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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Review
developer: Ubisoft Montreal
genre: Action Adventure
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Nov 16, 10
|» All About Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood on ActionTrip|
I really hate Christmas. I hate the songs, I hate the lights, I hate being with family, so basically I hate pretty much everything related to the holiday (Good man. - Vader). Okay, I do like that a flood of video games come out, but I also hate that most of these games shouldn't be released yet, and are rushed into stores in order to cash in on the fact that millions of people celebrate the winter solstice by spending money they probably don't have. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is one of these rushed-in-time-for-the-holidays' games. Basically, Ubisoft knew that people wanted more Assassin's Creed and would buy more games from the series if only they could get a product to market, and it really didn't matter whether or not they changed much at all from the last two games. People are sheep, and what does a company care about you once they have your money?
If you've played any of the other games in the series, there is no reason for you to spend money on this product. Just go get one of the older games and play that. The gameplay is identical, only the mission design isn't so horribly frustrating. It's like there were three mission/level design teams. One of the teams got to work on two or three out of every ten missions and they had actually played the series before, understood what "fun" is, and took their time delivering a decent product. Another got to work on one out of ten missions and misunderstood "design a level" to mean "create a pointless cut-scene." The last team was made up of people who had never played a video game before or were unrepentant sociopaths who gain sexual pleasure from the concept of "schadenfreude," and they helped to flesh out the game, by making it teeth-grindingly frustrating.
This has been a frustrating series of games to begin with and with both sequels they've managed to ignore the fundamental problems with the series. I've provided a handy list of problems successfully disregarded or given hilarious half-fixes, in part for convenience, but mostly so the fan boys who are pissed I'm bashing the game they asked their grandma to get them for Christmas can attempt to refute me point by point instead of just the usual personal insults and death threats.
That's my hooorse!
What's that bird doing there?
The Movement - The game offers way more freedom of movement than it needs and/or Ezio and Altair and Miles Desmond by proxy each suffer from the most acute case of a bipolar depression the world has ever seen. Each is quite fond of veering suddenly off of a straight path and jumping to their death or at least the kind of jump that would break a normal person's ankles. Occasionally, you may want them to do this so you can get across a city faster, but about half the time it happens it screws up the mission and forces you to restart. I find myself screaming, "Why Ezio?! Why would you do that?! Do you hate me?! Are you suicidal?!" a lot of the time. I really wish that the game took into mind what you probably wanted to have happened, instead of what could have happened. If I'm supposed to grab this next and very obvious platform, why would I instead aim to jump just to the right and die? Ezio is also extremely fickle about when he will climb something or not. Occasionally he will refuse to move forwards while climbing because the control stick is not pointed in exactly the right direction relative to that son of a bitch, the camera. As many things look climbable, but aren't, this means you'll probably try something else, and as the game is painfully linear in the puzzle segments, this means you'll just be wasting time until you go back and try to climb up again and Ezio suddenly keeps climbing past where he wouldn't before (That sounds damnably frustrating indeed. - Vader).
The Combat - In the first Assassin's Creed, you held down the block button and pressed the counter attack button and the enemies all jumped onto your sword one at a time after telegraphing their attack like a mime, even being polite enough to wait as you dislodged your knife from their friends' skulls. In the second game, you did the exact same thing in the first, only some enemies couldn't be countered with a sword, and you needed to use fists to disarm them instead. In the third, you just mash on the attack button unless they're one of these new always blocking enemies and then you kick them in the balls to death (What a way to go... - Vader). Since the combat has the depth of a sheet of rice paper, it gets boring very quickly. It isn't exactly difficult and normally you can slaughter guards without any problems, but by the end of each game, I just found myself hauling ass to get away from what would have been another repetitive sequence of mashing the attack button until I needed to counter attack or kick someone to death. If you've been in one fight in this game, you've been in every fight. Except for some of the last few fights where you get to use the Apple of Eden, sequences that must have arisen from a drunken wager between the developers to see if they could possibly make combat even more boring than it already is. They succeeded.
The weapons in general are kind of a let down. The differences between different swords and knives are not tremendously important, nor imminently noticeable. The game adds heavy weapons, which can be thrown so you can effectively find yourself without a sword and cannot be used on horseback either. The game adds the ability to attack someone on horseback, but Ezio isn't always sure if he should swing at the guard to his left or the ally to his right, and in general, you'll avoid this as it doesn't look as good (and in fact looks confusing), and you usually get pulled off of your horse, and if that happens, Ezio will take longer to right himself and get off his back than a comatose tortoise.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood adds a crossbow, but conveniently forgets any useful method of aiming the damn thing. Like the pistol in the last game, it draws a white line from the end of the weapon to the target, which is incredibly easy to see on a background of largely light colors. The damn thing auto aims too, so if you're thinking you might use it to stealth kill someone in the middle of a crowd, you won't, and instead you'll shoot the nearest guard and probably fail the mission.
The Camera - It starts off as a minor annoyance and quickly turns into a mischievous little devil that exists for the purpose of making your life a living hell. The camera is possibly a relative of Clippy the Paperclip. "You look like you're trying to make a quick and dangerous jump, may I help?" and it turns quickly as you input the directional control you want, which changes the direction of the jump you're making relative to the object you're jumping at, and you fall to your death. The camera also cannot be adjusted some of the time, as it will refuse to move until the animation of the player character is currently performing is complete. This means that if you're in a hurry, you have to perform a jump from a less than preferable camera angle, which means you usually miss by five degrees because of the overdose on freedom of movement and go sailing to your death. The camera has always done this, from the first game to this game, and it has been largely ignored. Some of the time the camera will cooperate, like when you're moving in a straight line and it only has to follow you, but a lot of the time it won't. The camera is particularly fond of taking up angles during combat that prevent you from seeing large groups of enemies, especially if you happen to lock onto someone who flees from the fight.
Is basically Assassin's Creed 2, which wasn't a bad game only...
Nothing new of substance is added, what is added is largely forgettable, all of the same headaches and complaints remain.