Assassins Creed II: Discovery in Review: Taking It to A Whole New Level of Gaming

The world of assassins is incredibly mysterious and exciting. Assassins lurk in the shadows, living in the margins of society, and they have important missions to carry out. To this day, the exploits of hired killers regardless of time and place continue to excite the popular imagination.

The Assassin’s Creed series is a highly popular console game that allows each of us to play the exciting role of an assassin, within the safety of our handheld gaming device. In Assassin’s Creed II Discovery you follow the continuing adventures of Ezio as he strives to free his fellow assassins from the terrors of the Inquisition, which leads to an unexpected discovery of another Templar plot to sail to the New World.

To simply call this game a side scrolling stealth adventure game would be accurate, yet severely inadequate. Most side scrolling games, while relatively easy to manipulate, tend to be limited in movement and possibilities. Here Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery attempts to make something decidedly retro more useful and exciting. It takes the control scheme to a whole new level, imbuing it with a sophisticated and highly responsive set of contextual action buttons that quickly adapt to the needs of the player and the scenario at hand.

From start to finish, Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery shows off its new sophisticated trappings. The tutorial alone is impressive; trying out each of the sleek action buttons already gives one a preview of how the experience will be.

Set against a vivid and lush 3D backdrop, the game proceeds almost effortlessly. Luminous memory balls guide you on your mission, while colored arrows indicate the presence of the enemy. There are three game modes available: normal, stealth and assassination missions. The variety of missions at each level give the game coherence and a sense of purpose.

The contextual action buttons allow you to jump in and out of a hiding place, spring off to jump from one wall to another building, turn stealth mode on and off, attack with your sword, roll to get out of tight spots and dodge attacks. My personal favorite is the weapon block button which, when used, often results in a beautiful death blow to the enemy in all its cut scene glory. These contextual buttons are smooth and almost flawless, one can use them at will, almost instinctively depending on each scenario – if used well, one can make critical, split second decisions without compromise.

Despite the interesting use of context-based action buttons, the use of a horizontal slider for some free running and jumping – seem to be an unusual decision on the part of the developers. For the most part, I have little problems or qualms about using them, but they tend to slow me down and work rather inefficiently with the contextual buttons. After finding it cumbersome to navigate using my left hand while anticipating the dangers ahead with my right, I experimented using the lefty mode coming out with a slight advantage over the default righty option. At the end of the day, however, side-scrolling navigation and movement are not that smooth and precise. Alternative control schemes could be explored, perhaps including a mini-map or zoom function, or further optimization efforts be undertaken to make the movements more precise.

Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery comes with some neat extras: you can upload your photo and see your customized wanted posters all over the city and you will also find a treasure trove of statistics and achievements to be unlocked. There are secret challenge levels to be unlocked as well. Digging through the options menu, you can choose from a number of languages for the in-game text, adjust volume controls for the music, voice and sound effects and customize the controls for your particular preference.

The game offers great entertainment and replay value thanks to its gorgeous visuals, sound effects and solid, engaging gameplay. The controls aren’t perfect yet, but I admire the effort of Ubisoft to enhance the gaming experience by experimenting with multi-touch in a different way. Despite its limitations, the polish and verve of Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery raises the bar for other game developers to follow.


App Summary
Title: Assassin’s Creed II Discovery Developer: Ubisoft
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $6.99 App Size: 147 MB
  • Gorgeous visuals
  • Contextual action buttons
  • Satisfying cut scenes of great fights
  • Missions, mayhem and more
  • Awkward horizontal side-scroller
  • Lack of a mini-map or zoom in function


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