Assassin's Creed fans might have been disappointed by the lack of gameplay footage at Ubisoft's press conference yesterday, but the demo given at Sony's press conference earlier today was well worth the wait. The demo opened up with a scene that looked remarkably similar to that featured in yesterday's trailer: Nobles are dancing in the city square, fireworks are illuminating the sky, and series protagonist Desmond is stalking the streets in the shoes (and trademark white hood) of another of his deadly ancestors.
You won't be playing as an assassin, though, at least not at the outset. Rather, you'll be playing as a nobleman on a quest for vengeance who, as you progress through the game, will learn to be even more lethal than the first game's Altair. Assisting you on your quest will be Leonardo Da Vinci, a personal friend who serves as your personal inventor and affords you access to all manner of gadgets--his famous flying machine, for example.
The target in the demo is located inside a castle and, conveniently, can only be reached from the sky. After strapping yourself into the flying machine--which resembles a hang glider with flapping wings--you'll be able to float over the city, using the thermals from fires dotted around the environment to gain both speed and altitude. And, as was shown in the demo at one point, you'll even be able to swoop down and kill enemies.
After we watched Desmond's ancestor land on the roof, we were treated to a quick display of just a handful of the new moves that you'll have at your disposal. The most impressive was undoubtedly the ability to simultaneously take down two enemies by thrusting your wrist-mounted blades into their necks. Even more significant, though, will be the ability to disarm enemies and use their weapons against them. In the demo, we only saw a spear being used in this way, but the finished game will purportedly feature more than 30 different weapons, as well as six that can be unlocked only by connecting the PS3 version of Assassins Creed 2 with the PSP game, Assassin's Creed Bloodlines.
The stage demo ended, predictably, with the assassination of the target. Less predictable, though, was the escape from the castle, which involved the use of a smoke bomb (which disoriented multiple enemies) and then a dive into a nearby expanse of water. Gaining the ability to swim has long been the mark of a good sequel, so consider us even more excited for Assassin's Creed 2 right now than we were yesterday. Expect more information on the game, which is scheduled for release later this year, as our coverage of E3 2009 continues.