Posted: June 30
Like its predecessor, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is a better game than its predecessor. It too, has numerous flaws and many shortcomings. While there is one game in this series that really stands out, this one, again, isn't it.
What you have here is polished, prettier Assassin's Creed II. I'm not really sure how I logged 117 hours on it. I think some of it was me trying to convince myself that there was more to this game than there really is.
In contrast to ACII's sprawling-conspiracy-web story spanned across several cities and decades, here we get a more tension-based story based in one city over about 5 years.
That change is for the better, though the story doesn't improve -- we still get the same absurd plans.
Befriend the courtesans then use them to acquire an outfit to follow a chest of money back to a party to kill 'The Banker' to cut off Cesare's funds to stop his war effort? What? Get a key to the Castello di Sant'Angelo by befriending the thieves so you can steal outfits to a play so you can sneak into the play so you can save an actor Cesare wants dead so the actor can give you the key? Again, what? The plot is nonsense.
Fight Cesare to the death of his neck armor. His neck armor is endless.
Particularly painful, and Assassin's Creed as a series is often guilty of this, are the missions where you are assigned the task of killing the primary antagonists early in the game. It is so obvious that you will not succeed in this task and that it will turn into a 'mission-gone wrong' situation that it's painful.
Clumsily extending 1 memory in 1 sequence into 5 memories to make the game seem longer than it really is -- pretty common for this game.
The soundtrack, while it does use some of AC2's great tracks, develops its own style. This style is sort of a lower, thumping, tension-building sort of music. It works, the game succeeds at developing its own atmosphere apart from AC2.
Visually, the game is still gorgeous. The beautiful color saturation and the way the whites and reds stand out in this 1500s depiction of Rome really add to the atmosphere and feel of the game. Rome is great to look at.
There is plenty of side content, most of it fun. Christina missions fill in some blank spaces about Ezio's past with Christina in AC2. Leonardo's war machines are entertaining but ridiculous -- destroy Leonardo's machine gun, tank, and air-cannon to stop the Borgia from using them. The followers of Romulus missions are similar to the crypt-exploration missions from AC2. There are also many thief, courtesan, and assassin contracts to undertake.
So there is definitely plenty to do. I should warn that most of these things simply have little replay value. The novelty and enjoyment of completing these tasks wears off the first time you do them.
The reason for this is that the game is incredibly easy and there is not much way of making it harder. Assassin's Creed has always lacked difficulty settings. In Brotherhood, especially, they would be appreciated.
The simple addition of chain kills makes the game so ridiculously easy that some form of higher difficulty is really needed to justify playing through this game again. This is even without using your assassin recruits.
However, higher difficulties often involves taking different strategies, new approaches, rethinking how you play the game. Clearly, every task in this game was designed for there to be 1 way to complete it. It's not really all that open in what approach you take.
So, in the end, what we have here is a beautiful expansion pack to Assassin's Creed II that outdoes Assassin's Creed II in nearly every way. One can excuse it's horrible story because, well, every game in this series prior to this one also has a horrible story! What did you expect? Pick it up for $10 or less for a good time.