Behind closed doors: Assassin's Creed 2
Behind closed doors: Assassin's Creed 2 ps3xbox360
Just because E3 is done doesn't mean we are. There's still quite a few things we're looking to get out in the "slow" week following the big games convention.
Take Assassin's Creed 2. People are pumped for a sequel, yet most wouldn't say no to beefed up gameplay to go with super sweet visuals and that sensational free running. Here's what we saw at our one-on-one Assassin's Creed 2 session behind closed doors:
Even after more than two days of saying the same thing, our host from the Assassin's Creed 2 team was pumped.
"The first Assassin's Creed was this," he says, joining his hands in a circle. "Assassin's Creed 2 is THIS!" he exclaims, spreading his arms into a big arc.
We get the message. And maybe Assassin's Creed 2 and its team has something to prove in the wake of the first game. Sure, it looked beautiful on the surface, but for lovers of gameplay it definitely was more a sign of great things to come than the pinnacle of entertainment.
Assassin's Creed 2 won't be able to slide just on looking super hot this time around, and Ubisoft knows it. Yet even at this stage it's hard not to get drawn into the game because the setting and storyline seems spot on.
"We are still using genetic memories," our host tells us, a reference to the love-it-or-hate-it twist that punters discovered when they played the first game. And so we find our new protagonist, Ezio in Venice, 1486. The fireworks are going off overhead, and a nighttime carnival is in full swing. Much like the Assassin's Creed 2 trailer, except this time it's in-game.
AC2 will feature a full dynamic day/night cycle, we're told. Ezio joins a couple of fellow thieves in the shadows. Thieves, we're told, are our friends. One of them tells us that "Leonardo says the machine is ready." Leonardo DaVinci that is. He is the designated gadget man for AC2. He's the Q to your Bond; in other words, a person who will kit you out with "exotic devices" you'll need to help get your jobs done.
As we make our way through the carnival crowd, our host drops a little info on how AC2 has approached artificial intelligence. Now, guards will have a search phase. More on that soon. We're told there's three states - unaware, informed and aware. For best results you want the first, and the last is obviously the worst for people wanting to sneak about.
Guards in search phase will actively hunt for you - even when you're hidden. You won't be able to hide away momentarily and be fine. Later in the demo we cop an example of this - Ezio leaps from a building into a handy hay cart. In the first game, that was it - you were concealed. Here, a curious guard comes over and jams his halberd into the hay. He gets repaid by getting a faceful of knife. You're capable of assassinating from there now as well.
The crowd, we're promised, will have more reaction and "life". They also can be in groups, although the ramifications of this weren't disclosed or demonstrated.
We see the free running action that made Assassin's Creed in action. It's largely remained the same, however a "gap jump" - the ability to better leap to a handhold while climbing has been included. But for the most part, our host tells us, it's "don't touch it if it ain't broke".
Ezio soon reaches his rooftop destination. Awaiting him is "Leonardo's machine" - the flying apparatus that has drawn so much attention to Assassin's Creed 2. Without further ado, our host climbs in and hurls himself off his vantage point. Our friends the thieves have lit fires around Venice. This is important - your flying machine is akin to a glider - you need to hit the hot air from the fires to give yourself an updraft. The appearance of flying is very well executed - much like Activision's Prototype, it's obvious the Ubisoft team has spent a lot of time in getting the dynamics right.
Our host reminds us this is the 1400s...flying objects would be thought of by the population as the devil taking flight. So we get to see the odd person freaking out as we swoop and soar about the canals. We reach our destination and bail as the flying machine clatters to a fiery mess away from us. Ezio can swim, something which a setting in Venice probably mandates. We're not told if the flying machine features frequently in the game (we hope it does) or if using it too much may break a design plan.
Time for some action. The variety and amount of assassination techniques at your disposal has been boosted in AC2, our host wryly noted the logic of having a decent array of killing methods in a game about...killing. Unlike the first game, your main character's motivation is deeply personal. Ezio is driven by revenge - tragedy is his impetus. What tragedy and revenge we're doubtless going to find out about later.
Needless to say, Ezio knows how to kill. We see assassinations carried out from Ezio hanging onto a ledge, airborne assassinations where Ezio takes out two guards from a flying start, even combat where Ezio disarms a foe and uses their own weapon on them. At least in the demo the disarm kills look a little wonky - long halberds or blades clipping through the body.
We're shown one sequence where Ezio takes down four enemies, each with a different type of weapon and style. Variety appears to be the big priority for an AC2 team who knows there won't be room for many excuses this time around. As we stab our prey for the demo mission, the surrounds break down into wireframe then the blinding white of the Animus as Ezio extracts the info he needs. Then it's back to unreality as he seeks to escape a legion of highly annoyed guards.
What we didn't see: anything from the other locations Ezio will travel to - Tuscany and Florence. There's plenty of time yet to get some drip fed information on this however. The team seems as hellbent on visual detail as before - the host even proudly pointing out a flattering GameInformer magazine side-by-side comparison of real landmarks vs the in-game graphics. Yet graphic quality wasn't the beef with the first Assassin's Creed - it was the game's depth. How Ubi tackles that element will be the make or break for the game from our perspective.
Comments on this Article
Wed 10 Jun 09, 5:38pmRapidShifter
Posted: Wed 10 Jun 09, 5:38pm
Wed 10 Jun 09, 5:40pmG-Ninja77
Posted: Wed 10 Jun 09, 5:40pm
Wed 10 Jun 09, 6:04pmChaos
Posted: Wed 10 Jun 09, 6:04pm
Wed 10 Jun 09, 6:14pmBulletForce
Posted: Wed 10 Jun 09, 6:14pm
Wed 10 Jun 09, 6:14pmOlpol
Posted: Wed 10 Jun 09, 6:14pm
Wed 10 Jun 09, 10:22pmGung-ho
Posted: Wed 10 Jun 09, 10:22pm
Wed 10 Jun 09, 11:10pmc0ntagi0us
Posted: Wed 10 Jun 09, 11:10pm
Thu 11 Jun 09, 12:07amChaos
Posted: Thu 11 Jun 09, 12:07am
Thu 11 Jun 09, 2:34amsolid23
Posted: Thu 11 Jun 09, 2:34am
Fri 12 Jun 09, 5:35pmG-Ninja77
Posted: Fri 12 Jun 09, 5:35pm
Sat 16 Jul 11, 1:16pmPromotional Item
Posted: Sat 16 Jul 11, 1:16pm
Post Your Comment
Recent Event Entries
E3 2012 - A Video Wrap-Up
Tokyo Jungle - E32012 Hands-On
E3 2012: Talking Black Ops 2 with Mark Lamia
E3 2012: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate info
E3 2012: Watch the Planetside 2 trailer, sign up for the beta
View all event coverage