||Assassin's Creed II is the follow-up to Ubisoft's 2007 hit that attracted a mass audience if not unanimous critical acclaim. The sequel is an expansive and bloody romp through Renaissance Italy that plays up every popular aspect of the first installment while righting many of its flaws. Assassin's Creed II has evolved from an ill-defined action game into a fully featured open world experience. Everything from the new monetary system to the ability to buy armor and weapons makes it a richer, and ultimately more satisfying game than its predecessor...In the early missions, we're introduced to the excellent free running system that allows players to climb over almost any surface. Movement speed in Assassin's Creed II has been significantly increased from the first game, enabling players to fluidly zip around the city. The animations are still excellent, and Ezio's body realistically adjusts to his environment as he climbs and vaults past obstacles. The only downside of free running is that there are moments when the camera doesn't present the best view of what's over the next rooftop. Overzealous free runners will take more damage from falling off buildings than they'll ever take from a sword...Assassin's Creed II transforms a middling action game into an intriguing and consistently entertaining open-world adventure. Based on this game, Ubisoft Montreal should run a clinic on how to iterate a franchise and if the series continues in this vein, the next installment will take aim at Rockstar's best efforts. The experience is layered, unique, and shows an incredible attention to detail. This is one case where the sequel has triumphed over the original by catching the gameplay up to the already excellent visuals. No matter what your preconceptions are about Assassin's Creed II, the game is well worth your time and money.