Conclusione Del Monte
What really makes these dozens of mechanics such a pain though are the fact that most of them just aren’t needed all that much. Assassin’s Creed 2
is so casually inclined when it comes to balancing that, rather than adopting a fantastically elaborate plan involving parkour, gondolas, pistols and flying machines as the game implies through it’s endless tutorials and array of approaches, you can just fight your way through quite easily.
Assassin’s Creed 2
has fixed a lot of the issues from the previous game, but one which is quite obviously inherited is the ease of combat. Fighting is pretty much always a matter of just hammering the attack button over and over, forcing guards on to the defensive and wearing through their blocks without breaking a sweat.
We’ve literally waded through more than a dozen armed guards, fighting them off with nothing but Ezio’s hidden blade, which provides quick kills and fast attacks. If ever we got into trouble then it’s always just a matter of climbing on to a nearby rooftop and throwing enemies back down as they slowly follow. Archers and ranged enemies are easily bested with a single throwing knife, while armoured guards merely take a little longer to go down than their fleshy brethren.
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The over-simplified control scheme is still carried over into the actual free-running too, with any manoeuvre merely being a matter of holding down the high-profile face button and the forward stick.
The fact that it’s just so incredibly easy to slaughter so many armed guards, then run across rooftops like a James Bond villain means that the constant introduction of new events and methods of locomotion feels completely needless. Worse, every event feels like an elaborate tutorial which is just further and further distancing you from the actually very simple objective of Kill That Man.
Yet, for all its rambling and the over-reaching insistence of doing something new, Assassin’s Creed 2
remains an enjoyable game. We can label the controls as simplistic and the player experience as more stuffed with tutorials than a bookworm in a school library, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that the game is still a huge amount of fun.
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A part of it arises from how interesting the story is this time around once it gets going. Fans of the Assassin’s Creed
series are finally getting some decent (if rather odd and out of place) answers about what the goals of the Templars and Assassins are, while newcomers to the franchise can be pleasantly pulled through by Ezio’s personal vendetta. Assassin’s Creed 2
doesn’t ever make you truly care about the characters in any truly meaningful sense, but the cast is entertaining and engaging enough to keep you interested.
It shouldn’t be underestimated just how fun it is to actually interact with the beautifully realised world of renaissance Italy either, from scaling the cathedrals to a simple, stealth saunter through a crowded market place. Likewise, while the combat is little more than button-mashing it’s also a visual delight. The whole of Assassin’s Creed 2
ties into a very basic desire for players to look at something pretty – which this game definitely is.
The deluge of collectible items, upgrades, extra quests and new attacks do feel like padding a lot of the time and there are parts of the games which feel ridiculous once you actually think about them. Journeying across Italy with an ancient manuscript for Leonardo da Vinci to decode and which is revealed to teach you nothing more than the ability pull people off of ledges? Right.
Padding or not though, Assassin’s Creed 2
is still a great game on the whole and something we’ve greatly enjoyed playing even if we do find ourselves irked by how little you actually get to assassinate people. If you’re looking for a fun singleplayer game that will last you up until Christmas with collectible fever and an interesting story then Assassin’s Creed 2
is a great buy – but if you’re looking for a successor to Hitman: Blood Money
then you’d better look elsewhere