Genre: Action / Adventure | Players: 1 | Developer: Ubisoft
I was disappointed we didn't get the historical Japanese setting that was hinted at in the previous game, but that was softened by Ass Creed II outperforming its predecessor in every way. I replayed it recently and can confidently say that it’s still my favourite of the entire series so far. I don’t have first-hand experience of any version other than the PS3, but as far as it goes it works straight out of the box, without the need for patches or updates and it was glitch free. The only reset I was forced to perform was when I had more than a dozen enemies pursuing me simultaneously over a large distance and got overly-happy with the smoke bombs, the PS3 RAM didn't like that much, but that’s what I get for pissing about; none of the mission objectives will ask that kind of activity of you.
Ezio’s training in the past, sometime around the second half of fifteenth century Renaissance Italy, is a crucial element in Desmond’s education and evolution as an assassin in the present. It’s a small link between the two eras, but at least it’s something. Bless them for trying. The story even has a go at addressing the reason everyone speaks fluent English (except when it’s more dramatic for them to revert to their native Italian); it made me chuckle.
If you want to take the experience further there are many database entries filled with facts about the era and a large dollop of supposition about the people featured in the story. It's entirely optional, but it's a nice addition.
Surely there are some down sides? Of course, there’s a few. The frame rate isn't perfect, but that’s likely the trade-off for the world being so open and the draw distance. Secondly, there’s historian Shaun Hastings, an NPC that you’re forced to interact with more than once in order to advance the story. He looks like a git, he sounds like a git and he behaves like a git, ergo, he's a contemptible git.
Note: The missing/corrupt memories you encounter are filled in via DLC. It’s Ubisoft, after all, and that’s how they roll. They claim the levels just weren't ready in time, but I don’t believe that for a second. They just wanted more of your cash. They didn't get mine. The eventual GOTY edition has it all in one place.
A direct sequel to the story, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, was released on November 2010 for PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac. Milk that titty, Ubisoft.
4 beneficial bleedings out of 5