There are some games that leave an indelible impression on you for life, and Assassins Creed II is one of those games. From the start, we become embroiled in a dark plot that is taking place in a near future time, meeting a character who is mentally transported back in history to the time of the Renaissance Italy, envisaging the life of his predecessor, Ezio Auditori. It is a neat concept, and it only gets better. To begin with, you learn the basics of the complicated and amazing fighting system. The variety of moves and weapons are outstanding, and give you a flowing method of attacking enemies that really is a work of art in itself. Then there is the ability for you to climb around the buildings of the open world of the cities that you exist in, and it really is an open world when you are able to scale the sides of huge churches and cathedrals, leap from rooftop to rooftop, glide across ropes, walls and wires that criss-cross the streets and leap through the air into uncertain emptiness, only to grab onto a projected street sign at the last moment. Phew!
The glistening world of Renaissance Italy is recreated with a stunning degree of accuracy. Even down to the filigreed costumes, it looks immaculate, like a Renaissance painting in itself, but one that lives and breathes! A lot of the time you can just amuse yourself by climbing to the top of a steeple when the moon is high and admiring the astounding view.
The storyline then adds another level of brilliance to the proceedings. You are implicated in a conspiracy involving a mysterious century-spanning religious sect no less, and have to expose the perpetrators and face them personally, in a slew of heated, passionate battles and combat.
There are sub-games that keep things interesting too, such as flying through the air on Leonardo da Vinci’s makeshift glider, and hurtling through the countryside on a horse and cart being pursued by your mortal enemies. This all adds more texture and excitement to an already dense and enjoyable game.
Ultimately, you play through a massive amount of satisfying and inspired levels to a breath-taking ending.