Many developers have been going darker with the tones of stories lately. It's time we stop asking definitively if this is a good or bad thing and consider the artistic value at hand.
Reasonably Priced Game of The Week: Episode III
Another week over, another great game at a low price to get you happy before Monday morning. This week, in light of my recent article about Assassins Creed and which assassin is best (see article here) I felt it only right to showcase Ezio’s first game as my RPGoTW. So without further ado I present Assassins Creed 2 for under £6/$9.
Assassins Creed 2 puts the player in the shoes of the brilliant Ezio Auditore in the Italian playgrounds of Florence and Venice to name but a few. The game sees Ezio exploring these locations, discovering secrets and attempting to avenge his family’s misfortunes but thinning the Templar ranks in classic AC fashion. So why is this game such a bang for your buck?
This game possesses one of the best storyline seen in the AC games, it doesn’t have a repetitive motion like the first one and isn’t confusing like revelations. AC2 seems to have a plot that is driven by emotions that feel correct and justified, revenge for dead family members, and sees Ezio’s character progress from an amatuer to a hardened veteran with the hidden blade. It’s this emotive concept that only seems to make such an appearance in this game, making the experience extra special and the plot rather brilliant. It’s long (at least 20 hours) and even longer if you bother to get all the feathers and do all the external challenges, the ending is also well worth the gameplay and adds important aspects to the franchise as a whole.
While not as vividly stunning as AC3, AC2 offers rich Italian environments that can present some great scenes such as extremely high viewpoints at sunrise. The engine copes well with only minor bugs and glitches, especially in consideration of the large scale of the environments. Blood makes a minor appearance, especially in comparison with AC3 but the bits that do are generally well animated and satisfactory, always nice. Armor and equipment looks great and reacts to light brilliant such as glints of sunlight on your blade or movements of your shoulder cape. Noticeably the poorest example of AC2 graphics are when handling pigeons, you don’t exactly ever make contact with them rather than using the force to levitate them out of their pen.
Following on from AC this game develops the mechanics and brings new elements to combat such as disarming and wielding an enemy’s weapon, especially effective when they have a lance. Free running has also been revamped to include the new hanging basket cornering which becomes an important element in the Revelations game. Unfortunately it can seem like a bit of a button mashing session and doesn’t feel quite as fluid as it can, this doesn’t ruin the game but doesn’t make you want to resist open combat. This isn’t actually a bad prospect as it almost forces you to want to play the game as an assassin game rather than a dynasty warriors type game.
AC2 brings the economy into the franchise when you have to update and manage your local town, turning it into a powerful and rich city. This adds an easy method of producing income from a simple ‘buy and increase’ system that is far superior to the over complicated system showcases in Revelations which personally was just too much for me. Feather hunting and Glyph scanning adds more layers to gameplay and are used to unravel the secrets of the Animus and to encourage exploration of the environments. DLC adds a few missions to the game including a couple of memory sequences, new areas and even a new free running ability. Not particularly on par with Bethesda DLC packs but still adds a few more hours of gameplay which breathe new life into the game once you finish what you can.
All in all this still stands as my favorite AC game and Ezio is my favorite assassin. Can’t afford AC3? Don’t fret, go pick up this gem of a game! If you need anymore convincing give this article a read, you’ll understand.