Assassin’s creed II is about a bartender who is able to, using his ‘genetic memory’ and a chair called the animus, to both remember the past and participate in as one of his ancestors. Somewhat of a contradiction that is highlighted only when you kill civilians or completely botch a mission. About the nearest thing to this plot device in a film is Source Code.
The game places us into the spacious and intoxicating rooftop worlds of Florence and Venice. We are left enjoying the play for while but then the cracks begin to show. It starts out like a beautiful relationship but as time passes things are increasingly strained. I have to fantasize about Batman Begins and Hitman to keep myself playing the game.
In one scene the character Ezio, the character you play as, is ostensibly learning how to climb a scaffold but also in a completely disconnected way coming on to the character Rosa.My relationship with the game is now officically in trouble. The game knows I’m growing tired of Ezio’s bizarre dialogue. The baffling sexual overtones in conversations with women that manage to both appear both overly aggressive and limp dick at the same time.
The game decides upon a two pronged plan to keep the flame alive: novelty and padding. It tries to keep me interested with a surprise attack on my horse drawn carriage, it gives me boats, a flying machine, a pistol and so on. I am entertained sure but with every new novelty my love diminishes a little. Because it all comes some needless filler. When I get the flying machine I have to go around Venice clearing areas so that Antonio’s men can light fires to provide me with lift. The flying machine itself would not have worked but the pointless filler mission where I have to make room for fires, that also wouldn’t work, gives me time to reflect on how it all wouldn’t work.
Later this gets even worse. The game tries to excite me with a new mask as a disguise but to get this I have to collect dozens of ribbons to get the chance to compete in a three races to win the mask. I haven’t been this frustrated since the timed filler of Grand Theft Auto Vice City.
This game had so much potential but it is ruined it with ridiculous dialogue like ‘You are not a killer Ezio’ when that is virtually the only thing Ezio is. It completely under utilizes what could have been a much better idea of the bleeding effect where this ‘genetic memory, causes hallucinations and memory disturbances in the present day. What could have been a brilliant game with its amazing sound track from Jesper Kyd and beautiful locations is crippled by it’s cheap tricks. Features that are supposed be novel become the repetitive and trying mechanic of the game.
The first time you jump from a building into a wagon of hay it seems amazing. Then every time after that you begin to wonder why there are so many wagons of hay in just the right place. Why are there so many groups of exactly four prostitutes that I can hire. Also, surely four prostitutes would make an assassin more not less conspicuous.The novelties start to clog up the gameplay. I can’t remember the number of times I have jumped into a hiding well while running away, been obstructed by a bard or slowed down by a box carrying dunce. I am left with the feeling that had the game makers thought a little bit more about the janky control system and less about novelties they might have produced a better game. Like Michelle William’s in Blue Valentine reflecting on the unused potential of Ryan Gosling I eventually leave this game because things are not working out.