by Davneet Minhas
previewed on PC
Released in November 2007, Assassin’s Creed garnered much praise for its innovations in story, visuals, controls, and gameplay. Ubisoft’s action-adventure title went on to win multiple awards and has sold over 8 million copies to date.
Despite all of its accolades, the game was criticized for its repetitive nature, a criticism that Ubisoft seems to have taken to heart in developing Assassin’s Creed II. As creative director Patrice Desilets stated, “Assassin’s one major flaw was the fact that we revealed the entire game structure early on and never changed it.”
Assassin’s Creed II picks up directly at the end of the first game, with Desmond Miles using the Animus machine to experience another ancestor’s life. Leaving behind Altair and the medieval setting, Desmond journeys to the Italian Renaissance in 1486 and follows the exploits of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, a young Italian nobleman.
Ezio lives a privileged and care-free lifestyle, following in his father’s footsteps to become a banker, until his existence is shattered through betrayal. Close friends turn on him, his father is executed, and Ezio himself is branded a criminal and traitor. Seeking revenge, Ezio turns to the life of an assassin. He forges relationships with the Italian underworld, including mercenaries, prostitutes, and thieves and advances his skills as an assassin through aid from notables such as Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli.
Assassinating from Anywhere
Of course, Ezio will have the quintessential assassin weapon – the hidden wrist blade – at his disposal. The second entry in the Assassin’s Creed series however, brings with it a second hidden blade, useful for dispatching two enemies at once. Through combat training from his uncle, Mario Auditore, Ezio will be able to use other weapons such as swords, daggers, halberds, and spears, available by disarming opponents with attacks and counter-attacks. Leonardo da Vinci will even provide Ezio with specialty items, including a small gun hidden in his sleeve. Over thirty weapons in total feature in Assassin’s Creed II.
In conjunction with a plethora of weapons and items, Ubisoft has placed an emphasis on Ezio’s ability to assassinate from anywhere. Guards will be able to search for Ezio while he is in cover. To counter, he is able to dispatch them quickly, whether he is sitting on a bench, hiding in a haystack, hanging from a ledge, swimming in water, blending into a crowd, or flying through the air.