'Assassin's Creed II: Bonfire of the Vanities'
Mike Gonzalez, Crispy Gamer
Assassin's Creed II
Bonfire of the Vanities
All in all, the "Bonfire of the Vanities" DLC pack is definitely worth the buy
Ezio's missing memories came to a searing finale with the "Bonfire of the Vanities" DLC pack. It's a smooth transition from the closing events of "The Battle of Forli," continuing the developments that lead to Ezio's recovery of the piece of Eden from Girolamo Savonarola (The bad guy in black). So is Ezio's less-than-ideal homecoming a blazing triumph or a grease fire?
I had my reservations about this DLC pack after having played through "Forli's" crass sequence. "Bonfire" definitively outshines the former though. The core game play is solid and much more refined than its predecessor; "Bonfire" is reminiscent of the original, uncorrupted memory sequences, as opposed to "Forli's" button-mashapalooza. A great way to describe it is an abridged version of the original Assassin's Creed for brevity and enjoyability.
Upon returning to
These are nine well crafted missions that actually made me stop and survey my approach. Stealth is integral in seven out of the nine, and with most I couldn't just distract guards with mercenaries or thieves. It felt like the guards hired a new defensive coordinator because their red-zone defense is spot on. This was especially the case with the merchant and condotierro assassinations, which required me to take out several strategically placed guards in order to advance towards my target without being spotted. I even had to do some timed killings. There's great variety in the assassination approaches as well, including a chase to the kill, battle royal, and the classic rush-from-the-crowd "Caesar-ssination."
My main criticisms lie in some of the detailing. The first thing I noticed is that Ubisoft still didn't use Machiavelli's full potential as a character. The plan to take out Savonarola's nine lieutenants in order to incite the populace is actually formulated by Ezio; Machiavelli just agrees. The same can be said about Savonarola himself, he's just the bad guy; I really didn't interact with, or learn anything from him. Historical context was also forgotten in terms of the lieutenants. They weren't anyone in particular, just generic characters, such as a merchant, preacher, and doctor. Savonarola's historical allies could have been incorporated here; including Fra Domenico da Pescia and Fra Silvestro. They would have been a nice facet in a game which has already demonstrated thorough attention to historical detail through its several info blurbs about locations and people.
The spring jump also left me a bit disappointed. It's not an ability; it's literally a diving board-esque device projecting out of some of
The "Bonfire" sequence wasn't the only thing available with the DLC. If you download what amounts to a deluxe edition, you also get to explore Templar Lairs that were originally only available in the collector's edition of the game. For a couple of more dollars, they are well worth it. This pack lets you explore the Palazzo Medici,
All in all, this DLC pack is definitely worth the buy and it definitely washed out "Forli's" ripe-clam taste. If you're looking for some more of that great "Assassin's Creed" experience which the original memory sequences spoiled us with, then you're going to enjoy the "Bonfire of the Vanities."
This review is based on a retail copy of the game purchased by the reviewer.
Available at Amazon.com:
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Video Games: 'Assassin's Creed II: Bonfire of the Vanities'
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