YMMV / Assassin's Creed II

  • Anti-Climax Boss: Rodrigo Borgia. The fight has an interesting bit of both him and Ezio using a Piece of Eden, but the idea isn't taken advantage of and afterwards it just descends into mashing the melee button on him.
  • Awesome Music: While the entire soundtrack is considered one of the best of the entire franchise, Ezio's Family is so good that it became the most well-known track and got Call Backs in almost every game that followed.
  • Catharsis Factor: Those beggar women who constantly got in your way in the first AC? They're back in the form of wandering minstrels. Except this time, so long as you don't pull out your weapon, the guards don't mind if you start a fist fight. Or, if you're feeling nice, you can finally throw money to make them leave you alone; they're like pigeons.
  • 'Complete Monster: In Discovery, Tomás de Torquemada, who also appears in the film, is a member of the Templar Order and the overseer of the Spanish Inquisition, an event that led to the deaths of thousands. He was given a list of targets by Rodrigo Borgia to eliminate, but goes far beyond what has been tasked. He rounded up not just the targets but also anyone not a fellow Christian, and conducted mass executions with only a few rescued. He later lays siege the entire city of Granada in an attempt to kill its king, Muhammad XII; it failed, but the total amount of casualties and destruction was far too severe to have a positive outcome.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Leonardo, leading to the infamous "missed hugs = restarted games."
    • The Harlequin seems to be the most popular of all the multiplayer characters.
    • In general, the supporting cast of this series is highly popular - Mario, Volpe, Claudia, Caterina Sforza, Bartolomeo d'Alviano, Rosa and Machiavelli.
  • Even Better Sequel:
    • Practically every complaint with the original game was addressed in Assassin's Creed II. Too repetitive, not enough mission variety? Every assassination has a much more varied sequence of events leading up to it, instead of "gather information, stab mark in face." Uninteresting protagonist? Ezio is a lot more relatable than Altaïr. No tangible reward for collection sidequests? Now there are, and a full-blown inventory/resource management system to boot. Can't shake the beggars off? Ezio can toss money on the ground. Framing Story doesn't make sense? It still doesn't make much sense, but it's been expanded upon in a manner that shows that there are interesting answers to the many (many, many) questions brought up by the first game (as well as loads more Genius Bonuses for history buffs). Long cutscenes to establish evilness of victims? Save it for narration instead. Trippy, five-minute-long dialogues with dying victims? Shortened to less than a minute.
    • As seen on Metacritic, the first game got "Generally Favorable Reviews" (81), while the second game received "Universal Acclaim" (91).
  • Game Breaker:
    • Mercenaries are very good at distracting guards, but the game-breaking comes from the fact that attacking any enemy who is engaged with an opponent from behind is an instant kill if you're close enough. You can wipe out dozens of guards without breaking a sweat using mercenaries like this.
    • Smoke bombs, to a lesser degree. Pop one, and every guard in a surprisingly large area is helpless for about ten seconds, plenty of time to One-Hit Kill most or all of them.
      • Mercenarii and smoke bombs are the two main ways to get the "No-hitter" achievement (kill 10 enemies in a row without being hit while remaining in combat), albeit with mercenarii you have to hit at least one guard first to initiate combat.
    • If you're in a fight with guards you can't win or don't want to put the effort into winning, you can lob throwing knives at them. They're unblockable and only one (Florence/Tuscany/San Gimignano) or two (Romagna/Forli/Venice/Vatican) are needed to kill any guard in the game. If you feel the need to use them up-close, you can also pay a one-time fee for "special weapons" training to throw three at once, though the "charge up" animation before the actual throw can be interrupted.
    • Hidden Blades are this if your timing is consistently good enough; while its "window of opportunity" is smallest out of all weapons (unarmed is equal or a close second), they are the only weapon to always have a fatal Counter Kill against any opponent not named Francesco de' Pazzi (at il Duomo) or Rodrigo Borgia/Alexander VI, irrespective of the opponent's Health. Other weapons only have Counter Kills if the opponent's Health is low enough or if they're suddenly vulnerable (disoriented by smoke or sand, distracted by a NPC, just got disarmed, knocked down, bumped into, and so on).
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Like the beggars in the first game, Assassin's Creed II has minstrels who run in front of you, physically blocking you from forward movement, while singing and playing their instruments. Unlike with the beggars, though, there are multiple ways you can deal with them. You can toss coins on the ground and laugh as people swarm the area, draw your sword to make them run away in fear, punch the talentless gits in the mouth, break their instruments, steal florins from them, or just outright kill 'em.
    • Agiles, though they don't do well in a stand-up fight, can run you down if you try to flee, even when you're sprinting all-out. If you must run, your life will be made slightly better by at least slaying them first. Or, if you don't want to suddenly be surrounded by a dozen guards, you can just press jump when they get close to you. That'll confuse them for a few seconds and give you time to make a clean getaway.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • This game marks a major increase in the substance of the series' storyline, and fully lives up to the potential in the first AC's gameplay.
    • A literal example: Ezio grows a Badass Beard in the Time Skip of recovering from a major stab wound between the DLC sequences.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Everything to do with Lucy — including Desmond's ease of escape from Abstergo, and the fact Vidic finds the hideout so easily — come the revelation after Brotherhood that she's The Mole. Especially when she mentions the missing Assassin teams, which suddenly looks a hell of a lot more suspicious...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The page quote for Munchkin on This Very Wiki is: "Munchkin: One who, on being told that this is a game about politics and intrigue in 17th century Italy, asks to play a ninja." The latter part of that sentence has been potholed into the main page.
    • Subject 16's hysterical ramblings include a past life where he seduces a woman at the opera and talks about having sex with her. This becomes rather amusing when you know that his voice actor Cam Clarke is openly gay.
    • This game shares many plot elements with the horrendously bad MST3K "classic" Quest of the Delta Knights.
    • All of the "Ezio is Batman" jokes became this when Roger Craig Smith voiced the Caped Crusader himself in Batman: Arkham Origins.
    • The cutscene where Mario Auditore introduces himself with "It's-a me, Mario!" was already funny. But the fact that Ezio's voice actor would later go on to voice Sonic only added to it.
    • Rosa takes an arrow to the knee.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: The final boss is Rodrigo Borgia, a.k.a. Pope Alexander VI. You have to infiltrate the Vatican to get to him, and you fight him in the middle of the Sistine Chapel. And after that's over, you chase him down again, where you proceed to settle it like men. Sadly, he's not particularly difficult.
  • Ho Yay Shipping:
    • Ask half of the fanbase what they think of Leonardo and Ezio.
    • During the mission where you rescue Bartelomeo, he calls you "Madonna" and "bella mia" (my lady).
  • Iron Woobie: At the end of the game, you'll find Ezio to be one of these if you think about it a little. Ezio started as a young nobleman who was really just out to live life. His interactions with his family members showed that he had a loving relationship with each of them. Suddenly, his father and brothers are executed in front of his eyes forcing him to run and start a life of ceaseless bloodshed. Then when he finally defeats Rodrigo and has the opportunity to take revenge, he stops and says: "No. Killing you won't bring my family back." He proceeds into the Vault and Minerva essentially tells Ezio: "Your job is done, now shut up." And as of Brotherhood, his troubles seem to be far from over. Poor Ezio...
  • Jerkass Woobie: Many of Ezio's victims (much like Altaïr's victims) turn out to be simply misguided but well-intentioned people with their final words.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Requiescat in pace" has gone from Latin for "rest in peace" to synonymous with this game.
    • The fact that this game ends with you fist fighting the Pope.
    • The Man Hug QTE with Leonardo is considered such a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming that it's worth restarting the game if players miss it.
    • The comments on Stephen Plays video on the time-skip are full of "Get stabbed, grow a beard".
  • Most Annoying Sound: As much as the fanbase adores Leonardo, when you meet him at the docks near Forli he repeatedly yells "Ezio! Here! Over here!" until you speak to him. It gets very old very fast.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The PC version, at launch. Runs like molasses going up-hill in January (with crutches!), about as stable as nitroglycerin and has a DRM system so draconian that it makes all predecessors look good. These issues have been fixed, to an extent.
    • Subverted with the 2016 remastered version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Polygon's comparison video documented incorrect NPC facial rendering that gave them horrifically bulging faces and eyes, and problems with the climbing system that caused Ezio to get stuck on walls. However, this video later showed that these glitches were in the original as well, and that Polygon apparently just focused on their presence in the remaster to tear it down and generate a faux-controversy.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Desmond Miles was not received very fondly by fans in the first game, in large part because of his comparatively boring role as Audience Surrogate in the present-day Framing Story, and looking like a Butt Monkey compared to his much cooler ancestor, Altaïr. Cue the sequel, where he Took a Level in Badass, the present-day scenes are fewer and more interesting, and he gets to use the Le Parkour he learned in the first game. His Funny Moment just before The Stinger (in which he also finally gets to fight!) also helps.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: A small but very annoying quirk of trying to blend into moving crowds is that Ezio moves at a different speed from the NPCs; depending on how far forward you push the analog stick, he either moves faster than them or slower than them, forcing you to alternate your speed to stay on pace with them. Thankfully in Brotherhood, this was fixed so Ezio automatically matches their speed.
  • Shocking Swerve: Rodrigo Borgia becoming the Pope, for anybody who wasn't aware of that happening in Real Life. Prior to that, the game doesn't tell the player much about who he is besides him being the leader of the Templars.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Yes, this applies alongside Even Better Sequel. The second game addressed many of the complaints with the original game, even winning over some who outright disliked that game.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Carlotta Moro's letter to the mentally-crippled Dante Moro, where she hopes that someday her former husband will be able to remember her and that she believes he still loves her, even with his mind destroyed. You only get to read this letter after you've killed Dante.
    • The title sequence is this for anyone who knows what happens to Ezio's family only a few days after that scene. The music that plays during this sequence seems designed to bring tears to the eyes.
  • That One Level:
    • "Port Authority", the Merchant assassination mission in the Bonfire of the Vanities DLC, is much harder than it would seem at first glance, especially considering that all the missions before (and after) it are exceedingly easy. You have to kill a guy who's tucked into a very secure spot on a small galleon, while ten guards with super senses patrol the deck and the surrounding pier. Oh, and did we mention you have to kill him without being detected? Unless you figure out how to make it easier note , this mission alone will make you regret ever getting the DLC.
    • The assassination mission "Town Crier". Sure, it's a pretty fun mission, but more than likely you'll end up getting shot down by an archer you forgot to kill. And even if you do kill all the archers before you reach the tallest tower, you may jinx yourself into falling hundreds of feet to your death, at which point you have to start the whole thing over.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Is still the most critically acclaimed and beloved entry in the franchise, thanks to its sprawling story, charismatic hero, large cast of Historical Domain Characters, jaw-dropping period architecture, and for making the most improvements and innovations on the formula.
  • The Woobie:
    • Lucrezia Borgia. After her son's physical recovery the boy was recovered and raised in the Borgia household, but with Cesare posing as the father and Lucrezia forced to pose as the aunt (coincidentally, zia in Italian).
    • Giovanni Borgia, as lampshaded in Project Legacy.
      Erudito: What did the Shroud do to this poor kid? He should be dreaming about the Renaissance equivalent of sunshine and lollipops, not murder and politics! I've never seen anything like this!

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