Reader Review: Assassin's Creed II

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Zack does, as he headbutts the Pope, repeatedly.

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This review was submitted by Zack Rhodes. If you’ve played Assassin's Creed II, or just want to ask Zack more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Assassin's Creed II (360)

A follow up to Ubisoft Montreal's flawed masterpiece, Assassin's Creed II works like any good sequel should, introducing new characters, developing old characters and to a lesser extent summing up the events of the first game.


Italy: From the countryside, to the characters and even some of the (mildly) racist stereotypical humour, the setting makes this game. It gives the developers a reason to make everything a just little more flamboyant and larger than life than it needed it to be.

Free Running: Carrying over from the first game is the great free running/parkour system, it makes this game so much better and it is easy to see how much effort the developers have spent refining the system and making the movement more controllable


Animus: This game suffers from the animus story line. The introduction - while awesome to anyone who played Assasin's Creed - is really confusing to anyone who hasn't and for some reason the game looks, and chugs, horribly when playing as Desmond.

Crowds For Hire: Ezio can hire crowds for moving cover or added protection or to just distract some guards. Now this would have been a great machanic if there were not a rent-a-crowd on every corner on every city. A couple of hours in, they become an "I win" button.

Assassin's Creed II fixes almost every flaw with its predecessor. The result is a great fun experience that suffers from its own cryptic plot and repetitiveness.

Reviewed by: Zack Rhodes

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 300 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


    Good review - I loved AC2. I agree with the good points, but I loved the hybrid futuristic/renaissance setting. It would absolutely be confusing for new players, but I didn't have any issues with frame rate during the Desmond sections?
    The hiring crowds thing wasn't particularly great - Ubisoft needs to work out a way to make it as cool to disappear into crowds as they want it to be in principle.

    Very good review, however I respectively disagree about the Animus storyline. I think it allows for very interesting plot points that relate to the real world. For instance, when collecting parts of The Truth, there are codes you can decode that provide provocative, conspiracy-related comments on history, including a few on Tesla, Hitler, and even Joan of Arc. It also allows continuity between games. For instance, how else would you connect Altair to Ezio, besides being part of the same family? The story would fail.

    And then there's the prospect with what it CAN do. In ACIII. The idea has floated around about Feudal Japan, or perhaps playing as Desmond himself. This would be impossible without the Animus.

    Also, it allows us to connect with a character. They tried that with Altair in the first game, making him silent, but the game lacked the fun-loving nature of Link, because in the end, though Link is a silent character, he still has personality; something which Altair lacked until the DS and PSP games. Desmond has a personality, but he is learning, as we are. He is playing through Ezio and Altair, like we are. He wears a hoodie, like we do. He's easy to connect to.

    Sorry if this comes off as an attack, it's just my two cents.

    That is a really good read Zack. That sums it up pretty well. I may consider getting this as I had bad experiences playing the first.

    Disagree with the crowds point, the times you dont need it they may crowd your map but those times when really really do I found myself hard pressed to get what I wanted. I can agree to an extent though, It may have been better if for example you had to go find a certain contact that could hook you up with what you wanted. So you walk calmly through a mob of civilians making your way to the shady character standing off to the side you whisper a few words and he could direct you to what you wanted (at a price). This way there wouldn't be thousands of prostitutes and thugs standing everywhere and instead would only appear after you talk to someone in your network. Man, It would be cool to have a network of people you know, the number of people in this group of assassins could change depending on what parts of the city you took control of. You could bribe politicians and assassinate officials to expand the area of where you could walk freely. They could have had the public speakers, that you had to bribe, convince the general public of what you are trying to accomplish and get them on your side. Eventually you could have overthrown the city officials and had your own army (the thugs) patrol the city instead. I think they could have done so much more with it. Clearly there are a lot of flaws with my system and I may be the only person to enjoy that :P But it could have been a very nice addition. I think they should expanded further on the economic system. I loved upgrading the city, I found it a huge addition to the game. The ability to die your clothes, similar to buying armour also gave it so much more depth. I wasn't expecting something as deep as the borderlands guns trade but I feel disappointed when I think about how they went about it. Yes they did expand on it and made it a much more fun game, but they didn't go all the way. Maybe you will disagree but I certainly felt like they were just testing the waters. Like the next AC game might go even further with it.
    (This I also found with GTAIV, they added a lot but didnt do it to its fullest extent)

    Yes? No? Sorry its such a long comment, I probably should have just said "STFU BOI IT WANST TEH GR3AT3ST BuT iuT was STILLS T3H AW3SoMe" Instead.

      You should have.

        F—k :/

          I love the moderation. Im not all "Freedom of speech" or anything at all, I love it. Fuck? Fuck Fuck. F--k?

    Good review, straight to the point and clear. I definitely agree with the Crowds point, I found it a bit ridiculous that Ezio, wearing assassin's armor can blend in with courtesans and other members of the populace. But yeah, AC II was an amazing sequel by all reckoning. It definitely fixed up most of the problems with the first game. I however thought the parkour system was too much of a leap. Altair was slow and calculated at times which could be annoying. But Ezio is a lot faster and to me it didn't seem realistic enough. But I digress, I'm probably just nitpicking. Good review.

      I thought it made sense with Courtesans....

      Boobs/Scantily Clad Whores = Who cares what else is going on.

      Also, with crowds...the Assassins Cloak/Armour is more fitting of what the common people wear...I didnt like the blending with priests from the first one....mainly because you dont see many priests covered in weaponry...

      But yeah, I loved this game so much. Just finished Sequence 11 on my 2nd play through...

    spot on zack. i wasnt a huge fan of ac2.

    Nice review Zack.

    i'm still yet to pick up Assassins Creed II, as i already have a massive list of games i am still yet to play through, but hearing so many people say so many positive things about this game really entices me to go out and get it sooner.

    I, personally, loved the first Assassins Creed. So with everyone saying this is a vast improvement over the last really helps me keep the anticipation going strong :)

    The first AC could really pull you in, but at least in my case, it had trouble holding me there, with the repetitive gameplay outweighing the story which for the most part, seemed tacked on after the intro.

    If AC2 improves all this, then I may just have to finally finish up the original.

    Good review Zack :D

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