Play or Pass: Assassin’s Creed II

Welcome to the next post in my year-long series “Play or Pass” that takes on the proverbial “must before death” theme with video games. Every other week I will be covering one or two games from “32 Video Games You Have To Play Before You Die,” a list compiled by BuzzFeed based on a reader poll. I will not be critiquing the list itself, but rather I’ll be discussing each game or games in whatever manner feels fitting and will attempt to answer a couple simple questions: Have I played [insert game name here]? If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why? If no, do I want to play the game before I die? I’ll be going through the games in the order in which they appear on the BuzzFeed list. Good? Good. Let’s get on with the games!

Week eleven: (14) Assassin’s Creed II


If I have but one regret in life, it’s…well, it’s not that I didn’t play Assassin’s Creed II when we had it. I mean, I probably should have. But at the time, I still harbored feeling of severe angst towards my unsavory and poor (and poorly self-inflicted) experience with the original Assassin’s Creed. Should I have gotten over myself and bit the bullet? Um…the knife’s edge, I mean?

Well, like I said…probably.

Up until things went ass-up in Assassin’s Creed, I was enamored of the game. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was no master of stealth, and I hit more than my fair share of frustrating fuck-ups as I tried to be all ghostly. But something about the game – maybe the way it looked, as well as Altair himself – was captivating. I really enjoyed just traveling throughout the game’s inspired environments; discovering new locations and secret hiding spaces; managing my way through crowds of people; and climbing to the highest heights in order to see for miles and miles and miles.

I watched a good portion of Assassin’s Creed II being played, and if anything, I think I loved the Italian Renaissance setting even more than the 12th century, Middle Eastern backdrop for the first game. Altair was replaced by Ezio, but the mechanics remained the same – be stealthy, eliminate targets, explore. It looked like plenty of fun, but that experience never translated into me holding a controller and actually playing the game. Why? I’m not really sure. But at  the time, I’m going to guess that Mass Effect had something to do with it.

Yeah, sure, just blame Mass Effect for all your problems. Stupid Mass Effect with its space-operatic, highly addictive bullshit. It’s all your fault.

Oh, how I digress.

I tried to pick up the reigns of Assassin’s Creed with the third one, the one that takes place in during the American Revolution, but I barely made it past the intro sequences before becoming bored. It just didn’t have that hook. We have Assassin’s Creed: Unity. It’s still sitting on the shelf…wrapped. Yeah. Being a stealthly mofo in a game isn’t exactly high on my priority list. Though I am kinda looking forward to DisHonored 2. Though I’m sure I’ll end up dicking around, killing everyone, and making the world a horrible place like I did in the first DisHonored. I’m bad a stealth. always.

I ran out of things to say about Assassin’s Creed II, y’know, in case it wasn’t goddamn obvious. I’m not sure why I’m suddenly feeling so hostile. Think the blame here lays with the first Assassin’s Creed. Guess I’m still not really over it.

Have I played Assassin’s Creed II?

If yes, do I consider it a “must” and why?
I don’t know if it’s a “must” even among Assassin’s Creed games, but it is very pretty.

If no, do I want to play the game before I die?
Nay, good sire.


  1. AC III is probably the worst possible entry to start with, as it’s probably the absolute weakest in the series. It’s just…bad. AC II on the other hand, I’d say it’s the best in the series. It and AC Brotherhood polished up the core mechanics to the point that much of the movement felt natural. The architecture of renaissance Italy lent itself well to the climbing/rooftop-running gameplay, the story was good, the collectables and side-quests weren’t out of control yet, and they had this cool little mystery hidden behind 20 secret puzzles! AC II made its world come alive and lent some real depth to the alternate/secret conspiracy history that had underlaid the series up to that point. It’s too bad the rest of the series hasn’t been able to do any better.

    In short, AC II is definitely a must play if you think you could like AC, as it’s the best that the series has to offer. If you don’t like AC to begin with, it probably won’t change your mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I seem to have gotten into the habit of collecting older games on Steam, I’ll have to keep ACII in mind. What I remember watching of the game was enough to make it memorable, at least. So though I don’t think it’s a “must,” it sounds like it’d be enjoyable to play at some point.

      I do agree that is sad that later AC games haven’t lived up to how the series started. (Though I’ve read that Black Flag is quite good.) As I’ve said, I was really enamored of the first game. Being bad a stealth aside, it offered a unique and fun way to explore a world. I wouldn’t mind reliving that in ACII.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The thing about Black Flag is that it’s a really good *pirate* game that just so happens to be under the Assassin’s Creed banner. It is indeed a good game, but one that’s not necessarily a good Assassin’s Creed game. If that makes any sense.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There definitely are some vast differences between AS1 & AS2, that is the game that really took the series off on a high that lasted through Revelations & Brotherhood. If you want to experience the Assassin’s Creed fans of the series love play those three games and don’t bother with anything newer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly what I’ve found. As I said in response to Mr. Wu, while we have later AC games, they just haven’t hooked me in. (Hell, the opening sequences of ACIII turned me off completely.) Maybe someday I’ll find my way back to the older games — I really did enjoy the first game quite a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah AC3 was pretty disappointing! Those older ones still had a powerful and exciting storyline so to me that is why they are still great


      • I’ve never played Unity, but I feel that AC III is the worst among the AC games I’ve played. The story was intriguing and the free running didn’t feel great because there wasn’t really a densely packed city to run around.

        Liked by 1 person

Comments and Queries

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.