Assassin's Creed 2
Assassin's Creed 2 Hands On Preview - Now With More Sand
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Getting my hands on a controller with Assassin’s Creed 2 on the other end until recently has been like trying to get hold of my bank manager on a Sunday... seemingly impossible. Last week though, it was as if he was doing overtime – either that or he’d been kicked out by his wife for cheating with the neighbour’s babysitter and had to sleep at the office – because the seemingly impossible became possible. No, I didn’t get hold of my bank manager, he’s still missing in action, but I did get to go a few rounds with Assassin’s Creed 2.

Chances are that by now you’ll have seen a heck of a lot of Assassin’s Creed 2 gameplay, but that’s okay when the person playing has done the same walkthrough a bajillion times. Last week the newbie was on the pad and after a two year absence, was back at the helm of an Assassin’s Creed game... and boy did it show. It’s safe to say that the learning curve for Assassin’s Creed 2 is a notch up from Assassin’s Creed 1 as now not only do you have the pretty unique combat to master and fairly simplistic free running, but the new character, Ezio, has a few more moves at his disposal.

On first impression it would seem that the environments in AC2 aren’t as easy to traverse as those in its predecessor. That’s largely down to the different style of cities you’ll be thrust into... everything seems bigger and more diverse. Gone are the old blocky buildings and flat roofs, and instead you see more sculptured buildings with slanted roofs that fit the period timeline. On more than one occasion I found myself having to work out a path to my target rather than just winging it; something that kind of distracted from the free flowing free-running. Sometimes I found myself blind jumping with some pretty tragic results, but on other occasions, the water of Venice saved me. Yes, of course, you can swim now, and it’s a simple but effective mechanic to get to grips with. You can also dive whilst in the water as well to avoid being seen by someone that may have been looking for you. Don’t feel like swimming? Grab a gondola then and use its simple one button controls to get around the canals of Venice.

As Ezio gets out the water he’ll be dripping wet with the water saturating his robes and it’s a great example of the attention to detail that Ubisoft Montreal have delivered. Sure, there were a few graphical glitches, sloppy textures and at times the game looked a little rough around the edges, but considering that this was an old build, you can’t judge the final product on those just yet. The same with the enemy AI that was a little dense at times, but again, it was an early build, so it’s not really that much of a concern at the moment.

Whilst we didn’t have chance to use the new gun or the double blade, we did have chance to check out the smoke bombs, and leaping on a target from a great height with the newly extended jump attack. Seriously, it’s a move that never gets old... even after the twentieth consecutive kill. The move works exactly the same way it did in the previous game, but the distance has been greatly extended.

I feel compelled to inform you that Assassin’s Creed 2 will feature no flag collecting. Huzzah! You will be tasked to collect some items of interest though; seals and feathers to name but a few, but Ubisoft have informed us that if you collect all of one type of collectible, you will be rewarded with a hugely useful in-game reward. What though? Well you’ll have to wait to find that one out.

A lot of people forget that Assassin’s Creed is a sandbox game, and number 2 is no different. In fact, it’s more of a sandbox game than the first ever was, simply because you can literally waste so much time doing nothing, which is the beauty of the genre. Our quest – which was taking down four archers before assassinating our final target – seemed to be taking a back seat to us stealing money, throwing it back out, and searching for posters to drop our notoriety back down to 0. The notoriety system is new to the Assassin’s Creed universe, as is the game’s mini map which is welcomed with open arms. Our only qualm at the moment with the mini map is that it doesn’t show what level an enemy is on, and with a game that has multiple levels, it kind of feels essential. Either way, there’s definitely more sand in the sandbox this time around, which ultimately means more fun.

A big complaint with Assassin’s Creed 1 was the combat and its repetition, and Ubisoft Montreal has gone some way to alleviating those concerns in the sequel. The new additions to the combat include the use of around 30 weapons, the chance to disarm a foe and use their weapon against them, the option to amusingly taunt your opponent whilst they cave an axe into your skull and a few new takedown moves. You can also grapple an opponent now as well and whilst grappled you can use a variety of close combat moves. Our favourite? The headbutt. Personally, the combat in the original didn’t irk me in the slightest and I saw it no more repetitive than a shooter which is constantly pew-pew-pew, but those who were annoyed by it will be happy to hear of these new additions. Even the simple inclusion of being able to pull a foe down from a ledge whilst you are hanging from it does wonders to the game’s overall playability.

New to Assassin’s Creed is the game’s monetary system, so the money you earn from doing missions, stealing off people and what not, can be spent on weapons, gadgets, and even armour. The armour not only allows you to customise Ezio on how you want him to look, but each piece of armour has an attribute tied to it that will benefit him – things like +2 health, +2 resistance. Ubisoft were quick to point out that the new armour system was not intended to have an RPG feel to it, but it blatantly does. It isn’t an RPG by any stretch of the imagination, but Assassin’s Creed can now boast RPG style features. Also new to the series is the auto crowd blending, a third person eagle view, the ability to pick up bodies and throw them, being able to hire courtesans, thieves – who can free run – and mercenaries to assist you with whatever it is you want them to do, and much more.

My first hands on with the game was overwhelmingly positive and being able to drop 20 foot on to my assassination target with the new extended jump attack to finish off my session, just topped off what was an already great experience. Admittedly things did look a little rough around the edges and it was trickier to get our head around the controls than we remember, but being an early build and us being decidedly rusty, we’re not letting that taint what was otherwise an excellent experience. Unfortunately we didn’t get chance to sample many of the new non-repetitive missions, but from a control and delivery standpoint, Assassin’s Creed 2 literally leaves its predecessor standing in its massive shadow.

Oh, and Ezio isn’t as hugely cocky or annoying as Altair, so that’s always good. That dude needed a slap.

Assassin's Creed 2 is out November 17th and November 20th in North America and Europe respectively.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #1 by PsychoSawyer
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 08:51:53 AM
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nt bad looks pretty gd mite just have to pick this up loved the 1st one

Forum Posts: 144
Comment #2 by Skidillydoo
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 08:52:59 AM
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wooo cant wait

Forum Posts: 56
Comment #3 by Orion of Xi
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 08:53:04 AM
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Hasa no more flags to get!

Forum Posts: 73
Comment #4 by Death POSTOAK
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 08:54:10 AM
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This is a buy for me I'm glad they added the ability to swim but to be honest I wish they would've left the flags in it was fun searching for them hopefully the new items will be as fun

Forum Posts: 165
Comment #5 by dizzymagic
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 08:56:34 AM
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Musy buy indeed. The first game was very good so this will be looked at for sure.

Forum Posts: 198
Comment #6 by The Betrayer142
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 08:56:47 AM
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thank god I don't have to make a ridiculous 5 hour flag run, probably more like 10 hours... Either way, I'm glad the flags are gone, but now they will probably have 50 of 5 different items, probably one for each region. I hope that doesn't happen but they've created that kind of loophole now. Can't wait for the game tho!

Forum Posts: 73
Comment #7 by LewisRedd
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 08:58:11 AM
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Can not wait sounds good, looks good and cant wait to carry on the story. Im really into conspiracy theory's ( I don't like to call the that, but hey) and this game interoperates some of the more know ones into the story line. Templars, 2012 doomsday etc. Cant wait to see what this one brings. Good luck with the bank manager Webb ;)

Forum Posts: 8524
Comment #8 by Nozza XBA
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 09:11:48 AM
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Cant wait for this! Hopefully ill put some time aside to play it over MW2

Forum Posts: 34
Comment #9 by frostalchemist
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 09:14:10 AM
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Haha pew pew pew must buy indeed:)
Think the missus likes it too

Forum Posts: 91
Comment #10 by Convas
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 09:20:21 AM
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Looking forward to this game, heard the 1st wasn't so good, so stayed away, but I'm going to bite this time.

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #11 by Jamerz101
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 09:22:39 AM
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November is probably going to be the best month of my life.

(Nerdy i know, but hey!)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #12 by SolInvictum
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 09:28:26 AM
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Definately a day 1 buy. Loved the first one and this one looks a whole bunch better.

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #13 by Itallion Stalli
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 09:43:35 AM
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Looks like Im going to drop about $180 in the first 2-3 weeks in november with this game, MW2, and Dragon Age.

Forum Posts: 9428
Comment #14 by Creech
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 10:01:07 AM
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Assassin's Creech 2, did you say? :P

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #15 by crazyman
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 10:23:11 AM
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great, but i cant decide between this, l4d 2or CoD modern warfare 2

Forum Posts: 64
Comment #16 by Dlark17
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 11:01:09 AM
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Just put down the first $5 towards the Master Assassin edition a few days back.

Keep pumping out the info! I get more excited every time I see one of these!

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #17 by HT101
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 11:24:12 AM
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No more flags = awesome. Too bad we now have something else to find.

Forum Posts: 75
Comment #18 by birkhalter
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 11:55:27 AM
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The first AC was great and this looks better by leaps and bounds. Amazing.

Forum Posts: 200
Comment #19 by Sniper07LHS
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 11:57:37 AM
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the first one was/is awesome, this is a must buy

Forum Posts: 245
Comment #20 by Reaper_Grim
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 12:02:56 PM
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I'm definitely anxious for this and COD: MW2. one more to add the the xmas wish list.

Forum Posts: 44
Comment #21 by Tobi
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 12:40:19 PM
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Can't wait to get this one when it comes out. One of the few games I'm actually looking forward to, actually. The ability to dye your outfit different colors is a nice option (although not mentioned here; I heard it in a video on gametrailers), so my brother and I can have different colored assassins.

I'm almost done collecting all the flags and killing all the Templars from the first game, so I hope to be done come mid-November.

Forum Posts: 300
Comment #22 by toonsage
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 01:46:39 PM
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awesome cant wait till 11/17 ^.^

Forum Posts: 136
Comment #23 by Time To Rage
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 02:30:46 PM
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hah ha you can pick up and throw bodies

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #24 by Acid Mother
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 02:44:27 PM
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Rented the first, didn't like it. Too many good games coming out in Nov, so I probably won't play it.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #25 by Eagles1078
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 03:43:07 PM
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#8 Im with u. Dont know how im going 2 keep up with mw2 and assassins creed 2. Theyre both going 2 b awesome!

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #26 by sivart32
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 04:33:34 PM
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o yea droping $120 for this and l4d2 on the same day lol

Forum Posts: 262
Comment #27 by II M1CK3H II
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 04:58:47 PM
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Gonna wait for the reviews.

The first game was soooooooooooooooo boring it was unbeleivable. Most repetitive game ive ever played.

Seriously, the re-hashed pokemon RPGs for gba and ds are more entertaining.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #28 by M4RKSM4N
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 05:09:05 PM
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I seriously can't wait for AC2 but honestly, I see myself playing Borderlands and MW2 nonstop until the next big drop ( Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, SC: Conviction ). Hopefully, I get kinda bored with those and get the urge to kill some more Templars!

Forum Posts: 30
Comment #29 by crunchb3rry
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 06:26:28 PM
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"Hasa no more flags to get!"

Thank god. I found all of them except one in Acre and must have run around for 3 hours retracing my steps to see which one I missed. My worst fear was it was a flag in one of the other 2 areas but I eventually found it.

Forum Posts: 27
Comment #30 by SolidSnake2000
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 06:29:48 PM
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Lol! The 1st was ridiculously repetitive, this is gonna be just as bad, if not worse

Forum Posts: 137
Comment #31 by Voxael
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 06:33:13 PM
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Sounds more and more like this is going to be one of my favorite games of the year.

Finally! Someone else who didn't absolutely hate the first game ... I was starting to think I was the only person who liked it as was.

Forum Posts: 21
Comment #32 by kelnoker
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 07:00:24 PM
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cant wait loved the first one ;))

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #33 by GoodfellaAdriano
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 07:04:53 PM
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since iv had my xbox, just over a year now, every game that i am most looking foreward to in the year always falls smack bang in the middle of exams at university! first gears 2 and now AC2, dam you uniniversity!!!!

Forum Posts: 3517
Comment #34 by Coadster1
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 07:31:46 PM
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Awesome, can't wait! XD

Forum Posts: 92
Comment #35 by Murn
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 08:15:45 PM
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This is gonna rock!
As probably the only person who isn't gonna buy Modern Warfare 2 on release day, I've got plenty of time to play this. Just hope exams are finished!

Forum Posts: 178
Comment #36 by Blue Thunder28
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 09:06:09 PM
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Can't wait for this! this and Dragon Age will dominate my November for sure... maybe a little L4D2.

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #37 by DEAD 3Y3 TBONE
Monday, October 12, 2009 @ 10:57:58 PM
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Yeah #35 :p. I'm waaay to busy feeling sorry for myself. My parents want me to pass my exams, which start november and end on the start of december, and are loaning my xbox out lol, so looks like i have to wait to play mw2, ac2 and the other games :( at least i get paid by my friend borrowing my xbox :p

Forum Posts: 19
Comment #38 by Echoes91
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 12:30:40 AM
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Glad there aren't flags anymore, they are the only achievements stopping me from getting 1000G in number 1, and I really don't plan on it...

Forum Posts: 561
Comment #39 by MakoBallistic
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 12:53:27 AM
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Nice to see its adapted a few ideas from the big daddys of stealth, Hitman and Splinter Cell. Will be getting this eventually but probably not on release.

Forum Posts: 2444
Comment #40 by DENAz666
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 01:24:38 AM
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Hopefully there is still some form of collectible, i actually enjoyed that side of it... although never did manage to get them all

Forum Posts: 1293
Comment #41 by BSH 1975
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 04:28:11 AM
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I pre-ordered the black-edition. I loved the first and I'm gonna love this one even more

Forum Posts: 286
Comment #42 by xbox360freak222
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 04:29:51 AM
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im haveing troblue with linking my gamertag to my profile help anyone

Forum Posts: 43
Comment #43 by cashbuster
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 04:36:49 AM
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cant wait for this although i will be playing mw2 on vet
so be hard to try play this as well as that mind u i booked 2 weeks off work for these two titles so we will see :)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #44 by Dark Seraphim77
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 06:48:14 AM
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AC2, MW2, Dragon Age, goodbye social life, hello darkened room. :D

Forum Posts: 70
Comment #45 by dward_432
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 07:08:26 AM
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Looks good, think i'll wait for the reviews on this one though

Forum Posts: 60
Comment #46 by The Dutch Pinyo
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 09:28:12 AM
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I already pre orderd the Black Edition in June :P I want this game sooooo bad!

Forum Posts: 3277
Comment #47 by Jappe XBA
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 10:37:10 AM
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Forum Posts: 0
Comment #48 by Timwo
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 02:16:22 PM
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Can't wait

Forum Posts: 214
Comment #49 by firehazardcs
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 04:26:46 PM
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#1 lrn 2 type.

Forum Posts: 94
Comment #50 by jayson583
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 05:39:23 PM
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Forum Posts: 176
Comment #51 by Dredgon
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 @ 08:18:35 PM
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Looks sick, can't wait! Have the Master Assassin's edition pre-ordered, and also Dragon Age CE, so November will great!!!!!

Forum Posts: 286
Comment #52 by xbox360freak222
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 02:22:14 AM
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help with linking gamer tag

Forum Posts: 124
Comment #53 by VanZarko
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 06:07:35 AM
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The first one was awesome AC2 is going to be way better though! :D

Forum Posts: 43
Comment #54 by paddycfc22
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 06:13:05 AM
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am waitin till x mas to get this cause a will be 2 busy with the ballad of gay tony,modern warfare 2 and left 4 dead 2

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #55 by The I Jonny I
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 10:04:15 AM
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looks epic defo taking day off college for this :)

Forum Posts: 43
Comment #56 by BlO0DJUNKi3
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 04:45:08 PM
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Probably just gonna rent this, but i'm sure its worth a buy.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #57 by ramz15
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 @ 05:34:13 PM
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should be getting it but it comes too close to modern warfare 2

Forum Posts: 3530
Comment #58 by MediumMelanin
Thursday, October 15, 2009 @ 10:49:00 AM
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Also I want to see ACII achievements already!!! I've been coming to this site like 5 times a day, everyday for the past 2 weeks, WTF, CODMW2's are out, L4D2's are out(WTF it comes out the same day!)

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #59 by MagicNinjaZ
Thursday, October 15, 2009 @ 05:02:59 PM
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I paid of the master's Assassin edition a moth ago! cant wait =)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #60 by quartzlcc
Friday, October 16, 2009 @ 10:37:20 PM
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Hah, the insult at Altaïr at the end was un-called for. It was all part of the plot; he was a cocky asshole at the start, but eventually he was not a jerk.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #61 by Mad Man Ben
Sunday, October 18, 2009 @ 03:08:46 AM
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Not being funny or anything but what a stupid time to release it, a week after modern warfare 2. If you ask me i think they should have relesed it at the begining of December.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #62 by Deano 622
Sunday, October 18, 2009 @ 03:00:43 PM
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preordered the black edition cant wait november here i come.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #63 by xkyox8
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 @ 08:22:32 PM
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I really hope they put out a demo on Marketplace. I want to play so badly

Forum Posts: 182
Comment #64 by MuRpH159
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 @ 03:57:55 AM
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wow another game i wont be playing because of the beast that its modern warfare

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #65 by b4bradley
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 @ 05:31:07 AM
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My name is Brad :)

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #66 by xkyox8
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 @ 05:29:05 PM
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I canceled my Modern Warfare 2 preorder for DJ Hero, but I think I'll get this too

Forum Posts: 58
Comment #67 by Lunndonbridge
Thursday, October 22, 2009 @ 12:55:38 AM
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@66 That has to be the stupidest thing you could've done.

Anyway, this is going to be the best Retail game on the Xbox 360. There are some good shooters out there and a couple of handfuls of good games in other genres but honestly there will be no game better

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #68 by Stoner Steve619
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 @ 09:12:49 PM
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wooo i just commented :)

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Game Info
Ubisoft Montreal


US November 17, 2009
Europe November 20, 2009

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