Released by Ubisoft on November 17, 2009, for xBox 360 and PS3, Assassin’s Creed II takes up where Assassin’s Creed I left off, with Desmond Miles connected to the Animus, trying to recover the genetic memories of his assassin ancestors to help defeat the Templar Knights in the present. A PC version is slated for release in early 2010.
The M for mature rating is well deserved, not only for violence, which is to be expected, but also for surprising scenes of sexuality and a few choice swear words. Ezio is quite a player along with being an accomplished assassin.
Rich in history and detail, AC II is far more playable than AC I. You’re in Italy for this installment; the cities of Florence and Venice are stunningly beautiful, the citizens decked out in period costume. If you get tired of assassinating your targets, just take a stroll over the Rialto Bridge and enjoy the scenery. Or take on a side quest or mission to earn a little money for new armor. You also have the opportunity to interact with Leonardo da Vinci and other notables of the Italian Renaissance.
New abilities such as a more extensive weapons selection, facilitated by the weapons wheel allowing you to access your choice of acquired weapons during play, along with poison, a pistol, and the ability to swim, make game play far more enjoyable than AC I. Health is also enhanced, allowing you to heal faster from minor injuries and only needing medical attention for serious injuries.
Cut scenes in AC II are more smoothly integrated into the game play, making them less distracting and more interesting. Several are interactive, making them more useful as well.
Infinitely better than AC I is the free play available after completing the main plot. You can continue to unlock achievements, complete side missions you may have not attempted or needed to complete during the game and generally run around and do as you please for as long as you want.
Of note is a glitch that occurs after the player returns to the present in Sequence 11, saves and shuts down the console. The next session of play leaves Ezio at the hideout, unable to continue the game. Ubisoft states it will be releasing a patch shortly. Until then, it’s advised to play past the checkpoint in Chapter 11 before saving and quitting the game.
Assassin’s Creed II is available at Gamestop stores and their online shop, at Amazon.com, both new and used versions, and at stores like Target and Walmart. New games run around $60.00 with used starting to show up priced anywhere from $50.00 and up.