Assassin’s Creed 2
Because of some outcry from my previous post, due to the fact that I had the audacity to put AC2 on a worst sequel list, I thought I’d give the game another chance and play it a touch more. Having endured the game from start to finish I look back and wish I’d had something better to do during my weekend. There are a very few moments that I can look back and think “Well…that was fun.” And the few there were the game was quick to make me forget. But, I digress.
Assassin’s Creed 2 and I had a gentleman’s understanding: I would do what I wanted to and enjoy myself a little bit and would then, on occasion, acquiesce and do what the game wanted me to, an act much akin to torture. You play as Ezio, the hero assassin from Midwestern Italy, who happens to be a Guido a bit ahead of his time. Seriously, a bad Italian accent, double popped collar, gold chain and, eventually, a goatee! Doesn’t he just belong on Jersey Shore? Add this trailblazer to the otherwise sub-par acting from the rest of the cast to get a truly unpleasant experience. Why everyone talks in English throwing in bits of Italian at random is beyond me. I would have much preferred if it had been spoken entirely in Italian or no attempts at all were made to insert it so that I could at least know what language they were supposed to be speaking. Acting aside, I find the story to be horrendously boring. There’s nothing to congeal the entire affair into a single cohesive story. Instead, Ezio just kinda runs around killing people, never with a clear goal besides sweet Italian revenge on his mind.
On top of that, AC2 feels poorly shoehorned in to fit the already awkward Assassin’ Creed storyline. I suppose that’s why the Desmond sequences are few and far between (read 3). Those were one of my favorite parts about the original game, running around, stealing pens, finding creepy writing on the wall, fun times. In the second, you get a face full of Ezio and his time consuming side quests. There’s no point to doing any of the optional things, unless you’re into watching some creepy naked people run around…weirdo. I suppose you could do the quests if you wanted the sweet payday, but that is pretty much pointless. Once Ezio arrives at his uncles Villa money becomes utterly meaningless. You’ve got so much of the stuff you’re practically throwing it away, which is coincidentally a pretty effective distraction. Don’t have enough for that sword? Just wait 20 minutes for the money to come rolling in. I like the idea of resource systems as long as they remain relevant after you gain access to them. And make sure you renovate the brothel first.
Graphics wise, it doesn’t look much better than its predecessor. Yes, the faces have been significantly improved but the effects and everything else have not. In a game where killing people in dramatic close ups is a feature I’d expect blood to have better splatter effects than a watermelon at a Gallagher show. The sound effects are really disappointing as well. I am unsure what the issue was, but there were so many missed cues for sounds, from sword clanks to hearty cheers of victory. Sound is normally something that should not be noticed unless it’s done poorly, so I guess that’s one place AC2 succeeds.
Speaking of things that haven’t been improved, the combat is still ridiculously simple to win at. Forever. You can still get through every single fight in the game by defending until you can counter. There aren’t even tricky counters to pull off like in the previous game. At least until you get to the enemies that simply cannot be countered, Ubisoft’s fix to the combat system. This can be solved by dropping your weapons and taking theirs. Same principle, easier execution *ba dum tish*. Similarly, there seems to also be a downgrade to the free running parkour controls. I can’t place the blame squarely on Ezio, but sometimes I really don’t want to jump into the river.
And the flying sequence…I don’t get it. I’ve heard through the grapevine that it was the funnest thing in the game and I only found it boring. Sure, he’s flying in a thingy created by Leonardo Da Vinci, but it’s trivial and unchallenging, something which can be applied to most of the rest of the game. There’s no challenge to any of it. At best it can be infuriatingly frustrating but nothing else. And it’s never the player’s fault that something is difficult, it’s the wonky camera or funky controls that are the culprit.
Overall, I leave Assassin’s Creed 2 in its place at 3rd worst sequel as previously stated. It wasn’t fun and I wish I had had something better to do with my weekend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be getting back to my E3 coverage.