This is episode 2 of 60 Second Gamer, a review of Assassin’s Creed 2. If that’s what you are looking for then you’re in the right place!
The video is below and links for the podcast are at the end of the post. You can also read the podcast transcript beneath the video, or download it here.
Simon: Welcome to 60 Second Gamer podcast number two. We are talking about Assassin’s Creed 2. With me playing the game live as we podcast are Rich Hatton.
Simon: He’s playing the game.
Rich: He… HELLO.
Simon: Yes, he’s playing the game. Mr Ant Tremaine.
Ant: Good eve!
Simon: And myself, who is sitting closer to the mic and is in control of the record button. Right this is your review Mr Hatton.
Simon: So please talk us through some of the bits of the game that you didn’t get to talk about in your video copy of the review.
Rich: Yeah well at the moment I’m just running through Venice, admiring the very pretty graphics and the water and such, and I’m about to loot a treasure chest, scattered randomly about the place. You can buy the locations from art dealers in Venice, and other such towns that we visit. To give the location of the treasure. Obviously. You’ve also got, just here… I’ve fell over. The…
Rich: Blacksmith. To repair your equipment, armour and stuff. Which is also very nice. You’ve already got…
Simon: Yes, I’ve already got quite a bit of the armour. He’s playing my copy of the game, so…
Rich: Yes, I’m just buying… refilling my weapons such as smoke bombs and throwing knives.
Ant: Stocking up.
Rich: Yes, stocking up, as it were.
Simon: Do you want to give a brief overview of the story?
Rich: Well, you basically start as a brand new assassin from the new game.
Simon: Renaissance Italy.
Rich: Renaissance Italy. His name is Ezio Auditore de Firenze, as I mentioned in the review.
Ant: That’s a gobful and a half.
Rich: It is. Which I assume is something akin to Ezio Auditore “of Firenze”.
Simon: About right.
Rich: But I don’t speak Italian. And your family was… you come from a line of assassins. Your dad was an assassin, and he was betrayed by a big fat man.
Simon: He looks a bit like Dom DeLuis.
Rich: Yeah! And they were promptly murdered. Well, promptly… they were unfortunately murdered even though he had evidence suggesting his innocence.
Simon: Yeah, which was handed to Dom DeLuis.
Simon: Who subsequently…
Rich: Via your good self
Rich: Yeah. And they were murdered and you take up the mantle of the assassin. And you are subsequently on a revenge quest I suppose, it is essentially. It’s not like Assassin’s Creed 1 whereby you’re assassinating historic figures to the betterment of the war or the crusade or whatever it was set in.
Ant: It was the crusades.
Rich: Yeah. The crusades. But yeah, this one’s more, I wanna say a selfish act of retribution but it…
Ant; I’d say it was a just cause.
Rich: Yeah. You could say that. But yeah. But then obviously you’re travelling all around Italy and such sorts. I’ll end up going back to the villa in a minute.
Simon: Yeah, which is where there’s like… rebuilding the city and making it wealthy.
Rich: We’re also on the hunt for a glyph. Which I can see one over there. Now these glyphs are scattered around various towns. Well I say towns, they’re cities aren’t they?
Simon: And you find them by entering Eagle Vision.
Simon: Which wasn’t a main feature in the first game, was it?
Rich: No, you could use it but it was more to do with…
Ant: Who’s good, who’s bad, who’s your target…
Rich: Well you use that there in this one, but obviously it becomes important for some missions, especially the side missions such as the beat up missions or assassinations. Some of the assassination targets are just walking around and you have to go into Eagle Vision to show up as it being… they come up as gold. But yeah, we’ve just gone into one of these glyphs and…
Simon: Find the Eagle!
Ant: I’ve never seen this one before.
Rich: Do the puzzle… But they vary in what you do. In this one we’ve had to locate the lunar module that’s landing on the moon.
Simon: Zoomed in again.
Rich: Ah yes.
Simon: With these formidable weapons the adversaries of freedom plan to consolidate their territory to exploit, to control and finally to destroy. JFK.
Rich: Now we’ve got a puzzle that we need to solve.
Simon: Some of these are irritatingly difficult.
Simon: Most of them are quite…
Rich: I remember this one. I’ll admit it’s…
Ant: I haven’t seen this one.
Rich: …extremely taxing. Basically it involves lining up certain portions of what can only be described as a pie chart I suppose.
Ant: Oh it is actually, yeah.
Rich: Yeah, I like the ability to hire various people…
Rich: Yeah, to do your bidding. Courtesans.
Simon: Thieves and…
Simon: Who happen to just be lying around the city in full view of the guards. Who don’ t tend to do anything about them. With swords going “argh! Mercenaries!”
Ant: And that’s when they go “Arrr! You we know!”
Rich: And the one thing that does still strike me as being slightly annoying is if you bump into someone who is carrying a box and the guards get a bit angry about that and they will hunt you down and kill you.
Simon: And if you do anything that’s socially unacceptable, so I suppose within the realms of the game it makes sense.
Rich: It does make sense. I suppose.
Simon: But it’s still irritating isn’t it?
Ant: What on earth are you supposed to do here?
Rich: I thought I had then.
Ant: You nearly have actually.
Simon: That’s it isn’t it?
Rich: No. I need to get this one… this thing needs to go there.
Rich: And now the inner one’s moved. I can do that.
Ant: Oh there you go look.
Ant: Yeah. Have you…?
Simon: Ohh nooo!
Rich: That’s right.
Ant: Yeah. Oh no, hang on.
Simon: You’ve got to line up the dots.
Ant: Use the inner, the white one as your reference look, see. Just shift everything round one.
Rich: Ahhhh. Round one?
Ant: Well, round a lot.
Rich: Round to the left.
Simon: You got it right, you just didn’t get it right with the right one. If that makes sense in podcast land.
Rich: Oh and now it’s not going to work.
Ant: Oh there you are. There’s the ticket!
Rich: So I’ve unlocked, just finished a puzzle now, for part 2 of the glyph thing.
Simon: And now the Apollo lander is landing.
Rich: Landing on the moon.
Simon: In a badly animated moon.
Ant: Oh hello, who’s this?
Rich: It’s Neil Armstrong.
Simon: Photograph released to the public, so does that mean there’s going to be a sphere type thing in this picture somewhere?
Rich: Yeah, the American flag has been replaced with the assassin’s symbol.
Simon: As you can here the… there’s a beep in the background. As you get closer to it.
Ant: There she is.
Rich: And then once you finally finish the puzzles for the glyphs, you unlock a segment of video which at the moment doesn’t make that much sense because it’s about 1 second long.
Ant: Not even that, they’re like half second clips really, aren’t they?
Rich: Yeah. I must say that the graphics have been improved somewhat as well. You notice when you first start up the game, well when I did, it was like this is what the character models used to look like. Then you get broken out by the woman from the first game and she looks a lot better. And it’s as if to say “look what we spent our budget on”. Oh, and the ability to swim as well.
Simon: She has a funnily shaped face though.
Rich: Yes, Kris… we’re on about Kristen, Kirsten Bell? Whatever her name is. She was in Heroes.
Simon: Yes, water is not the death knell it once was.
Rich: No, we can go for a swim.
Ant: You no longer swim like a rock.
Rich: And you can also row a boat. Which I find…
Ant: Always a perk.
Rich: Well, it’s not a boat it’s a gondola. Because we’re in Venice.
Simon: You have to waggle your stick.
Rich: I do like the ability to go rowing, and go swimming.
Simon: Let’s go row a boat. I wonder if you do drive-by assassinations in a gondola?
Rich: You don’t, unfortunately.
Ant: Typical gangster style.
Rich: I got through to the end on my one. And the ability to also…
Simon: Quick travel.
Rich: Quick travel now, yeah. It costs a little bit of money but its’…
Simon: It’s small pence, especially as you get into the game I think.
Rich: Yeah. We’re going back to the villa now so once it’s loaded we’ll talk a little about that.
Ant: I found you could quick travel in the first one though. If you did everything in the kingdom, as it was called, you could fast travel then to wherever you needed to go. I think.
Simon: Well this one it sort of lets you do it at an earlier stage.
Ant: Ohh yeah. I see what you mean now.
Simon: Pretty much as soon as you get there you can quick travel.
Rich: So yeah, now we’ve gone to Monteriggioni.
Simon: And you develop, basically, your home town? Where your family’s from.
Rich: Uncle Mario!
Simon: You can do the town up. You can buy weapons. All the unlockables go towards improving the value of Monteriggioni. And you’ve got your own mansion where your sister looks after the books. And there’s an architect as well where, as soon as you earn money you can use it to upgrade certain areas of the town until you’ve done all of it. Like the shops, there’s a well, this that and the other. You can also collect money that’s earned for you during your time playing. It generates money every twenty minutes?
Rich: Every twenty minutes, yeah.
Simon: There’s also the codex pages, which…
Rich: Which you collect and then put on a wall.
Simon: Yeah, put Eagle Vision on to create a puzzle.
Rich: Another puzzle. And you are then introduced by your uncle to the tombs of the assassins, and there’s six all in all within the game.
Simon: I’ve got four of them at the moment. If you get all six – they’re all downstairs in like a tomb underneath the house, or the mansion I should say. And if you get all six you unlock Altair’s armour from the first game.
Rich: Yes. And it doesn’t degrade, which is also very useful. If you get killed when you get Altair’s armour, it’s going to take a beating for that to happen. So yeah, it’s much improved this game, I must say. Is there anything else…?
Simon: There’s feathers upstairs, and all the paintings. You buy paintings and collect weapons and… is there any other stuff that you unlock?
Ant: There’s Mr DaVinci.
Rich: Oh yeah.
Simon: Yeah, Leonardo DaVinci as well.
Rich: You get to fly his flying machine contraption.
Simon: I haven’t got that far yet.
Rich: No. It’s quite fun. It takes a bit of getting used to because it doesn’t handle like a proper plane! It’s a good level, and there’s an achievement for kicking a guard on the roof if you’ve got that good aim. Oh, you haven’t bought a sword, Prah.
Rich: I’ll buy that for you.
Simon: Go on then.
Rich: The Milanese sword.
Simon: I didn’t have the money for it at the time.
Ant: It doth look pretty. Warhammer!
Simon: I think I’ve got pretty much everything else. It’s fun killing enemies with the mallet type hammer thing.
Rich: The clubs.
Ant: They are disgusting, the way they go.
Rich: I’ve managed to unlock a warhammer on my game yesterday.
Ant: It’s pleasantly foul the way they go.
Simon: Well some of the… for the most part the game looks nice, but some of the animation lets it down now and again. And the combat system will inevitably be compared with Batman: Arkham Asylum, which is fantastic, and it sort of pales in comparison to that one.
Ant: It’s a small price to pay.
Simon: Yeah, it’s a nice game. I enjoy playing it.
Rich: Yeah, it’s big as well. There’s so much to see and do you’ll be there for a long time.
Simon: If you’re a 100% completist it will take you a while.
Ant: Unlike the first one, which probably wouldn’t of.
Simon: You’re not going to get bored to tears by this one, it’s actually got.
Ant: You didn’t really have the incentive to do it because when I first played the first one I was “Oh, I’ll try and do everything in each city before I do the assassinations”. And it got to the point where in the last two assassinations, or last three, I just went “I can’t be bothered” and just went straight for the assassinations.
Rich: And what’s also quite good as well is the fact you earn notoriety. If you do unsociable things like kill guards or whatnot a little bar builds up in the top left corner of the screen and.
Simon: And the higher that gets the more the guards go for you.
Rich: Yeah. I’m going to break in here and steal some treasure. I’ve just smoke bombed the…
Simon: Guards. You’ve just killed two of them straight away and number three, number four… Dead.
Ant: Oh there’s a glyph here.
Rich: Yep, another glyph. I’ll leave that one for Si to do.
Simon: Thank you.
Ant: “I’ll leave some of the game left for you!”
Simon: I am quite enjoying playing this. I haven’t played it at all this week. I’ve been busy playing Pixeljunk Shooter for the related review for that. But more on that at a later date.
Rich: If you look at the character models here…
Ant: Oh my God!
Rich: Even like incidental characters like this woman, who looks like she’s come from Ethiopia is extremely well detailed.
Simon: Apparently you do see a lot of duplicated character models but I haven’t really paid that much attention to be honest. You have to be looking for it.
Ant: I haven’t seen any. It’s not as obvious as the first one.
Simon: What’s that guy looking at? Is he…?
Rich: I think he’s admiring his wares on the table.
Ant: What is he selling?
Rich: Red, green and yellow.
Ant: Look at all the sacks as well.
Simon: He’s also having a good sniff as well.
Ant: With his very large conk.
Rich: He’s slightly zombie eyed as well.
Ant: Perhaps he is a zombie?
Ant: Is that a feather? Oh they’re leaves.
Simon: Now you have to collect feathers like in the first game as well,
Ant: Flags in the first game. But unlike the first game, these actually have a purpose. Flags in the first game even the developers turned round and said they had no particular use, they were just there.
Simon: There’s one bit about this game that I like and find annoying at the same time, and it’s the minstrels.
Simon: They come and sing at you, and you pull a knife on them or something and they sort of run off scared, like a little girl.
Rich: They’re not as annoying as the beggar women.
Ant: You beat me to it – from the first one. It’s almost like a lot of this game is going “Here’s what the first one should have been, but we chose not to for some reason.”
Simon: By all accounts Assassin’s Creed 3, because we can pretty much assume there is going to be one…
Rich: When you complete the game it is a set up for the almost inev… well, I say almost inevitable sequel – there will be a third one.
Ant: It’ll probably be a third and final part like God of War.
Rich: Maybe, I don’t know. It depends where they take it.
Simon: There’s spin-off route, so if they decide not to do direct sequels they can always do spin-offs.
Simon: Like they’ve done with the PSP games. Bloodlines, is it?
Ant: Yes, it is. Yes. That sort of bridges the gaps between this game and the first one. Sort of like the “Here’s what Altair got up to when we weren’t looking at him last”. I can’t remember which country that’s based in. I know it’s a country…
Rich: Bloodlines… don’t know.
Ant: it wasn’t in… where’s the first one again?
Rich: It’s in the Holy Kingdom.
Ant: That was it. It isn’t there. It’s somewhere else.
Simon: I think Ezio has a lot of personality to him as well.
Ant: Yeah the characters feel more like, story-wise, they’re actually developed. They feel like characters rather than plot devices. Especially Desmond, because in the first one he didn’t really… I couldn’t connect with him. But this one you feel like he’s more of a character.
Rich: I think it also helps that you spend a lot of the time, overall 98% of the game you play as Ezio as opposed to “do a mission, and then go back out of the Animus”.
Ant: You trod on his green eye.
Simon: I find it quite interesting as well that Desmond has got more of a sense of humour to him. Perhaps the influence of Nathan Drake a little.
Ant: Yes. And he does in fact have an Italian accent. In fact everyone in this film, er, film?
Simon: That’s what it feels like.
Ant: Yeah. In this game has the correct accent and actually speaks a bit of Italian, whereas in the first game for some reason Altair was American. Go figure. I don’t know. But they’ve actually gone for historically correct.
Simon: The thing is, when I first heard about Assassin’s Creed I didn’t realise there was a futuristic element to it, I thought it was all set in the Holy Land.
Ant: Funnily enough I thought the same until I had played it as well.
Simon: At first, until I played it, and then I was “Oh, right, okay!”
Ant: Comes as a bit of a shock doesn’t it?
Ant: Oh, I never saw that coming!
Simon: Oh, okay, that explains a few things.
Ant: All in all it just fits in rather nicely together.
Rich: Also what I quite like as well are the story missions. They don’t involve going and sitting on a bench…
Simon: …and listening to people.
Rich: Or go and pickpocket someone. They actually have a purpose and they build up to the assassination of your target.
Ant: Oh, no. Lucky.
Ant: And if there’s more than one memory waiting to be awoken, shall we say, you don’t have to do them in any particular order. And he’s just started a fight on someone!
Simon: It’s got a good system. Dead!
Simon: The graphics aren’t 100%, but it’s certainly competitive.
Ant: Yeah, it’s better than the first one. A lot better than the first one.
Simon: That’s not too difficult is it?
Rich: Oh, you’ve got torture knife!
Ant: Meat cleaver! Oh dear, that’s someone chin you’ve sliced in twain.
Simon: Bennett-style knifing.
Rich: Yep. Yeah, it’s certainly worth the nine out of ten.
Ant: Mmm. Definitely.
Rich: I look forward with bated breath to the third one.
Simon: Well there’s plenty to keep us occupied in the meantime.
Rich: There is, yeah.
Ant: Indeed there is, yes.
Simon: Okay, well thank you for listening if you have been. This has been a very brief podcast on Assassin’s Creed 2, and we’ll see you next time.
Ant: See yer later!