Friday, 15 January 2010

From Firenze to Forza

My adventures in 15th Century Italy are over. No longer can I cry "My name is Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. You killed my father. Prepare to die!" before stabbing an Archbishop in the face.

Yes, Assassin's Creed 2 has been completed! I finished the main story a few days ago, including finding and deciphering all the glyphs and discovering all of the assassin's seals and unlocking the armour of Altair. It took me a little longer, (and the help of an online guide - gah! Unclean! UNCLEAN!!!), to locate all the feathers though. I finished that particular quest yesterday which unlocked the 'In memory of Petruccio' achievement and also granted access to the Auditore cape, the wearing of which in each city also granted me the 'Show your colours' achievement taking my gamer score for Assassins Creed 2 up to 995 out of a possible 1000 points. The achievement I'd missed? 'Flyswatter', where you need to kick a guard while using Lonardo Da Vinci's flying machine, which just happens to be specific to the final part of the 8th mission. There's no way of going back and re-playing individual missions so for the sake of FIVE gamerscore points and my very first 100% completed achievement list I spent most of today running through the whole game again from the very beginning!

What is remarkable about this is that I enjoyed it almost as much second time around as I did the first. There is just so much depth and diversity that it never gets boring. The acting is of the highest quality, the main story is gripping and entertaining, and running over the rooftops of Florence or Venice will never ever get old. Assassins Creed 2 is an astonishing milestone in gaming history and not just because it's the first game I got all the achievements for! It's my nomination for Game of the Year 2009. (Although I haven't played Arkham Asylum yet).

After all that excitement, and some food, I was hankering for some multi-player online action. I'm right up to my neck in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) at the moment and at the start of play today was at 1st Prestige - Level 60. For those unfamiliar with the prestige system, after hitting the maximum level, level 70 in this case, you get the option to carry on playing with all of the weapons unlocked or you can take the plunge and enter Prestige mode, essentially putting you back to level 1, with nothing to show for it apart from the "prestige" of having a nifty little emblem next to your name. So first Prestige level 60 is effectively level 130 (70+60). Hit level 70 again and you get to make the choice again, right up until you get to the Holy Grail of 10th Prestige, or level 770! Anyway, I like to try and make at least one level every time I play, which from about level 50 up can be a bit tricky as the number of points needed to level gets greater each time. But with the help of a few ten thousand point challenge unlocks, (namely ACR Veteran I, ACR Marksman VI and .50Cal Marksman V), I managed to get two whole ranks under my belt and walked away an hour or so later happy to be at level 62.

Finally in today's gaming marathon (all this snow makes me not want to go out much, and there's bugger all on telly) I returned to another fantastic game from last year, the mighty Forza 3. The greatest racing game ever made? I think so. And right up there with AC2 as a contender for game of the year. I've been dipping into this monster of a game regularly for a few months now and today saw me hit the half-way stage by completing my third season of races and reaching driver level 25. There's some beefy gamerscore rewards hanging off these two milestones, but they are nothing compared to the beautiful Lamorghini Reventon that's unlocked for hitting 25. No idea how it drives yet, but I could just sit and look at it all day long.

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