Assassin's Creed II: Discovery is a 2009 video game, released alongside and set during the events of Assassin's Creed II. The Apple Inc. CEO at the time, Steve Jobs, revealed the development of the game in his keynote speech on 9 September 2009. The game was released for the Nintendo DS and iPhone OS. Both iPhone and DSi users are able to use their devices' camera function to display portrait photographs as wanted posters in-game.
Assassin's Creed II: Discovery is a side-scroller game wherein players assumed the role of Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Primarily set in Italy, Ezio navigated through the game's levels and accomplished specific goals prior to the mission.
As well as this, Ezio was able to scale most buildings by its side only, and could also roll, jump, and swing through the environment. Likewise to the previous installments, enemy guards were present within the game, which Ezio could either avoid or confront, depending on the player's choice and the current situation. Several guard archetypes were present within the game, such as the Halberd Guards (a stationary version of the Seekers), Captain Guards (a more agile variation of the Brute), archers and many others.
In terms of weapons, Ezio had his father's Hidden Blade at his disposal, alongside a sword and throwing knives. Ezio could then utilize all of these against hostile targets to dispose of them, either in an open or covert manner. Likewise to Assassin's Creed II, Ezio could assassinate guards by pulling them down from ledges, as well as hiding using bales of hay, with the addition of new hiding spots such as wooden barrels and obscure open spaces.
Combat in the game was similar to the previous Assassin Creed titles in a number of ways. When engaging in sword combat, players could execute chain attacks which break the defense of the enemy guards, and also perform counterattacks, which could result in an instant kill or allow for a brief moment to attack. Accompanying this, players could perform a clash with a target, which resulted in a test of strength, complete with a pressure bar at the side of the display. Players then had to fight the guard's resistance in order to incapacitate them, or else Ezio would take damage.
Memories were played out in missions, similar to Assassin's Creed II, in that players were given synchronization points by clearing the mission, provided the required objectives were met in the mission's structure. These specific factors were the following: Time cleared, kills, damage taken, and notoriety. In order to achieve perfect synchronization with the requirements, the player had to complete the level as fast as possible, kill as many as they could, and take minimal damage respectively, though the required values varied from mission to mission.
There were several mission types set in a specific memory, which defined how Ezio should have approached them, or the mission would be a failure. In all, there were three mission types in the game:
- Normal - Players could approach the mission however they liked and take their time to explore the environment for collectibles, however the basic mission factors were still present.
- Chase - Players had to run towards the objective whilst trying to avoid combat with any hostile enemies, determining the best route to reach the objective with speed. The player was followed by a rain of arrows that could only be avoided once Ezio was indoors or in a hiding spot.
- Stealth - Players were required to avoid open confrontation with hostile enemies at all costs, resorting only to using a stealth execution move. Enemies were indicated by arrows that appeared whenever Ezio was near to them, and the player was permitted to be spotted 4 times in total. Exceeding the given limit would result in the mission being a failure.
There were also challenge rooms present in the game, which required Ezio to clear a specific objective. The challenge rooms were played through in the Animus corridor, similar to the tutorial levels in the game. Cheats, dubbed "Animus hacks", were present within the game, which could be unlocked by obtaining enough synchronization points. These cheats ranged from character skins to boosted gameplay movement and perks, which gave the player an advantage or allowed them to customize Ezio.
However, only one hack could be used at a time, and once a level was finished with a hack activated, the level wouldn't continue automatically to the next, instead returning the player to the level menu.
Collectibles were also present in game, with there being a total of 5 different variations: Memory paths, which could be used as a guide to show a player where to progress; Renaissance maps, which unlocked the aforementioned challenge rooms; Knives, which refilled Ezio's throwing knives supply; Wanted posters, which could be torn off to increase the health meter once the required amount was met, and finally art pieces, which could be collected by unlocking hidden rooms in missions.
The iPhone and Nintendo DSi versions of the game allowed the player to integrate their facial likeness into the game through photos, replacing Ezio's placeholder image in the wanted posters with the player's own image. Also, the art pieces found in the iPhone version could be imported for use as wallpapers.
In the year 1491, while in the midst of searching for the Apple of Eden, the Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze was summoned by the Venetian Thieves Guild leader Antonio de Magianis to assist in the dilemma of his contact from Spain, Luis de Santángel. Representing the navigator Christoffa Corombo, Luis asked Ezio for his protection, fearing that the company he kept bore ill fate against him. Though reluctant at first, Ezio agreed to assist, once he heard of Christoffa's connections with the Spaniard, Rodrigo Borgia.
Luis' suspicions proved right, and Ezio intercepted the planned assassination attempt of Christoffa, before pointing him to safety as he fled the meeting place. The two would then meet up again at Venice's garden district, along with Luis. There, they asked Ezio to recover an atlas for their expedition in their hostel, which contained important maps that detailed vital routes. As a final favor, Ezio agreed and successfully intercepted the atlas, before he handed it to the two.
Before setting off for their expedition, Luis informed Ezio about the status of the Spanish Assassins Guild, who were all apprehended by Tomás de Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition. When asked by Ezio how he knew of the Assassins, Luis mentioned to him that he was well-connected.
Returning to Antonio, Ezio announced that his search for the Piece of Eden was postponed, believing that it was his duty to help reform the Brotherhood in Spain. Following this, Ezio left the Thieves Guild in Venice and set off to start his search for the Assassins in Barcelona.
After some brief trouble with a French rogue, Ezio searched for the Spanish Assassin members, which led him to the Assassin Guild, only to find himself ambushed. After fleeing into the underground sewers to avoid the soldiers who have surprised him, Ezio encountered a member of the Assassin guild, Raphael Sánchez.
After an introduction, Raphael informed Ezio that the Spanish Assassins were apprehended by the Inquisitor Gaspar Martínez, and that he should go and meet with him if he was to learn more. Leaving the underground area, Ezio infiltrated the quarters of Martínez, and there the man denied holding Assassins prisoner, yet admitted that one of them was to be burned at the stake. After learning this, Ezio assassinated Gaspar, and took a list of names from his body. From there, Ezio left to save the Assassin.
Evading most of the guards, Ezio was able to save the Assassin, before he met with Sánchez to discuss the list that he had found. After reading the scroll, Sánchez concluded that the names were possibly a list of targets tied to the Spanish Inquisition. In order to eliminate them, Ezio and Sánchez traveled to Zaragoza to seek out the Inquisition's calificador, Pedro Llorente. Arriving at Pedro's location, Ezio witnessed the murder of an Assassin by the order of Tomás de Torquemada, whose orders came directly from Rodrigo Borgia himself.
- The cover art of the game was a variant of a poster for Assassin's Creed II.
- Despite the storyline occurring between the two DLCs for Assassin's Creed II, Ezio did not sport dual Hidden Blades. The single blade used in this game was the basic one, with no poison blade or hidden gun upgrades.
- Likewise, Ezio was also missing the beard that he got during the Battle of Forlì.
- There were no weapon or armor upgrades in this game.
- Unlike in Assassin's Creed II, in which Ezio could assassinate with his Hidden Blade while an enemy was facing him, he could only assassinate from behind in this game.
- Ezio couldn't disarm guards or be disarmed in this game, and there were no objects that could be used as an improvised weapon.
- As well as this, there was no horse riding feature in the game.
- No blood was present within the game, only sweat, and there was also no Eagle Vision.
- During the course of the game, Ezio did not come into contact with Leonardo da Vinci, unlike in Assassin's Creed II or Brotherhood.
- Ezio did not face "The Spaniard" directly in this game, nor any members of the Borgia family, such as Cesare Borgia or Juan Borgia the Elder.
- Unlike in Assassin's Creed II, there were no civilian crowds that Ezio could use for blending.
- Chances of performing a Leap of Faith within the game were scarce, as there were not many soft spots to land. The only real Leap of Faith was performed when the first level was finished, comprised as an ending scene.
- Blocking the arrows of an archer was a hard trick to perform in this game, since it could only be blocked once the arrow had been launched.
- Archers could not face Ezio during a close quarters confrontation. Once Ezio got within melee distance of an archer, they would surrender and ask for mercy.
- If an archer was attacking Ezio, attempting to assassinate him would result in Ezio grabbing an arrow from the archer and stabbing him with it, rather than using his Hidden Blade.
- Guard Captains appeared in the game and resembled the Brutes in Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood, etc. However, they were extremely fast, agile, and devastating. If Ezio attempted to jump onto a wall, they would also jump and try to pull him down.
- Counter-attacks were very effective when Ezio was surrounded by soldiers that dealt light attacks (Seekers, guards), but counterattacking could not be used against Guard Captains, as Guard Captains could break Ezio's defense in one strike.
- Pike Guards appeared in the game, resembling Papal Guards from Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. They were extremely defensive and strong; however, they remained stationed in their positions and did not pursue Ezio.
- Guards in Italy and Spain appeared to be clearly informed of the presence of Assassins, and would immediately fight Ezio.