Posted by: Paul | April 17, 2010

Assassin’s Creed 2

OK, so I’m a few months late with this one. I just don’t have anything like as much time for games as I used to, for obvious reasons, and the ones containing violence I restrict to hours when the little fella isn’t around anyway, which are few and far between. So I have to ration myself, and approach titles in order of priority. And with so many great games around at the moment and incoming, the fact that I am almost OCD in my approach to playing them – I at least have to finish one game before I move onto the next, even if I don’t go for 100% completion like some – means that the queue is quite long at the moment. Also, top of the priority list are games I can borrow rather than shell out for, hence AC2 taking precedence over Heavy Rain.

The best way I can think of to describe Assassin’s Creed 2 is like a medieval GTA without the cars. Though its world is slightly less open and the mission structure is much more linear (there are courier / race / beat up side missions you can attempt at any time but the story progresses in a prescribed order one mission at a time), the similarities are clear. If you can see it, you can reach it. And if it can be reached, unlike GTA, it can be climbed. I suffer a little bit from vertigo, and climbing up the outside of Giotto’s Campanile in 16th Century Florence made my legs go as wobbly as when I reached the deuxieme etage of the Eiffel Tower (and subsequently went no further).

The realisation of various parts of Renaissance Italy is absolutely beautiful to behold. I take in the view as the camera sweeps around the top of the tower of another delicate church and think about how far games have come since the original GTA with its top down view. Now I’m standing looking out over a three-dimensional representation of an entire city, to scale, which you can clamber all over at will.

AC2 is also an absolute collectathon. Viewpoints, feathers, codex pages, weapons, armour, statues, treasure, paintings, the list goes on. This is where my OCD really kicks in – if there’s something I can’t find I’m straight onto GameFAQs to see what I’ve missed. I’m still not very far through the game yet – all my collecting is slowing me down – but so far the slightly clunky combat is the only thing letting the experience down. Looking forward to exploring more of 16th century Italy, from the rooftop down.

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