount of offensive, defensive and brutal disarm assassination moves, every fight is a visual work of art.  With the complex amount of combat actions, the controls can result into undesired actions at times which are a small gameplay downfall. On the improvement side of things, the ability to swim has been added; also playing in eagle vision to easily identify objects of interest; and a notoriety system that determines how soon the guards will notice you, similar to the “wanted level” in Grand Theft Auto series.

  

Sound:

The soundtrack of the game is top notch.  The man behind and responsible for this goodness is none other than Jesper Kyd.  Jesper has done the previous scores of games such as the Hitman series, and the original Assasin’s Creed title.  Kyd’s music captures the dynamics and the intensity of this sequel.  This is especially true with his “Venice Escape” musical sequence.  He makes running along the rooftops of Italy to flee from guards/attackers a truly immersive experience.  He brings the player a feeling of desperation and cry for help as he/she navigates through Italy to escape harms way.  Aside from the music, the sound effects compliment the experience as well.  From the realistic sounds of the crowded streets of Florence, to the voices of NPCs as they walk through the streets of Florence going about their own business gives the game a great sense of realism.

          

Longevity:

This time around, the game is introduced more as an open world environment experience with merchants on the streets available to Ezio.  You will be able to go to Blacksmiths to upgrade you armor and gain access to a plethora collection of 16th century weaponry.  If the classic white robe is beginning to look a bit plain pay a visit to the local tailor to get your outfit remade in another shade of color.  The most notable change in this sequel is the added city management feature to the game.  As you advance through the game, you will eventually unlock the ability to manage and run your city, much like a Sim City.  You will have the ability to upgrade the appearance and facilities of your city to gain income to purchase new equipment for Ezio or further improve your city my reinvesting the money into your city.

  

Conclusion:

Assassin’s Creed is truly a masterpiece, coming back in full force for its sequel.  Everything about it from the sound, graphics, to the presentation of this game is a great improvement from the original title addressing many of the issues that needed work from the already successful original series.  The newly added customizable armors and weapons are a great addition to the game.  This gives the player a new sense of character treatment as well as a new look and feel to the game.  Although the controls can be a bit frustrating at times especially during the overly fluid platforming sequences, these problems can quickly be overlooked as the player gets acquainted with the controls.  I would definitely recommend this title to any fans of the original game as well as players that love the open world environment type of games.  I anticipate this title to be a big hit this holiday season and a game that will go down in the books as a must play title for any serious or mild gamer.

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