Ranting While Playing: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

Ezio seems to immediately forget about the ending of the previous game. He wanders around town, helping random villagers while talking about how all of his battles are finished. Everything is shiny and happy, and nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong. Really fucking subtle, Ubisoft. I might not have caught on if I had never played a single RPG in my entire life.

It looks like Shepard goes about it in the wrong way. Ezio’s getting laid in the first twenty minutes of the game.

The city is under attack? I’m so surprised!

So scar-faced uncle is dead and they have the sacred relic because I gave it to him for no apparent reason and let the Spaniard live for no apparent reason. Hooray for contrived sequel premises?

An enemy was standing on a two foot high wall throwing rocks at me as a mob of allies ran into each other at his feet, unable or too stupid to attack him.

A modern third person game with heavy platforming elements where I explore ancient ruins with a hot blonde? I think I might have accidentally put in Uncharted.

Guards attacked me on sight when I approached a castle of sorts. Once I entered the owner welcomed me happily. Allegiance A.D.D.?

The ability to swim is apparently the equivalent of having super powers in Ezio’s world.

I get it Ubisoft, you make things fall over during platforming sections to create shortcuts so that I don’t have to start the whole thing over again. You don’t have to make Ezio say “that could help if I fall” every single time.

Desmond is apparently immune to all fall damage.

…and it’s over. What happened? Not much of anything. You spent all of Assassin’s Creed 2 finding the apple, then when you finally get it the game just sort of ends. At the beginning of AC:B you lose the apple, and then spend the entire game getting it back. Some cool shit happens at the end of the game in Desmond’s story, but it feels like that could have easily just been the ending of Assassin’s Creed 2.

It’s the same situation as the God of War series where someone on the staff decided at the last minute to tweak the plot a bit in order to have an excuse to make an additional game where essentially nothing happens. For those of you who haven’t played them, you spend all of God of War 2 trying to kill Zeus, but when he gets away you end up spending all of God of War 3 trying to kill Zeus. The series could have easily just ended with the second game.

In the case of Assassin’s Creed the series obviously wasn’t going to end with the second game, but Brotherhood could have easily never existed. This is all in the context of story, though. AC:B has some very obvious improvements, cool new mechanics (the brotherhood!), and is a pretty fun game when it’s not desperately trying to excuse its own existence. Of course, I’m going all Yahtzee on this one by judging the single player experience on its own. I can’t wait to try the multiplayer, which I’ve heard great things about.

Oh, and I think the very, very end will really catch you by surprise.

Later thoughts on multiplayer: Fun, so long as you’re not competitive.  Trying to hunt someone down while being hunted yourself can be very tense and immersive, and success is always very satisfying.  That said, the outcome of each match often feels random at best.  There isn’t much opportunity to defend yourself, so it’s mostly just a race to track down your target before you get the inevitably random dagger in your rib.  I was in several matches where the winner was someone who simply sprinted across the level to their target, killed him, then was immediately killed.  They would stick to this for the entire match and would still come out on top despite being massacred and completely contradicting the premise of the game.  The game tries to reward you for escaping your hunter during a chase.  The problem with this is that the game will activate chases when there wasn’t actually one going on while at other times you can be chased across the entire map and escape for no reward at all.  It just doesn’t always work.  AC:B’s multiplayer can be a unique and fun experience if you can avoid taking the results too seriously.


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