- "I did not choose this path. It was chosen for me. At first, I thought vengeance would be easy. For thirty years I've lived in the shadows, visited death upon those who deserved it, and vanished like the wind. I don't know who started this conspiracy, but I know who will end it. My name is Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Like my father before me, I am an Assassin."
- ―Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Assassin's Creed II Launch Trailer.
Assassin's Creed II is a 2009 video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released on 17 November 2009 (US), 19 November 2009 (AU) and 20 November 2009 (worldwide) on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The PC version was released on 6 March 2010 (UK) and 9 March 2010 (US).
A direct sequel to Assassin's Creed, the game focuses again on Desmond Miles after he escapes from Abstergo Industries with the help of employee Lucy Stillman. In an attempt to thwart Abstergo and the modern-day Templars, Desmond uses a new Animus to relive the genetic memories of his ancestor, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who lived in Italy during the Renaissance. The player controls Desmond to a degree, but primarily Ezio, who becomes an Assassin after his family is betrayed. While controlling Ezio, the player can explore renditions of major Italian regions and cities through a mixture of action, stealth, and economic gameplay.
On 16 November 2010, a follow-up in the form of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was released, expanding on both Ezio's life and the modern day storyline.
Assassin's Creed II is similar to its predecessor in many ways. The game is non-linear, and can be considered a "sandbox" type of game due to the player's ability to freely roam the generated renditions of Italy. The Animus is replaced with the Animus 2.0, which, unlike the first, possesses an in-game database with historical information about encountered landmarks, characters, services, and glyphs.
Eagle Vision has been updated to allow for third-person view, which can be used while Ezio is moving. A young version of Leonardo da Vinci is also included in the game and translates Codex pages left behind by Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, allowing for new weapons and upgrades. Other weapons, such as swords, daggers and maces can also be purchased throughout the game due to the economic system. Navigation has also been altered for the better in that swimming is now possible, alongside using gondolas and riding horses, as well as Leonardo further contributing to gameplay with the inclusion of his flying machine in one of the game's missions.
In Monteriggioni, the Auditore family's villa acts as Ezio's primary headquarters throughout the game, and a new economic system allows for the property to be upgraded and enhanced, creating income for Ezio at twenty minute intervals. As shops within Monteriggioni are renovated and upgraded, Ezio receives discounts on the particular goods that are sold, and income is also affected by the purchase of paintings, armor and weapon sets, along with the collections of various items. Such items are displayed throughout the villa as they are accumulated, and Ezio's personal room is updated with portraits of his assassinations as the game progresses.
The combat system for the game has been updated and allows for further options, including disarming opponents. There are also more methods of hiding, such as diving underwater to break an enemy's line of sight while swimming, along with the blending mechanic being improved to allow Ezio to cloak himself with any group of individuals, rather than specific people. Further along the game, Ezio is capable of learning new methods of assassination, such as ambushing individuals when hiding in haystacks or pulling individuals off buildings to fall to their deaths. Accompanying this, there are several new types of enemies, some more agile or stronger than others. As well as this, Ezio can use smoke bombs and hire groups of thieves, courtesans, or mercenaries to aid him in covering his tracks and avoiding contact with guards. Health in the game is measured via synchronization, and minor wounds will heal automatically over time, while major wounds must be healed by side-street doctors or with medicine purchased from them.
One new feature includes a new system known as notoriety, which, depending on his behavior, current location, and current mission, Ezio will become more recognizable by citizens of the city, specifically guards. When the notoriety icon is empty, Ezio is known as "incognito" and may travel through the city as he pleases. As the player behaves in more "socially unacceptable" ways or due to the consequences of a particular mission, Ezio will become more noticeable by the guards and more likely to be pursued by them. Notoriety can be decreased by bribing city heralds, assassinating corrupt city officials, and removing wanted posters. The level of notoriety is set within each city, so that while Ezio may be completely unknown in some cities, he may be infamous in others.
Like its predecessor, the game features the same ability to climb buildings and perform Leaps of Faith into haystacks and carts of soft materials, including herb and spice carts. Climbing has been updated to allow Ezio the opportunity to learn to leap while climbing, allowing him to reach higher positions previously unavailable.
A day and night cycle has been added to the game, which the player can notice via the sun rising and setting throughout gameplay. In addition, specific missions and game events occur at certain times in the day or night.
Due to complaints of some of the missions in the original game, Assassin's Creed II's mission system has been expanded and structured a little differently. There are approximately 200 missions in the entire game with roughly half of them being relevant to the primary storyline. Side quests include the location and search of hidden areas which upon exploration and successful completion will reward Ezio with seals of past Assassins. On the full collection of the six seals, Ezio will be allowed to claim the mighty armor of Altaïr.
The game also possesses a system mildly similar to the "glitches" from Assassin's Creed, where pressing a specific button during a cutscene will produce specific changes and actions within the scene.
The game begins with Desmond giving a brief monologue about the events of the first game and his current predicament. A few hours after the events of Assassin's Creed, in the year 2012, Desmond Miles touches upon how he was held prisoner by the modern-day Knights Templar, Abstergo Industries, and was being forced to relive the genetic memories of his ancestor, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, in order to aid Abstergo in discovering the location of artifacts known collectively as the "Pieces of Eden".
Due to the "Bleeding Effect", Desmond has gained "Eagle Vision", enabling him to see a variety of messages and symbols written in blood on his bedroom wall by its former occupant, known only as "Subject 16". While staring at the message, former employee and researcher of Abstergo, Lucy Stillman, arrives, covered in blood, and frees Desmond from the room. He then re-enters the Animus briefly and watches the birth of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, as she makes a copy of the files located within the machine. The two then escape after a brief scuffle with the company's security guards and arrive at a warehouse in which Lucy and two other modern day Assassins, Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane, have set up their own base of operations, complete with their own version of an Animus.
Desmond is asked by Lucy to enter their version of the Animus and relive the genetic memory of his ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze, in order to continue the search for the remaining Pieces of Eden before Abstergo locates them. Due to the number in the Assassin Order seriously dwindling, Lucy informs Desmond that she intends to train Desmond in the various skills needed to become an Assassin by exploiting the Bleeding Effect and having Desmond absorb Ezio's abilities.
Ezio, living in Italy during the Renaissance, is approximately 17 when he discovers that his family was betrayed by a close friend of his father's in the midst of a political coup d'état. Ezio's father's final instructions lead him to a hidden room in the family home with a chest containing the clothing and weapons of an Assassin. Ezio is ultimately unable to save his two brothers and father from the betrayer and all three are falsely convicted of treason and hanged.
After evacuating their home and sharing a brief accommodation with the family's housemaid's sister, who teaches Ezio some survival techniques, he brings his panicked sister and muted mother to the family's countryside villa, where they are given shelter by Ezio's uncle Mario, who begins training Ezio to become an Assassin. Mario also provides information and leads on the conspirators involved in his family's betrayal, which becomes a trail stretching from Florence to San Gimignano, Forlì, Venice, and eventually the Vatican.
During his travels, Ezio befriends several citizens of Italy who aid him in his pursuit for revenge, including a young Leonardo da Vinci, who translates and decodes pages of Altaïr's Codex, enabling Ezio to gain new weapons and assassination skills. Ezio begins slowly locating and assassinating the conspirators involved, and is ultimately able to identify Rodrigo Borgia as the overall leader, whose main goal is to bring down the Medici family and take control of various portions of Italy.
Ezio tracks Rodrigo to Venice and discovers that he has obtained a Piece of Eden known as the "Apple", a similar artifact to one that Altaïr possessed almost three centuries prior. Rodrigo has been researching the knowledge surrounding the Pieces of Eden extensively and believes himself to be a prophet named in the documentation of the artifacts, which would ultimately lead him and other Templars to a location known as "The Vault", which is believed to contain powerful information and more Pieces of Eden.
Ezio and Rodrigo duel and when Ezio gains the upper hand, guards appear and begin to move the fight into the favor of Rodrigo. The allies that Ezio has made over the years arrive shortly after and they defeat Rodrigo, who flees for fear of his life, leaving the Apple behind. These allies and friends of Ezio finally reveal their common trait – that they are all members of the Assassins, including the great Niccolò Machiavelli. They induct Ezio into the Order, informing him that they believe him to be the actual prophet who will lead the Assassins, not the Templars, to the Vault.
Desmond takes short breaks from the Animus, and during one he is tested by Lucy to see if the Bleeding Effect has been working. Desmond is able to demonstrate all of Ezio's skills, indicating that he has absorbed years worth of abilities in only a matter of hours. During this break, however, Desmond suffers a strange hallucination which returns him to the body of Altaïr in Acre. During the memory, Altaïr makes love to Maria Thorpe, an ex-Templar, and Desmond is confused to find that after Altaïr leaves, the memory stays behind with Maria.
Throughout the genetic memories as Ezio, Desmond discovers multiple glyphs placed on various landmarks that are only visible to someone using the Animus. The glyphs are found to be the same ones drawn on Desmond's bedroom wall in Abstergo, and analysis reveals that they contain computer code, hidden within the Animus. It is ultimately discovered that Subject 16 hacked the Animus and placed the glyphs within the memories himself, which were carried over to the new Animus when Lucy loaded the information she had recovered at Abstergo. Each glyph contained a great number of historical artworks, photographs, and messages, past and present, implicating a great number of prominent events and figures with the Templars and Pieces of Eden. Each also contained a puzzle of some sort which, when solved, contained clips of a larger video. The clips, however, are short and out of sequence. After locating and solving all twenty glyphs, a video is revealed.
The video begins with the Abstergo logo shown above the title, "Subject 16, Session 12, Classified Date B.C.E." The video follows a man and woman, who call each other by the names of "Adam" and "Eve", running through a strangely modern and futuristic world, apparently being chased by someone or something. They pass through a complex where workers are busy building more Pieces of Eden and climb to the roof. Eve holds up the Apple and the video suddenly ends with a flash of binary code that translates to "Eden".
Desmond returns to the Animus and the team finds that many of the following memories are corrupted. They are able to begin again but only years after the fight between the Assassins and Rodrigo. The memories restart in 1499 and the team discovers that the latter gained influence and power in the Catholic Church, ultimately becoming Pope Alexander VI. Ezio and his allies have searched long and hard and collected all thirty pages of the Codex, discovering through it that the Vault lies in Rome, specifically underneath the Vatican. They realize that the Papal Staff is another Piece of Eden and Rodrigo is hoping to use it to achieve access to the Vault.
Ezio travels to the Vatican and attempts to assassinate Rodrigo, who uses the Staff against Ezio, who retaliates with the Apple. During the ensuing battle, Ezio is stabbed and Rodrigo escapes with both Pieces of Eden. Ezio then chases after him and finds Rodrigo trying to open the Vault in vain. The two fight once more and Rodrigo finally falls. However, Ezio refuses to kill him, insisting he has killed enough in his life and the continued deaths will not reverse the fate of his family.
Ezio proves himself to be the Prophet when in his hands, the Apple and Staff open the Vault. Inside the Vault, he finds not Pieces of Eden but an empty room and a holographic figure named Minerva. She claims that she brought Ezio to her so that almost six hundred years later, Desmond and his allies would hear her words through the Animus.
Minerva explains that she and her race were part of an advanced society that settled on Earth before a celestial event destroyed most of the life on Earth. Before the disaster that befell them, the members of her species created humans and used them as a race for workforce. However, humanity rebelled against their creators and initated a long-spanning war. Ultimately, the humans seemingly won, but then the catastrophe occurred, wiping out many humans and the precursor race. Of those remaining, the two specied worked to recreate the world, before the advanced race sealed themselves in temples around the world, hoping to prevent the same disaster that had destroyed most of their kind from happening once again. As Minerva finishes, she speaks to Desmond by name and informs him that she has done all she needs to and that the rest remains up to him and his allies.
The memory ends and Desmond awakens in the present to find that Abstergo has located and begun attacking the Assassins as Shaun and Rebecca pull him out of the Animus. Desmond is given a Hidden Blade by Lucy and the two run downstairs to stop the guards as Shaun and Rebecca pack up their equipment. With the skills he absorbed from Ezio, Desmond is able to dispatch the forces that have been sent against them and he discovers Warren Vidic standing in the back of a truck. He sarcastically tells Desmond to enjoy his temporary victory and the truck drives away. From there, Shaun and Rebecca finish gathering the equipment and Lucy assures Desmond that Vidic will get what he deserves.
The group vacates the hideout and attempts to find a new safehouse, where, according to Lucy, they should be safe for some time. As they drive, Lucy prepares to review the tapes of Desmond's latest session, noting how the situation has escalated dramatically and how Minerva's words proved everything she was afraid of. She theorizes that Minerva was discussing the Earth's geomagnetic reversal, which could have detrimental effects on the planet. Rebecca prepares the Animus for Desmond to re-enter as Lucy speculates there may be more to discover in his memories.
- Roger Craig Smith as Ezio Auditore da Firenze
- Kristen Bell as Lucy Stillman
- Nolan North as Desmond Miles
- Fred Tatasciore as Mario Auditore
- Carlos Ferro as Leonardo da Vinci
- Manuel Tadros as Rodrigo Borgia
- Romano Orzari as Giovanni Auditore da Firenze
- Ellen David as Maria Auditore da Firenze
- Claudia Ferri as Paola
- Angela Galuppo as Claudia Auditore da Firenze
- Elias Toufexis as Federico Auditore da Firenze
- Carlo Mestroni as Antonio de Magianis
- Lita Tresierra as Rosa
- Michel Perron as Uberto Alberti
- Roc LaFortune as Carlo Grimaldi
- Alex Ivanovici as Lorenzo de' Medici, a.k.a "Il Magnifico", and Bartolomeo d'Alviano
- Arthur Grosser as Jacopo de' Pazzi
- Arthur Holden as Emilio Barbarigo
- Danny Wallace as Shaun Hastings
- Eliza Jane Schneider as Rebecca Crane
- Cam Clarke as Clay Kaczmarek, a.k.a. "Subject 16"
- Harry Standjofski as Silvio Barbarigo, a.k.a. "Il Rosso"
- Tony Robinow as Marco Barbarigo
- Vito DeFilippo as Gilberto, a.k.a. "La Volpe"
- Yuri Lowenthal as Vieri de' Pazzi
- Andreas Apergis as Francesco de' Pazzi and Checco Orsi
- Margaret Easley as Minerva
- Nadia Verrucci as Teodora Contanto
- Anne-Marie Baron as Annetta
- Cristina Rosato as Caterina Sforza
- Shawn Baichoo as Niccolò Machiavelli and Antonio Maffei
- Amber Mullin as Cristina Vespucci
- Phil Proctor as Warren Vidic
On 22 January 2008, it was confirmed by Ubisoft that Assassin's Creed II was in production, but no details were revealed. A promotional video was released by Ubisoft on 6 April showing a map of Italy, some Hidden Blade designs and Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine on a scroll. On the official site after the teaser was viewed, a symbol was given to print and show in front of a webcam. Doing this would unlock a picture displayed on the site. 4 of the 5 symbols had been given by Ubisoft, and the other was found by a fan.
Later, on 10 April, Game Informer magazine released details on the game, as well as pictures of Ezio. There were about 240 team members, some of which were sent to Italy, traveling through Venice, Florence, Tuscany, and Rome. ScrewAttack also released a video with some of the pictures from the magazine. In early May, Ubisoft had stated that they were putting full emphasis on the game and that 450 team members were now working on the title. 75% of the original developers for the original game were now working on the second.
A "Game of the Year Edition" was also released, which contained the full game and all downloadable content.
The PlayStation 3 version of Assassin's Creed II has the ability to connect to Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines for the PlayStation Portable, and once connected, upgrades could be earned for both games. When a boss was defeated in Bloodlines, their corresponding weapon would be made available in the Villa in Assassin's Creed II. As well as this, extra florins could be earned in Assassin's Creed II depending on how many Templar coins were found in Bloodlines.
|Templar coins||Collecting Templar coins throughout Cyprus.||Converts Templar coins into florins.|
|Maria Thorpe's Longsword||Defeat Maria Thorpe.||N/A|
|Fredrick's Hammer||Defeat Fredrick||N/A|
|Mace of the Bull||Defeat Moloch.||N/A|
|Dark Oracle's Bone Dagger||Defeat Dark Oracle.||N/A|
|Twins' Rapier||Defeat Shalim and Shahar.||N/A|
|Bouchart's Blade||Defeat Armand Bouchart.||N/A|
Even before the release of Assassin's Creed II, discussion of the details about a possible Assassin's Creed III were ongoing.
Scriptwriter Corey May had stated that the developers wished to keep the settings of the games to those that were normally unvisited in most video games. Some postulated settings included the Middle Ages (specifically the time frame of King Arthur) or feudal Japan. 
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was released in November 2010. The game was a sequel to the original Assassin's Creed II, but once again featured the genetic memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze and contained a new online multiplayer mode, explained as a new Abstergo initiative named the Animi Training Program.
- Spike TV Video Game Awards
- "Best Action-Adventure Game"
- IGN Best of 2009
- "Xbox 360 Game of the Year"
- "Xbox 360 Best Action Game"
- GameSpot's Best of 2009
- "Best New Character - Ezio Auditore da Firenze"
- "Best Xbox 360 Game"
- GameSpot's Best of 2009
- During an interview for G4, one of the developers stated that enough time had passed in the break between Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II, in which Desmond could have relived the memories of Altaïr during Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines.
- Unlike Assassin's Creed, which spanned roughly two months of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's life, Assassin's Creed II spanned a period of twenty-three years for Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
- Originally, the PC version of the game had to be played with a constant internet connection, which garnered a lot of criticism. Ubisoft eventually released a patch, which made it so that an internet connection was only needed upon launching the game. In 2012, another patch was released, removing the requirement of being online when starting up the game entirely, which would become the standard for later Assassin's Creed games. However, these patches did not affect the Mac OS X version of the game.
- Despite having the same system requirements as Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations on the PC, the graphics differ a lot from each other.
- The Assassin's Creed II Japanese version had a different box art, and included both of the game's DLCs: the Battle of Forlì and Bonfire of Vanities.
- In the E3 trailer for the game, the man who was killed by Ezio was a member of the Borgia family, evidenced by the Borgia emblem on his glove. He also bore a resemblance to the Pariah, an Animi Avatar in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
- In the E3 trailer, Ezio's second target taunted the Assassin before being killed. However, in the trailer present in the game's main menu, he did not speak to Ezio at all.
- Assassin's Creed II was later released in the Assassin's Creed: Anthology collector's edition box, consisting of the main games in the Assassin's Creed series.
- The game was also re-released in a three-part set titled the Ezio Trilogy, which consisted of Assassins Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations.