Version tested: PC
Assassin's Creed 2 in the PC version it is substantially identical to the console counterparts. For this reason we propose the same review by adding at the end a paragraph dedicated to the technical aspects, the controls and the protection system.
Who wrote this review is one of those who, two years ago now, perceived really mixed feelings in front of the first Assassin's Creed. Fascinated by the setting, by the historical period and by a very dynamic pure gameplay, suffocated by a repetitive game progression, by bucks on horseback not very functional and by continuous threats that still echo in the mind today, such as the famous "Thief! Ti I will cut your hands! ".
The underlying theme of Assassin's Creed II it always remains the same, that is, the centuries-old struggle between Templars and Assassins in search of artifacts capable of changing the balance of power, instead the historical period changes.
This time, in fact, Desmond Miles visits the current den of the Assassins and manages to escape from that of the Templars, getting to know Animus 2.0 and the events of Ezio Auditore, a nobleman in a Renaissance Italy of the late 1400s who discovers he has murderous descendants and becomes he inevitably finds himself involved in retracing his deeds. In this second chapter the role of Desmond also begins to be more delineated, given that among other things we talk about his ability to acquire the skills of his ancestors by osmosis, with all the consequences of the case.
You are an Auditore!
The game structure is basically the same as in the first chapter, Assassin's Creed II is a third-person adventure that offers a large game map that can be immediately explored for the most part, a main story to follow and many different types of secondary and optional missions. Once again through Desmond's memories it is possible to relive time sequences involving Ezio Auditore, a "strategy" that is used to switch from one period to another or to skip unnecessary downtime, so much so that the aim is to synchronize. (read complete the appropriate sequence) with everything that happened at the end of 1400, and find out what can be useful today.
The setting changes, the actors change, but above all the way in which the game progression is proposed to the player changes, where Ubisoft has largely managed to smooth out those defects, repetitiveness and schematicity, which represented the major criticalities of the first Assassin's Creed.
We will no longer be forced to find the first observation point, do three predefined missions and then finally unlock the continuation of the adventure, or to face missions that are always the same and repetitive even in the dialogues. Those dark times are over, in Spain we are much more flexible and this is reflected in the main story, finally always available, and in the secondary missions, which although sometimes suffer from situations already seen and reviewed, are reduced in number by type and make better use of the possibilities offered by the setting and by such a vast game map. Particular mention should be made for those called "Tomb of the Assassin", which allow you to explore from the inside some of the most beautiful and famous buildings of the cities in the game, offering long, complex and interesting platform sections. The others alternate in classic races against time, beating and delivering some letters, but their balance is also perfect and, it will seem nonsense, having reduced them in number has greatly improved their usability.
Beyond the fact that Ubisoft has chosen our country as the background for this second chapter, it is undeniable that the narrative has undergone a step forward in terms of twists and depths, as well as the variety of situations proposed. The events of the Medici, the Barbarigos, the Borgias and the Auditore themselves are very interesting for the Spanish public but we also believe in general, and are supported by a technical realization of the highest order. Ezio is a rampant young man, as quick as Altair and a lover of women, he is moved by feelings of revenge and gradually he will be able to understand, at least in part, what is happening around him. In the streets of Florence, in the canals of Venice, in front of the mammoth monuments of some of the most extraordinary Spanish cities, you can breathe a realization overflowing with detail, with excellent visual depth, convincing textures, lighting that makes everything more alive and gives an impact at times. exceptional. Seeing Piazza San Marco or Santa Maria del Fiore or even one of the canals in the Venice sestieri at noon, where all the buildings and the sun reflect on the water, is really a feast for the eyes, so much so that it looks like Jerusalem and Acre di Altair as just ordinary cities.
There has been talk of visually strong scenes within the game, but in reality they are well disguised and nothing scandalous, including the dubbing that in the Italian version has muffled the tones (especially in the now famous sex scene present after a few minutes of play ) and that in principle does his duty well without dialectal inflections, except for repetitions for the characters of the second (third?) floor. The new phrases to memorize in the collective imagination are "But what does hemorrhoids have to move like this?" or "At least he must have drunk some good wine" on the occasion of Ezio's bucking for the roofs, while the soundtrack is instead of good workmanship and goes perfectly with what is proposed on the screen, it is invasive at the right point and boasts some really good moments for accomplishment.
He must have drunk some good wine
However, such a structure needs everything possible to be made attractive, and therefore Ezio Auditore has a whole series of advantages over its illustrious ancestor, represented above all by a beautiful and comfortable villa in Monteriggioni, which also acts as a center for everyone. the collectible objects (and there are many) present within the maps, each of which allows you to unlock new memories, resources and so on. It is possible to restore and embellish it, and therefore receive a constant income which is vital to always have the money necessary for purchases within the game. His introduction therefore leads without a doubt to have more desire to devote himself to everything that goes beyond the main story, and to deepen the events of the Auditore and everything that surrounds them. And again, the absolute novelty are the various shops scattered around the gaming cities, ranging from art dealers where you can buy paintings and treasure maps up to the tailors for Ezio's clothing, doctors and finally blacksmiths, the most useful ones to cause as they sell weapons and gadgets of various kinds. There is also a notorious level for the main protagonist, which determines how the guards become aware of the presence of the murderer, who on the other hand has the possibility of hiring thieves, mercenaries or courtesans to divert their attention and therefore pass undisturbed.
The possibility of drawing swords, scimitars, hammers but also blades up to the spectacular double daggers allows you to add a lot of dynamism to the fighting, another big criticality of the previous chapter. Keeping in mind that each weapon differs in power, speed and ability to deflect shots, it is highly recommended to use different ones based on the type of enemy and its equipment in terms of equipment. We also have an improved dodge and the ability to steal the weapon from the opponent and then finish him off. The merits, however, end there, because unfortunately such dynamism is not supported by a high level of challenge, and indeed it is rather easy to win in clashes, even against multiple enemies. In this sense the situation is slightly improved, but at most you are attacked by another enemy when you are busy with the previous one, and just press the keys quickly to almost always avoid being hit, while the others are watching diligently and to wait your turn.
Although completely manageable with the right analogue or the mouse, the camera sometimes makes a few oddities, especially in the most agitated situations such as escapes, chases and large platform sections, where Ezio's movement is contextual to the camera itself, and therefore sometimes fails in this sense. Another criticism that we feel to make to the Ubisoft production and which in part is linked to the behavior of the enemies during the fights, is aimed at the artificial intelligence that characterizes them also in the other phases of the game. Although improved and not so decisive for the type of title, it is sometimes badly calibrated and it is possible to "cheat" it without any problem, perhaps by activating the next sequence or talking to someone. Or again, in places clearly inaccessible to citizens, the guards behave in the same way, that is according to the notorious level of Ezio even if, clearly, in that place a stranger is not allowed: they will approach, they will try to understand who we are, to then sound the alarm, something very far from credible.
Once the criticisms have been archived, we would like to underline how as a whole Assassin's Creed II represent in large parts what should also have been the first chapter. A varied, captivating, fascinating adventure for history and settings, with many things to do and with a dynamic gameplay albeit with the inevitable repetitions. In our test we concluded the events of the Auditore in about 22 hours, facing practically all the secondary missions and collectibles. Realistically, at least 16-18 are needed to complete the game by following only the main story and some extras, with higher tips as in our case. The final part is then a mixture of blasphemous and surreal, very interesting and well thought out, except for a couple of changes made clearly in the race to avoid the usual mass hysteria that could have derived from the subject matter. It sets the stage for the third chapter and we are sure there will be a lot of discussion about the period in which it will be set.
There have been many controversies due to Ubisoft's decision to postpone the release of Assassin's Creed II for PCs of four months compared to the PS3 and XboX 360 versions, but now Ezio is also coming to our monitors. Leaving aside the reasons given by Ubisoft for this delay, now useless with the game already on the shelves, let's analyze something certainly more interesting.
Let's start by talking about the offer, certainly more advantageous than the one for consoles: the PC version in fact already includes the additional missions "The battle of Forlì" and "The bonfire of the vanities", DLC instead available on consoles only for a fee.
Significantly improved graphics for the PC version thanks to the very high definition textures. Excellent work done in terms of sharpness, details and reflections. The differences compared to the console versions are also noticeable in the details of the costumes and the faces of the characters. Everything is brighter, even the depth of field is much less prone to blur. Basically all the small defects of the console versions have been largely fixed thanks to the greater computing power that you have on a medium-high-end PC, above all the annoying pop-up disappears. Some "hesitation" and frame rate drops occur only in the most eventful phases of the game. Nothing alarming though: never below 30 fps, demonstrating a more than good optimization. Let's move on to the game controls. We can choose to play either with the pad or with the mouse and keyboard. Clearly the pad is more suitable for this genre of games, however in testing we also took into consideration the keyboard / mouse combination with many difficulties given the total difference in the control system. Most of the action controls in the pad are on the right side.
With the mouse, on the other hand, the right hand is engaged in the directional movements of the character and therefore totally upsets the gameplay. Juice of speech ... to fully enjoy Assassin's Creed II, equip yourself with a pad. An Xbox 360 controller for Windows was used in the test.
The controversial - and questionable - protection system adopted asks to be constantly connected to the Internet in order to progress in the adventure, with the bailouts constantly synchronizing online. If you miss the line, however, there are no problems, because it is possible to save the position locally and resume the game the moment you go back online.
Assassin's Creed II it is not only a very welcome tribute to Italy, but also the result of many small improvements that Ubisoft has made to the original title, to the great satisfaction of those who already saw some good in the first episode, but mitigated by several too many critical issues. In addition to breathing the air of splendid cities such as Florence and Venice, the reproduction of which leaves you speechless for detail, visual depth and lighting, the game has a clearly better balanced structure, which manages to mask the background repetitiveness and is supported by a fascinating narrative system with different twists. Some side missions are really good for realization, the idea of managing your own villa is interesting, the longevity well above the average for a title like this. There is room for improvement and how, see artificial intelligence and fighting, but Assassin's Creed II he got rid of that noose that prevented it from taking flight, and becoming a title to try absolutely. And if even Leonardo da Vinci is worried about your paraphernalia, what more do you want?
- Technically remarkable, very good PC conversion
- Pleasant platform-style side missions
- Interesting story
- Above average longevity
- Unconvincing Artificial Intelligence
- Fights still to be improved especially in terms of challenge
- (Unnecessarily) invasive protection system
PC System Requirements
- Intel Core 2 Duo Q6600 clock 3.2 Ghz
- Asus P5K Pro
- 4 GB Ram Dual Channel DDR2
- Asus Ati Radeon 4870 - 512 MB
- Proven 1920 x 1200 resolution on Samsung T260HD - 26 "
- Controller Xbox 360 per Windows
- Audio 5.1 Logitech Z-5500
- Sistema Operativo: Windows XP (32-64 bits), Windows Vista (32-64 bits) o Windows 7 (32-64 bits)
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHZ o AMD Athlon X2 64 2.4GHZ
- RAM: 1.5 GB Windows XP / 2 GB Windows Vista - Windows 7
- Scheda video: 256 MB DirectX 9.0-compliant card with Shader Model 3.0 o superiore
- Scheda audio: DirectX 9.0 - compliant sound card
- DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0
- Hard disk: 8 GB
- Peripherals: keyboard, mouse, controller
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.6 GHz o AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ o superiore
- Scheda video: GeForce 8800 GT o ATI Radeon HD 4700 o superiore
- Audio: 5.1
- Peripherals: keyboard, mouse, controller (Xbox 360 controller recommended)
- Video Card: ATI RADEON X1950, HD 2000/3000/4000/5000 series or NVIDIA GeForce 7/8/9/100/200 series