Assassin's Creed II

From Before I Play
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  • You can't reach the central tower of Venice until certain story mission.
  • Dump all your money into Villa Improvements. Drown in a tidal wave of cash by mid-game.
  • I know everyone loves exploring, but hold on on doing so at the beginning of the game until you gain your robes and hidden blade for your own sake.
  • There are treasure maps for sale at the art stores; only buy them if you're really into completionism because you get no reward for grabbing all of the treasures and if you focus on upgrading your Villa as mentioned above you'll be swimming in cash. If you do want to complete everything, though, buy the maps as early as possible.
  • On the other hand, you should be using a feather guide as you go through the game - it's much less painless to clear out districts of feathers as they unlock in comparison to cleaning them up after you've beaten the game. And there are rewards for getting all the feathers!
  • The DLC is worth buying, but it only kicks in after you've beaten the game. Don't feel the need to buy it until you've done so.
  • Keep a lookout for rooftop edges covered in pigeon shit (or some other white substance resembling pigeon shit; usually, there's also a couple of pigeons sitting on it). These pigeon shit spots indicate that you can do a leap of faith (one of those "survive a 100-meter drop because you land in a haystack" things), which is often a convenient way to get down to street level.
  • Try to wait until you're at your villa to buy armor/weapons due to the discount you get when you renovate the shops.
  • A lot of the chests at your villa (which you can see on your mini-map) are unreachable until you renovate some city feature nearby.
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities DLC is very repetitive. Only buy it if you really want more assassination missions, since it's 10 of them in a row.
  • Visit the fighting trainer at your villa as soon as he's available. He has a bunch of techniques he can teach you, but the game never really tells you so you can go by most of the game before realizing it.
  • You can jump into water from any height without being hurt, so it's a useful alternative to hay. Also, watch out for shallow water in Forli.