Note: this story is based on our impressions video of the Battle of Forli DLC, and contains some spoilers for those who have not finished the original game. For our full verdict on the expansion, check out our full review, which was posted yesterday.
Anyone who has played Assassin's Creed II knows that Ubisoft's action adventure is a rich tapestry of intrigue, conspiracy, and drama. Fans of the game will be pleased to know that the adventure continues with the release of the first downloadable content last week, which is called Battle of Forli. We dived into this dazzling world to find out more.
As the name suggests, the new missions take place in the city of Forli, as well as in and around Romagna. The focus is on helping Caterina Sforza and Niccolo Machiavelli protect the city from a templar attack. You may remember Caterina as the damsel in distress that you needed to rescue with a gondola when you first arrived in Forli and Romagna. And with the addition of this DLC pack, she plays an important role in the world of Assassin's Creed II. In addition to those two characters, your uncle Mario and Leonardo da Vinci make brief appearances in the game. Also making a return is Danny Wallace's character, the irritable historian Shaun Hastings, and computer expert Rebecca Crane. However, because the DLC pack takes place within the animus, they appear in voice-over form.
In Battle of Forli, you return as Assassin's Creed II's main character, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. If you haven't completed the previous missions in the game, it's recommended that you do so because the DLC contains minor plot spoilers. Battle of Forli and Bonfire of the Vanities slot in as sequence 12 and 13 in the Assassin's Creed II continuum--the two "corrupted" data files the game skips just before the finale. After capturing a sacred artefact called the Apple from Templar ringleader Rodrigo Borgia, you meet with Mario, Leonardo and Niccolo then agree to take the Apple to Caterina's citadel in Forli for protection. Arriving there, you find the city under siege by the forces of Checho and Ludovico Orsi. The brothers have been hired by Borgia to retrieve the Apple and a map that leads to codex pages. Caterina's Templar husband was working on the pages, and Caterina decided to have him bumped off so she's certainly not afraid to get her hands dirty. In fact, one of the most amusing parts in Battle of Forli occurs when she hurls insults at the guards occupying her city. If saving Caterina and her city from harm wasn't enough for Ezio, the brothers kidnap two of Caterina's children as ransom for the Apple and codex map, so it's up to you to rescue them.
The pack boasts six missions in total. It requires you to protect Caterina and Niccolo, defend Forli from invaders, and rescue hostages before they're executed. Ultimately, you'll also have to find and assassinate the Orsi brothers. With loose ends left untied at the end of the pack, it seems that Battle of Forli will segue into chapter 13 of the game, which features the next DLC pack: the Bonfire of the Vanities. In addition to the missions, you have access to a "special memory," which allows you to pilot da Vinci's flying machine over Forli and the surrounding countryside. Because it isn't part of a mission, this experience is merely for pleasure, but it's rewarding to be able to see the city from a bird's-eye view. The pack is short, though, and it shouldn't take you more than two hours to get through the six missions.
If you're itching to delve into some brand new missions, then Assassin's Creed II: Battle of Forli is available to download now on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. To find out more about Battle of Forli, be sure to check out our full review and stay tuned for more on the upcoming Bonfire of the Vanities DLC pack.