Content of the article: "Assassin’s Creed II didn’t live up to my my hype."
Before we begin I wanna clarify this post is a personal opinion and should be treated as such. I know this game is loved and there are a lot of reasons to do so… They just didn't do it for me.
Recently I played Assassin's Creed (2007) for the very first time and I had nothing but praise for it. Part of it comes from the fact that the game has aged a lot in the eyes of the fans of the series so I was prepared for something a lot more disappointing that what I ended up playing and in part because it is a smartly designed game (and beautiful still of course)!
Jump forwards a few months and I was excited to get in the shoes of beloved main character Ezio Auditore da Firenze and excited for getting to experience one of the best games in the series! Halfway there I was well ready for it to be over and it just dragged on and on and on…
Ubisoft went for the sequel path of bigger and better but, for me, it was completely unnecessary. Where Assassin's Creed feels like a spy sci fi game with a cool conspiracy on the back of it all leading to the highest powers in the world… Assassin's Creed II is a revenge story (nothing wrong with that) that drags on for too long. The character development on Ezio is good and I love a more personal story this time around (Altair lacked a lot of personality now that I think about it) but the game is so filled with unnecessary stuff that I was overwhelmed and unimpressed the whole time. This time around, Ezio has at its disposal a lot of new weapons and tricks up its sleeve (and a new hidden blade on its literal sleeve), but now you have shops to buy stuff from. You have doctors on the street to cure yourself and buy medicine from. You can buy new weapons and new armor! Which all feels so completely pointless! It only makes me stop from time to time to replenish the stuff I need, check out if this weapons gives me +2 on attack on enemies that die in a single counter attack with the hidden blades. I didn't care about any of all that.
You have a lot more stuff to do in the world too but they are repetitive tasks spread through the city that clutters the map of the world and distracts Ezio of its very important mission of revenge. I'm not sure if I care of being the fastest there is in each city, nor do I care about delivering letters to other people. Assassin's Creed 2007 was repetitive as all hell in its mission structure of gathering information before a hit but at least everything was pushing the narrative forward, you learned why your target was evil, where was he gonna be, what where secure ways of getting in and out of the place and all that. It wasn't the best but it was brilliant! Here you just have this stuff… because. And the notoriety system is a sort of reputation mechanics that alerts the guards through out the cit of your bad deeds and to get your infamy down you can remove wanted posters, bribe people or kill witnesses, similarly like the items shops… it is just busywork that pads the game's length and feels cumbersome in my gaming momentum.
But it is not all bad. The game is extremely fun to play, the movements feel smoother, animations look all right, and the cities are so, so damn beautiful (but unused, Tuscany was heavily underused and what the hell was the point of Forli, you step by there on your way to Venice and come back for the DLC that adds nothing to the story and you never need to set foot on it again. Remove Forli I say) Venice in particular. I knew it was something special and that's why I didn't give up on the game until I reached that city. It was well worth it. It is expertly crafted in its streets, verticality and rooftop's layout. ACII took some notes from Prince of Persia and has this platforming puzzle rooms that where an absolute treat to play through, a big highlight for me, and the story, again, feels personal but takes a while to get going. Once it does it's hard to put down.
While I thought Assassin's Creed I was a fresh, if flawed, experience, Assassin's Creed II went on a bigger and better route that didn't jam well with me.
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