- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
- ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
- Genre: Action
- Pros: Huge mission variety; better assassinations; solid platforming gameplay; cool story and setting
- Cons: Gameplay falters under duress; inconsistent graphics; pacing issues
Story and Setting
The setting in 15th century Italy is excellent, and some of the characters you meet (notably Leonardo Da Vinci) are just awesome. You explore Florence, Venice, and even the rolling farmland of Tuscany among other locations, and the cities and countryside are all nicely varied and interesting to explore. Ezio is also a great, instantly likeable character and it is fun to see the world through his eyes.
One great improvement is that you only jump back to Desmond in the real world a handful of times instead of after every mission like in the first game. That destroyed the pacing of the first AC, and ACII is much better because you spend a lot more time with Ezio than Desmond. Frankly, the whole virtual/real setup and Desmond in general seems sort of pointless. I just wanna assassinate fools, I don’t need this other story going on.
As you explore each city, you can buy maps that point you towards hidden treasure chests, viewpoint locations (high areas that let you look over the city to fill in your maps), mission locations, and other collectibles. In addition to the collectibles and missions, there are also a couple of meta-missions going on that span the whole game. First, there are 6 hidden tombs that you have to first find, then explore, in order to find special seals that will unlock a very special set of armor for Ezio. These tombs are basically platforming puzzles similar to, say, Tomb Raider or Prince of Persia.
The second extra mission set is that a previous test subject has left 20 messages hidden inside the virtual world that you can find in order to unravel that truth behind the overall story. These messages are puzzles that you have to solve that range from selecting similar pictures, to code breaking, to aligning a picture puzzle, and more. The puzzles are actually pretty clever you really have to think about some of them.
Both the tombs and “the truth” puzzles add another layer of interesting stuff that fills out the story and game world and makes for a, I’ll say it again, really rewarding experience overall.