Assassin’s Creed II Discovery has finally entered the App Store, and after giving you a sneak peek it’s time for the whole review. Ubisoft has taken over production of the franchise from gameloft, and has created a new story that fits in with the console version. You play as Ezio Auditore da Firenze who begins in Italy, and then travel to Spain to rescue fellow assassins from the Inquisition.
Discovery is rendered in 3D, but has a 2D platformer playing experience. You glide along the streets and rooftops trying to go unnoticed as you complete varying missions. This is similar to the Nintendo DS version, but with iPhone specifics.
The game is composed of eight levels with five missions per level. The missions come in one of three varieties, normal, stealth, or chase. Normal mode is just completing the objective, while stealth is trying to make it through the level with a minimum number of times being noticed, and chase is running to the end.
Each level is scored based on time taken, number of kills, and/or amount of damage taken which is rewarded with sync points. Achievements are also included, plus there are special bonuses to pick up along the way.
Controls are straightforward with a left/right slider in the bottom left, and various action buttons in the bottom right. The action buttons include stealth mode, jump, roll, and attack which is either sword or in arm blade depending on if the enemy has noticed you. There are indicators showing what way enemies are facing, and if they have noticed you.
The game captures the true essence of being a stealthy assassin that the first game didn’t. You walk slowly along the streets using the special stealth view to see enemies ahead. Then you slowly approach, and use the in arm blade that results in varying cut scenes.
Sometimes you’re running along, and have to do straight combat where you will need to time the counter move appropriately. As you’re approaching enemies, on various occasions you will need to jump into a stack of hay or barrels to go unnoticed. A really great kill is hanging on a ledge, and pulling a guard off the roof by their feet.
The speed of the game is fantastic as Ezio is in full sprint leaping across buildings, and rolling past enemies when landing on the next one. There is seemingly non stop action, and you need to be glued to the screen to make it through the levels.
Discovery is a wonderfully designed game for the iPhone. Every aspect looks great from the finely detailed 3D rendered backgrounds to all of the action and characters in the foreground. When doing a stealth kill, or counter kill there are various nicely animated cut scenes of Ezio killing the enemy. When running at full speed the game rflows without skipping a beat even passing the detailed backgrounds.
The game runs beautifully on the 3rd generation of iPhone or iPod Touch with specific enhancements, but that’s not the case on older devices. The included soundtrack is action packed, and sounds like its straight out of the console version. Also a nice bonus is that there is written and spoken dialogue, unlike some games (GTA: Chinatown).
All three of the mission types provide plenty of variability, and keeps the action fresh across eight levels. Completing the entire game will make it worth the $9.99 price tag giving you hours of engaging gameplay.
The left/right slider in 2D worked surprisingly well for precise movements, and moving at high speeds. The action buttons also are done well as they change at appropriate location points. The game saves your level progress so you can come back to mission 3 of level 4, but not the checkpoints within a mission.
The game is really well done in almost every way, but there are a few concerns. None of these instances happen all the time, but they do pop up. The combat system theoretically allows for combos, but in action, it very rarely happens. When running along, you occasionally run into enemies stopping your full on sprint, but dealing with them is part of the escape. Also some times as you’re trying to drop down a ledge, or jump up a ledge, Ezio moves the opposite way.
Every level is scored based on time taken, number of kills, and/or amount of damage taken, but you don’t know what the requirements are going into a level, and there is no indicator in the level. The score is therefore pretty irrelevant as are the achievements.
Assassin’s Creed 2 Discovery truly provides the essence of being an assassin that makes this series so good on any platform. The gameplay is superb, and one of the most engrossing experiences on the iPhone. It’s amazing running, sneaking, stealthily killing all on the go. There are a few problems, but not enough to take away from this game with great production values in addition to the gamepaly.
The iPhone version is especially good value at $9.99, and is a should buy for all idevice owners.