Assassin's Creed II: The Master Assassin's Edition [GameStop Exclusive]
Assassin's Creed was one of the first games of this generation that really felt "next-gen." It presented an opportunity to interact with the world in ways that simply wasn't possible without additional power, which is, for the most part, the very essence of that somewhat overused phrase. Ubisoft's adventure title provided gamers with a fully climbable recreation of different historical cities, an engaging story, and wonderful graphics. Though flawed, it was without a doubt one of the most advanced-feeling experiences to hit consoles. That was two years ago, and a lot has changed in the gaming industry. The idea of climbing on everything is still fantastic, but has lost much of its luster when it found its way into a handful of other titles. Other complaints were mostly rooted in a repetitive mission structure and a lack of content, things that were more forgivable in 2007 than 2009. These were issues that didn't just need to be addressed in a sequel, but eliminated entirely. Luckily, Ubisoft has been busy. With two years of knowledge and a few baskets full of critiques of their first effort, the publisher has released Assassin’s Creed II, hoping to fix the issues without changing the elements that made the game an incredible success for the company.
The story picks up right where the last left off, wasting no time diving into action and, more importantly, proving that Ubisoft has listened to the criticisms leveled at the first title. Within moments, Desmond is up and about, moving around more in the first five minutes of the story than he did in all of the original. For those unfamiliar with the series, there's likely a little bit of confusion as to why the location and time have shifted so drastically between sequels and, for that matter, who this Desmond character is. While most of the gameplay in the Assassin’s Creed takes place hundreds of years in the past, Desmond Miles lives in the modern age, and has an ancestry rooted deeply in a conflict between the Assassin’s Order and the Knights Templar, who didn’t actually disband in 1314 like the history books say. Instead, the shadowy organization has continued their practices, working towards a New World Order nearly 1,000 years in the making, only kept in check by the dwindling assassins. Now, under the guise of Abstergo Industries, they’ve kidnapped Desmond in order to have him relive the lives of his ancestors through a machine called the Animus, which allows users to synchronize with their genetic memory.