Assassin's Creed II: More than an Action-packed Killing Spree

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Assassin's Creed II: More than an Action-packed Killing Spree

     Shhh. Can you hear it? Listen very closely...dong...dong....dong...that ominous bell tower's chimes can only signal one thing--the end. You'll be dead before you realize what hit you. Welcome to Assassin's Creed II, one of the most highly anticipated new game releases of 2009.

     While Ubisoft designers kept the same principles from the Assassin's Creed I, they managed to finally deliver what was missing from gaming experience with Altaïr in the new and improved game play. However, this game is more than just an action-packed killing-spree. This time, players actually learn a little history, had have incentives to complete mini-missions.

     Unlike Altaïr, who was trained to become an Assassin from an early age, this game's hero, Ezio Autitore, became an assassin after the death of half of his family, seeking not only revenge, but answers as well.

     One of the biggest adjustments game designers made for this M-rated Action-Adventure video game is the amount of freedom gamers now have, not only with Ezio's actions, but with various customization as well.

     A big complaint coming out of the originals' gamers was that Altaïr was so easily spotted by the guards unless he walked at a remarkably slow pace, blending. Game designers created a new "notoriety" interface, which allows gamers to roam freely throughout the city if they are completely "anonymous."

     Gamers will find a lot more challenge when trying to become anonymous. Hiding in haystacks no longer makes the assassin anonymous--it merely helps Ezio escape from guards. When you remove yourself from the haystack, your assassin icon will glow different amounts of red, labeling the amount of notoriety Ezio currently has. By ripping down wanted posters, bribing heralds or assassinating officials, Ezio can eliminate his notoriety to the point where he can literally run past guards without causing an instant chase--something that was all too common in the original game.

     Blending's become a lot easier in Assassin's Creed II. No longer do players need to hold down a button as they walk; as soon as Ezio finds himself surrounded by a small crowd of people (many of which he can hire), the ground surrounding his feet digitalizes, signaling that he's blending to keep hidden from the guards' watchful eye.

     Gamers now have the option to upgrade their armor and weaponry, which is divided into several pieces. The more expensive the armor, the higher your health bar will become. The same goes for weapons. While Altaïr was limited to his hidden blade, throwing knives, a dagger and his sword, Ezio is faced with seemingly endless options.    Again, different weapons offer different strengths. Some are faster than others, some have more deflection than others, and some deliver more damage than others. For example, a solid club might deliver a ton of damage to foes, but good luck swinging that mighty beast at a group of guards before being struck by a guard from behind.  

     Players also have the opportunity to pick up fallen weapons from deceased foes. With the help of Leonardo da Vinci--that's right, this game takes place in Italy rather than the Middle East, Ezio's arsenal slowly builds as players progress through the game, offering new "toys," including double hidden blades and a poison-tipped hidden blade to name a few.

     Players are encouraged to collect all of the armor and weapons, because the items are displayed in Ezio's home base--the Villa, which is surrounded by a small town, which players can pay to renovate. These renovations give Ezio larger allowances, which he can collect occasionally in the Villa.

     One other fascinating addition to the game is the educational aspect of the game play. Players are not obligated to read about each location and character they interact with, but if they do, they'll find themselves learning a little bit of Italian history during the Renaissance. Not a fan of reading? Never fear, you can play this game without reading any of the extras and still have a very fulfilling gaming experience.

     Countless other additions made their way into Assassin's Creed II, such as the Assassin's Tombs and the "glyphs" left behind by the mysterious Subject 16, but in order to find out the secrets behind these particular additions, you'll have to pick up a copy of the game yourself. Regardless of the type of gamer, everyone can find some type of enjoyment out of the much-improved sequel to Assassin's Creed.



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