Assassin’s Creed 2 Review

New century, same creed. Our take on the PS3 version of Ubisoft Montreal’s ornate Renaissance action epic.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, November 17, 2009

Thanks to the retooled, restyled Animus supplied by Desmond’s modern-day assassin acquaintances, this silken semi-assistedness now extends to using crowds as camouflage. Rather than tapping a button to automatically and clunkily “blend” with certain privileged knots of “blenders”, you just slip in amongst any passing group (as demarcated by a silvery carpet of Matrix code) and let the Animus bleach Ezio to anonymity. Full manual control is retained, and approaching a well-guarded target at street level (not to mention fleeing the scene of the crime afterwards) is thus a more engaged, delicate process. The circle button is used once again to ease unwitting civilian accomplices to one side.

Swimming gets tedious pretty quickly.

Swimming gets tedious pretty quickly.

The upgraded Animus has also given the irritating enemy AI a hair-cut. Rather than pursuing you endlessly till you slip into one of a very few, prescriptive “hiding zones”, alerted guardsmen confine their search to a circular area on losing line of sight, as in Grand Theft Auto IV, and return to their posts after a minute or so. Travelling through unfriendly districts is a far less aggravating experience as a consequence.

If Assassin’s Creed 2 thus builds on its predecessor’s admirable sense of balance, it also suffers from many of the same flaws. Missions still aren’t quite enthralling enough, despite a grab-bag of additional tools and abilities, with the developer mostly content to trot out the same (albeit more elaborate) find-and-kill, follow-to-destination or beat-the-clock varieties as before. True, there are stage-coach pursuit subgames, the expected hidden collectables and a couple of sojourns in Leonardo Da Vinci’s glider to alleviate the relentless stalking, plus the five or so hours of “Batman-like” interior adventuring Benoit Lambert promised us in October, but the action’s never really complex or audacious enough to be memorable.

Good man to have at your back in the fray, a mercenary.

Good man to have at your back in the fray, a mercenary.

It’s unfortunate, given this want of compelling material, that the game takes its sweet time doling out new features, though in fairness the relaxed pacing is a consequence of the beefed-up storytelling and praiseworthy 20-hour-plus run-time. While Desmond stepped into Altair’s waxed boots at the height of his powers, Ezio makes his first appearance as an athletic but decidedly non-assassin-like Florentine nobleman’s brat, concerned with little other than drink, brawling and prostitutes until the sham trial and execution of his father and brothers.

In the course of the ensuing, gratifying tale of revenge and self-discovery, players are drip-fed both the first game’s repertoire and new tricks like poison (a timed-action killer, great for causing distractions), smoke bombs and the fun but (given the existence of throwing knives) slightly surplus gunpowder-propelled hidden blade. Newcomers will welcome this laidback approach, of course, but if you’re one of the eight million people who bought Assassin’s Creed you’re going to be a little vexed. It took me the best part of three hours to reach the first proper melee combat tutorial.

7 Responses to “Assassin’s Creed 2 Review”

  1. GotChewZ says:

    Man, I thought Gametrailers review was the worst, but at least they gave it a fair score. In this case, the reviewer should be fired and I am glad, I actually never visit this no-name-website.

    “The second game in the series is palpably its best, but it trades too heavily on prior successes and introduces comparatively little of actual worth.” – Ah, WHAT? Excuse me Mister, but I sure hope you’ve played a few games in your life, because otherwise, it sound to me like you have no idea, what you are talking about gaming-wise.

    Man, shame on me, to waste my time even posting on this site. Never again.

  2. Rade Jaymond says:

    No-name website? That’s funny I’m pretty sure it says Video Games Daily up there!?

    Edge magazine gave it 8 as well.

    It’s not the end of the world.

  3. I don’t understand the commenters. I have Turkish Online Computer Magazine Website ( and I see some of these types of people there… If you are not agree with the reviewer, you can say it in “human-style”. We are all humans, homo sapiens, what wrong with you?

    • ezio auditore says:

      figures. if its not ninja gaiden or some other gook game its not good enough for these fagtards. this game kicks ass, its waaaay better than the original. an 8 isnt good enough goddamn it!

  4. ys says:

    Nothing wrong with the review. I also get that feeling actually with a few newer games. For some reason they can feel vacant despite the fact that the world looks detailed.

  5. I admit, I have not came to this website in a very long time. nevertheless it absolutely was yet another joy to see your fantastic content.


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