|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q4 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In addition to the new stealth blades, Ezio will have new weapons at his disposal. While having several new weapons will be great in the game, the more interesting thing is the ability to disarm your opponents and then use their own weapons against them. Every weapon will be useable by Ezio. Adding to this, each weapon will have its own special attack as well. If that's not enough, the enemies you'll face will vary in how they respond to your attacks and even have their own weakness depending on the attacks. Another interesting thing about the enemies comes when they are in pursuit of Ezio.
Each type of enemy will have their own unique way of hunting him. Players won't have to rely solely on the weapons in the game either. Instead, you will be able to take your enemies on with your bare hands - with various punches, grabs, kicks, and even head butts. You can also deliver cheap shots! One example is the ability to throw dirt in the eyes of your enemies. So, expect a lot of dirty fighting with this new assassin. Another advantage Ezio has over his ancestor is the ability to blend into any crowd, no longer restricted to the white-garbed monks. This potentially opens up new ways to get away from pursuers and avoid suspicion.
There's a new Notoriety system being introduced into the game as well, which determines how the populace of the city reacts to you and whether the soldiers are actively seeking you out. The more notorious you are will also open up different missions for you. A few examples are quests to assassinate witnesses, bribing people that are talking about you, and even getting rid of posters throughout the city with your face on them. All of these are interwoven with the new structure for your missions. Instead of doing things the way they were done in the first game, with the "go here, do this, and return here" mentality, a branching network of contacts has been put in its place.
The contacts you make will give you hints that will move you from city to city and the corresponding countryside. Offering sixteen unique mission types in the game removes the transparency of the mission structure of the first. Another side to the new mission structure is you won't necessarily have just the one mission at a time. Sometimes you will have two back to back, or even some that may overlap one another. By adding this, Ubisoft hopes to deliver on a more cohesive gaming experience without the repetitive nature of the previous title. With potentially 200 missions in the game, one of the biggest concerns is how the developers will create a flow in the game. By allowing players to trigger the missions whenever they want with their contacts, Ubisoft has this answered as well. One other option attached to your missions that has me excited is the ability to scout out the rooftops for enemies before it is time to assassinate your target. I don't know how many times I lost out on a mission because of some roof-top security guy that took me down. Now, at least I will have the opportunity to take them out first.
Even with the removal of pick-pocketing and eavesdropping on conversations, Assassin's Creed II is shaping up to be a truly amazing sequel. All of the retooling and inclusions of new gameplay mechanics should have fans of the first excited. Even those who were not should be ready to get onboard with the new modifications. With historical events and locations being interwoven into the fictitious world of Assassin Creed, it opens up several possibilities not only for the sequel but the franchise as well.
CCC Project Coordinator