Hello gamers and welcome to day two in week twelve of our countdown!
Freerunning Its Way Into The #44 Position…
When the first Assassin’s Creed game broke onto the scene, it got a ton of love from fans and critics. It moved more copies more quickly than anyone anticipated. The game was original and fun, but most people who loved it also admitted it had flaws; namely repetitiveness. Assassin’s Creed II filled in the gaps and diversified the game play a bit. With a rich story and immersive environment, both in the past and the present story lines, Assassin’s Creed II ended up one of the best games of the year, and arguably one of the best in the series.
A Dish Best Served Cold
Assassin’s Creed II follows protagonist Desmond Miles, whose genetic memories are being used by an evil corporation to power a machine called the Animus. These genetic memories bring the player back to Fifteenth century Renaissance Italy, and into the persona of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, whose family is betrayed; all the men of his family are falsely charged and executed for crimes against Florence. Ezio escapes the grasps of the city guards and finds a secret room in his father’s study that contains Assassin’s clothes and tools of the trade. This leads him on a journey to avenge his family, save what few members remain, and discover the ways of the Assassin.
Assassin’s Creed II diversified the gameplay in ways that enhanced and built upon the solid foundation established in the original. We got new weapons, armors, and finishers that made for a more complex system of fighting, and also gave the player more options and customization. A Notoriety System made hiding from the city guards more difficult, forcing the player to manage his level of notoriety by removing wanted posters, or by bribing or assassinating particular targets. The game contains some cameos from prominent historical figures, including Niccolo Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo in particular features prominently, and some of his inventions see use by Ezio.
The game also went further into who the Templar really are, (we learn in the first game that the Kinghts Templar are the one’s behind the evil corporation we mentioned earlier), and what their plans for the world include. Desmond, in current time, comes to terms with his ancestry and decides to help the Assassins against the Templar’s schemes. Ubisoft also released several DLCs, furthering the story and filling in parts of Ezio’s life as well as Templar/Assassin lore.
The original Assassin’s Creed get’s credit for kicking off a great franchise, but Assassin’s Creed II really felt like the series coming into it’s own. The sequel flushed out any flaws the first game contained, and went even further to solidify it’s position as a fan-favorite and what many consider to be a high water mark for the whole franchise. It’s where the Assassin’s Creed games’ greatness really felt like a sure thing. The multiple story lines were each fleshed out, and the player truly felt like they were immersed in a history that felt as real as our own. Characters are dynamic and lively, and the cities feel populated and alive as you cross their rooftops; they’re much more than a painted backdrop. It feels as though it was Assassin’s Creed II was the seed for the following games, much more so than the original.
With Assassin’s Creed: Unity coming out today, it’s fitting to go back and look at where it came from. If the original Assassin’s Creed game is the roots of this series, ACII is the strong trunk that raised the series skyward. I give Assassin’s Creed II an easy and well-earned 5 out of 5, and hope to see you on the rooftops at my side in Paris.