Arcticu Kitsu's blog

A Canadian view of Anime figures, events, and things foreign.

Arcticu Kitsu's blog - A Canadian view of Anime figures, events, and things foreign.

Assassin’s Creed 2 – PS3 version

Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” -Hassan-i Sabbah/Assassin’s Creed

(Link – MySite and Gamespot)

Wow, I never thought I’d come back to gaming and actually want to do a review on Assassin’s Creed 2.  This game impressed me so much that I just wanted to go and review it. Well, if I’m going to review this game let me see if I can do it in an appropriate manner. If not then sorry about the quality as I only intended to review Figma’s on this blog. I was also told by a fellow gamer to wait until I finished the game to actually review it and am glad that I actually took that suggestion. I haven’t played Assassin’s Creed 1 yet and am now seeking to obtain a copy.

Some spoilers may slip through so do read at your own discretion.

——-

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Date Released: November 17th, 2009

__________________________________

Quick Summary of AC2:

Assassin’s Creed 2 immediately continues off where the first one has left off and displays what a previous Subject had left behind. You are introdcuded to another of Desmond’s ancestors, this one being Ezio Auditore de Firenze. You take control of Ezio in his story of revenge as he turns his revenge into both a second nature as he carefully abides to the Assassin’s “Creed”. For the first hour (or two) of your gameplay you will witness an “innocent” and skill-less Ezio betrayed by the once well respected individuals of his family spring a plot within the walls of the city as he slowly gradually becomes a notorious Assassin through hard times.

Over the course of the game Ezio shall learn many new skills, gain new weapons, new armors, capes, treasures,  and even manage a basic Villa as he repairs the war torn town of Monteriggioni all in the quest to revenge. Your adventures takes you from Florance to Monteriggioni,  through Tuscany and the Eppenine Mountains,  Romagna, and wraps up within the highly detailed city of Venice.  On your assassination quests you shall meet various types of individuals, ranging from famous individuals like Leonardo Da Vinci to annoying locals that sing directly in your face, rich locals to poor individuals.

__________________________________

Story:

The story starts you off within both your’s and Subject 16’s room as you eye the blood marks above the walls, the floor and even within the room containing the Animus. You still control Desmond outside of the Animus but you are now greeted with another one of Desmond’s ancestors, an Italian named Ezio Auditore de Firenze. He was a spoiled and privileged individual who constantly got himself into trouble within Florence as he constantly got himself into fights and did what most other guys would do, have sex with gals. After having half of his family murdered Ezio takes up the role of an Assassin and is mentality matured by individuals he encounters. He seeks revenge until he is binded by the Creed all Assassin’s are taught to go by.  A nice compelling story for the History Channel if you leave out Subject 16’s messages.

*Spoilers begin – Highlight text to read*
Subject 16 hides various real life glyphs into the Animus software that gets carried over to the Animus 2.0. Desmond controls Ezio to seek out these glyphs from various cities as he (either Desmond or Ezio) encounter the glyphs on well known landmarks during that period of time.  These glyphs contain conspiracy theories merged with the ingame lore as it eventually leads to a unified clip of two individuals fleeing from something with near superhuman movements. Subject 16’s glyphs have a purpose to compliment the last DNA sequence of the game.

Update: Gametrailers decided to spoil it for most gamers (even if it has a *spoiler* tag on it) as they have solved and shown “The Truth” video in full, Link.
*Spoilers end*

Personally, I think the story has been nicely.  With two DNA Sequences (12 and 13) missing from the game the game probably might of gained a higher appreciation of the complexity of the story, more features to play with. The story within the game is more then enough for an average gamer but still falls short to any hardcore or serious gamer. This game contains enough content to last you a week or two, or a month or two if you’re slow. With that much detail to shift through I can slowly begin to appreciate the scale and effort that goes behind this “Trilogy”.

The staff behind the game seem know what they want out of their game and aren’t afraid to display what they have on their mind, story wise. Birth Scene of Ezio, a single sex scene in the first DNA sequence, glyphs containing conspiracy theories? Sure, why not.  Ubisoft Montreal is not afraid! Not afraid!

In short:
The game has a highly detailed historical story worthy of being aired on the History Channel alongside with a slight unseen twist. The story writing is top notch.

__________________________________

Music:

With any story wanting to be taken seriously should have a music that should do the same. Jesper Kyd composed 35 tracks for this game, all of which compliment the game perfectly well. It fits beautifully with each arc of the game’s story, side questions, your actions, and even speaks back to you in the way you would expect the situation would make you feel. There are no out of place music tracks, the races feel epic when the remixed track of  “Earth” plays, and you get the basic feel of every city you’re in through the music track composed for that city.

Though, I feel as if this soundtrack falls short when compared with inFamous or other random games. Ubisoft played it safe by using standard music practices and not trying to make their music stand out from the rest. I’m not saying this is bad but most of the music track feels bland when not used in the game.

In short:
Great soundtrack  that compliments the game which was composed by a talented Jesper Kyd.

__________________________________

Gameplay:

How does the gameplay fair to the story? It falls short and feels incomplete. I’m not sure what Ubisoft Montreal was doing, or if they focused a bit too much on side content, but the combat and movement system feels incomplete. The AI, the notoriety system, and the combat system seem to have been placed within the game and left unrefined after half of the necessary bug testing phases have been called off.

The guards are intelligent and they shall assault your character only after observing who you really are. If you are a well known notorious character (Full red emblem) then they shall assault you with ease. They have been programmed to assault you at first sight and pretty much let you run off with a warning if you got 25% notoriety.

The notoriety system is flawed also, but a nice idea. Its far too easy to escape as you can rip down posters, kill officials, and to bribe scribe-man. You can get your notoriety down by bribing the scribe person twice and a hidden poster in one go.

The combat is detailed with the AI allowing you to land your punches. They may double team you as well. The other guard simply wait their turn until you either counter them by chance or kill them through skill. The last combat system ripples through the whole game as it eventually can be felt in the last two battle sequences of the last story arc.

From the same video I linked above – go to 4:10 of the video

Patrice Desilte claims the guards will know who you are, that is mostly false. They only know who you are when you are notorious and when you wear the Auditore cape! They aren’t intelligent enough to know its you through appearances but only when they get close to you or the cape.

Missions:

New mission types have been added for you to have more enjoyment in the game.

– Races:
You race through roofs and the street and beat your opponent before they reach the finish line.

– Beat em ups:
You beat up the cheating husband whos cheating on another girl. Do not kill them as this is more of a personal matter then an assassination.

– Assassinations:
You gain assassination missions from roof tops, pigeon coupes, telling you the basic details of the mission. You simply do as you’re told and do your own thing to assassinate one or more targets (most likely not to be seen by them or people around).

– Mail carrier:
You take people’s notes to other places and deliver one or more to the appropriate individual.

In short:
Great gameplay but would of benefited with two months worth of polishing and debugging. The side-missions are a nice bonus and glad Ubisoft listened to their gamer fanbase. Ah, progress to listening to people’s concerns (as long as those concerns aren’t ill placed).

__________________________________

Features & Content:

Ubisoft Montreal gave you an open world of Italy so it should come naturally that you shall encounter locals and extra game content. What did Ubisoft give the players to toy with?

Simplistic Economy:
For those who have played the first may have encountered beggars who constantly harassed you as you have played throughout the game asking for money you never had. Ezio, being a spoiled and privileged individual, can now spend his fast accumulating money on Villa upgrades, weapons, armor, dyes, accessories, transportation around the map, and even use the money as either a distraction or in generosity.

Feathers:
For those that have played Grand Theft Auto 3-4 should be familar with Hidden packages. In Assassin’s Creed 2 you get Feathers. Since someone in the story decided to betray your family Ezio is tasked with finding 100 feathers to calm Maria’s nerves over the 10 year period of the game. What do you gain?
*Spoiler – Highlight Text*You obtain the Auditore family cape that instantly notifies guards to assault you ON SIGHT. You can’t remove notoriety. *End Spoiler*

Villa:
You gain the Villa pretty early on within the game. This villa acts both as your hide-out and a basic RPG city builder as you upgrade your town to gain income. By adding this you gain more money per 20 minutes (ingame by moving or idling Ezio) and eventually gain more then you can spend. At the end of the game I’d assume you can buy and train your own Assassin army to finally decimate the Templar army from history and positively change the course of the history in the way of the “Creed”.

Weapons, Armor, medicine/poison, and paintings:
With the simplistic economy in place you can purchase things that you had to physically obtain before. You can purchase light and heavy swords, knives, armor pieces, pouches, poisons, healing medicines, paintings for your villa, and a quick trip to other cities. Sounds good but should of gained more attention then it received.

Glyphs: *Possible Spoilers*
Glyphs have been added to assist with the gameplay and story telling. You can see what kind of stress Subject 16 was experiencing and solve his puzzles to see how he coped with the process. Each Glyph is located on famous landmarks for you to locate with your eagle vision and to mentally solve. I dare you to solve these without using Google or gamer guides! It feels far more rewarding to solve these with your own mind while having Shaun give advice after five minutes have elapsed.

Gondolas:
With Venice comes Gondolas! Personally, I feel as if these were used simply as a gimmick since. I rarely used them and only used them when I wanted to cross a large body of water. Every local simply fled when I tried boarding since they saw an Assassin and not a local of Venice, I understand that but point still stands. You can use them but its a lonely ride around Venice as there are a lack of local interaction.

Horses:
Horses! Thanks to Altair these horses have become a symbol of an Assassin’s transport around town. I had Ezio use the horse more then I used the Gondolas around Venice and the harbor town before. These horses follow your character around and can become a slight nuisance when you want them to stay put.

Tressure chests:
Throughout the game you gain a treasure chest to further assist with your income issues, or to further spoil Ezio’s already spoiled lifestyle. You simply go around each map opening up these chests and gain coins to throw at the locals, or to spend on goodies.

Courtesans, Thieves, and Mercenaries:
No, no. They aren’t objects! They are hire-able groups used to assist you with various tasks if you don’t want to become notorious. You can hire them for 150f and can use them to attract their attention while you sneak or do what your tasks dictates you to do. Courtesans use visual appearances to taunt and tease guards, thieves are used to grab guards attention, and Mercenaries are used as fighting individuals as you keep your hands clean of blood.

Assassin tombs:
Once you obtain the Villa you can locate the Assassin Sanctuary below in the basement. You go through various tombs around the Italian world to go through tombs and unlocking their secrets, and seals. Once you complete the tomb’s puzzle you shall be rewarded with a hidden secret. Do be kind and don’t spoil the surprise to other players! Rude and thoughtless gamers these days, I swear.

The 6 Assassin’s are: Mongolian (Qulan Gal), Persian (Darius), Chinese (Wei Yu), Egyptian (Amunet), Babylonian (Iltani), Roman (Leonius).

UPlay.com
Registering on that site will give you the ability to unlock and earn game bonuses that may extend gameplay slightly. You can unlock more throwing knives, Altair’s costume (but be known as Ezio) and even a Auditore tomb. I haven’t yet explored the tomb but you can run through it.

The bank system has been removed so you can’t store your cash in anywhere except on Ezio. Due to the amount of gold you gain you shall have everything you need halfway through the game and enough gold to hold out till the games end. The game needs more Villa upgrades, less income  gained, or more purchasable (or a combination of any).

In short:
Nice additions but the economy should of been worked with a bit more. You gain so much money that you can become the new ruler of Italy. Your assassinations and income can justify you becoming a ruler of a city or the nation of Italy.

__________________________________

Graphics & the Italian world:

The visuals compliment the game well and actually compliment what Ubisoft have been seeking for a lengthy period of time. Without any issues you can be fully immersed within the gameplay without any issues. Ezio looks brilliant in any costume he wears and actually looks more like an Assassin as time elapses. The locals look as they should, the scenery and the structures look stunning, enemies and cities look life like.

The scenery looks beautiful but Ubisoft only allowed a close 5-10 feet to gain high quality resolutions as objects and individuals slowly pop in. View the scenery from the tallest Church in Florence and you’ll notice a heavy decrease in that city, locals only spawning around the small proximity of that Church. I didn’t mind but when on the ground with things popping in as you run? Slight inconvenience for me and an unplayable game for other impatient gamers. Playing Silent Hunter 3 I saw slight visual and artificial intelligence errors, it spilling over to Assassin’s Creed 2 in a bleeding manner is a big no no for Ubisoft. The AI pops in at close proximity, the locals walk in circles around towers or around their district, and people behave in a simplistic manner.

The AI simply pops in when the scenery loads or when under and arch or the center of the square. Scenery gets high resolution when you walk closer towards the said building or structure. My also big gripe was the water animation and how it was told to flow side to side compared to going parallel with the canals.

In Short:
Visuals are great but Ubisoft didn’t spend enough time debugging and polishing both the world and the AI system. It feels incomplete and should of stayed in development for another month or so. For quality Ubisoft Montreal should feel ashamed as they let a good game feel incomplete through means which would of helped give the game a 9.8 or 10 metascore.  Stop being sloppy and care more about your games!

__________________________________

Known issues:
(Copied and pasted a few from my forum response on Ubisoft tech forum.)

– AI and scenery loading time lags. With a detailed city and probably rushed coding caused this game to slowly spawn a higher resolution scenery within a small given radius around Ezio. Ubisoft might want to extended and perfect the coding for this if gamers are complaining about scenery and individuals spawning out of no where causing distractions. Most notable ones is when you actually run from the Villa’s Stable all the way up towards the Villa, you can see the scenery and locals slowly spawning in. Then there is Venice…..
– Characters Vocals tends to skip every now and again, rarely. I had to rely on the subtitles when the voices went out during the last battle sequence.
– Since the locals spawn in those on the Gondolas tend to get stuck on striped poles and tend to move as an Assassin would up walls.
– Game froze during a loading screen from the mountain to the Romagna city. Game froze a second time after doing a double infantry kill on four guards (after I beat the story mode). Game freezes at random.
– Guards “re-spawning” back into their position after I have killed a robber/carrier/mailman on the roof tops. Or guards spawning in positions due to time changes.
– During your first “mission” as Ezio your first combat triggers fallen enemy units to flip and dance around before the combat animation restores the NPC’s movements to normal. This can be later seen as guards flip and dance on roof tops or dangle off the shingles of the roof with their lag.
– Going past a guarded office with the sewer cinematic (6th Assassin’s tomb) that randomly activates when scanning what was in that already looted structure. I don’t know how that activated but I do hope it doesn’t happen again as it caught me off-guard and may have caused a bit of a heated issues with the guards.

Is this a trademark of Ubisoft or did Ubisoft hasten Ubisoft Montreal’s progress? This game should of needed more time before being shipped or each game should of been a separate game if they were ported. If you are going to port games then take more care in it so us gamers don’t suffere from it. More time should of been spent debugging, polishing and making sure everything worked as they should.

If a company is thinking of Porting then please scold them as much as you can as us gamers are more effected by these bugs and issues then the company itself. I’d rather get a properly working game then ones that constantly tends to be a double edged sword.

In short:
Minor bugs and issues that tend harass the game like fruit flies to bananas. You can ignore these or accept them for the quality of gaming but its still going to randomly appear every now and again. Its like any other game, but far more noticeable this time around with the issues.

__________________________________

Final Thoughts:

Its a great game made by a company that has a decent record of making quality games. Silent Hunter 3 and 4 are those I know of and gamers should know of Splinter Cell or Prince of Persia. Add Assassin’s Creed into that and you should know that this game is worth a get and worth the hype you have seen.Gamers complained and they got what they have requested as Ubisoft have kindly accepted and apologized for. Ignore the minor inconveniences and you shall enjoy a great story telling from beginning to end. The story is well written and is deserving of a movie adaptation, similar to the Lineage idea they had, as the story tends to get fairly deep.

Its up to you if you want to obtain the game but you will regret not obtaining this nice gem of a game. It merges old with the new and creates something new for gamers to enjoy as it uses actual conspiracy theories to thrust itself into places other games fear to tread. This better then the first? From what I seen in the first and interacted with in the second, very much so.

— Feel free to leave a comment or depart from the article now and thanks for viewing :). The next half is just my speculation on Assassin’s Creed 3 and what it might be about. And with that I hope Ubisoft Montreal looks back to patch up any errors along with getting a lucky patch to edit the pop in issues for the PS3.

——–

Bonus – Contains Spoilers:
What, where, and how will Assassin’s Creed 3 take place?

From the glyphs placed around the world, the Assassin’s in the tomb, what was announced by Ubisoft, and hinted you got a lot to choose from.

– Egypt — (In Assassin’s Tomb)
– China — (In Assassin’s Tomb)
– Persian — (In Assassin’s Tomb)
– Mongolia –  (In Assassin’s Tomb)
– Babylonian — (In Assassin’s Tomb)
– Roman — (In Assassin’s Tomb)
– France — (WW2 France rumor for AC3)
– Britain — (Rumor with King Arthur and the sword glyph)
– New York/Washington — (Assassin’s Tomb mark on Codex and were Abstergo is)
– Atlantis (or other island)
– Japan — (Rumored by Ubisoft and supported with various Kanji and a symbol, how Ezio moves on ledges and throwing knives)
– Sweden/Finland — (Assassin’s Tomb there, Italian like Warehouse suggests that “up north” maybe Sweden, Finland or somewhere in central Europe.)

Sources for Medieval Europe, Feudal Japan, or WW2 France can be located here.

Out of those I would choose……China, Mongolia, France, Britain, or Japan.

For those that have seen the strange ending that caught most gamers offguard shall ponder about Desmond Miles portion of gameplay compared to his new ancestor who shall continue the “trilogy” from Altair’s and Ezio’s position. Do note that each ancestor won’t stay stationary to one position and they are free to journey around the globe as we are through air travel (minus the planes back then heh). If Ubisoft wants to try something new they could add multiple nations or multiple ancestors. What is limiting them to one area or one ancestor? I probably missed out on the reason in AC1 so I probably am considering this all wrong.

What do I think? I think the “Cabin up north” will be in the province of Quebec and the animus portion will take place in China or Japan. A stretch? Unlikely? No Templar? No problem, since Ubisoft seems to know what they are doing if they even suggested Japan (I was told by mistake but never received that article) then they got a basic plot for it already. To clarify, I think Desmond will have the ability to fight the Templar’s  “up north in a cabin” using his unlocked Assassin’s abilities; while his ancestor half could take place in Japan. Some people decided to think more “Logically” and suggest Egypt, China, or Britain for Desmond’s Ancestor as Japan and other places would throw off the trilogy. They decided to use clues and suggest that those places would be far more appropriate then “Ninja Creed 3”. Its Ubisoft’s final word so I’m waiting to what area Ubisoft will confirm.

Ubisoft also mentioned Multiplayer being considered and hoping that Ubisoft will add some form of Co-op where two (or more) can cause chaos in a shared world. It would work out if you consider this scene from Assassin’s Creed 1. Link to multiplayer article here.

And with that I’m interested in seeing how Ubisoft polishes Assassin’s Creed 2 and confirms for Assassin’s Creed 3. Sorry for the long winded rant but I wanted to place it down somewhere.

  • Vermilion says:

    I don’t see Kanjis but a lot of chinese in this game ok?

    December 6, 2009 at 7:17 am

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*