Assassin's Creed 2

Posted by Alex Jordan on

I spent a bunch of time with Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer mode last night, trying desperately to suck less. Unfortunately, my Suck Potential is still near maximum right now, thanks to (a) not knowing the maps, and (b) having not advanced enough to unlock really helpful perks or weaponry. But I will soldier on!

Anyway, that wasn't the entire night. I also spent some time with Assassin's Creed 2.


I only got through the first assassination, but so far I'm really digging the game. All of the gameplay features from the first game look like they're in place, with plenty of both common sense and innovative additions. Lots of streamlining, too. And I loved the gameplay of the first, so I wasn't really tempting disappointment.

Rather, I find myself unexpectedly charmed by the story and the characters. The first game's plot made a stab at being interesting, but wooden characters and unskippable talk-for-five-minutes cutscenes made it a chore. Supporting characters like the one voiced by Kristen Bell were boring, and It also didn't help that the main character, Altair, was an egotistical prick.

Well, no more. The game starts off with a metaphorical (but not literal!) bang, with guinea pig Desmond Miles (wonderfully voiced by Nolan North) and Bell on the run. The game introduces a slew of new and - shock! - interesting characters in the present before hurling you into the past, dropping you squarely into the pantaloons of your new avatar, Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

Where Altair was introduced as an utter douchebag, Ezio shows up as a devil-may-care youth that's fond of women, alcohol, and brawling. He's fun and interesting, as is his older brother, younger brother, and younger sister, all of whom are quickly introduced. Even the authority figures like Ezio's father and mother are playfully-written and represent people that you'd actually like to know in real life.

"You need to find an outlet for your creativity," Ezio's mother says.

"I have many outlets," Ezio says, slyly.

"Vaginas don't count," the mother responds.

So color me happy, because this game is not only well-written, but funny. And it isn't the trying-too-hard-to-be-funny tone of Grand Theft Auto IV, but the appropriate sense of humor for dispelling tension in an action movie/book/game. I guess my expectations for video games are so low at this point that even a hint of sophistication that wafts my way does the trick.

Oh, and you meet Leonardo da Vinci. So that's awesome.

At this point, Ezio has barely become an assassin, but his transition from lackadaisical youth into cold-blooded killer seems more than plausible. Also, the game makes it look like there's an interesting subplot behind the string of assassination's I'll no doubt commit. No more "go here, kill this guy, times nine" like in the first game.

So far, I'm excited. Between this and Modern Warfare 2, I don't think I'm going to have a life for the next few days.