After a while the Italian accent in the voice acting gets a-nnoying. I really wanted to love this game, after the underwhelming Assassin's Creed prequel. At least the gaming press seems to love it. I myself don't get it. I'm still in the "origins" part of the story, with Ezio just getting the proper assassin attire, and trying to piece together what's happening with his papa Auditore. But boy do I find the free-running annoying still. Sometimes you climb the wall, sometimes you bounce off the same wall in the opposite direction; sometimes you jump off the edge of a roof, sometimes you drop, clinging to the edge--not a big deal when you're taking a stroll, exploring, but a major annoyance when you're chased by guards. I haven't got far enough into the game to experience the full combat, so this game might surprise me still, but that's the other thing--how long until I get into the game proper? I mean I appreciate the developers trying to give you a bit more background, get you invested in this character and story, but after a couple of hours, it feels like overkill. UPDATE: I've gotten as far as the family villa in Tuscany--the notion that I'll have to spend money to improve the little town is appealing, though life in 1?th century Tuscany seems a tad expensive for a lowly thief that makes only 4-10 coins per bump'n'pick'pocket. Yes there are larger coin stashes on the roof-tops ('cause who among us never thought roof tops are good places to stash our cash) but the finicky climb/hang drop mechanism keeps getting me in trouble--as I try to drop to a ledge that gives me access to a treasure chest, I often find myself dropping instead on the head of an unsuspecting pedestrian, or worse guard below.
If you loved the original you'll love this sequel, and if not, this iteration won't turn you into a fan. I've yet to experience any "wow" moments in this game. As I like to compare every game with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, the gold standard for action/adventure/stealth combination on the PS3, I will again; after 2 hours in the latter, I was still hooked and didn't want to stop playing. I know, I know, Uncharted is not open world/sandbox style, so the pacing is controlled better, whereas the many choices in a sandbox game like AC II will necessarily lead to some slow down while you're figuring out what to do next. But in Assassin's Creed II, I'm forcing myself to play another "mini-mission" just hoping the intro portion will be over and I'll see some cool stuff. I haven't yet. UPDATE: the intro part I've finished, the "wow" factors I haven't seen yet. Actually, I've finished the game and there's only one "wow" moment, for the subject 16 video.
On the plus side, if you like trophies (and I do), you'll get about 3 of them (what's more, one of them silver), for about 5 minutes worth of gameplay. So there's that...
(Whopper of an) UPDATE: finished the game, and I'm thorough--got all the trophies. While it grew a bit on me (it's now a 3.5 stars out of 5), I still don't get why people are so in love with this game. Yes the cities are beautiful, but the core game play mechanics from the prequel haven't changed or improved; the conspiracy story is so ho-hum (especially the "subject 16" bits of info one's supposed to search for - for no good reason) that I've rolled my eyes so much I got a detached retina; the actual assassinations are unbelievably easy - heck the final one is a joke compared to the original's end game. And there are so many dummy decisions in the game - why replace the bogus collect 100 flags of the prequel with the equally bogus chore of collecting 100 feathers? It's a lazy way of adding replay value to the game; at least the 100 treasures of Uncharted 2 were distinct and pretty to look at. Why does the architect hang around your mansion after you've finished upgrading your town? Why is it that not so close to the end of the game I have some $300,000 coins with absolutely nothing to spend them on? And the U-play or whatever it's called--why can't I spend the points I've been awarded on something useful, like an in game map of the location of the 100 feathers? Or of the 20 gliphs? And here's one thing that really annoyed me: I downloaded from Ubi the tomb stage in the home town. In the tomb, where I was looking for a seal, I got to the end, started opening the treasure chests, saw a glittering object on the ground, thought it was another treasure, so I pressed O to "interact". Turns out it was the trap door to exit the tomb, with no "confirm your choice to exit please" second chance. So I got kicked out of the tomb without the seal, and when I went back to redo the whole thing, couldn't open the entrance door anymore. The ending of the game is so anti-climactic, it makes the frantic, challenging end of the prequel look like a stroke of genius. I just hope the next game will have Nolan North (Desmond) voicing the main character. Without any fake accent.