For Xmas, my brother gave me a copy of Assassin's Creed II
for the XBox 360. I had originally been intending to pick it up for the PC, but the 360 is a fine place for a platformer. Luckily, my brother had brought his 360 home from college, so I began to monopolize it to play through the game. I ended up finishing it about 5 days later.
The game mostly plays quite similarly to the previous. Gameplay wise, there's been little done to alter the mechanics, though they do feel more polished and combat seems less like countering is the only option (though it mostly still is). They've also severely deemphasized the framing device story. Although you do begin the game in the "real world", unlike the former, you cannot exit to the "animus world" at will, nor are you kicked back into the "real world" whenever you complete a chapter. Overall, I think this makes the actual game flow better.
The game added a new "money" dynamic that had a relatively large impact on gameplay. In the early game, money is mostly obtained via pickpocketing, completing missions, or finding chests. About a third of the way through the game, however, you gain access to a "Stronghold". This should more accurately be called a city in your charge. You're given the ability to remodel various buildings in the city, open new establishments and otherwise make the place better. Doing so will cause the city to periodically produce money. Unfortunately, the amount of money that it generates quickly becomes ridiculous. I was able to completely finish the non-plot-related upgrades about half-way through the game. Collectively, they caused me to earn about 15,000 florins every 20 minutes. Until that point, the most expensive item that I'd seen was about 12,000 florins. The most expensive item in the entire game is only about 50,000 florins. As you can see, money is of little need once a certain point is reached.
I ended up deciding that I would get a perfect gamer score for the game. This was relatively easy due to the fact that there were only a few things that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise due to the nature of their achievement choices. Honestly, the most annoying part was probably the collecting of the 100 flowers. They aren't marked on any in-game map, but Games Radar
politely provided a map of them all.
Overall, I'd say that if you liked the first Assassin's Creed, you'll probably also like the sequel. It generally improves on most everything about the first while removing most of the largest annoyances (such as repeated, extended travel over long distances). Of course, we do have another Halo 2 situation wherein there is quite obviously going to be a sequel and thus ends without resolution.
Published by XPostGTK+