Assassin's Creed 2 First Impressions

Desmond is back, and this time, he's diving into the memories of a Renaissance-era ancestor.

Assassin's Creed set the gaming world on fire when it appeared at the end of 2006, and despite its appearance in one of the strongest years for games in recent memory, it secured excellent reviews, as well as sales. The game put you in the middle of the third crusade as assassin Altair, whose memories were accessible to his present-day descendant Desmond. The game boasted an intriguing story, stunning graphics, and memorable backdrops. These included the Holy Land, as well as the cities of Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus.

It's no surprise, then, that Ubisoft is prepping a sequel, and we were lucky enough to be invited to meet the game's creative director Patrice Desilets for a first look. He told us that you'll rejoin Desmond directly after the events of the original, and though his role isn't clear yet, he will be more interactive than before. Lucy will also return, again played by Kristen Bell, with the Animus and the nefarious Abstergo Industries featured in the present-day setting as well.

As for the historic setting, Assassin's Creed 2 moves to the Italian Renaissance in 1486. It is set in Venice, Florence, and Tuscany. Again, you'll play as one of Desmond's ancestors, who is called Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Ezio is born into a noble family, but he soon becomes embroiled in a plot against his family, causing him to exact revenge on the conspirators. Ezio's quest will see him go up against the powerful Grimaldi family, a precursor to the modern-day Mafia. In addition to squaring up against the Grimaldis, we know that the Templars will again make a return. One of the central characters is Carno Grimaldi, who is one of the most powerful men in Venice. Although he's obviously well protected, it appears as if his overconfidence may ultimately be his downfall.

Unlike Altair, Ezio isn't a fully trained assassin when you first take control of him. In fact, he's not an assassin at all but simply part of a merchant family. However, throughout the course of the game, you will lead Ezio to embrace the lifestyle of an assassin. Luckily, you're aided by one of the Renaissance's most revered minds: Leonardo da Vinci. The legendary Italian polymath will play a key part in the story, and he's described by creative director Patrice Desilets as the game's answer to James Bond's Q. The inventor created many ingenious designs, and he'll equip you with all sorts of useful gadgets in the game. One of the best creative licenses occurs around da Vinci's famous flying machine, which--it appears--he originally created for Ezio's use. We saw how he used it to navigate Venice from the air as he controlled altitude by using the heat from burning platforms floating on the water.

Soaring above the watery city looked incredible and was a new way to show off Assassin's amazing vistas. The confused guards mistake the contraption for a flying devil and try to shoot you down using arrows. We watched a demo of Ezio flying through several areas of the city, including Venice's famed Piazza San Marco square, but the ultimate aim is to gain entrance to a heavily guarded mansion in which one of your targets is located. Thankfully, landing on the rooftops reduces the risk of being spotted because there are only a few guards. Ezio easily took out a few nearby snipers, pushing one of them into the lagoon, and he then dived into one of the famous haystacks that make a return from the first game.

Although assassinations remain at the core of the sequel, the development team has added a lot of new features. You'll still be equipped with a sword, throwing knives, and a hidden blade, but you'll now be able to wield dual hidden blades. As seen in the E3 trailer, you can also stash a hidden pistol up your sleeve. If that's not enough, you'll be able to disarm foes and use their weapons against them. If you're outgunned, Venice will offer plenty of hiding places, including the canals themselves. You can dive straight into the water, but this is really a last resort because Ezio's underwater breathing is limited.

Hiding places are less safe than in the Holy Land, too, and the paranoid guards will check hiding spots even if you weren't spotted when taking cover. On the flip side, we're told that blending into the crowd will be more natural than before, and you won't have to seek out a group of monks like you did in the first game. There's also a greater level of character progression. For example, you can now buy weapons, armour, and even hire people to perform tasks or fight on your behalf. Ubisoft Montreal has taken on criticism about the repetitive missions in the first game, and consequently there will now be more than 16 mission types in total.

Assassin's Creed 2 is landing on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC later this year. To see Ezio in action, check out the E3 trailer and stay in touch with all of GameSpot's E3 coverage at e3.gamespot.com

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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284 comments
JediMaster210
JediMaster210

wide_ocean I'm sorry buddy to tell you this but after watching this video and after your comment I think you need to have your ears cleaned out. OF COURSE IT IS NOT GOING TO BE DULL AND REPETITIVE, I mean seriously, with the economic system there is endless possibilities. Black Edition will be awesome and the extra levels that comes with it will be great to get a handle of all the different things Ezio can do, and i agree with -Tish- Ezio is more badass then Altair, this is going to be my formal after party just me and Ezio ruling the Streets of Venice, unstoppable, silent and deadly. Can't wait for the 19/11/09, this day will be awesome.

DM2438
DM2438

Wow, the first one had a great story, but it was repetive as sh*t, but the story was assume. This game will clearly have a great story, but lets see how good the game play is, and from what I have heard, it looks like it has great potential.

TheDarkDestroyr
TheDarkDestroyr

Altair is a cooler name than Ezio. I am so getting black edition gonna be sick and what is the conspiracy book for?

rockgirlDMC
rockgirlDMC

(salman51214) You spoked for me, and I hope this be better than the first too,

salman51214
salman51214

I loved the first one coz of the making and the story, the gameplay honestly was repetitive and I think UBISOFT is smart enough to know it and thats why they have mixed it up a bit, anyway I will buy it to know of the story

Hm1911
Hm1911

this game is the best

phortheman
phortheman

wow, just when i thought i couldn't get better...

-Tish-
-Tish-

Ezio looks even more badass than Altair.

wide_ocean
wide_ocean

I wonder if it's gonna be the same boring and dully repetitive disappointment with ridiculuous future/past last-minute patched up story as the first one ("but the graphics are great!"). No, wait, I don't care and I won't even try to find out.

jokerzrus
jokerzrus

"a hidden pistol up his sleeve" WHAT?????????

jokerzrus
jokerzrus

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

washapa
washapa

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

UchihaAsif
UchihaAsif

i`m getting this on release date! probably the black edition. so when are we gona get a modern day assassins creed ? play as desmond after he escapes with lucy?

jmgoh220
jmgoh220

it will be in my wanted list

Laxman816
Laxman816

Wow, it looks awesome. It sounds like it won't be so repetative this time. I know I'm getting way ahead of myself here, but how cool would it be to have the third one set during the American Revolution? Just a thought ;)

gedbyz
gedbyz

This looks amazing.

ichiban30
ichiban30

Just bought the first one.. great game if you can ignore the repetiveness... definitely looking forward to AC2. Seems the developers have taken their customer's feedback and are planning to make it a much better/challenging game.

thurston2491
thurston2491

i hope in this one the assassinations are more challenging and have to put a lot of strategic thought behind them and also make it harder to get away

Xploziv2k9
Xploziv2k9

As long as they do something about the repetitiveness of AC 1 (and it sounds like they will using the new features and weapon disarms), this should be an excellent game

E3Abe09
E3Abe09

I hope it's as good as the trailer was

kaynefart
kaynefart

normpap: that's what i did....

alien-killa
alien-killa

if you can carry a gun that probably means you can get shot up to. that will means you have to be more stealthy not just run whenever you get caught y' know killing somebody.

normpap
normpap

looks great im gonna get the first one used for rlly cheap sincwe its two years old and quickly finish it off before getting this one

C-Dawg007
C-Dawg007

omfg. tha first one was amazing and i couldnt wait for them to make this masterpiece of a game. desmond/altair is such an important and amazing character to tha playstation collection. i love how they included da vinci into tha game as well. can we say da vinci code? haha. anyways, im wondering if it's gonna be like dmc4, do you just play as ezio or later on will altair at least make an appearance? and watching that wonderful piece of footage, at tha end it looked like he busted a cap in that guy's head, lmao. i hope you really can use guns in this game, tha way he concealed it and stuff. tha daggers in tha first one were quite annoying to keep up with, lol.

XxlamerzxX
XxlamerzxX

GUNS GUNS GUNS!!! YEAH! or its not? O.O

jklhjkjkhg
jklhjkjkhg

wen will come out assassins creed

BornForThis
BornForThis

@ Sagrannus he's not a master assassin in case you didn't read the whole first impressions above and i quote, "Unlike Altair, Ezio isn't a fully trained assassin when you first take control of him. In fact, he's not an assassin at all but simply part of a merchant family. However, throughout the course of the game, you will lead Ezio to embrace the lifestyle of an assassin."

Evilnator
Evilnator

---------------------------------- s p o i l e r ----------------------------------------------------------- I think Desmant is actually gonna get the special abilities of his ancestors as a secondary effect of the animus, since he gained the ability of seeing the things at the end of the game, and eventually take over the fighting skills he needs, and he might as well assasinate the doctors and make his escape..... well this is just my guess, THIS GAME IS GONNA BE AWESOME! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zack-the-man
Zack-the-man

good you can do more and its more difficult something that the first one needed not to slander the first one or anything.

poupouxios
poupouxios

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

zakhaev
zakhaev

The first game was so amazing and I except the same from the second one.

crumlin09
crumlin09

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

lbjkurono23
lbjkurono23

@valium88 You're right. collecting the flags was fun , the only thing that bother most was that you didn't get nothing. hopefully they realize this and add some cool rewards :)

valium88
valium88

I don't mind if they still have flags to collect, and certain people you can kill as sidemissions. But unlike the first game, I hope atleast we get something for doing it.

Sagrannus
Sagrannus

It'll be great....though i have my doubts...why does a master assassin need two blades? "Because he may need to kill two guys at once" shouldn't be a reason, a master assassin should be able to kill them with one blade easily...and the shooting? a bit of a let down. But over all...a definite buy.

TenAkuma
TenAkuma

The first game was good. The story was engrossing, and I never got tired of the combat-related missions (the non-combat related ones was where the repetitiveness stood out for me) because fighting was simply fun. I'm a bit worried that some of the new missions may actually make the game more annoying, but I hope they won't (I hope they don't make more missions like the ones where you have to run around collecting flags--that was probably the worst of them). Edit: Oh, and Kristen Bell does not have Assassin's Creed 2 on her imbd page (yet). Of course, I had no idea she voiced Lucy Stillman in the first game anyway.

lincolnsixecho
lincolnsixecho

"the first one was the sh!t" No...the first one was sh*t. This is what AC shud have been. I'm not gonna pay for this sh*t. I've already paid. I'm simply gettin the game I paid for years later. Anyone else notice the non-existent Jade Raymond?

Penono
Penono

omg i really want this game, the first one was the sh!t

Mattyb97
Mattyb97

looks gr8.i really liked the 1st 1 and looks like the second 2!

pollob13
pollob13

previous installment was also gr8. but its really nice to see that ubisoft realized some previous mistakes .. i think that will make this game better and more enjoyable than previous one

oneloveoneworld
oneloveoneworld

The shooting the little star thing or whatever in the trailer is "awesome" but kinda ruins it cause if you wanted to assassin someone, just point at that person without going through all the guards and what not, but still AWESOME game. Can't wait for it. Truly excited, PRE ordered it already!

taj7575
taj7575

The Director is correct. There are endless possibilities you can do with Assassin Creed's storyline of going back into the past. It's also nice to see they are greatly improving the game.

suspektz101
suspektz101

This is going to be a total improvement over the first game, and I loved the first game. So excited!!

jar288
jar288

also in one video i saw the assasin use a smoke bomb in addition to the double blades