Assassin's Creed II Preview

Assassin's Creed II

Assassin’s Creed was an excellent game, but it did have its problems… have its problems… have its problems… you get the idea. The lack of variety in the game’s missions was the number one complaint from gamers and critics alike when it was released in late 2007. Ubisoft was on hand at E3 with a brand new in-game demo of the sequel, and I had a chance to sit down for a closer look at Altair’s successor. From what I saw, Assassin’s Creed II seems to fix everything that was wrong with the first game and make a more complete and enjoyable experience for gamers in 2009.

The game picks up right where AC left off. Desmond, a descendant of the Assassin clan, is being held against his will by a "doctor" who is trying to use a machine to access the memories of Desmond’s ancestors that persist in his DNA via a machine called the animus. It’s a little far-fetched, of course, but we suspend disbelief. This time, players dive into the life of Ezio, a Venetian who lived during the time of the Italian renaissance.

Little about the story was revealed, aside from the fact that Ezio is not a trained assassin from the beginning, but learns his "craft" as the game progresses. This will be a revenge story, to give it a more personal feeling, but revenge on whom and for what has not yet been divulged.

Both fans and critics of the first game will be glad to find that the developers have been paying close attention to criticism, and will be improving the sequel’s mission structure. Assassin’s Creed II will feature a number of new mission types, and many of them will span multiple locations — from city to city and through the two distinct countryside areas. These areas will no longer act as hubs from which to access isolated cities where the action takes place exclusively, but will be a cohesive world with smaller sections housed within it.

Ezio will also have a number of new moves at his disposal, such as dual-bladed assassinations that take out two guards at once, leaping strikes from high above his targets, mid-climb attacks, and even the ability to drag guards into hiding places for the kill. He’ll also have new toys to play with, like Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous Flying Machine. Da Vinci himself lends the invention to Ezio, and he’s not the only real-life personality to show up in the story.

With all this help for the player, the enemies in ACII needed a boost, too. In this game, guards will specialize in order to counter the assassin’s skills. The three "archetype" enemies are the brute, who is adept at close-quarters combat, the agile, who can run Ezio down regardless of his monkey-like free-running and climbing, and the seeker, who can detect Ezio in the formerly impervious hiding spots that dot the cities.

Ubisoft Montreal has also improved upon the better aspects of the original game, and have once again produced a stunning visual feast, with sprawling cities, country vistas, and lifelike character models. They’ve also added over 30 new weapons to Ezio’s arsenal, each with its own set of beautifully choreographed animations. These will mostly be acquired by stripping them from enemies and immediately putting them to use, after which Ezio can choose to drop them or take them along for the next fight. Additionally, tools like smoke bombs will help Ezio to make clean escapes, and can be purchased with the newly introduced monetary system.

Assassin’s Creed II was one of the most impressive games on display at this year’s E3, and we can’t wait to get our hands on a final build here at GamerNode. The game is scheduled to hit store shelves on November 17th of this year for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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