Ezio viaggia a Forli per ottenere un pó di Sforza!
[Note: This DLC can be played in two ways. If you have already completed all of the story levels in Assassin's Creed 2, you can find it in the game's main menu after buying and downloading it, but if you are still playing through the game and have not reached memory block 12, the game will automatically load the DLC as part of Assassin's Creed 2's story. I've played through the latter of the options, and in my opinion, it's the best way to play this.]
There is no denying that Assassin's Creed 2 is already an incredible game from the get-go. The beginning charge is epic, and the entire game is (mostly) a roller coaster ride. For most people, though, nearing the end of Desmond's adventure where he relives his long ancestor Ezio Auditore's memories, things got a little strange with memory sequences 12 and 13 mysteriously corrupted. Thanks to that, the story skips a few events and jumps right to the game's final sequence, breaking up the otherwise well-told story through the years of Ezio's life. Ubisoft now brings us two different downloadable packs for Assassin's Creed 2 that magically restore these two broken memory spaces and let us see what happened to Ezio before the inevitable conclusion to his story.
[image1]In memory block 12 dubbed "The Battle of Forli", the Assassins decide to send Ezio to the stronghold city of Forli to keep a certain artifact safe. The current ruler of the city - through unsavory and awesomely cruel means - welcomes Ezio but quickly turns to him for help after a keep is raided by Templar-friendly foes.
From the beginning, The Battle of Forli lives up to its name by thrusting Ezio into full-on battles with dozens of enemy soldiers. The few missions this pack provides are focused almost entirely on gauntlets through the city of Forli, many of which are in the form of one of the most annoying concepts in video game design: the escort mission. To your dismay, the historical figures in your care decide to take up arms themselves, with their death resulting in a game over screen and a reload to the last checkpoint. To make things worse, enemies tend to focus (possibly realistically?) on them, creating a cumbersome balance between keeping Ezio toe-to-toe in battle and his escorts breathing.
[image2]That's not to say that The Battle of Forli isn't fun or lacks quality. This pack fleshes out the background of the city's ruler, who otherwise would have remained undeveloped without this DLC. She is one of Assassin's Creed 2's coolest women by far, and that's saying a lot considering the cast of femme fatales in the game already. The city of Forli has also developed past what is presented in the main Assassin's Creed 2 campaign. But though it may be interesting, it might make some players feel isolated thanks to how sparse it is at some points, compared to the dense population of the other cities in the main game.
The Battle of Forli shouldn't be considered an expansion pack. because it simply isn't. Its content belonged in the main game in the first place, as it contains a relatively important part of Assassin's Creed 2's story. It feels like Ubisoft had last minute change of plans in regards to downloadable content and just yanked two sections of the game for the sake of charging for it. On the other hand, there's a certain feel of displacement here in comparison to the rest of Assassin's Creed 2, due to the pacing of this DLC and how it uses some of the weaker parts of the game, mainly gauntlet fighting and the frighteningly tortuous flying, as its main draws. In the end, The Battle of Forli would have been a worthwhile level to play through the normal game, if not just for the story, but as a DLC, it's just another example of how downloadable content shouldn't be made, or possibly withheld.