The swath of gaming continues and up next on my reviewer's chopping block is the often happily recited Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.
Assassin's Creed was and has never really been a game i had followed intently ever since it first released that part of time awhile ago that i do not care to recite. I always struggled to follow the story overtop the often repetitive gameplay, predictable plotline and often un-memorable characters (Until Ezio Auditore da Firenze came along).
Brotherhood picks up exactly where Assassin's Creed 2 ended (The Cluster-Fluck ending? remember that?) and you have everything in your possession, The Apple is yours, Your enemy (Pope Rodrigo Borgia) is currently MIA and life is starting to finally look up.
Until you made the mistake of thinking they wouldn't strike back....
Brotherhood properly opens up with the Siege of Monteriggoni where Ezio is again thrust into the dangerous world that The Templars and Assassin's fight to the death over trinkets that make men more than gods.
Once the game begins, most familiar with AC:2 will easily be able to maneuver around the beautifully re-created Roma scattered with iconic Landmarks such as the Home of the Pope (Castel San'Angelo), The Pantheon, The Sistine Chapel and of course The Colesseo (The Colosseum).
Each serve a well crafted purpose within the well-woven plot-line of the Game and for once it doesnt feel like places where added for the sake of a nice view. Combat also has been made more fluid, making a transition from the often apparent 'Counter-kill' Mentality to a more somewhat acceptable 'Chain-Kill' style.
All your Favourite weapons return and some that honestly should have been since Altair's time have snuck in too. E.g. Crossbow and Poison Darts.
The soundtrack of the AC games haven't stuck out to me terribly in the past but Brotherhood stood out completely with its orchestral brilliance brought together with 'The Brotherhood Escapes', I will forever remember this reaching it's crescendo as i went to stop one particular character from assassinating another by mistake, the added tension fitted the situation perfectly, something many games strive to achieve in games these days. (Queue 'Far Away' from Red Dead Redemption) Nonetheless the Game provides a heart-thumping line up sure to keep any good player on their heels the longer they play.
Visually Assassin's knows how to stand on its two feet and then proceed to blind you with the shine they give off, everything about the game is beautiful, from the sexy rooftops of Roma overlooking the entire city or simply strolling past The Pantheon at Sundown, Ubisoft went to the extra effort to make everything fit and fit well. Ezio is stealing hearts from both Damsels and Guards alike....everything on him looks gorgeous and combat stances look fluid and sleek, Nothing looks better than transitioning from one kill to another in a grace that simply screams "You didn't stand a chance, if you want to live...run away now".
Brotherhood isnt all about the same old story though, Ubisoft has gone and introduced New side-missions like Ezio's Repressed Memories (My personal favourites of the game), A Glimpse at Da Vinci's Techinical Brilliance through the successive destruction of his deadly new war machines, Tomb Challenges that lead you to the fabled Armour of Romulus and the New Assassin's Mini-Game that has you sending out your Brotherhood all over the World.
Desmond FINALLY does some worthwhile sequences in the 'out of animus' moments with some funny group moments, exploration in modern-day locations fans will treasure and much more.
On the side there is VR Training (Hint to MGS Fans, the effort pays off in the end), More of Subject 16 and collectibles such as Borgia Flags and Feathers all over the map as well as the renovation mini game set up for the colossal Rome.
WIthout getting too carried away going into even further details all im gonna comment on regarding the Multiplayer aspects of the game is simply that Fans will appreciate and come to love it, but casual players like myself i dont see it beating out the likes of CoD or MMO's etc etc. I found the MP to be too slow and even co-operatively me and a friend found other players over the Headset to be crazy. (PS3 Multiplayer N.B)
But this is where my review takes a drastic turn, personally i felt from completing the game as a whole that it achieved:
-Continuing the Story and leading it up to another huge conclusion
-Making a more entertaining and enthralling plot
-Making memorable characters (Lucrezia and Cesare are very memorable)
-Adding deeper thought into the entire AC Mythos
-Adding nice Metal Gear References throughout
What it took and rebranded/reused poorly:
-The Assassin's Mini-game was a fairly cheap re-hash of Peace Walker's Outer Ops, which sadly it managed to have less detail and less fun (Personally) playing.
-The Renovation scheme...this does need some significant improvements and more reward schemes to those who pour their souls into rebuilding rome. (Next time i would like to see a little more acknowledgment for buying The Pantheon for the citizens to use etc etc)
What it failed miserably at:
-Fast-paced and exciting Multiplayer. (Felt like a cheap hook.
-Needed FAR more Leonardo Da Vinci, he is almost an integral part of Ezio as much as Ezio is to being an Assassin. It is a shame as this may not have a chance of retribution for the Third game.
- Needed to have a far more threatening enemy, The Primary Antagonists are set up to be a very twisted set of people but like all enemies they need to represent a vision of power that if utilized could be very threatening and personally i didn't feel this to be the case (Abstergo does this, 16th century baddies have a ways to go).
All in all The game is good and i would not hesitate to recommend this anyone to give a try out, However i believe Ubisoft could do just a little bit more...not much...maybe like a few more features but nonetheless a fantastic game. BRING ON AC3!