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Newb’s 10-step guide to enjoying Assassin’s Creed II

This little guide is for those who’ve never paid any attention to Assassin’s Creed I, or to the pre-release hype and trailers for the sequel.

Here’s what to do/know, in order to enjoy your first hours in Assassin’s Creed II on the PC. It’s intended to save you at least an hour of frustration…

1). Read the entire plot of Assassin’s Creed I on Wikipedia, or you won’t have a clue what’s going on at the start of AC II.

2). Watch the official 30 minute back-story film for Assassin’s Creed II, which is about the hero’s father and family.

3). Make sure you have some sort of printed version of the PC controls to hand, be it print-out, booklet or game-guide. Ideally, for the best game experience, get yourself a copy of the Prima Assassins Creed II Official Game Guide book (ironically, on Amazon USA this currently costs more than the game itself) and refrain from reading the plot. The guide’s control instructions are all for consoles, unfortunately — mark them up with the PC equivalents.

4). Make a note on whichever printed controls guide you’re using that “Button 1” means the right-hand mouse button. Ubisoft “forgot” to change the console-centric control labels. Worse, they’ve actively concealed the controls behind meaningless cryptic picture-icons. Another measure of how much they despise PC gamers, along with the completely ridiculous (and now completely cracked) DRM which requires a permanent fast net connection.

5). Install, start, boost shadows to the best possible settings. They’re still pixellated, but not quite as horrendous as they are on “low” or “medium”. Now the game looks lovely…

6). Overcome the first game-stopping moment in the tutorials…

Keep probing her until the “talk” option shows up. Only then will the seat option open up. If you’ve read the plot from the first game, you’ll probably realise you need to sit on the cyber-couch.

7). Overcome the second game-stopping moment in the tutorials…

Don’t just press it down then let it go (the game will let you do this, and even give you feedback for it – another bad design decision). Hold the shift key down.

8). Overcome the third game-stopping moment in the tutorials…

A game that cost millions of dollars to make, and the lazy b*s at Ubisoft couldn’t even be bothered to change the cryptic picture icons into proper PC keyboard buttons? Sigh. The game is basically unplayable without an Xbox 360 controller, unless you want to spend the first half constantly translating the meaning of the useless picture-icon buttons against the keyboard controls table in the instruction booklet. Eventually I gave up on the keyboard, after 15 years of PC gaming with it, and finally purchased a wired Xbox pad for Windows. The keyboard support in ACII is that bad.

9). Resign yourself to dying multiple times during the final tutorial. Trivial death, leading to repeated dialogue, is not good game design. Especially not in tutorials.

10). Once you’re out of the tutorials thicket – realise that you can turn the HUD off completely, and go into first-person mode (press 9), for a clear view of the game-world.

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One comment on “Newb’s 10-step guide to enjoying Assassin’s Creed II

  1. I thought I was going crazy when I first started playing, but I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking the PC button labels are ridiculous.

    I don’t suppose there is a patch that addresses this issue is there?

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