At this point, I’m sure most of you are aware of my feelings towards the Assassin’s Creed series. The first game was moderately entertaining, but mostly so because of the story rather than the gameplay. The second one improved in that field, and gave us one of the most fully realized gaming character in the gaming world with Ezio Auditore. How does Brotherhood fare up to the amazing game that was Brotherhood? We’ve still got our Animus, so we’ll just have to sync in and discover that right now.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood isn’t an Assassin’s Creed 3 kind of game. Right from the start, it’s pretty obvious that we’re dealing with Assassin’s Creed 2.5, rather than a full-fledged sequel. considering the caliber of the second Creed title, this doesn’t immediately mean that it’s a rehash, or just a crappy more of the same kind of game. Some serious attempts at improving the formula have been made, even if a lot of the changes amounted to some small tweaking and simple fine-tuning.
Just like Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood picks up at the precise point where the last game left off. If this is going to be a trend in the series, then I highly approve of it. No time-skips, just one whole narrative only broken up by how the game plays itself. Well, that and the location that you’ll be jumping into the Animus from.
This time we follow Desmond as he relives Ezio’s fights against the Borgia in Rome. Yes, there’s only one city this time around, but I’m not complaining. Rome is huge, and very well realized. Because of the attention to detail and the sheer size of the place, free-running, scaling buildings, rooftopping, and just generally messing around is like playing a dream in Brotherhood. I wouldn’t mind if the rest of the Assassin’s Creed titles would focus on one city instead of giving us several. Rome felt like it came alive, and I really loved the game for this reason alone.
Following Ezio’s fight against the Borgias, it’s not too surprising that the scope of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is much smaller, and that we see him change a lot less than we did in the previous title. Not too shocking a thing, considering the fact that Ezio aged 22 years in Assassin’s Creed 2. It’d be hard to pull off the same thing twice with the same character. Still, his journey remains an interesting one, and it’s very exciting to see him taking on Cesare Borgia from 1499 to 1507.
The fighting system in the game has been tweaked even further than the second instalment, and once again, they managed to improve it. One of the biggest changes is that after a single kill, every consecutive hit is an instant kill. It both fails and succeeds at what it was made to do. The idea behind it was that it’d stop people from waiting for chances to do a counter move and instead move forward and attack immediately. That way, fights would have a much higher pace than in the previous titles. Instead, it just ensures you block and wait for a chance to counter so you can get straight to the instant kills. Despite that, it still speeds up fighting and makes it much more enjoyable. It also makes it even easier than it was before, but I really didn’t think that was much of a problem.
Having secondary goals while playing through memories is another minor change added within the game. Simply completing a memory no longer lets you fully sync them. Instead the game will give you an extra goal to complete in every mission before giving you a 100% synchronization rate. Most of the secondary goals are easy, like playing through a memory without losing too much health, only killing your target and nobody else, or not being detected during the entire memory. Personally I found the harder goals the ones where you were supposed to play through the memory within a time limit. To make matters worse, you would have to do this during the large Prince of Persia-style tomb levels. As glad as I am that these have returned, I wasn’t too fond of their secondary missions.
If you’re a completionist, you might like to know that the search for flags has been made slightly easier by Art vendors selling maps with the locations of flags and feather this time around. Yes, flags and feather collectables are still around. I doubt they’ll ever get rid of them. Since there are maps for them this time around, I didn’t mind collecting them half as much as I did during the first and second game. Although some of the flags are in areas only accessible during certain memories, and they’re not marked on the map. If you’re going to let us have maps with locations, give us all of the locations. This just felt frustrating.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is just about everything you’d expect from an Assassin’s Creed 2.5. It’s nothing new. Nothing groundbreaking. And yes, it’s more of the same. But with that good a game as its base, that is not a bad thing at all.
Well, except the ending. Again.
At this point, I think I’ll just play the next Assassin’s Creed game up until the final mission and then just turn it off.