When we think about some of the best action-adventure games to have been released during the 00’s decade one of the few titles that many people instantly think about is Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II from 2009. Assassin’s Creed II was the highly anticipated sequel of its predecessor from 2007 which appeared on multiple game game systems such as Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows between November 2009 and March 2010. One of the most interesting things about Assassin’s Creed II was how the storyline for the game had included various historical figures such Niccolò Machiavelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Bartolomeo d’ Alviano, Pope Alexander VI and others while the setting took place during the late 15th-early 16th century time period. The main protagonist Ezio Auditore has a rather dark but interesting backstory when players learn that his family had been brutally executed during the conflict involving the Assassins and the Knights Templar during the Renaissance era in Italy. The events surrounding Ezio Auditore is framed in the 21st century by a descendant within his bloodline named Desmond Miles which contributes to overall quality of the storytelling aspect of Assassin’s Creed II.
In this game players start out as Desmond who is eventually taught assassin skills by an undercover assassin named Lucy Stillman through a technique known as the “Bleeding Effect”. Shortly, afterwards Desmond learns more about his ancestor’s past when he discovers Ezio’s goal to retrieve information regarding the pieces of Eden. During Ezio’s journey players eventually cross path with the main antagonist Rodrigo Borgia who possessed one of the pieces of Eden while eventually becoming Pope Alexander VI. While Ezio eventually takes a piece of Eden from Borgia its eventually discovered that his father and brother were both condemned to death by hanging for treason by a despotic magistrate within Italy. Fueled by vengeance Ezio wanted to use his combat/stealth abilities to destroy every individual who was involved in his father’s death despite their occupation. His quest to destroy his father’s murderers is meet with aid as he trains with ancient order Assassin members who assist him along his quest. Throughout, the game players engage in various missions accompanied with non-linear gameplay and world maps that feature historical locations within Italy such as Florence, Venice, Forlì and others.
The addition of new in game mechanics such as swimming and “Eagle Vision” were features that many people found appealing comparison to the original Assassin’s Creed title from ’07. The ability to hire skilled non-playable characters from thieves all the way down to mercenaries to battle adversarial forces was also a plus; because it gave players more independence to develop creative strategies in order to complete certain parts of the game. There was also more realism added to the game with the introduction of a day/night cycle and a more robust yet effective combat system especially when it came down to countering the attacks of enemies. Along with impressive storytelling full of twists and turns, ancient landmarks, historical characters from the Renaissance era of Italy the visuals for Assassin’s Creed II was amazing back in ’09 thanks to the AnvilNext game engine.
Since its release back in November 2009 Assassin’s Creed II had received three downloadable expansion packs which kept players interested in the game before the release of Assassin’s Creed III in 2012. As far overall success in relation to sales it was reported that Assassin’s Creed II has reportedly sold over 1.6 million within its first week which was a pretty big deal at the time. In fact, Assassin’s Creed II is arguably the best installment within the series despite the fact that it was released a decade ago. The story for Assassin’s Creed II felt somewhat similar to Dishonored from 2012 in the sense where the story emphasizes corruption among authority figures and is accompanied with a dark and tragic backstory leading the main protagonists to align themselves with resistant rebels forces who end up becoming avengers. As a action-adventure stealth from the 00’s Assassin’s Creed II was quite the best video game from that 00’s decade and its a title that some might still enjoy on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to this day.