Bonjourno, Mr Reaper
Ezio’s saving grace in Assassin’s Creed 2
though is the sheer amount of new abilities and moves that have been woven into the game. It’s clear that Ubisoft heard the complaints against the first game that you were essentially completing the same tasks over and over in sequence to heart. Assassin’s Creed 2
has a much more varied approach to assassination.
There’s the obvious side-quests to do for cash, which can be used to buy new colour schemes for your armour or weaponry at shops, but there’s also a lot more than the usual races through the city. You can collect feathers to help your mother overcome her grief at your family’s demise. You can wander through crowds, picking pockets at will. You can slay county officials or tear down wanted posters to decrease your notoriety.
Most interesting of all, you can even manage the restoration of your family estate outside of Florence; the home of Uncle Mario and your de factor HQ when you’re forced to flee your town house. Yes, it's yet another idea to pile into a game which is actually already incredibly distanced from what’s supposedly the central mechanic of the game – i.e. killing politicians with knives – but it’s an interesting direction to take.
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Restoring the town was something we found ourselves plowing a lot of money into as well, though mainly because we had such an abundance of coinage rather than because of any actual curiosity. Ezio can steal small amounts of cash by wandering through a crowd, loot the dozens of corpses he is responsible for, earn money for fulfilling his lust for justice and partake in a slew of extra jobs on the side. In short; you’re quickly waist deep in cash.
This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, if you’re of a collectible-inclined nature then there’s a lot of ways to spend that cash, whether by buying all the different costumes and artworks available throughout the game or by upgrading Ezio’s abilities through weapon and armour enhancements. Keeping a supply of medicine on hand is a good idea too.
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Where we chose to funnel our florens though was into restoration of the villa and opening new shops throughout the town. The result of this investment is that the shops around your home will give you a substantial discount and stock better goods, while taxes slowly mount up in your family coffers – though you have to come and collect it in person, lest the treasury overflow into the pockets of your remaining sibling.
The introduction of an upgradable HQ, while a nice flourish that helps further expand the variety of Assassin’s Creed 2
, does feel a bit out of place though. It’s a touch of Vice City
in a game which doesn’t benefit as much from the GTA
influence as you’d expect.
It’s an on-going problem for Assassin’s Creed 2
; some new activity or mission is always coming along and it always requires a different approach. Catacombs under the city, gondola rides along the canals and flights over the plazas by cover of night; these are but a few of the mechanics that Assassin’s Creed 2
introduces. All of them are well handled, but none of them are assassinations – the thing you’re actually playing the game for. Many of them are only ever useful in very specific situations too, which means you don’t ever practice them enough to feel the accomplishment of a growing skill.