on March 25, 2013
First, I love the Assassins Creed series. When AC2 came out though, I could not play it because of the DRM (I only have dial-up). However, years later Ubisoft/UPlay no longer requires a constant internet connection, just the initial sign in the first time (yay!).
On to the game, I loved it. It is much longer (or seemed so to me) than the first, still had an engaging story and threw in some new twists to the series as a whole. Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil anything. My main complaint was that some of the small tutorials or hints would come after I needed them and had to look up how to progress. Also, the controls seemed looser/less predictable so my Assassin would jump off a building or ledge that I did not intend. As a whole the game seemed more difficult which I appreciated (though frustratingly the controls often added to this). The graphics were decent, though by now are a little dated.
I would definitely recommend this game. Especially now that you can pick it up for very little $$.
on July 4, 2012
I've played this game on both the XBOX 360 and the PC, and here's what I can tell you. It's a great game on both systems. On PC, it looks better and runs more smoothly, but not by a large margin. PC gamers usually expect more optimization for their platform, and that's understandable. This game looks pretty on PC, but is not a game to showcase your video card, by any means. That aside, it runs at a rock sold frame rate, and I've yet to encounter any glitches whatsoever. I know a lot of other reviewers have had issues, but maybe Ubisoft has patched the game since? The DRM would be annoying, if I were to lose my internet connectivity, but since that happens rarely, if ever, I'm only knocking the game down to 4 stars. After all, I'm here to review the game, not the business practices of Ubisoft. The download from Amazon went smoothly, as did the install. I've really had zero problems with this game, and couldn't be happier with the purchase.
on January 27, 2015
I wrote an earlier review of this slamming the download speed, but after resetting my router and making sure nothing in the house was downloading or streaming anything the speed went up to a very manageable level. It seems that the download is slowed to a crawl by ANY other internet traffic on your network, instead of sharing the load like everything else, so while I can stream Netflix on 3 devices at once, I cannot browse the internet and download from Amazon at the same time. This is slightly annoying, but not a reason to buy the game somewhere else, since at least Amazon does not require you to install proprietary software that wants to always run in the background and install toolbars and other junk.
As far as the game goes, I was first put off by the low graphics quality, having essentially played the series in reverse (AC4 Black Flag, AC3, AC5 Unity, this one AC2, and finally the original which I am currently playing), and there is a HUGE difference in both the graphics quality and the scope of the world from 2 to 3. Thankfully the actual gameplay graphics are not as bad as the opening scene graphics with Desmond and Lucy. Lucy has bug eyes, a mouth that just looks plain wrong, and jerky movements that I think the developers thought were a sexy wiggle when she walks. As I said, however, though the graphics are nothing compared to AC3, 4, or 5, they get better after the opening are are plenty good enough that the difference is not noticeable after a few minutes of gameplay, especially after your character gets his hood.
The game itself is great fun, and Venice, especially, is a city that is done very well. The economic system is actually one of the best in the series, with specialty vendors selling various items. For some reason the AC series has diminished this to a new low in Unity by having you buy weapons and armor any time, any place, from your interface, and reducing consumable sales to 1 person standing on a street corner or in a building among other people with 1 of 3 faces, and apparently carrying an unlimited supply of bombs, medicine, chemical weapons, etc in his pockets. These are not huge things, but they make for a more believable experience.
on January 20, 2011
If you like games that require thought then this is a good one. You can leap and climb all over the games richly detailed environment, which reminds me of Tomb Raider. There are many secrets to be found and upgrades for your assassin...from weapons to dying your clothing. You can even pour money into the villa you stay at for renovations. Many of the challenges have to deal with navigating the games environment and coming up with ways to eliminate a target. The VO seems to be pretty well done so far and the story is also pretty good. Combat is not overly difficult and relies mostly on timing counter attacks. You might have some difficulty figuring out the controls at first, but have patience and take your time learning it.
There are some competing tensions with this game. On the merits, it's very well done, but Ubisoft has saddled it with horrible DRM.
Undoubtedly this is where the AC franchise really started hitting its stride. Animation is outstanding, characters have depth and even show expression during cut scenes (as contrasted to the wooden faces of AC1), and the story is nicely layered. There's a lot here, whether you're just playing for the story or if you're a grinder who wants to find every last secret.
A nice change from AC1 is the way the missions are set up. AC1 was very repetitive in its missions...go to city, investigate, pick pockets, beat up people, etc., go to bureau, kill target. The storyline in AC2 is much more nuanced and certainly not as formulaic.
Did I mention the animation? From the fear in Giovanni's eyes to Cristina's subtle eye roll as Ezio stops by for his visit, the motions here are very human and greatly immerse you in the story. Voice acting is fantastic, again contrasted from the unevenness of the previous game.
So why not five stars? Because of Ubisofts extraordinarily clumsy DRM scheme. Look, I understand the concern over piracy and wanting to safeguard IP and such. But the way Ubisoft is doing it is just turning off real customers, especially if you bought this game upon release at a >$50 price point. There must be a better way. As it is, you really can't play this game without an internet connection.
So if you can look past the clumsy publisher safeguards and if you've never played an AC game before, this one really is worth your time I think. It adds many dimensions to the original game, new combat moves that really SHOULD have been in the original (like a ledge takedown...), MUCH better blending, and a greatly improved interface. Hardware capable of playing this in full-res glory is now approachably priced to the mainstream as well.
It's a good game.
on February 25, 2015
Once you actually get it running, the game play is pretty good. It took me 2+ hours to figure out why Uplay from Ubisoft wouldn't allow the game to load. Ubisoft themselves were no help. Ultimately I had to delete all of the files within my computer relating to ubisoft, then reinstall the DRM-tastic Uplay from their website. THEN, I had to change the game's .exe file to run as an administrator before it would actually open.
And game companies wonder why consumers don't like DRM products that prohibit them from playing games they legally bought.
Edit (3/6/15) The game has reverted back to not working = 1 Star. Save your money. I'm using a newly built computer (Windows 8, Nvidia graphics card) that has had zero issues playing any other game, but this Uplay garbage has made it so I won't be buying another game from Ubisoft if it uses their DRM software. Congrats on locking down your game to such an extent buyers can't actually play it.
on September 5, 2013
I love this game. One of my favorite things with it is that you can basically go anywhere.
Oh look, a building. I wonder what it looks like on top of that building... climb up it and see.
Oh look another building, this one has guards in front of it.... Oh well, I will climb over it and into it or kill the guards. It doesn't have any of the fake 'there is someone guarding this building and there is no way past them and I can't kill them' crap. Excellent game, great storyline.
on January 5, 2016
I installed on Windows 10 and did all viable options including troubleshooting for compatibility. I rebooted the system and reinstalled multiple times. This was a waste of time and money. If possible, I'd like a refund as every time I start the game it crashed stating an ubisoft error for update check. It won't let me disable the update check before starting the game otherwise I'm sure it'd work no problem. I don't think you should sell a product without testing it first and seeing the error. I can send screenshots if necessary.
on June 26, 2014
One of the best games I've ever played. Gameplay is smooth, no bad glitches. Had tons of fun running around rooftops. Not very challenging, not repetitive either. I am a casual gamer and rarely complete a game, but this one kept pulling me back and I completed it in about a week.
on October 17, 2013
A huge improvement from the already ambitious AC1.
Ezio quickly became one of the most likable and memorable characters in gaming history, and we followed his life until its end on AC: Revelations.
Now with AC3 out and AC4 close to release, I'm sad that this series became a yearly IP and how the HUGE jump from AC1 to AC2 never repeated itself. What once was a potential contender for IP of the generation degenerated into a moneycow for Ubisoft.