There’s only been a handful of video games that have touched me to the point that I have replayed them almost every year. Usually, those games come from my youth; games like Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Rock ‘n Roll Racing.
Assassin’s Creed 2 started to creep into that playlist when it released in November of 2009. While part of that replay comes from being an installment in a yearly series, the most significant part of my replays came from the mixture of my love of history and science fiction.
Assassin’s Creed 2 has two main settings. One, which we do not spend a lot of time in, is 2012 with Desmond from Assassin’s Creed. This time, instead of revisiting the Third Crusade, he visits the Italian Renaissance and his ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
After seeing the point of Ezio’s birth, we spend our time with him between the years of 1476-1499. This time frame allows us to not only see the beauty of cities like Florence and Venice but meet people who shaped world history like Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo de Medici.
Assassin’s Creed 2 took the base gameplay from the first Assassin’s Creed and added to it. UbiSoft Montreal started by adding the ability to swim and allowing Ezio to climb faster than Altair could. These abilities permitted Ezio more freedom in his world than Altair had.
While necessary combat controls stayed relatively unchanged, they added the ability to not only fight with your hidden blade but with other weapons, like knives and war hammers. While this doesn’t change combat, it allows for new animations that at some points can make me cringe.
The most significant expansion concerning gameplay is the addition of an economy. With the simple addition of money, we are now able to not only buy things like weapons and ammunition but also upgrades to buildings and paintings. This addition makes you feel like you are helping out your family and town more than just running around and murdering during the Renaissance.
Expanding the Lore
Assassin’s Creed 2 takes things introduced in the first game and expands on them from a world-building perspective. In the first game, you get vague details about incidences that have happened in the past, and you see one item that had the power to change all of history. Hidden within the cities of Italy are unique puzzles that expand on the lore. These puzzles not only add history changing items to the lore but also confirms conspiracy theories to be true.
With this game being the first Assassin’s Creed title that I ever played it was these hidden puzzles that drew me into the series. It gave me a curiosity about history that I knew and ask myself “what if?”.
What if it didn’t happen that way? What if it was all a lie? Assassin’s Creed was able to give me a story that melded together a lot of the things that I enjoyed.
Assassin’s Creed 2 will always hold a special place in my heart as the game that brought me into this series. Though I must say that playing it now, it does feel a bit dated. Even with the graphical upgrade that came with The Ezio Collection, Assassin’s Creed 2 looks a little blocky. When you add that with the simplistic playstyle, that can lead to a lot of sections of guard – counter – drink medicine, making this game more relaxed than other games in the series.
With all of that said, the music is fantastic and draws you into the game much like the soundtrack of a movie will bring you into its story. With my history of playing this game through the years, I will always keep it in my game rotation, though with its age newer players may have a hard time getting into it. For that reason, I only recommend this game for players who are looking to play the full Assassin’s Creed series and know where the series started.