An assassin's bloodline
The mysteries continue in Assassin's Creed II, the follow-up to the best-selling blockbuster on PlayStation 3, as the deftly crafted story by Ubisoft Montreal picks up right where the first one left off. In 2012, you met Desmond, the central character from the first game who was kidnapped by Abstergo Industries and subjected to gruelling sessions in the Animus, a machine with the ability to search through the genetic memories of anyone placed in it.
Kick-starting with a daring escape from Abstergo's headquarters, Desmond is freed from captivity by his ally, Lucy Stillman, and taken to meet Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane, two modern-day assassins who have developed their own version of the Animus and plan to send him back in time to Renaissance Italy to relive the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
The reasons for this are twofold: to train Desmond in assassin skills that he can apply in the present day, and to uncover the whereabouts of the remaining Pieces of Eden, the objects that Abstergo Industries originally kidnapped Desmond for in Assassin's Creed. Packed with intrigue and action, Assassin's Creed II and its twisting narrative will have you hooked from the outset.
Unlock the Creed's secrets
If you own a PSP system and are planning on, or already bought Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines, then you are in for a treat thanks to some super in-game connectivity between both the PS3 and PSP iterations of each game. So how does it work?
For PSP to PS3 connectivity, as you play through Bloodlines you will encounter various bosses and targets. Once you defeat each one you can then collect their weapons and wield them in Assassin's Creed II, expanding the already vast selection of weaponry Ezio has on offer. Keep an eye open at all times for Templar coins too; they can be used to create currency in Assassin's Creed II.
For PS3 to PSP connectivity, there are a number of hidden blade upgrades that are transferable as well as health upgrades, which means any Assassin's Creed fans looking for the complete experience should definitely pick up and play both games.
With Assassin's Creed known for taking real life characters and placing them in fictional tales, the sequel treads the same ground as its predecessor and introduces a number of familiar faces into the fold. Niccolò Machiavelli, the Italian philosopher, writer and Renaissance man appears as an ally to Ezio who reveals himself to be a member of the Assassin brotherhood. Other historical figures that you may recognise include Rodrigo Borgia who, in history, went on to become Pope Alexander VI in real life, and Leonardo da Vinci.
Da Vinci's presence in the game is highly significant to your progression as an assassin. Throughout it you'll find pages from a Codex which you deliver to Leonardo for him to decode. Once he's done this, he can build you brand new weapons such as your hidden blades and concealed pistol. He'll provide you with a gadget for one of the game's finest moments which sees you soar through the skies, picking off enemies one by one in true assassin style.
The hunt begins
Thrust into the world of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, you begin the game as the son of a nobleman, who is double crossed and hung along with Ezio's brother. Once this pivotal moment in the game occurs, the action shifts to you discovering more about your heritage - you hail from a long line of assassins - and learning the skills of the trade by training on the streets of 15th century Italy. While much of the controls from the first game remain intact, there are a number of new additions including the ability to swim and apply Eagle Vision, a view mode that highlights enemies and points of interest, in a third-person rather than first-person perspective.
You also have a much larger number of weapons at your disposal. The hidden blade that Altair sported in Assassin's Creed is back, only this time there are two for you to master, making for some daring stealth kills. Ezio can target multiple enemies below him from rooftops or beams. Other new additions to the arsenal include poison blades, a miniature pistol, swords, cutlasses, maces, axes, spears and deadly daggers.
You also have a number of new fighting abilities including the ability to disarm opponents, steal their weapons and perform brutal attacks when you have enemies in a grapple hold. Blending into the crowds and hiding from guards is now much more diverse too: simply step into a group of people and use them to bypass guard patrols or get close to a target for assassination. Weapons can be upgraded by filling your pockets with cash found on downed opponents, stealing from civilians or by searching for loot boxes strewn around the huge map.