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  • 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 Video Game Level: The final level in Rome. Regardless of the rather lackluster dealing of the Final Boss, the buildup to it is a perfect test of all the skills you've acquired along the way, starting with multiple straight up fights with a horseback section in the middle and then becoming a stealth section requiring you to assassinate several guards quietly before moving on. It's the right amount of challenging and serves as the perfect conclusion to Ezio's development to a Master Assassin.
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  • 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 is a member of the Templar Order and the overseer of the brutal Spanish Inquisition. Given a list of targets by Rodrigo Borgia to eliminate, he would also execute those who are not Christian, with only a few rescued. He later sets the entire city of Granada ablaze in effort to kill Sultan Muhammad XII, while potentially killing hundreds of people living there. Then it is revealed in the 2016 film to have kidnapped the Sultan's son, holding him hostage in exchange for the Apple of Eden, making the son watch as he puts most of the Spanish Assassins, including their mentor on stake to be burned alive.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
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    • Leonardo, leading to the infamous "missed hugs = restarted games."
    • 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: As seen on Metacritic, the first game got "Generally Favorable Reviews" (81), while the second game received "Universal Acclaim" (91). 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, rinse, repeat".
    • Uninteresting protagonist? Ezio Auditore is a lot more relatable than Altaïr. He is a fully fleshed out character, has an engaging story and practically oozes charisma.
    • Escaping from the guards being practically possible? Now Ezio can blend into crowds without needing to find scholars, the guards give up their chases much sooner than before, and there are many ways to actually distract them from the chase
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    • Only Al Mualim and the snarky bureau chiefs as named NPCs? AC II adds a whole gallery of fictional or Historical Domain people as supporting characters, and they're so well fleshed out that many ended up Ensemble Dark Horses.
    • Damascus, Jerusalem, and Acre look too much alike? Florence, Venice, and the others all have their own distinctive visual identity.
    • Mandatory viewpoints climbing to reveal the assassination quests? Doing it is still useful to reveal the maps, but it's not tied to the quests anymore and thus not mandatory anymore.
    • Achievements all but requiring multiple playthroughs of an extremely long game to get them all? If a player looks at the list ahead of time, they can 100% complete the game in one go.
    • No tangible reward for collection sidequests? Now there are, and a full-blown inventory/resource management system to boot.
    • All of these collection sidequests being borderline impossible with the game providing no help? Aside from the feathers, the player can purchase maps for all of the treasure chests, and they very quickly earn their value back.
    • Can't shake the beggars off? Ezio can toss money on the ground, and there's no punishment for starting a fist fight.
    • 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) while making the supernatural elements of the story more overt.
    • Long cutscenes to establish the evilness of the victims? Save it for narration instead.
    • Trippy, five-minute-long dialogues with dying victims? Shortened to less than a minute.
    • Boring 21st century sequences where Desmond could only walk from the Animus to his bed and vice versa? Now he's got platforming and fights to do.
  • Evil Is Cool: Not Rodrigo Borgia, but Girolamo Savonarola in the "Bonfire of the Vanities" DLC is considered highly memorable and interesting.
  • 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/Forlì/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).
  • Genius Bonus: Ezio was born on June 24, day of Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence. In a sense, over the course of the first half of the story the Assassin becomes the protector of the city and, like John, he is referred to as a "prophet".
  • 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 marked a major increase in the substance of the series' storyline, and fully lives up to the potential in the first AC's gameplay.
  • 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 at times been potholed into the main page, though it's preferred not to.
    • 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.
    • Leonardo da Vinci can be summoned under the Caster designation in Fate/Grand Order. And, due to the Mona Lisa's popularity, he is summoned as female.
    • While it is a real river, there's something highly amusing about Lorenzo de' Medici mentioning that as he once fell into a river called the Arno.
    • La Volpe is not Ubisoft's only character referred to as 'The Fox'. Interestingly both are thieves. And are in the same canon, as shown in that game and confirmed to be canon in Assassin's Creed Origins. Aiden does contract work for the Assassins on the side and is trusted to know they exist.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Actually impressively averted in terms of spoiling how long the game lasts - the game doesn't reveal how many memory sequences there are (unlike the first game) and the Villa hides the total amount of assassination target portraits that Ezio can obtain, meaning the player will have no idea just how many people they need to assassinate to complete the game. The Conspirators section of the pause menu also only has the people that Ezio knows for certain are in on it, so it remains incomplete until near the end of the game.
    • Bartolomeo's database entry, unlocked two missions before Ezio supposedly assassinates Rodrigo Borgia, mentions the fact that Borgia became Pope Alexander IV, managing to spoil the assassination mission ten minutes down the line and the entire ending mission of the game.
  • 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.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Ezio Auditore Da Firenze is an Italian nobleman from the Renaissance who joins the Assassin Brotherhood to seek vengeance on the Templars who murdered his father and brothers. Ezio uses his wits to kill off the Templars in unexpected ways before subjecting their leader Rodrigo Borgia to a cruel mercy making him watch as he steals Rodrigo's dream. When Monteriggioni is attacked and Ezio arrives in Rome, he rebuilds the Assassin Brotherhood there, becoming its Mentor and using his influence to take over Rome and remove the Borgias from power. Arriving in Constantinople to search for Altair's library, Ezio puts the Assassins into a position in power within the city while uncovering and dismantling the Byzantine Templars. When Ezio learns that the Byzantine Templars are hiding out in Derinkuyu he travels to and destroys the underground city, despite countless innocent people living there, to ensure the Templars' destruction before defeating their leader, entering Altair's library, and relaying a message to Desmond Miles, leaving an everlasting legacy as one of the most brilliantly unscrupulous and charismatically well-known figures within the franchise's history.
  • 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 Heartwarming Moment that it's worth restarting the game if players miss it.
    • The comments on StephenPlays video on the time-skip are full of "Get stabbed, grow a beard".
  • 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.
  • 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 Moments: 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.
  • 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.
  • Signature Scene: The final talk right after the Final Boss, the one with Minerva, and especially her In-Universe instance of Breaking the Fourth Wall where she directly addresses Desmond, to the confusion of Ezio.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: While not nearly as bad as the first game, the first sequence mostly consists of Ezio acting as an errand boy. It takes about 30 minutes before the plot kicks off.
  • 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.
  • 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. Worse still, due to a glitch its possible that he doesn't spawn unless activated first (signified by him starting to yell), meaning that the player might have spend over ten minutes killing every guard and climbing the tower, only to find... nothing.
    • The assassination mission "Honorable Thieves". It's an interesting concept, having to follow a thief which creates a reverse Escort Mission to lead you to your target so you can kill them, but thanks to the AI of the thief not being the best and the mission largely taking place on roofs he's going to fall off the roof a lot. Whether it's self-inflicted from a bad jump or the result of a guard knocking him off the roof before you can get to him depends on the situation, but the fact is that he will die a lot and you'll have to start all over. Just about the only way to stop him from dying is to clear out the rooftops ahead of time, but the game makes no indication where you're going to go so to know where the guards you need to kill are you'll have already played and lost this mission once.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: A lot of gamers feel that Savonarola would have made a more effective Big Bad than Rodrigo Borgia, and lament on how he's wasted for, admittedly very good, DLC.
    • The game's version of Borgia is highly stereotyped and inaccurate and he is generally slammed for being a very weak one-dimensional villain, and many feel that Savonarola as a populist religious fundamentalist would have made Ezio's story more Grey-and-Gray Morality, tilting towards the first game.
    • They also note that since so much of the first part of the game is set in Florence and deals with the Medici and its history, a Florentine-based villain and a climax set in Florence would have served the game better (in the same way Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, another multi-city game which had the hero exiled from his main city in the First Act, finally did return to Los Santos for the climax) and made Ezio's story richer and have a stronger climax. Likewise, the Cristina sequences from Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood which Patrice Desilets noted were originally supposed to be part of AC II, also made many lament its exclusion and missed opportunity.
  • 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, sweeping soundtrack, and for making the most improvements and innovations on the formula.
  • Values Dissonance: It's all over the pages how awesome Caterina Sforza's speech is in the DLC, and how she really said that in real life, which makes it more awesome. We're talking about 15th-century Europe, where that sort of behavior from a woman would probably have been considered shocking and obscene, punishable by banishment if not death. She was probably unpopular merely for being a woman in a man's job. In other words, we can't know if she actually said and did those things with certainty, especially as she was judged very harshly by history, even in contrast with other female rulers who typically get the fuzzy end of the lollipop regardless.

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