game thoughts: Assassin’s Creed II

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Assassin’s Creed II was the free game for Xbox Gold members in July. I had attempted Assassin’s Creed way back in my early gaming days, before I really understood how to navigate open worlds, and all I remembered about that game was getting lost and getting killed. A lot. So I was a little hesitant to try AC2 at first. But it is one of my friend’s favorite games of all time so I wanted to give it a chance.

Totally worth it. AC2 may have been a free game, but I plan on spending money later this year to pick up both of direct sequels and will most likely get AC3 along the way.

You do not need to have played AC to enjoy AC2, though it probably helps. I had played enough of the first game to know that Desmond is the ancestor of the assassin’s and there is a mysterious group using his memories to explore the past. AC2 picks up where AC ended, with Desmond escaping with Kristen Bell (look, I can’t remember the character’s name, I just know KB voiced her…which is why I bought the first game back in the day). She tells him that the people holding them before are EVIL and her team is good and then she plugs him back into the Animus to explore a new assassin – Ezio of Italy.

The start of the game is slow going. I almost walked away when I had to play through Infant!Ezio’s birth and make his arms wiggle. But trust me, you want to hang in there. The tutorial/intro is long, yes, but there is SO MUCH STORY to get through and once you are through it, the world is open to you completely. You can either play through the main plot of Ezio’s “memories” or you can go side-questing to your hearts content. Each city is full of hidden treasures (buy maps at the art store ASAP), assassination contracts, races, beat-up events and more. You even get to do some old-school Tomb Raiding as you search for artifacts left behind by previous assassins. Lara would be proud. I’ve been playing for 16 hours and I’m barely halfway through the story-mode and I still have lots of side quests in every single city.

So whether you managed to snag this as a free game in July or if you’re thinking about buying it (it’s less than $20 on most websites), it is totally worth your time and money. If you like open worlds, a little bit of stealth, and puzzle solving, it is definitely worth a try. Be warned though – you will want to pick up all the sequels to find out what happens to Ezio and Desmond (and, of course, Kristen Bell!)

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