I’m pleased to report that Assassin’s Creed II on the PC allows you to take all of the HUD (i.e.: the graphical game control tips and informational icons) off the screen, and press “9” for a first-person view, for a completely clear FRAPS-recordable view of medieval Florence (and, later, Venice). And it certainly does look lovely. Once, that is, you get beyond the annoying tutorial sequences and the several game-stopping problems caused by the lazy lack of a full conversion (from the console version) of on-screen tips for how to use the game’s PC controls. If you played the first Assassin’s Creed on the PC, you’ll probably know the controls. If you don’t, it’s a bit of a nightmare — even with the on-screen so-called guidance.
Newbies guide to beating those initial game-stopping moments:
1) Talk to all three of the people in the control room, in order to get to sit on the chair. One of them seems like she has no “talk” function, but keep circling and probing to find it. 2) Hold down the shift key to loot the bodies, don’t just tap it or else you’ll waste 30 minutes vainly trying to find the one with the loot. 3) “Button 1”, which is required for freerunning, is actually the right-hand mouse button. It’s not the number one button on the keyboard, or the left-hand mouse button.
Another useful tip is to read up on the plot of Assassin’s Creed I before you start playing, or you won’t have a clue what’s going on when II starts. There’s also an official free prequel 30-minute movie, filmed using the game engine and green-screened actors, which fills in the backstory in Florence.