Assassin's Creed II Updated Hands-On

We leapt across Venetian rooftops, killed plenty of guards, and even found time for a spot of shopping in the Tokyo Game Show build of Assassin's Creed II.

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The last time we saw Ezio, the lead character of Assassin's Creed II, he was just starting his adventure in Florence. However, in our recent Tokyo Game Show demo, we got to take control of him back in Venice. The session started with Ezio dropping into a Venetian street incognito and in need of some new threads and weapons. Thankfully, we were able to find a shop that provided a solution to these problems, allowing Ezio to get some new, slightly heavier armour and a mace to go with his hidden blades and sword. There were other options, though, including a scimitar and a warhammer. The Venetian section in question was about halfway through the game's purported 27-hour main storyline, so while you won't get to play with all the new toys from the beginning, it's likely that you'll have a wide variety of weapons to choose from for much of the game.

Having kitted up, we headed to a tailor's shop, where Ezio could buy packs of dye that would change the primary colour of his clothing. The colour of his outfit didn't seem to have an effect on gameplay, but it does seem to add another layer of customisation to his look, making ACII a much more personal experience than its predecessor. Walking from shop to shop, we saw the new crowd-blending techniques in action; if you keep pace with any group of pedestrians in Venice's crowded streets, you'll blend into them, being invisible to guards if they're on the lookout for you. Mingling with people is, of course, an ideal opportunity for a spot of petty larceny, but as in real life, this comes with its risks; if your mark spots you and starts a ruckus, the spell is broken and those pesky guards will be onto you.

With clothing and weapons sorted, it was time to see the main part of the mission--an assassination. This mission, one of 130 or so in the full game, starts with Ezio being instructed to take out five archers placed on rooftops around your target's house to make the initial approach possible. This was accomplished with few problems--the new high-speed scrambling made ascents up to the rooftops easy enough since the city wasn't yet aware of Ezio's presence, shown by the notoriety meter that sits next to his health indicator.

Dispatching the archers was a simple affair; the fact that they were often perched on the edge of rooftops made eliminating them relatively easy, though working out the best path to avoid taking cover required a little more time. The range of weapons allowed for some fairly brutal kills, and the layout of the level made simple, stylish, and quiet kills just as much fun.

Once the archers had been dealt with, there was the meat of the assassination: breaking into the target's compound and taking him out before he realises what's going on. Approaching at street level, all the entrances were blocked by packs of four guards, one of whom was heavily armored and was wielding a halberd. A quick scout of the surrounding area revealed a group of courtesans in a nearby square. For a fee you can hire them, which provides you with mobile cover as the four of them walk around you, providing a crowd for you to blend into, and they can then be sent off to flirt with guards, allowing you to slip past unnoticed.

Context is key for the most brutal kills.

This distraction allowed Ezio to take on the other set of guards on the perimeter. This task seemed fairly daunting--especially given the presence of another brutish fellow complete with halberd--but fortunately the game's director was on hand to demonstrate the most effective way of dealing with the group. First, he disarmed the brute, and then he swept his legs out from under him, before delivering a precise fatal blow with the stolen halberd as he hit the floor. This was enough for the lesser guards, it seemed; while the reach on the weapon meant that getting one more down was possible, the others fled in terror back out into the city.

Having breached the compound, it was time to track down the target. We scrambled up the outside of the building in which he was ensconced and tried to find the most effective stealthy route to him, taking out guards silently where necessary. This was tricky but was helped out by a few tricks that Ezio has up his sleeve that Altair lacked. The first of these is the ability to leap from ledges onto unsuspecting enemies and swiftly dispatch them in flight using the hidden blades; if you have two foes sufficiently close to each other, it's possible to take them both out at once. After dispatching a few guards perched on the top of the building to make sure there was no one watching above our mark's head, it was easy enough to scramble around the building and take out two of his three personal guards before he was even aware anything was afoot. This was followed by a short chase around his palazzio as he attempted to flee as we dealt with the last guard, but this was thankfully short-lived, and a cutscene ensued, ending the demo.

Yes, that's what they call a macing.

Assassin's Creed II is looking like an excellent follow-up to the massive-selling original, and the team behind it is working hard to address gamers' and critics' comments regarding the first game's flaws. They seem to be managing this with a certain degree of success; the game does look to be a lot more varied, though all the fundamental building blocks from the original remain. We'll bring you more on Assassin's Creed II as it nears release, so keep it tuned to GameSpot.

Discussion

237 comments
beso1999
beso1999

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

beso1999
beso1999

its awesome because you actually get to pick up weapons from the ground and buy smoke bombs

beso1999
beso1999

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

tp_RavenX
tp_RavenX

@Warrior81 I think notoriousbull70 was just quoting Poseigod, I think he meant to say... "who know what's new in Assassins Creed 2" From the sounds of it, plenty of things are new, especially the villa and the customizable clothing and the variety of weapons, it seems like it's going to be a very interesting game

BrutalPlayer666
BrutalPlayer666

@Warrior81 I've heard they've also created feathers as a collectionable item. If you remember, in AC1 the feathers were marks of the completed assassinations mission... so I'm guessing that to collect these on AC2, you'll have to perform an assassination that would certainly add many more hours of gameplay. There's also armor to collect from ancient and famous assassins that you keep in your villa after collecting them. In the end... it's absolutely sure that they've add some new and more exciting collectable items.

Warrior81
Warrior81

@notoriousbull That makes no sense. If you paid any attention to the previews and mini-reviews based on demos, etc. you would know that the game got rid of flags, and has replaced it with a much more interactive "glyph" hidden-object game. Much more importantly, the hidden-object aspect is a very minor part of the game, certainly not necessary to the player's game experience. Moreover, Ubisoft has made the game much less repetitive, implementing a system of several different mission types and integrating them to make a truly unique mission each time. You should maybe check your facts.

notoriousbull70
notoriousbull70

I can't play this game over and over again. and collecting flags is stupid. How on earth is collecting over 200 flags fun? And it doesn;t unlock any new things..who knows wats new in aAssassin's Creed II

Poseigod
Poseigod

Awesome game! I'm seriously buying this game. No pre-ordering though, i'm not a huge fan. I can't play this game over and over again. and collecting flags is stupid. How on earth is collecting over 200 flags fun? And it doesn;t unlock any new things. I heard desmond is going to do more then "just walk". can't wait

sar07g
sar07g

I'm glad they've realized the few problems with the first one, and gone above and beyond in the second one. They've added more missions and mission types to take away from the repetitive-ness, they've allowed you to kill while hanging and jumping, and now we get to upgrade and buy weapons and stuff. Hope we can still go steal weapons too still.

ghost89x
ghost89x

veryyyyyyyy hard to understand that guy, at least i know the game has more variety and will be better than the already great first one

arayedh
arayedh

sweet!! good thng they let uss kick and punch instead of jus using the sword and dagger . the best thing is tht you assassinate while hanging on the wall and jump and kill before you land. this game has more stealth than the first one:P.

Geo1676
Geo1676

This game's on my wish list!

xXxLUK3YxXx
xXxLUK3YxXx

This game looks sik loved the first one god knows how they could have made it better cant WAIT!!!

arayedh
arayedh

the game is awsomee, the the third one would be great if they made it a modern day assassin with pistols and snipes and smg's and have camifloage ability it would bee like metal gear but all about more about assanitions then tech's:D:D:D wouldnt be as great but would bee cool:P! cant wait till november 17!!!

Noclippin
Noclippin

I loved ac1 even with the very repetitive gameplay, now that they're changing that it will be even better.

15Joel15
15Joel15

Superb... I have no words to describe the video, The game oh my god was really will be great, Say good in graphics, Sound effect, Character Modeling, Wow all was really awesome... But I really don't get the story. I think so for that I have to buy the game... I wonder if i could buy the game... He looks like New Generation Prince of Persia....

aaroquesi
aaroquesi

looks like the repetitive way to complete missions its gone thanks god!, that's my spectation for the second assassins creed game

Fenix_54
Fenix_54

NO ALTAIR WAT THA FRICK!!!!!!!!

Ellojamie
Ellojamie

AWESOME!!! I'm gonna get this game!

gyxter23
gyxter23

I'm so excited already. The final move at 4:02 was funny.

HellsKing
HellsKing

Mmm double shanking. Can't wait! Gonna be like...*sleeiiishhhh! slosh! slooosssssshhhh!!!*...yeah...

wookers44
wookers44

new guy looks like a bad ass with armor

rumulus
rumulus

give the man a break. He's a french dude. and by de way the game look great

ignamatador
ignamatador

Liking it, most of all that you can buy things on the shop, and really like that is on ITALIA!

deadliest88
deadliest88

I hope this one lasts longer and isn't as boring as the first one. but as all hopes i guess they'll be shattered...

EvanDeWickeD
EvanDeWickeD

The first game was outstanding to look at...... DEAD boring though cause of it just kept on repeating... repeating.... repeating... and repeating!!!! I hope the new 1 wont be the same :/

Flawless_Gamer
Flawless_Gamer

i need this game in my life....love the way the new city looks cant wait to piss off some guards!!!! p.s i dident understand what that guy was saying at all!!!!

murano28
murano28

no altair!!! damn..but the game looks great..

ilia4kata
ilia4kata

new guy looks gay with that cape compared to Altair who looked like extreme bad ass but sequal will be superior in ever other aspect of the game i bet

method115
method115

Seriously can't wait for this game. The first one was repetitive as hell but the story was really interesting to me and the game play was fun even if I was doing the same thing over and over. The story is what really caught me though. If they changed the game play to be less repetitive this could easily game of the year for me. I don't know though maybe Dragon Age will take the title.

black-master
black-master

i think assassins creed 3 will have you playing as desmond because all his ancestors had a eagle shaped hood and desmond has a jacket with a hood possibly the same type.

666shan666
666shan666

this games seems awesome, 1 copy is mine...

AssassinJul95
AssassinJul95

04:02 crotch pwnage...seriously looking forward to this!

ZedX-14Pilot
ZedX-14Pilot

This game is gonna be a reall time killer. I can't wait to get my hands on this.

amazin900
amazin900

I just cant wait for this game...even though i had chances of buying games whenever i want but i guess im waitin for the best...and im sure tht when ill get it im NOT gonna regret my waiting n patience for it..YAHOOOOO!!!! THIS GAME IS MINE!!!!!!!!!!!

ahmado79
ahmado79

i am really looking forward for this game!!!!

GhoX
GhoX

4:08 Ouch, crotch stab.

centruroides
centruroides

i think it looks pretty much like 1st one... it will be visually matchless but the 1st one had the problem of repetitiviness... i rly hope this one doesnt

Jhraxlin
Jhraxlin

This game, MW2, Zelda, Splinter Cell 5, and Operation Flashpoint.... These next few months have way to many good games coming out.

luwelui
luwelui

i think what people are forgetting is that the storyline of how he went back through his ancestors memories and how that will play into this story. I'm really looking forward to this and how the story moves forward. :)

steven141
steven141

I'm just glad that it doesn't seem to be as repetitive as the original. It was amazing...but repetitive. But now im not sure if there are too many options...i'm sure it will be awesome

PS3gamer890
PS3gamer890

ALSO...............I didnt understand anything what the guy said in this video