30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Hugely Satisfying and Entertaining...,
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This review is from: Assassin's Creed II - Greatest Hits edition - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
First off, I haven't played AC I and a newbie to open world themed games. But reading all the positive reviews of AC II prompted me to try it and I have to say I hugely enjoyed this game. I really enjoyed this game broadly for its story, pacing, attention to detail of the environments, character development, voice acting, rich color pallet and varied missions. But what really stands out are Renaissance era Italian cities. They are literally living, breathing characters in this game. I have to commend the developers at UBI Soft for painstakingly recreating these cities and their architectural marvels in gorgeous detail and staggering scale. In my past life I had dabbled in Architecture and been fascinated with Italian, Greek and Egyptian architecture. Just being able to run around these cities, scale all historic buildings and take in the magnificent cityscapes from top of view points as the camera revolves around you, was the next best thing to actually being there in person. The experience is quite visceral and astounding. If you scaled the Florence Duomo Cathedral, you know what I'm talking about.
Apart from that, the missions are quite varied and don't seem repetitive at all which was a big complaint against AC I. The voice acting with Italian accents and dialogue for most characters are spot on and added more authenticity to the game. Character development for lead character Ezio Auditore and other important characters are quite well done and the actor giving voice to Ezio seems to have really put some effort into it and it shows. Other than that, the population of the cities have colorful PCs and NPCs from thieves, brigands, mercenaries, prostitutes, nuns, annoying minstrels, merchants, announcers, messengers and normal citizenry. The navigation and combat controls are not that difficult to get used to and navigating the cities and climbing felt natural. Navigating using the map took some time to get used to in the open world but once down pat, felt quite comfortable. You will get lost in the cities unless you use the map! The AI system seems better than most other games and not that forgiving that you feel unchallenged.
1. Gorgeous and detailed environments.
2. Lengthy game and huge cities to explore.
3. Excellent voice acting and character development.
4. Interesting storyline - Integration of real life historical figures and incidents into the storyline is nice.
5. Monetary system - Earning money and spending on upgrades added an interesting aspect to this game. But midway/three-fourths through the game you will have money to burn and nothing to do with it afer all the upgrades.
6. Apart from main story line there are non-essential side missions like assassination contracts, races, message delivery, beat ups, finding feathers, unlocking futuristic conspiracies etc. which adds a ton of replay value.
7. The developers have achieved a lot of breath in game elements variety and little less in depth.
8. Decent AI.
All accolades aside, there are some blemishes in this well-made game.
1. A lot of characters look blocky in close-ups and dating back to PS2 standards of rendering while the environments themselves are gorgeously rendered making this a glaring anomaly. In doing the inevitable comparison to Uncharted 2 and God of War 3 in terms of overall graphics, AC II going to come off as second best.
2. Combat leaves much to be desired. The choice of weapons and how you earn them is interesting. Its not for lack of variety in combat moves and weapons but its just that combat could have been more fluid. I guess I'm less forgiving in this aspect as the bar for combat has been set very high after playing the God of War series. (I know, I know I should not be comparing a hack and slash with a third-person action adventure :))
3. Much as I try to get into it, the Animus concept just doesn't fly.
4. The final boss fight felt a bit tame and the ending abrupt.
I'm at a stage in life where family and professional obligations don't allow for playing at a stretch where day turns to night and then back again. I found Assassins Creed II to fit the bill perfectly and I played this on and off for a couple of months till I finished it at my own pace.