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June 13 2009
Assassin's Creed II - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
19/11/2009UbisoftUbisoftUbisoft Montreal
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1TBA$109.95
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Assassin's Creed II looks superb.
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New hero Eizo takes out an enemy.

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Sneaking up to an enemy in the water.
So here we are. Two years after the original Assassin's Creed was release to much fanfare, but left some - including us here - slightly disappointed the sequel is upon us. A new time in history, new characters, and improvements in almost all areas make Assassin's Creed II a very exciting prospect.

Assassin's Creed II is certainly a key title for Ubisoft. Of the 150 staff that worked on the original game around 75% of them have stayed on and are working on this sequel - that's a bit over 100 of the original staff. That's not all though as Ubisoft have confirmed that in total 450 people are currently working on this project. That's a massive number of staff, and a massive budget for this monster title.

We don't know much about this title as yet, certainly not the specifics of the storyline. What we do know though is that you will play a character named Ezio Auditore di Firenze. Your family has been slaughtered and the overall goal of the game is to exact revenge on those involved. Again Ezio is actually a distant relative of the modern day character Desmond Miles. The game includes many real-life famous people including Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Caterina Sforza, and Lorenzo de' Medici.

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Intense action in Assassin's Creed II.
As shown at the 2009 E3 show some of these famous characters will act as your friends in the game. Leonardo da Vinci, for instance, is an inventor and you will be able to use his inventions to assist your quest. Shown at the Sony E3 Press Conference was Ezio using Leonardo's flying machine to take to the skies, attack enemies from above and infiltrate areas otherwise inaccessible.

In terms of other gameplay elements Eizo can now swim underwater for as long as he can hold his breath, and given the amount of water around Venice that's probably a good thing. In the demo shown at E3 Eizo escapes an assassination by jumping into the water. Hand-to-hand combat will remain key to action in the game and Eizo can even wield dual daggers for double kills. The best news though is that the developers are including a much wider range of mission types to complete - 16 to be precise. One of our biggest complaints of the original game (reviewed here) was a lack of mission variety so it's great to see this being remedied. Indeed as you complete missions you may start to build some notoriety, by going on side missions such as assassinating witnesses, you can reduce this notoriety.

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Hand-to-hand combat is key in this game.
As you can see from the surround screenshots this is a very impressive game, and it is every bit as impressive when moving. Animation on the playable, and non-playable, characters all move in a natural, fluid way and again your ability to climb buildings is a key element. Eizo looks superb as he climbs, jumps, hangs and pulls his way onto and across buildings. We should also point out that enemies are also quite able to climb buildings just as well while in pursuit of you! Other neat touches include a day/night cycle, improved lighting, and the ability for Eizo to blend into any crowd, not just select groups as per the original game.

The original Assassin's Creed is one of the fastest selling games of all time, and with over 8 million sales across all platforms is one of the biggest selling games of all time. This sequel looks set to up the ante in so many areas with improved visuals, a richer move set and continuation of the storyline. Expect Assassin’s Creed II to hit store shelves on November 17, 2009 in America, and November 20, 2009 in Europe (with Australia getting the game on November 19).

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Jumping over the Venice canals.
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Jumping from the top of a building.