Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
There was some hesitation before playing Brotherhood. One day, I took the plunge. And I'm not sure I came up for air again until two weeks later.
Hesitation because Assassin's Creed II was one of the best games I've played in quite some time. It improved upon the first in every way imaginable, and surpassed my expectations greatly. So fantastic, in fact, that I was only a few "sequences" into the game when I bought nearly all available downloadable content. Now, my memory is hazy but I think the main DLC was composed of a few sequences between the main game: for instance, the game may have went from 12 to 16, where the DLC was composed of 13, 14 and 15. Those downloaded sequences weren't quite up to par with the rest of the game, but it didn't sully my experience. I played all that I could.
Then, Brotherhood came out and I was unsure: mainly because the game looked like an expansion of II. Some sources were citing that it was more of the same, which in my books has never been a bad thing. Brotherhood also only takes place in one city: Rome, and by that would seem like a shorter title.
I was relatively wrong.
Rome in Brotherhood is filled to the absolute brim with gameplay and exploration. There is no shortage of activity to undertake and people to assassinate. I was looking for a game to play and upon hearing that my friend had taken up the challenge of Assassin's Creed II, I had to jump in. If anything, it would be a short game, but I was dead wrong about that.
The completionist in me came out, and I had to do as much as possible in the game before finishing the next main sequence. This involved rebuilding Rome, discovering ancient shrines and taking on the Borgia on any front that I could. And every bit of it was brilliant.
The gameplay is pretty smooth; there are moments of frustration as you accidentally run up a wall but generally, the fighting is fluid and the acrobatics are good. There are lots of ways to kill, many of which I didn't even bother with throughout most of the game. When it was all over I continued to play in order to score a couple of achievements but mainly because I couldn't let Rome go. During this time I undertook a few of the guild challenges that I didn't pay attention to before, of which many had me performing some interesting tasks. I couldn't help think though that the main game wasn't much of a challenge in regard of variety: for the most part you keep spamming the attack button and you'll breezing through the game in no time.
Only in the end did the game seem to falter. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say that the last portion has you in control of the controller, just as you have in previous games. I've seen comments saying that this unique aspect of the series - the big reveal in the first game - is also the weakest part. There are some relatively straightforward ways of stringing together the characters (they are ancestors of one another, after all). In any event, we have the series and so far, each game is getting better and better, although apparently that's coming to and end (if some sources are correct). The question quickly becomes, do I play Revelations now? I have to, of course. I need to see what happens to Ezio and his crew of assassins. Which makes me wonder why we don't get more Altair. Was his story really complete? Perhaps with some better gameplay we could revisit that period. I want more...I need more.
Brotherhood was brilliant.