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Chazza_Assassin
10-26-2009, 04:59 PM
I have taken the time to write up the full written review from The Offical XBox Magazine UK. Enjoy http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif


For some reason, it feels like Assassin's Creed 2 is up against the kind of challenge that even Altair would struggle to scale. The original game was massively successful and rightly loved, but there was a general concencus that there were several areas that could be improved. Whats more, with the state of the art moving forward in terms of visuals, AC2 will struggle to blow people away in the way the first game did. Worry not, though, because in this game, every conveivable element has been improved, expanded, buffed or polished, and while the straightforward action is very definately a follow-up to Altairs adventures, the rest of the game is barely recognisable.

One of the main reasons AC2 is so enjoyable, is the fact that this time around your historical character is properly fleshed out. We can understand the reasons behind Altair being a blank state and something of an enigma in the original game - he was supposed to be an avatar for Desmond within the memories created by the Animus machine - but it was difficult to feel connected and involved in the medieval world. AC2 demonstrates that having a more complex character and revealing more of his life story doesn't compromise the futuristic plot that runs in parallel.

Ezio Auditore Da Firenze us brilliantly realised and develops over the course of the game which spans a huge portion of his life. At the beginning of the plot he's a poilt, petulant teenager, but early in the game his world is shaken by the betrayal and you see him become the steely assassin you'd except him to be. It's a subtle and beautifully handled transition to maturity that fortunately doesn't result in Ezio becoming another generic anti-hero. In most of the cut-scenes his cowl is removed and he's an expressive and well-acted character with a sense of humour. As a result you feel a much more connected and integral part of the history that makes the series so fascinating.

Worry not, though - having a genuine human being as the main character doesn't make Ezio any less of a badass when the hood goes up and the claret begins to flow.

Desmond also gets a more meaty role in proceedings as well, rather than simply wandering around looking confused. The game opens with a mad dash to escape the Abstergo complex, and while you'll only play as the bemused barman three times in the game, with more of his ancestors powers unlocked he's inching ever closer to the same abilities as Ezio and Altair.

In general, the futuristic portion of the game is far less intrusive than in the previous title - You aren't constantly hauled out of Ezio's story just to poke around a sterile lab for a few minutes. Plus, when you're in the Animus there are fewer occasions where your progression is blocked by gamey contrivances.

Renaissance Ital is a hugely exciting place to explore, and one again each city is gloriously dense and really feels like a living, working environment. The Italian architecture is considerably more haphazard aswell, making negotiating the rooftops a more satisfying challenge in itself. It's not quite the revelation that AC1 was at the time, but the game's still gorgeous - every crack in the stucco walls is picked out in ludicrous clarity, and the draw distances and sense of scale are just as breathtaking as they always were.

It's not just the cities either, Ubi Montreal has fleshed out the villages in between. We're particularly enarmoured wih the walled town of San Gimignano, which includes huge medieval towers perfect for stretching Ezio's legs.

Your new found involvement (and investment) in the medieval world is mirrored in the missions that are dished out during the course of the storyline. The deeply artificial pre-assassination "investigations" of the first game have been dumped. While your primary objectives within each chapter are likely to be introducing some corrupt official to the business-end of your wristblade, the build-up is more organic.

Rather than a series of different "types" of mission, they're led by the requirements of the story. So rather than being set an implausible obstacle course, you're scrambling over the rooftops keeping pace with a boat and taking down archers trying to attack it.

When that's over, you can help patch up the person in the boat, which leads to you meeting someone who helps with the next mission... it's seamless. These sub-missions build neatly towards the eventual assassinations attempts, which are just as satifying as they always were. When you've planned the perfect route through a restricted area, silently taken out the surrounding guards and then sprinted the final few metres for a deliciously soggy kill, the sense of elation is enormous.

There's generally plenty of freedom in how your approach your mark - stealth is recommended but usually not essential - and if you're prepared to spend the cash, Ezio can be tooled up with poison , throwing knives and a cornucopia of offensive weaponry in order to carve his way to the target. The combination of an involving story, a rich, detailed, environment and objectives that feel like a natrual plot progression as well as an interesting challenge means that throughout the 20 or so hours it took to complete Ezio's saga, we were rarely anything other than totally engrossed.

There's only one moment when the story falters slightly and decends into the kind of item collection that rankled peopke in the first Assassin's Creed. It's tiresome because it occurs at a moment where the story is barrelling toward it's conclusion and the change in pace is severely jarring. It is genuinely the only mis-step, though, in a story that is otherwise as sure-footed as Ezio himself.

Assassin's creed 2 offers a healthy lump of sandbox distractions, but because you're so invested in the politcal intrigue, characters and bumping off Italian nobles, it's often difficult to tear yourself away.

It's worth finding time to complete some of the secret locations, though, which offer a Prince of Persia-style clambering puzzles within some of Italy's most famous buildings. Attempting to plot a route and then execute it in one fluid movement is one of the game's greatest pleasures: for the most part precise timing isn't essential, so a mistimed jump doesn't mean death. There are six of these Assassin's Tombs to be found dotted around the world, one of which is compulsory. There's even variety within the secret areas - one might involve clambering to the top of the Duomo in Florence from the inside, another might be chasing a guard through a series of dank, underground caverns. Best of all, there's an extremely tasty reward if you do the lot - we won't tell you what it is, but we bagged it and it's worth chasing both for competitive advantage and general kudos.

Another pleasing element is the opportunity to build-up the entire town of Monteriggioni, which is where you'll find your family villa, and transform it from a run-down and barely inhabited settlement into a bustling market town. By renovating the various buildings, you generate income that can be collected in between missions and earn discounts on armour, clothes and medicine. It's by no means vital to the plot, and some people will blow all their cash on the latest, pointiest weapon, but if you want to be stinking rich, it's worth taking the time to spruce the place up a bit. It's not a complex real estate simulation, but it is a neat diversion.

Finally, the conspiracy theory nuts who went bonkers over the ending of the original game will be pleased to hear that the mystery not only deepens in the game, but that there are also opportunities to dig furthur into the Templars plans through a series of increasingly confounding mini-games that can be unlocked during your travels. The reward for solving the lot is as integral to the plot as the proper "ending" to the game, and documents revealling the extent of Templars' influence throughout history are displayed as you progress through the puzzles.

There's a huge amount to do, none of which feels like fluff or filler, and while plently of people will be satisfied by the 20 or so hours it takes to conclude the story, there's at elast another ten hours of side quests and incidental missions to plough through if you want more. It's the most substantial game we've played since Fallout 3, and as the nights close-in and the weather becomes arctic in the run-up to Christmas, thats exactly what we're looking for. Assassin's Creed 2 is without a doubt a triumph of reaction to critisicm. Everything that was a grind in has been dumped in favour of better, and often more traditional game mechanics.

The result is a gorgeous, rich and believeable world that draws you in and doesn't let you go until the climactic finale. Rather than feeling liek an interloper in an established social ecosystem, you feel like an integrated part of the historic period. Watching Ezio develop into a dteely killer over the course of around a decade only increases your emotional involvement. The first Assassin's Creed's charm was in the sumptuous graphics and straightforward action - that incredible climbing and free-running, and the visceral thrill of stapling evil people to the dirt with a wristblade. With AC2 the rest of the game has caught up with the brilliance of those central ideas to create a complete and coherent experience. We can think of plenty of words that could describe Assassin's Creed 2 - Involving, exciting, cinematic - but there's one word that sums it up beautifully. Killer.

Pro(s):
Deep, involving story
gorgeous environments
Free-running is still great
Heaps of Side Quests

Con(s):
Brief reversion to the old ways.

(P.S. Sorry for any spelling mistakes, i was tired when i copied it out).

bornforhaze
10-26-2009, 05:05 PM
Wow nice review it looks like they really liked the game.

Captain Tomatoz
10-26-2009, 05:22 PM
wow thanks http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

GkrewZ
10-26-2009, 05:37 PM
Finaly, good stuff thanks bro.

thekyle0
10-26-2009, 05:45 PM
Can somebody tell me, not in detail, what the "brief reversion to the old ways" was? I am literate and am not trying to avoid a wall of text; I just want to avoid spoilers. If you do decide to help me out, just remember, not in detail. Thank you.

bornforhaze
10-26-2009, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by thekyle0:
Can somebody tell me, not in detail, what the "brief reversion to the old ways" was? I am literate and am not trying to avoid a wall of text; I just want to avoid spoilers. If you do decide to help me out, just remember, not in detail. Thank you. As far as I could tell the only thing they say is bad is a section of story where you have to collect things similar to ac1.

bladencrowd
10-26-2009, 05:53 PM
Collecting items (feathers).

Edit: Damn ninja!

thekyle0
10-26-2009, 05:55 PM
Oh, well thank you.

I thought that would be optional. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Well, I probably wouldn't be capable of ignoring them anyway.

sm312
10-26-2009, 06:07 PM
Hey man I just wanna say thanks!

An_Idea
10-26-2009, 06:24 PM
thank you for taking the time to type all of this up, much appreciated http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

the amolang
10-26-2009, 07:20 PM
nice! this is really awesome. I'm glad it seems like an amazing (or should I say killer :P) game. there is really nothing wrong with it other than the collecting bit, which doesn't bother me at all. I wonder why they didn't give this a ten. it just seems like there are no negative bits other than that part of the story. but I'm worried the mods are going to take this down....

Coolgerb
10-26-2009, 08:20 PM
Originally posted by amolang:
nice! this is really awesome. I'm glad it seems like an amazing (or should I say killer :P) game. there is really nothing wrong with it other than the collecting bit, which doesn't bother me at all. I wonder why they didn't give this a ten. it just seems like there are no negative bits other than that part of the story. but I'm worried the mods are going to take this down....

They probably will, yes. I for one was thinking of buying the magazine when it'd be released in the Netherlands just to read the review.
Won't need to now, of course.

Chazza, thanks for the effort http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

I do wonder though, what they mean exactly with the brief reversion. I am well aware it suggests the collecting stuff point, but he also mentions it is forced... Something which was never true in AC1.
We did get early reports though that in the beginning as kind of tutorial you need to collect some feathers, if I recall correctly. But he mentioned it was near the end... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

the amolang
10-26-2009, 08:30 PM
I don't think they are referring to the feathers when they say that. I still think the feathers are just extras and not needed, so there is probably something else you have to gather in the story. I don't know what it is but its probably something that will help you in some way... maybe you have to find parts of the flying machine? or have to find parts of parchment. or something like that...

FROGGEman2
10-27-2009, 12:16 AM
Wow, thanks.

sm312
10-27-2009, 12:44 AM
I'm getting confused by all this collecting stuff: so what do we have to collect and what do we get for it?

Xanatos2007
10-27-2009, 12:56 AM
I wish it was next April already! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/compsmash.gif

sm312
10-27-2009, 01:02 AM
@Xan i feel for you man I really do

Cpt_Yanni
10-27-2009, 01:17 AM
Originally posted by sm312:
I'm getting confused by all this collecting stuff: so what do we have to collect and what do we get for it?

- When you collect the feathers that are spread out in the cities, your mother will say more too you about secrets of the villa or something.

- Collecting the treasures gives you florins

- You also collect "Assassin's Treasures" but it isn't known yet what they do.

- Collecting nameplates and bring them on the statues in the basement of your family villa gives you "the special thing" of that Assassin. The last (and best Assassin) is Alta´r and when you place his nameplate on his statue, you get the strongest armour in the game.

Other collectable items aren't known yet (or I just forgot them http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif ) But this is what I remember http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

SWJS
10-27-2009, 01:19 AM
Originally posted by sm312:
I'm getting confused by all this collecting stuff: so what do we have to collect and what do we get for it? We do know that collecting the tablets from the assassin tombs will get you altair's armour.

However, there are other goodies to collect, feathers in Firenze, statuettes in Monterrigoni, etc. We don't know exactly what you get for those, but we do know you'll get SOMETHING.

adarwinter
10-27-2009, 07:49 AM
thank u so much for taking the time to do that, mate.

im off to read it http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

M-dahaka
10-27-2009, 10:34 AM
I think they refer to the flag collecting missions on the PC version of AC. They were really annoying and didn't make any sense.

Black_Widow9
10-27-2009, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by M-dahaka:
I think they refer to the flag collecting missions on the PC version of AC. They were really annoying and didn't make any sense.
I don't think it was just the PC version. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Eckerr
10-27-2009, 12:57 PM
Thank you very much, you made my day sir!

El_Sjietah
10-27-2009, 02:03 PM
Originally posted by Cpt_Yanni:

- Collecting nameplates and bring them on the statues in the basement of your family villa gives you "the special thing" of that Assassin. The last (and best Assassin) is Alta´r and when you place his nameplate on his statue, you get the strongest armour in the game.


Thanks for dumping that major spoiler on us out of nowhere.

Chazza_Assassin
10-27-2009, 04:17 PM
Wow, thanks for all the replies, guys http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
I'm glad i could be helpful to the AC community

apathy-
10-27-2009, 04:23 PM
Originally posted by El_Sjietah:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Cpt_Yanni:

- Collecting nameplates and bring them on the statues in the basement of your family villa gives you "the special thing" of that Assassin. The last (and best Assassin) is Alta´r and when you place his nameplate on his statue, you get the strongest armour in the game.


Thanks for dumping that major spoiler on us out of nowhere. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If I'm not mistaken, this thread has a quite clear spoiler alert in the topic, no? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Ilovepho
10-27-2009, 04:23 PM
GOTY confirmed! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Thanks for typing the whole review Chazza Assassin.

Choopius
10-27-2009, 04:30 PM
Originally posted by EzioTheAssassin:
We do know that collecting the tablets from the assassin tombs will get you altair's armour.

However, there are other goodies to collect, feathers in Firenze, statuettes in Monterrigoni, etc. We don't know exactly what you get for those, but we do know you'll get SOMETHING.

How "DO WE KNOW" that you get this stuff? Where was it reported? I don't remember seeing any of this. references to feathers and statues of assassins, yes. But getting Altair's armor and that his armor is the strongest in the game? Did Altair even wear armor?

Ilovepho
10-27-2009, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by apathy-:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by El_Sjietah:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Cpt_Yanni:

- Collecting nameplates and bring them on the statues in the basement of your family villa gives you "the special thing" of that Assassin. The last (and best Assassin) is Alta´r and when you place his nameplate on his statue, you get the strongest armour in the game.


Thanks for dumping that major spoiler on us out of nowhere. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

If I'm not mistaken, this thread has a quite clear spoiler alert in the topic, no? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It's "beginning of game spoiler".

Thanks for spoiler anyway.

apathy-
10-27-2009, 04:38 PM
Originally posted by Choopius:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by EzioTheAssassin:
We do know that collecting the tablets from the assassin tombs will get you altair's armour.

However, there are other goodies to collect, feathers in Firenze, statuettes in Monterrigoni, etc. We don't know exactly what you get for those, but we do know you'll get SOMETHING.

How "DO WE KNOW" that you get this stuff? Where was it reported? I don't remember seeing any of this. references to feathers and statues of assassins, yes. But getting Altair's armor and that his armor is the strongest in the game? Did Altair even wear armor? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It's been confirmed in some of the previews, for example Gamespot's latest preview. (SPOILERS) (http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/action/assassinscreed2/news.html?sid=6237477&om_act=convert&om_clk=picks&tag=picks;title;5&mode=previews)

Ilovepho
10-27-2009, 04:58 PM
Originally posted by M-dahaka:
I think they refer to the flag collecting missions on the PC version of AC. They were really annoying and didn't make any sense.

In retrospect, I think the flag collecting nonsense is not annoying but it's funny. I'm literally smiling when typing these words.

sm312
10-27-2009, 05:11 PM
Hey you guys forgot about the

SPOILER



Subject 16's videos all leading up to the truth

Choopius
10-27-2009, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by apathy-:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Choopius:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by EzioTheAssassin:
We do know that collecting the tablets from the assassin tombs will get you altair's armour.

However, there are other goodies to collect, feathers in Firenze, statuettes in Monterrigoni, etc. We don't know exactly what you get for those, but we do know you'll get SOMETHING.

How "DO WE KNOW" that you get this stuff? Where was it reported? I don't remember seeing any of this. references to feathers and statues of assassins, yes. But getting Altair's armor and that his armor is the strongest in the game? Did Altair even wear armor? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It's been confirmed in some of the previews, for example Gamespot's latest preview. (SPOILERS) (http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/action/assassinscreed2/news.html?sid=6237477&om_act=convert&om_clk=picks&tag=picks;title;5&mode=previews) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Captain Tomatoz
10-27-2009, 05:42 PM
i wonder what this truth will be

El_Sjietah
10-27-2009, 06:07 PM
I forgot to say thank you to the OP. Must've taken quite some time to type that all up. Appreciate the effort, great read http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif