Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted.

It scored a 9.5 out of 10 rating from Playstation. Nabbed the game of the month title. More importantly than that, it has officially become my favorite game.


Assassin's Creed 2 did what only one other video game sequel has done before: It succeeded its predecessor in so many wonderful ways.

I discovered the original Assassin's Creed mere months before the trailer for he second one was released, but I tore through it and quickly fell in love with it. So much that I awaited the release of the second one eagerly. I didn't pre-order it, because I didn't plan one buying it when it came out but, when I picked up my copy of Left4Dead2, I couldn't help myself.

I wasn't sure what I expected. The fact that it turned the first game's "decent reviews" into "universal acclaim" coupled with Game Informer's 9.5 rating and all the talk of it having fixed all the problems of the first one, I have to admit, I was pretty excited to start playing it.

The Story: There are two arcs to this game: Desmond Miles (present day) and Ezio Auditore (1476, Italy). Like the first game, you start as Desmond, present day assassin forced into the Animus to live out the memories of his ancestors.

Only this time, you've broken free from Abstergo. Following a gutsy move by Lucy, you end up with a team of assassins that have in their possession the Animus 2.0. Using that, and the memory core Lucy swiped from Abstergo, you access the memory of a common ancestor you share with the mysterious - and now deceased - Subject 16.

The common ancestor is named Ezio Auditore, born 1459 in Florence, Italy, to Giovanni and Maria Auditore. You step into Ezio's shoes when he's a naive 17 year old, picking fights with other neighborhood boys and causing trouble with the young ladies. He knows nothing of the Assassins or Templars. He learns quickly, however, when his father and brothers are kidnapped, betrayed, and executed. Giovanni's brother, Mario, takes Ezio in and tells him about the Assassins. He teaches Ezio a few skills and sends him to assassinate the men responsible for his father's death. As in the first game, the more people you kill, the more secrets unravel. You follow Ezio through nearly 23 years of his life as he travels across Italy, makes new allies, and continues to unravel the conspiracy that got his father and brothers killed.


Assassin's Creed 2 has none of the problems its predecessor had. As great of a game as AC was, it was not without problems. AC2, however, is. The lush landscapes are easier to navigate, the absurd tunnel-sound dialogue is gone, there missions are not nearly as repetitious, and you don't learn the Templars plan after the first assassination. Not to mention, there have been a ton of improvements:

  • Ezio does not posses Altair's super drowning ability and can, in fact, swim. This is a break through, not just for AC gamers, but gamers in general. Finally a game where a fountain isn't deadlier than a 10 story drop.
  • Vigilantes that tugged on and tripped up guards have been replaced with hireable thieves that can steal money from guards and lead them away, and mercenaries that will help engage guards in combat. Both can follow you a considerable distance along rooftops.
  • Ezio has an all new arsenal of techniques, including the ability to toss out money when a minstrel gets in the way, which is a much better alternative to the "punch the begger in the face and hope the guards don't see" technique from the first one. You can also steal weapons from guards and use them against them.
  • Ezio is supplied with a number of new weapons, including a poison blade, smoke bombs, and a gun.
  • A number of systems have been revamped, including the noteriety and blend systems, and subtitles have been added for those few people who don't speak Italian**.
The character development is actually there. While Giovanni Auditore's story is more explained in the mini-series "Lineage", you get 23 years of Ezio's life layed out before you. This caused me to favor Ezio over Altair, even though Altair was the better assassin.And there seems to be so much more to Ezio, as well. At 17, he is a complete and total Dbag. He's a playboy, and extremely cocky. But you learn quickly that he loves his family, and has something in him that is worth respecting. And as you follow him through the years, you find out that there is actually some dignity to him. He hurts over the loss of his father and brothers, he wants to protect his sister and mother. And a part of his dbaggery makes him absolutely loveable and badass***. There's something to be said about a game that explores a character so deeply, and develops them so well (Ezio keeps his playboy status while somehow maturing and becoming a man that demands and deserves your respect).

I also really liked the subtle touches they added to Ezio as he grew older. As the years went on, his voice deepened, and by the end of the game, he has quite a bit of facial hair. Just touches I wouldn't have missed if they hadn't been there, but ones I can appreciate because they are.

AC2 offers more objectives, but delivers them in a less daunting way. Along with the seeking revenge aspect of the game, AC2 offers a side storyline, presented to you by the mysterious subject 16. He has hidden symbols all through out Ezio's world, and you are required to find them. Each symbol unlocks a piece of "The Truth", something that will really get your brain thinking. You are also required to collect 6 assassin's seals to unlock a special suit of armor. Feathers are scattered through out the world, much like the flags of AC, but collecting all of these will actually gain you a reward. Other objectives are presented to you (compete for a golden mask, restore a villa, save the world), but out of all the tasks that must be completed, there is no sense of panic. You don't feel overwhelmed, because you don't have to go out of your way to rescue citizens or complete all tasks in one district. Everything flows together quite well. You still have to do a bit of puzzle solving and symbol searching, but it's a lot more fun because it doesn't seem so daunting.

The supporting cast is phenomenal, and they twist history in a very interesting way. While Altair had a few assassin friends he could pal around with, Ezio hangs with the likes of Leonardo daVinci, Machiavelli, and the Pope. There is a bit of artistic liscence taken with each character, of course, but each character is very likeable. This game made me a bigger fan of daVinci than I already was! Beyond that, they seem to rewrite history, but in a rather plausible way, listing people like Hitler as Templars and people like Tesla as Assassins. While it isn't authentic enough to make you question what you know, it is extremely interesting, and very well done.

The soundtrack. Just... the soundtrack. You just have to listen to it. The music makes the scenes. Jesper Kyd really captures each and every emotion. The use of "Venice Rooftops" when Ezio finds his father's assassin armor was genius. Try not to get excited during that scene, I dare you.


You don't get to know what happens to Ezio.
I kind of had this same problem with the first game with Altair, but it was more of a problem with Ezio, because of the vast amounts of character development. This game really let's the gamer connect with Ezio, and once you really start to like him, they snatch him away. Which would be fine, if there was some sort of montage to let you know what happens to him after we stop following him. There's just this sense of loss when you spend an entire game connecting with someone, only to cut them off cold turkey. I didn't even get to say goodbye properly.

I'm just kind of attached to Ezio right now, and the one problem this game didn't correct from the first one was the cut off from the main ancestor. You never really get to have a satisfying goodbye, you're just done.

Overall, I give it a 10. The story is well rounded, the characters are amazing, the landscapes are to die for, and the puzzles are just tricky enough. The ending is a lot more satisfying, as well. There are still cliff hangers, though not as bad as the first game. Now all that's left is to wait as best I can for the Assassin's Creed 3 trailer. It's not easy to replace Halo as my favorite game, but Assassin's Creed 2 did everything right, and more than deserves the title.

Well played, Ubisoft. Well played indeed.

(how can you not want that sexy GQMF for Christmas? Shoot.)

*Yes. Even more than Halo 2. This game is that good.
**Unlike the first game, that apparently expected it's gamers to know Arabic, or whatever was being spoken. Yeah... I missed half of that.
***You have to give Ezio props. He went up against the POPE... and told him to go eff himself.

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