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Publisher: Ubisoft    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.4

Assassin's Creed 2
November 24, 2010 | Franklin Pride

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Time To Attack

Mac OS X: 10.5 or 10.6 | CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06 GHz Processor | RAM: 3 GB | Hard Disk: 9 GB | Graphics: 256 MB Dedicated Shader model 3.0 or higher (ATI RADEON HD 4000/5000 series, NVIDIA GeForceŽ 100/200 series) | Internet: Broadband Internet connection with 128 kbps upstream or faster

Ever since the first time a hidden dagger flew from a sleeve into a target's neck, PC and Mac gamers have been waiting eagerly for Assassin's Creed to make the switch from consoles. Now, years later, Assassin's Creed 2 is finally out for Mac thanks to the efforts of UbiSoft. What will seal its success or signal its failure is how it handles the console-to-computer conversion. Will it remain tied to an analog stick with scrolling menus like Force Unleashed, or will it go the way of Bioshock with proper mouse controls?

In this case, Assassin's Creed 2 goes more the way of Bioshock. The commands for the game can be freely mapped across the keyboard, the mouse controls the camera in a way that almost seems natural, and the menus navigate like a proper computer game menu, with mouse and keyboard controls and escape. Movement also feels the same as the console version, which is good. There are still a few issues, however, that get in the way of making the experience perfect.

The most annoying one is the framerate issue with the camera controls. Basically, whenever the scene is a little slow, the camera will jump extremely far after you move your mouse and often skip what you were trying to look at. In addition, there are numerous sections of the game that switch to a fixed perspective, and those shake all over the place when you try to get a better view using the mouse. This is particularly jarring when the switch is greater than ninety degrees, as that can often lead to you popping in and out of the fixed camera location. It would just be nice to have the option to do a true mouse-look and avoid fighting the camera for control.

The second issue is that you move in the direction your character is looking when you start running and jumping, not where the camera is looking. This leads to a bunch of clumsy turning to make sure you jump in the right direction and gets in the way of properly sprinting across rooftops. To make it worse, there are many places where being even a little off with cause your player to jump to his death. It wouldn't be a difficult fix, either, just rotating or moving the player in the direction of the camera. It's not a big deal for most of the game, but you will find it quite annoying during the longer race segments.

The final issue is with the graphics for Assassin's Creed 2 (AC2). Even on a reasonably strong MacBook Pro, the game barely runs on the lowest graphics settings. This contributes to both of the issues described above, but can also cause terrible slowdowns in crowded areas. Considering this same computer can run StarCraft II and Dragon Age on medium, there's definitely room for performance improvements. The problem seems to lie in the fact that AC2 looks quite good even with all options disabled and low quality settings. It just would've been nice to see an option to play the game at full speed for older computers.


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