Assassin's Creed II"Assassin's Creed II is a historical action-adventure stealth video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It is the second video game installment of the Assassin's Creed series, and is a direct sequel to the 2007 video game Assassin's Creed. The game was released for video game consoles in November 2009, and for Windows in March 2010. Its direct sequel, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, was released in November 2010.
The frame story is set in the 21st century, with player-controlled protagonist Desmond Miles escaping from Abstergo Industries with an employee, Lucy Stillman, after being forced to relive the genetic memories of ancestral assassin Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad through a machine known as the "Animus". After escaping from Abstergo, Desmond enters a device which is more advanced than the original Animus, the Animus 2.0, and relives the genetic memories of ancestral nobleman Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who lived during the Renaissance period of the late 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy. The player controls Ezio, who becomes an Assassin after his father and brothers are murdered by a traitor to their family. While controlling Ezio, the player can explore game renditions of Italian cities, regions, and landmarks in open world gameplay.
Assassin's Creed II was met with widespread acclaim, garnering aggregated scores of 92% for the PlayStation 3, 90% for Xbox 360 and 86% for the PC, from review aggregator Metacritic. The game was praised for its stronger emphasis on open-world exploration and interaction, non-linear gameplay and greater mission variety compared to the first Assassin's Creed. The game was also credited with improved non-player character AI and combat mechanics, and its new economic system allowing players to purchase accessories, armor, and improved weapons through the course of the game."
Assassin's Creed II Plot"Assassin's Creed II begins immediately after the events of the first game in 2012; Desmond Miles is still trapped by Abstergo Industries (the modern-day face of the Knights Templar) after being forced to use the Animus device to revisit genetic memories of the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, and has discovered prophetic warnings from Subject 16 (a previous captive) describing the end of the world. He is soon rescued by Lucy Stillman, a mole for the Assassins within Abstergo, who takes him to meet two other Assassins, historian Shaun Hastings and computer expert Rebecca Crane. They request that Desmond use their version of the Animus, dubbed the Animus 2.0, to relive memories of another Assassin, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, to train Desmond in the ways of the Assassins through the "Bleeding Effect" of the Animus. During his exposure, Desmond finds himself briefly struck by a puzzling memory of Altaïr and his lover, a former Templar named Maria Thorpe, who became pregnant with his child, Darim. It is also revealed that apart from training Desmond as an Assassin, the Assassins also wish to find out more information about the foretold "Vault". Desmond also finds various glyphs left by Subject 16 in the Animus, which, when decoded and assembled, form a brief video of a man and woman, "Adam" and "Eve", running through a futuristic setting called "Eden". The video ends with the ASCII codes (in binary) for "EDEN" (01000101 00100100 01000101 01001110).
Ezio's memories begin during the Renaissance in the 15th century, where his family is ensnared in a political plot, and his father and brothers are hanged. Ezio, following his father Giovanni's last advice, finds his father's Assassin tools, and flees the city with his mother and sister to the safety of his uncle Mario's villa in the countryside. Mario assists Ezio in discovering the people behind the conspiracy, the search leading Ezio from Florence, to San Gimignano, Forlì, Venice and eventually to Rome. As he identifies and assassinates more and more political figures, Ezio also gains several allies, including Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci, the latter of whom helps Ezio improve his equipment using schematics found in Altaïr's Codex pages. Eventually, Ezio identifies the mastermind of the plot: the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia, who ultimately sought to bring down the Medici family in Florence with the help of the Pazzi family and the Doge of Venice. Ezio finds Borgia in possession of the Apple—a similar Piece of Eden that Altaïr had recovered centuries ago—and learns that Borgia believes himself to be "the Prophet" that will lead the Templars to a fabled "Vault". Ezio is able to confront Borgia with the help of his allies and recover the Apple, but Borgia flees before he can be killed. Ezio's allies reveal they are all Assassins, and see Ezio as their Prophet, allowing him to join their ranks.
After this memory, the modern Assassins discover that several years of Ezio's memories are inaccessible from the Animus (later being accessible via DLC Sequences). Desmond can only revisit those starting in 1499, where Ezio and the Assassins plan to attack Borgia (now Pope Alexander VI) at Vatican City. Ezio corners Borgia and strikes him down, but refuses to kill him, as he knows that it will not bring back his family. Ezio uses the Apple and the Papal cross (which is also a Piece of Eden called the Staff), and discovers the entrance to the Vault. Inside, he is astounded when a holographic figure, calling herself Minerva, appears. Speaking directly to Desmond and those monitoring him in 2012, she explains that she was part of a far more advanced society that initially co-existed along with the early humans on Earth before they faced each other in war. A global catastrophe occurred that nearly wiped out both sides, and the survivors joined together to construct "temples" across the Earth to allow humans to prevent a similar catastrophe in the future. Before the hologram disappears, she warns Desmond—by name—that "the rest is up to you". Desmond and Ezio are both equally confused and shocked at Minerva's words and appearance.
Shortly after recovering this memory, Desmond and the others are forced to flee with the Animus 2.0 from their location as Abstergo troops surround it. There, they encounter Warren Vidic, who flees when Desmond and Lucy deal with the troops. As the team heads towards a new safehouse, Lucy explains that there are newly-discovered weaknesses in the Earth's magnetic field; a solar flare striking this weakness would cause a similar level of global destruction as described by Minerva. Desmond resolves to help the Assassins find these temples, and prepares to re-enter the Animus, knowing that Ezio may hold the answers they seek."
Assassin's Creed II Gameplay"Assassin's Creed II takes place in an open world with nonlinear gameplay, allowing the player to roam freely within several regions throughout late fifteenth-century Italy such as Venice, Florence, Forlì, San Gimignano, and the Tuscan countryside. The Animus 2.0, a new version of the machine of the same name present in Assassin's Creed, provides in-game context for changes and additions to several game elements. A database is also available, providing extra historical information about key landmarks, characters and services that the player encounters. The health system has been made more dynamic, with synchronization to the Animus and causing the character to recover only from minor injuries. More grievous injuries require visiting a street-side doctor or use of medicine (which can be purchased from doctors or found on bodies).
The player may now swim in water, and Eagle Vision—the ability to identify specific people and landmarks—can now be used in third-person view and while moving. A young Leonardo da Vinci is present in the game, aiding the player by creating new weapons from translated "Codex pages" that Altaïr, the original game's main character, left behind for future Assassins' analysis and insight. Within the game, the player will be able to use Leonardo's flying machine (based on real-life plans by Leonardo) during one mission. The player also has the ability to control a carriage in one level, and can row gondolas, as well as ride horses at any point in the game where they are readily available between towns and cities. The setting of the various places the player may go to have been made more detailed and in-depth; civilians can carry objects and sometimes cough or sneeze. Additionally, the player can hire different groups of NPCs, such as mercenaries, courtesans, or thieves; these groups can be used to fight, distract, or lure guards, respectively. A day and night cycle has been added to the game, giving the game more of a sense of time, in addition to setting missions and events at certain times of the day.
There are many ways to interact with NPCs. Money thrown to the ground, or a corpse carried and then deposited on the ground, may also serve as a distraction for both guards and peasants. There are also several different types of enemies, some more agile or stronger than others, and some of which will actively search hiding places where Ezio was last seen.
The combat system is more complex than that of its predecessor, with the ability to disarm opponents using counter-attacks while unarmed. If the player steals an enemy's weapon, it is possible to follow up with an attack that instantly kills the enemy. Da Vinci provides the player with specialized weaponry, such as the dual hidden blades, poison blade and the miniature wheellock firearm, which are all based on schematics found in Altaïr's Codex pages. Generic swords, cutlasses, maces, axes and daggers can all be purchased from vendors in each city. The player can also pick up any weapon on the ground or use improvised weapons, such as brooms or halves of a spear. These weapons are used just like normal blunt weapons. In addition, players are able to purchase artwork for their villa, obtain new armor as the game progresses, and even dye Ezio's clothing with a number of different colors. Other equipment includes larger pouches to carry more throwing knives and medicine. Six additional weapons can be unlocked by connecting a PSP with Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines to the PS3.
The Auditore family's countryside villa, located in Monteriggioni, acts as Ezio's headquarters: the surrounding property can be upgraded, drawing income for the player's use. There are several outlets for using currency, with vendors selling items such as medicine, poison, weapons, repairs, upgrades, paintings, and clothing dyes. When these shops are renovated, Ezio receives discounts at the shops on the goods they sell. Purchasing weaponry, armour sets and artwork also contributes to increasing the villa's overall worth, in turn generating more income for Monteriggioni.
There is now a broader array of methods for hiding or blending in the area. One can dive underwater to break guards' line of sight, and blending may be performed with any group of people, rather than only a specific type (as in the first Assassin's Creed). The game features a notoriety system, with guards more alert to Ezio's presence depending on his behavior, location, and current mission. This infamy can be reduced through bribery, removing wanted posters, or assassinating corrupt officials.
The missions in the game now have an expanded variety, with different structuring. For example, a mission may have the objective to escort someone, but may change to a chase and assassination. Investigation is less explicit, and instead missions may follow people and/or a narrative. There are roughly 200 missions in the game; about half are part of the main storyline, while the rest are side quests which need not be completed in order to finish the game's main storyline. Cities also contain hidden locations such as catacombs and caves (the design of which have been compared by the developers to the Prince of Persia series, where the objective is to navigate the area). Exploring these locations eventually rewards the player with an Assassin's Seal; the collection of all six Seals allows the player to unlock the Armor of Altaïr, in a concealed section of the Villa.
Like Assassin's Creed, characters based on historical figures are present in the game, including Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Caterina Sforza, Lorenzo de' Medici, the Pazzi family, and Pope Alexander VI.
Locations in the game include the Tuscany region (Florence, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano), the Apennine Mountains, the Romagna region (Forlì[), Venice and Rome. Specific landmarks include St Mark's Basilica, the Grand Canal, the Little Canal, the Rialto Bridge, Santa Maria del Fiore, the Sistine Chapel, Santa Croce, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio, and Santa Maria Novella."
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