The First Twenty Minutes of Assassin’s Creed II

The first thing that happens when you fire up Assassin’s Creed II is a boring voice-over summary of everything that happened in Assassin’s Creed I. I should have skipped this, because I don’t care about what happened in AC1, and I never intend to play it anyway. Hopefully this whole mess was skippable.

Now, I had watched a buddy play some of this game, and it looked pretty cool. He flew around Italy on magic clockwork wings, and that looked pretty aces to me. I mean, that’s why I asked to borrow the game, you know?

But apparently he gave me the wrong game, because I didn’t get to fly anywhere on magic wings. Some mean lady came in and woke me up, then led me through a long series of boring futuristic hallways to a boring futuristic elevator. We came across a guard, and I got to stand there and watch her fight him. Then she stuffed me in a trunk and took me to some dude’s apartment where I got yelled at by more mean NPCs, and then they put me in a time machine or something.

“Cool,” I thought. “Now I get to go back to Italy and get my magic wings.”

Except, no, I’m some schmuck in a fistfight on the street. Well, okay; real gameplay. I’ll take it. I had two buttons: punch and grab. As far as I can tell you have two options here: punch guys over and over until they fall down, or grab them and then sloooooowly drag them over to the side of the road so you can throw them off the bridge.

Halfway through the fight some guy came up and said, “Pretty good! Now fight a bunch more guys.” And then more guys showed up. More punching, more dragging, yadda yadda.

I was pretty bored when all that was over so I shut the game off. Apparently they figured that experience was worth 60 gamerscore, though, so I have that going for me.

I know this is an unfair assessment and there is more game here… but man. Way to blow a first impression, AC2! Those guys should have figured out how to put the magic wings within the first five minutes.

The two games aren’t comparable on any meaningful level, but FF13 started with the hero kicking ass on a train, followed immediately by a bunch of civilians getting shot. Then gameplay. Even that isn’t preferable to a game that starts you right in the action, though, and I can’t remember the last time a game did that. Maybe I need to look into this God of War jazz everyone’s always talking about.

I’m feeling pretty sick tonight, and on top of that bummed that I couldn’t drag my pasty white ass out of the house to go to my weekly tabletop game. So maybe it’s just my sour mood talking, and not any real fault of AC2’s. On the other hand, though, the game started with me walking down a series of boring hallways, so maybe it deserves what I’m giving it.

I’ll play it some more tomorrow.

2 comments to The First Twenty Minutes of Assassin’s Creed II

  • Merus

    You only get the magic wings during one gameplay sequence late in the game, and you never see them again. It’s not much of a selling point, to be honest.

  • Nicola Nomali

    Which isn’t to say they weren’t featured prominently in the game’s advertising. I guess that indicates that Ubisoft’s marketing department is better at recognizing their games’ strong points than their actual designers.

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