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  • Bilingual Bonus: All the Italian spoken throughout the game adds to the immersion if you can also speak it.
  • Catharsis Factor: Those beggar women who constantly got in your way in 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 you can finally throw gold at them to distract them. They're like pigeons.
  • Complete Monster: Most of the Templar-affiliated in one form or another. Some of them, such as Uberto and Dante Moro (neither a Templar nor a monster at all), are sympathetic. Others, like the Pazzi family, Carlo Grimaldi, the Barbarigos, Orsi Brothers, and especially Rodrigo Borgia[1] are without question utter bastards who deserve what they're getting.
    • Vidic. In Assassin Creed: The Fall, he put a mind rape program on children to blend into Assassin Order and kill The Mentor.
    • According to a bereaved husband, the Executioner raped the husband's wife before hanging her, and he is shown in Project Legacy to be perfectly willing to kill an innocent man, because (paraphrasing) "the innocent get to go to Heaven."
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: AC II's soundtrack is beautifully composed, but the most distinctive score is Ezio's Family which is played in opening sequence of the game.
    • It may give you second thoughts after you discover the Auditore family's fate.
    • Flight Over Venice, 2
    • Back in Venice, which ironically plays when you're fighting in Florence.
    • Heart, is great as well especially as it plays when Ezio finds his father's iconic Assassin's robes and suits up for the first time.
    • Venice Rooftops, which plays during most race and courier sequences, both in the main story and in side missions.
      • Careful listeners will notice the remixes of "Ezio's Family" that run through this peace. It is particularly poignant that said remixes can be taken as a reference to Ezio's own thoughts as he free-runs, remembering back in the day when he used to do this with his brother and father. Before they were hanged by conspirators trying to take over Florence and removing the problem of the Auditore Assassino that kept spoiling their plans.
    • End Fight, which was inexplicably excluded from the official soundtrack.
    • Sanctuary, a poignant and beautiful piece that plays through-out your time in Venice, that perfectly portrays the triumph and heartbreak Ezio must feel being an Assassin.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Leonardo, Leading to the infamous "missed hugs = restarted games."
    • The Harlequin seems to be the most popular of all the multiplayer characters.
  • Even Better Sequel: According to Metacritic.
    • AC1: "Generally Favorable Reviews" (81)
    • AC2: "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." Uninteresting protagonist? Ezio is a lot more relateable 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.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Savonarola believes Florence should turn away from the Renaissance and its advancements.
  • 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 Attack 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 Attack 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: In the same fashion as the first game, Assassin's Creed II has bards who run in front of you, physically blocking you from forward movement, while singing and playing their instruments. Unlike Altaïr 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 cause them to run away in fear, or 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.
  • Growing the Beard: Figuratively and literally; it marks a major increase in the substance of the storyline of the series, as well as Ezio growing a Badass Beard in the Time Skip of recovering from a major stab wound between the DLC sequences.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: For a very long time, the page quote for Munchkin on This Very Wiki was: "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 since 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.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Lorenzo de'Medici was a lot more ambiguous in reality.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Although Rodrigo Borgia (a.k.a. Pope Alexander VI) was a corrupt, despicable man in real life, his villainy (and, likely, his manipulative skills) are ratcheted up for Assassin's Creed II.
    • Henry Ford goes from the garden-variety anti-Semite that he was in real life to a lunatic who gave Piece of Eden 4 to Hitler specifically to start World War II, and who considered the Holocaust to be a good thing!. And he isn't even a character outside of the Backstory!
    • Thomas Edison's... contention with Nikola Tesla is given a Templar flavor when he conspires with J.P. Morgan to prevent Tesla from providing free electricity as well as a worldwide network that would provide free information. Tesla's Assassin-suggested revenge: The Tunguska Event. (though the explosion in this case was from destroying a Piece of Eden).
    • Savonarola in the Bonfire of the Vanities DLC. Granted, having countless Renaissance paintings and sculptures thrown into a fire because you find them indecent is a bit of a dick move. But people forget that Savonarola's denouncements of such priceless artworks were very popular at the time, mainly because the continued patronage of fancy artwork by wealthy Italian families began to seem like a mocking gesture as poverty, plague, and other miseries continued to climb in Italy. He's definitely extreme, but probably had good intentions, and he certainly wasn't the conniving maniacal bastard he is in the game. (In fairness, the AC team aren't the first ones to portray him that way.)
  • 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.
  • Ho Yay Shipping: Ask half of the fanbase what they think of Leonardo and Ezio.
    • Google "Ezio Le" and check out the first suggested search.
    • During the mission where you rescue Bartelomeo, he calls you "Madonna" and "bella mie" (my lady).
  • I Knew It!: Fans speculating that Maria would be Altaïr's Love Interest were right.
  • 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 Altaïr's and Ezio'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.
  • Moral Event Horizon: All of the assassination targets get a video in the database in which Shaun informs you of the dogs they've kicked. Rodrigo Borgia's list of dogs kicked, shot, raped, and had other things done to them that should not be mentioned is just... What. The. Fuck. Some of the Pazzi and Barbarigo have done some bad things too, but nobody can compare to Borgia. Although Carlo Grimaldi comes pretty damn close.
  • Motive Decay: Compared to the Templars of the previous games who (with only a couple of exceptions) were for the most part people who demonstrated (or satisfactorily explained) their intent of working towards the greater good of the people ala transforming the Holy Land into a state straight out of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, with many a reference to the "state of nature" and what not, the Templars in ACII for most part tend to come off as selfish dicks who are more interested in their twisted vices than the overall Templar goal of bringing about peace by stripping humanity of their free will and only see allegiance to the Templar order as a means of getting what they want. This is likely intentional on the part of the writers, who probably wanted to show the decaying effect an excess of power has on an organization, even one that has such reputably lofty goals as the Templars. It is worth noting that in the first game, there were also Templars who also used their power primarily for personal gain, i.e. Tamir, Majd Uddin, and Abun Nakoud. A couple of the Templars in the second game are also decent people; Ulberto Umberti comes off as a scheming killer out for revenge in Shaun's notes, but his letter to his wife indicates he only betrayed Giovanni because of fears for his family's safety. Dante Moro was little more than a victim of circumstance and the scheming of his superior.
    • The Abstergo Files in Assassin's Creed Revelations mention and explain this. The Borgia and their allies deviated from the Templar's goal, seeking personal profit and ambition, true to Italian Families' style during the Renaissance. Yes, Warren Vidic and his employers think Rodrigo and his cohorts were bastards. Warren's comments in the first game did put his mentality on a light similar to the Templars from Altair's time...
    • The Motive Decay appears to be part of a general theme in the second game; in the first, both factions had very different methodologies but also remained fundamentally noble. In the second, however, while both groups have the outward trappings of nobility, both sides have actually decayed in their own ways. The Assassins' allies range from the corrupt (the Medici) to the brutal (Caterina Sforza) to the inept (the Barbarigo who controls Venice once the Templars are driven out). The Assassins freely utilize and associate with the dregs of Italian society: mercenaries, thieves, and prostitutes. Its subtle, but the Assassins over time have decayed much like the Templars.
      • Also, one should consider that most of the game goes from Ezio's point of view in his quest for vengeance. That said, anyone who opposes the Templars are good in his books, in spite of the flaws of character and moral. The game sugarcoats it to make Lorenzo and Caterina to look nobler and more likeable, but in Real Life, they were no better than Francesco de Pazzi, Rodrigo or Cesare Borgia, seeking as much power and influence as possible. When Lucrezia points out that Lorenzo killed every single member of the Pazzi family, even the ones who weren't aware of the plot, and called Ezio out on how the Assassins put events in motion, but never see them to the end, his Shut UP, Hannibal was rather poor, prompting Lucrezia to call him hypocrite. And unlike the Templars, who eventually turned back to their Utopia Justifies the Means ways, the Assassins remained static and not meddling in politics for so long that Abstergo became quickly more powerful than the Assassin Order, which regressed to Al Mualim's Assassins' ways of hiding from society and indoctrinating children born into the Order right from childhood, but also keeping a shroud of secrecy and conspiracy, which is exactly why Desmond ran away from his home. They degraded so that their Mentor's death and the revelation of all their bases in the comics was enough to make the Modern Assassins to fall into chaos and ruin very quickly.
        • The Dev's acknowledge this. One guy said in an interview that the Ezio trilogy kinda strayed away from Templars vs. Assassins and kinda turned into Ezio vs. Everyone Ezio doesn't like. They say they will be going back to the big conflict in AC 3.
  • Nightmare Fuel: One of the easter eggs involves looking into murky water for at least forty seconds. Upon doing this, a massive octopus-like creature swims by, glowing orange eyes fixing on you for a second. Try it again, and it attacks you with a tentacle, just barely missing its mark.
    • During one of the glyph puzzles, the player drags a fire-like icon over an image. They are then (likely) caught off-guard when the ambient silence maintained through most of the puzzle sections is abruptly interrupted by the sound of agonized screaming, with an image of Joan of Arc burning at the stake, with the words THEY BURNED JOAN ALIVE over it. This disappears quickly to move onto the next part of the puzzle, but when you're playing all on your own in a dark basement with the volume up, it really screws with your head...
    • Hell, the glyph puzzles in general!
      • Especially the one when you hear Subject 16 talking about killing and fucking people and completely losing his mind, much more so then the previous entries.
    • The Martyrs puzzle when you're going through the puzzle, the sound it makes isn't a beep, but a heart beating faster and faster as you get closer to the Piece of Eden, and when you ID it - flatline.
    • That poor fucking elephant. It's not fake. Thomas Edison really did that. Just to smear Nikola Tesla. IRL, there's no proof that he was a Templar, but there's the proof he was a dick.
    • The poison blade's effect on people.
    • Although they're practically part of the background, there is something particularly chilling in the outfits of the Plague Doctors
    • The "acquittal" of Giovanni, Federico and Petruccio Auditore... because it's one thing to see already-dead hanging corpses in a video game, it's a completely whole 'nother to witness the execution without a discretion shot, except for Petruccio, and if you watch Francesco de' Pazzi's video, it ends with a close-up of the slain Giovanni's face, the noose still around his neck.
    • Ezio slowly pushing his hidden blade into Checco Orsi's throat. It makes what Altair did to Majd Addin look friendly by comparison.
    • The Harlequin.
    • The Doctor for every courtesan in Roma, especially Fiora Cavazza who, despite all the killings she participated in and madmen she encountered at this moment, is scared out of her mind when she has to meet him for Cesare. Thankfully for her, she realizes one second before it's too late than he's a Dirty Coward.
  • Nostalgia Level The flashback where you play as Altair
  • Porting Disaster: The PC version. 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. Ironically, the offline-server cracked version fixes its stability along with the removal of the DRM.
  • 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, plus he gets to use the Le Parkour he's learned in one. His Crowning Moment of Funny just before The Stinger (in which he also finally gets to fight!) also helped.
  • 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 the original 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: The Merchant assassionation mission in the Bonfire of the Vanities DLC. Oh god... You have to kill a guy who's tucked into a very secure spot on a large galleon, while 10 guards with super senses patrol the deck. Oh, and did we mention you have to kill him while not being detected? This mission alone will make you regret ever getting the DLC. Especially considering the rest of the missions before (and after) it are exceedingly easy.
    • 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 arrow from an archer you forgot to kill. Even if you do kill all the archers before you reach the tallest tower, by the time you get there, you may jinx yourself into falling hundreds of feet to your death, at which point you have to start the whole level over.
  • 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!


  • Useless Useful Stealth: The introduction of Seekers, combined with the increased paranoia and searching ability of existing guards, and the vast improvements of combat mechanics (while stealth mechanics are altered only a little) means it might actually be more efficient to become anonymous by killing all the guards than it is to run away and hide.
    • Add to the fact that Heavies and Seekers aside, pretty much all guards are very easily killable, so it makes little sense to run from them anyway.
      • Even those two aren't that hard to kill if you know how to counter and/or combo kill using the hidden blades or if you use smoke bombs.
    • It Gets Worse in the other two games in the arc with the introduction of kill streaks which allow you to slay whole groups of guards with relative ease, not to mention improved killcams that encourage you to kill rather than flee.
    • Subverted in missions that REQUIRE you to remain undetected, which might cause a Difficulty Spike for those more use to this method.

Notes

  1. He flat out tells Ezio that he didn't need to order the execution of Ezio's brothers, but did it anyway just to prove a point -- don't cross the Templars
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