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LTTP: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (360)

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LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

I guess with enough people, you can annualize any type of game. After 2009’s Assassin’s Creed 2, Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood in 2010 and will be wrapping up the so called “Ezio trilogy” with Assassin’s Creed: Revelations in 2011. Along with many others, I thought this idea wasn’t going to bode well for the franchise.

What could they do to stave off franchise fatigue? The fundamentals of AC2 were good, but it’s not enough to carry three games. Ubisoft and its many development studios realized that and decided not to touch that core. Instead, they decided to layer more things around Ezio.

Ezio now has more distractions than ever before. Many of the ideas were set forth in his first outing while others like the building of the Brotherhood were all new. They even added a multiplayer component which I didn’t spend any time with (no Xbox Live! Gold). I hear it’s an interesting mode though. In fact, it’s significant enough to warrant a multiplayer beta for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

I’m playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is for its story. I want to know what happens to Ezio, but most importantly what’s happening outside of the Animus — the story with Desmond in the real world.

Outside of framing purposes, I was never a big fan of the time spent with Desmond. I didn’t like the people he was accompanied with and he wasn’t interesting to begin with. Thankfully, they didn’t force exits out of the Animus until the very end in this game. As a result, it was all Ezio all the time.

Desmond and gang wanted to spend more time with Ezio because he retrieved the Apple of Eden in the last game and hid it somewhere. In order to locate the fabled relic, they had Desmond relive Ezio’s bout against the Borgia family and its incestuous siblings.

Ezio’s journey was straightforward and it was possible to reach the final DNA sequence (or chapter) within a reasonable amount of time. However, there were so many distractions to try and explore that kept me deviating from the the main path.

Rome was the only city to conquer this time around, but it was so dense with content that it will probably take me forever to finish it all – so many damn flags! The city map was an overwhelming mess of side quest markers, viewpoints, Borgia towers, banks, shops and other things to acquire. It must be a nightmare for folks with OCD.

I didn’t complete many of those tertiary activities. I tried a few, got way deep into some and stayed far away from others. I’ve played enough AC2 to know that I do not enjoy platforming with a timer in these games so I stayed away from anything that resembled that. The one side activity I invested a lot of time in was buying up properties to generate money. It was the most effortless activity since it was usually on the way to main story missions.

The pace of the game was sped up with decisions like comboing a series of one hit kills after a successful counter and the ability to ride a horse on the streets of Rome. However, that didn’t mean they chucked stealth out of the window. In fact, they incentivized stealth and exact play with a “Full Synchronization” ranking. It’s just a simple grading system, but since I like having an optional goal to strive for.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood ended with a cliffhanger, but I cannot say I’m excited to find out what’s happening next. I enjoyed my time with this game, but I’m growing tired of the familiar formula. I appreciated the new dressings and distractions in this game, but I don’t want them to continue down this path of simply adding more things to do. Ezio is an assassin; not a city planner or team manager. I hope they take a good look at the main story missions in Brotherhood and bring more of those in the next game. Good old fashion stealth action is nothing to scoff at.

Worth a Try

Ratings Guide

For more information on Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, visit the official website.

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