E3 09: Assassin’s Creed II Dev Walkthrough

By Jim Rossignol on June 5th, 2009 at 8:22 am.


“More variety” seems to be the mantra uttered by the Assassin’s Creed II development team, and we get to see some of that variety in this new walkthrough. It’s the bulk of an entire assassination sequence from the game, and possibly one of the high points, so beware spoilers if you’re definitely going to buy into the dude-slaying sequel. Venice certainly looks impressive, and hopefully the new game will give you a little more freedom to make the most of that enormous cityscape. I hope “more variety” somehow also translates into “fewer cutscenes”, but perhaps that’s expecting too much.

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77 Comments »

  1. Nighthood says:

    So they’ve implemented swimming? Hooray!

  2. Ashurbanipal says:

    Ass Creed? Oh come on, not you too, Jim? I hate that terribly unfunny, dismissive pun. Ranks right up there with sheeple.

    I liked the game. I thought it did some things brilliantly, even if the repetetiveness sucked. Beautiful animations, a joy to behold, some thrilling and clever assassinations, and an interesting story, even if the dead were inclined to waffle. The missions were shitty filler, and I can’t help but feel it would be considerably improved if missions were full-blown narrative side-stories in their own right. Something they could have taken from more open-world RPGs.

    This looks amazing.

    Hot fires giving you attitude and speed? Er…

  3. Kieron Gillen says:

    Ash: It’s not a gag. It’s so that it fits on a line.

    KG

  4. NegativeZero says:

    I hope that the citizens of Venice have more than three lines of dialogue to yell at you repetitively this time. For me the constant YOU THIEF I’LL HAVE YOUR HAND etc over and over was far worse than the gameplay.

  5. Jim Rossignol says:

    Aye, I should have written “dev walkthrough”, come to think of it.

  6. Ashurbanipal says:

    KG and Jim,

    Oh, okay. I take my dismay back.

    Love.

  7. bhlaab says:

    I hope they skip the idea of doing missions for “intel” entirely.

    Here’s what Assassin’s Creed should be: Hitman Blood Money, but you climb on shit.

  8. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    They say more variety, but.. that mission seemed to be the only possible way you could complete it. He did even say at one point that using Da Vinci’s (sigh) flying machine was the only way of reaching that particular place. So, yet again, it seems like there’s only one way to kill each target, and it’s not particularly assassin-y. I guess I’ll just have to wait for Hitman for my Hitman needings.

  9. Spliter says:

    I’m glad they changed a few things.
    1- when you kill the guy, he dies, and doesn’t walks around for 10 unskippable minutes talking about things he could say in 10 seconds.
    2-swimming. yay!
    3-seems more action packed. I didn’t like the first one because it took you far too long to get to the next target, and the time was spent doing unnecessary missions many of which didn’t feel right with the theme and location.
    Still, I’m gonna wait until one of my friends plays this first and see if it’s worthwhile before I think of buying it…

  10. windy says:

    I haven’t played AC1, might get 2 though! Looks fun.

  11. Mr Pink says:

    I’m tempted by the original at £10 on Steam. I hear so much backlash about it, but is it worth picking up do you reckon?

  12. Kieron Gillen says:

    Windy: That’s what Jim just said he should have done, and what he’s changed in. Never assume malice what can be totally explained by incompetence. Especially with RPS.

    MrPink: Yeah, for a tenner.

    KG

  13. DSX says:

    My rig falls right under the min spec for the first one, it refuses to run and has sat in a disc sleeve ever since waiting for Christmas hardware. This one looks even better, hope the “exit the game” idiocy has been addressed.

  14. Andrew Dunn says:

    This could potentially be pretty good.

    I really liked the setting and world and free-running and combat in Assassin’s Creed, it’s just every other bit of it that let it down (including the weak assassinations). I’m fairly optimistic about this though (despite signs pointing to them keeping the sci-fi bollocks front and centre).

    I definitely agree that it’s worth picking up for a tenner. Just get past the cutscene-heavy first hour and into the free-running meat of the game and you’ll probably enjoy it a fair bit. Even with the repetition.

  15. Ashurbanipal says:

    I’m tempted by the original at £10 on Steam. I hear so much backlash about it, but is it worth picking up do you reckon?

    For £10, definitely.

    The backlash was largely because of the hype it had to live up to. It’s a very good game with occasionally tedious bits. Bit like Farcry 2.

    I found it nowhere near as infuriating as that other run and jump game, Mirror’s Edge. The platforming controls like a dream, in fact, to the point where some thought it was too easy and uninteractive. Combat is also pretty easy to control.

  16. SirKicksalot says:

    I loved the cutscenes.

    It was a mistake to say the first one is like Hitman in the Crusades. Hitman fans now expect to see 47 jumping in a time machine.

    Read the Game Informer article, it’s floating around the web. They explain how they got rid of the “mission loop” and how they’ve added a narrative component to each mission.

    About the flying machine: it’s not like you land right on top of your target. It’s more like every Hitman mission inserts you at the same point. And don’t worry, this can’t be the entire mission on display.

    I thought the glider was really awesome.

  17. Kieron Gillen says:

    I thought of the platforming stuff as… well, it’s not really about platforming. It’s about getting around. It’s the equivalent of Cars in GTA, turning traversing a map into something fun. If they’d made it like Prince of Persia, people would have just ran around the streets because the chances of fucking up would mean people to avoid it.

    It’s a… interesting game. The flaws are enormous and so obvious that even my mum recognised some of them when watching me play (“You spend a lot of time standing in that grey room”) but the high points are totally glorious.

    KG

  18. TC says:

    I largely missed all the hype for the first game but ended up actually really enjoying it.

    I think people concentrate far too much on what it got wrong rather than acknowledge the good parts of the game.

    (Did anyone else just end up using the autotravelling between cities despite the visually impressive outdoor areas?…I couldnt work out how not to be busted by guards when on horseback).

  19. kvertiber says:

    @Spliter
    I think they just edited the talking out in this video because of it being too spoilery.

  20. Mr Pink says:

    lol @ KG’s mum!

  21. feffrey says:

    I’ll like it of they fix the whole 50 steps just to quit the game.

  22. Heliocentric says:

    When the non gamer (ie kg’s mum) can tell what is wrong with a game how the hell did the focus testers miss it?

  23. Alex says:

    Let’s hope the combat is improved. The farther I got into the game, the larger the mobs chasing me would get. It makes sense- as the authorities get more paranoid, they hire more guys to look out for jerks in hoodies. That would be fine if the combo moves worked reliably.

    Even the massive health bar I’d earned by being OCD with the missions and flag hunting, I’d get pummeled to death in the most frustrating ways.

  24. demonarm says:

    “What does he think he’s doing?”

    “Only a fool would do such a thing.”

    “He will get himself hurt.”

  25. sigma83 says:

    Heliocentric: My guess is people not listening to the focus testers.

  26. Andrew Dunn says:

    “God help him, he’s lost his mind!”

    “Me family’s sick and dyyyyyin’, could you spare a few coin?”

  27. Fede says:

    There seems to be lots of gorgeous detail in the city and I enjoyed a lot also the voice acting, the lines in italian were pretty well done.

  28. Bobsy says:

    Variety was the one thing that stopped Assicrid from hitting greatness, really. So big hoorays for this!

    It needeed more types of mission, more places to hide, more varied dialogue, more more more.

    “Filthy thief! I’ll have your hand for that!”

    “Course him! Course the Christian king!”

  29. Simon Jones says:

    Surely the main thing to not from this video is that the player character has an ‘authentic’ Italian accent, rather than an incongruous and annoying American voice?

  30. qrter says:

    The backlash was largely because of the hype it had to live up to.

    From what I remember, most of the backlash had to do with it being a badly optimised PC port, making it an unwieldly behemoth.

  31. Bobsy says:

    @qrter:

    Really? I experienced rather nice and nippy game, ridiculous quit menus aside. I was playing the “director’s cut” edition, though.

  32. Voidman says:

    Shait AI routines, the opponents wait for their turn to be pummeled. It looks ridiculous especially with the halberds (they look elite but fight like idiots). Also DaVinci wings sequences seem to be a bit silly and out of place akin to the new PoP3 chariot stages.

  33. Markoff Chaney says:

    The Greater Good.

    This game does look pretty fun. The first wasn’t that bad, but I enjoy Far Cry 2 as well. If you can make your own fun and use the open world as a playground while trying different stuff, it can be quite enjoyable. I liked it more than the newest Prince of Persia, though. Are the powers that be planning on waiting 6 months to bring this to the PC as well?

  34. Stupid Fat Hobbit says:

    I just finished the first one (always on the cutting edge, me) and it does certainly suffer for only having about an hour’s worth of gameplay endlessly repeated. All the running, jumping, climbing walls and stabbing people was fun enough to carry me through, though. Also, I liked how it let me deal with beggars the same way I do in real life, i.e. by punching them in the face, then quickly scaling the nearest wall and making off across the rooftops.

    Definitely worth the current price on Steam.

  35. Supraliminal says:

    Looks good, especially the fighting mechanics, but maybe a bit too scripted. You HAVE to take the flying machine to infiltrate the castle, it’s too well GUARDED. Thats lame, there should always be multiple possibilities for different playing styles, at least for more skillful players.

  36. Demon Beaver says:

    I’m a bit disappointed in the fighting animation… thing? When he dispatches of the guards with their own weapons, he just punches through them with a Halberd. Maybe Ezio is just that badass, but it does look unrealistic. Here’s hoping to lots of polish, preferrably without having to wait an additional 5 months for the PC version

  37. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Incidentally Saboteur looks like the perfect blend between this and Hitman! Cover Saboteur pls :D.

    EDIT: i look at assasins creed like Mario, Super Mario 64s jumping around was awesome, when they added too much crap meaning less jumping around in sunshire it wasn’t so good, 64 had variety though, so the key is vary the things that require you to do your fun mechanic over and over again, which is where assasins creed failed and assaisins creed 2 seems to be changing running and jumping for flying, which is what mario sunshine doen and failed.

    It’s the goals that need mixing up ubisoft not the mechanics!

  38. Gorgeras says:

    My only worry is that they seem to be using the same dodgy ragdolls.

  39. MrFake says:

    Tasty. I hope they can make Venice as interesting as the Holy Land–as same-y as it was it had great atmosphere.

    And I weep at contrived sequences like using Da Vinci’s flying machine as an approach to the target’s palace. I’ve only played about half of the original, but so far I’ve been forced to find my own routes in and out of every situation, and I love that. Sometimes I just feel like there’s this one dev on the team who sits up suddenly at his desk with the epiphany, “Hang-gliding is fun!” and that dev is unfortunately the lead mission writer. Sure, dude, hang-gliding is fun. It’s fun when you’re not doing it on a monitor, but up in the air. All it amounts to in a game like this is a slightly interactive cutscene. Hell, it was simple enough that it seamlessly cut into its own mini-cutscenes … during flight!

    Just saying that doesn’t really fit the feel of Assassin’s Creed’s “I did this!” style–where I totally think I set up and executed the perfect kill all on my own (not true, but I think it)–and I’m hoping they won’t compromise it outside this one demo mission. Scripted sections and cutscenes are just fine by me, but leave them to a minimum!

  40. SuperNashwan says:

    I was honestly hopeful that without needing to spend the time on tech development they’d really nail the sequel because Jade Raymond does seem to have her head screwed on right in interviews, but there was nothing in that walkthrough to suggest any more depth over the very shallow original. Additionally, the one shot kills seem to utterly trivialise dispatching guards, just as the platforming was trivial in the first game. So if fighting and platforming are instant one button deals, where’s the game?
    Ultimately, I think what I really want isn’t another Assassin’s Creed, but another Hitman: Blood Money…

  41. Ashurbanipal says:

    Supernashwan mentioned Jade Raymond and screwed in the same sentence and there wasn’t a crass joke. Shocking.

  42. SuperNashwan says:

    I have a special bucket of hate for all the misogyny the internet aims in Raymond’s direction.

  43. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @SuperNashwan
    she is hot though.

  44. the dudeguy says:

    This is a specific E3 demo mission, or so they claimed on Gamespot. However, the flying machine will be included in the game.

  45. Zyrxil says:

    Giving AC more variety isn’t going to fix the fact that the gameplay design itself is fundamentally flawed. You play a supposedly stealthy Assassin that spends half his time killing guards in street with great efficiency and lethality. The other half, he is undergoing missions that have 0% to do with his ultimate boss-assassinations, missions that compartmentalize game skills to a ridiculous degree – where a normal game would have you combining such skills as running, shooting, dodging, flanking, and sneaking, AC has you undertaking missions that use one skill at a time. Giving a greater variety of missions that test your knowledge of rooftop running or knife throwing doesn’t change the fact that such missions are stupid in the first place. IMO, that the first game actually sold incredibly well is a mark of shame on all consumers.

    And yes, bring on the next Hitman! I’ll take complex stealth gameplay over (I admit) incredible animations any day of the week.

  46. Ziv says:

    the vid is down… where can I get an HD download?

  47. armlesscorps says:

    The main backlash with Assassins creed was that it was a rubbish game with about half an hour of game play stretched over 10 hours or whatever. If someone had provided me with that half hour on its own I would still have said that the game is too long and too rubbish. It was the worst game id played for a long time.
    However the climbing mechanics were awesome and so were the graphics, and I like Hitman-esque games. Hopefully they can radically change the sequel and it might be good.

  48. The Innocent says:

    Yeah, it was repetitive. I had more fun finding hidden flags by running around like a ten-year old with a juicebox than “eavesdropping” on people; you know, the missions you could win by sitting on a bench? It got to the point that I’d stab all those beggar women just to get chased over the rooftops and watch the guards fall off of wood beams.

  49. Zyrxil says:

    The beggar women, the street crazies. My god, I would love to get a hold of whoever thought those were a good idea, plus whoever approved them, along with a hacksaw, handcuffs, rubber tubing, and Mickey Rourke.

  50. SirKicksalot says:

    Zyrxil – they ditched that mission structure. The missions fall in one of 16 objective types, but each of them is now hand-crafted and has its own place in the storyline, they’re not repetitive, they can be linked (a delivery that transforms into a chase and then an assassination, for example) and aren’t part of a preset structure. There are no more passive missions like pickpocketing or eavesdropping (I loved eavesdropping though).

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