Review – Assassin’s Creed 2 Battle of Forli DLC

Value DLC Enhances Story With Six New Memories

January 28, 2010 – Shortly after the release of Assassin’s Creed 2, Ubisoft announced that it had two DLC packs planned that would continue the single player experience for Ezio. It has since been revealed that both of these sets of additional content not only take place in the middle of the game, but that they were originally part of the full game to begin with, but were removed so that the game would not be delayed.

Battle of Forli is the first new section of memories released, value priced at just 320 MS points or $3.99 on PSN. For those that have not yet completed the game I’ll keep the story elements as spoiler-free as possible. Suffice to say, events within the game send you back to the town of Forli to help out a few allies that you met only briefly during the rest of the campaign. What starts out as a mission to help a friend, soon is revealed to have larger consequences as it relates to Ezio’s main mission. For those that have finished the game, this and the second DLC pack “Bonfire of the Vanities” (due out in February sometime) will help to fill in the rather large time gap that appears in the latter stages of the game.

Rather than review Battle of Forli like a full game instead we’ll look at it from the persepctive of whether its actually worth downloading. There are no new gameplay elements, weapons, armor or anything else like that. Having already played Assassin’s Creed 2, any gripes you might have about its mechanics won’t be fixed here, sorry. The extra chapter seamlessly fits in with the rest of the game which does beg the question as to what made this section so problematic that they needed to remove it to begin with?

The game play offers a mix of escort and straight up assassination missions. There are many more enemies to fight this time around, so anyone looking to accomplish the “No-hitter” achievement/trophy- which tasks you with killing 10 enemies while remaining in combat without taking damage- will have ample opportunity. The escort missions can be a little frustrating as you are escorting multiple characters and required to keep them alive, even when they decide to seperate and both face attackers simultaneously. I actually didn’t have too much of an issue with this, because most of the other escort missions in the game were incredibly straightforward and nearly impossible to fail. Additionally, you have access to Leonardo’s flying machine again, and can activate it at any time by climbing a certain tower on the outskirts of the town. While its nice to get to use the flying machine again, it really serves no purpose in any of the missions. My guess is that Ubisoft wanted to give gamers another chance to get the “Fly Swatter” achievement/trophy, which is awarded for kicking a guard while in flight.

While the gameplay isn’t anything new, the story elements are interesting and help to flesh out some questions that have lingered once the game is complete. The new characters, particularly Caterina, are pretty well realized and there is actually some good humor associated with the new dialogue. Unfortunately, we end up with a Halo 2 situation with regard to the story, as the memories end just as the intrigue and excitement are ramping up. The cliffhanger that ensues does leave us with a very clear goal of who and what we will be trying to track down during the “Bonfire of the Vanities” (which will send us back to Florence, and open up a portion of the southern part of the city that even at the games conclusion, remains blocked off). Luckily, we won’t have to wait long to get to play the rest of the story.

Some gamers might be upset at Ubisoft for pulling two chapters from the game just to charge more money for them later on. Looking at the low pricing of “Battle of Forli” its hard to fault Ubisoft too much, and certainly I would have been more upset had they delayed the game a few months just because two sections needed to be fixed up.If Bonfire of the Vanities comes in along a similar price point we’ll be looking at two of the better priced pieces of DLC that actually contributed something to the game. And for anyone who is still upset over getting charged to play more of the game, just be happy Ubisoft didn’t try and sell you horse armor.

Overall, if you finished Assassin’s Creed 2 and are yearning for more Ezio, don’t hesitate to download “Battle of Forli”. If you weren’t a massive fan of the game, then this DLC isn’t likely to change your mind and you can probably skip it and just save toward Bioshock 2 or something.

+ Extends the story of the original game

+ More enemies creates a greater challenge in missions

+ New characters continue to expand the Assassin’s Creed universe

– No new gameplay elements or items

– Flying machine serves no actual purpose

– Did this really need to be DLC?