I’ve often wondered why, out of all the protagonists in the Assassin’s Creed universe, Ezio is the only one to star a central role in multiple games. Aside from him, all the other protagonists were in solo games. But Ezio got not one, or two, but three full-blown games dedicated to his story. Granted, one could argue that, at the time only being the second star of the series, Ubisoft hadn’t quite got their formula for the games down yet. Or, perhaps like myself, they caught on that at least Ezio was a hell of a lot more likable than Altair.
Working my way through the third game of the franchise, and second one of Mr. Ezio’s storyline, it’s hard not to let general hearsay about Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood sway my opinion. Knowing that I would eventually get around to playing the series, I’ve done a good job of avoiding any spoilers about the story, but not so much for review opinions. In particularly, the Zero Punctuation review sticks in my mind, especially the part calling the game “Assassin’s Creed 2 1/2” for being basically an overpriced expansion pack.
Well, I haven’t played far enough into the real meat of the game just yet to say Yay-or-Nay on that matter. Despite having put a decent amount of time, I often find myself distracted from the main story but all the running about, causing chaos the game allows — which is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the franchise. As with Assassin’s Creed 2 rebuilding a city is a major gameplay aspect. And while it doesn’t seem to be for much more than giving you a steady stream of income to buy supplies, the game does add a new element of conquest over Rome. Brotherhood divides the city into sections controlled by the Borgia factions. Ezio can remove their influence by killing the guard captain & setting their watch towers aflame, allowing you buy more shops in that area. It’s pretty fun, as each watch tower functions like its own mini-quest. The guards are a pain, though, because the combat hasn’t been improved much — meaning the fastest way to get through is to counter. But the captains can’t be countered, so I end up just kicking them to death. Which, admittedly, is pretty funny. However, I’m not sure how much effect it actually has on the game. One of the in-game tips says taking out a tower in the area of a main quest can lower the difficulty, but I have no first-hand experience with that. Objectively, there don’t appear to be any less Borgia around. Maybe the citizens will help in that region? I don’t know.
I’ll admit, a lot of the game so far feels the same as the last one, but with minor improvements or additions. That’s not to say I haven’t been having fun. Ezio controls as well as ever (meaning pretty poorly — either that or my controller’s self-aware). Last night I was trying to stalk a guard captain & I failed spectacularly twice because the game took my trying to jump from the roof onto some rope strung between two buildings to mean I wanted to jump off the building into the middle of the guards. I handled them easily enough by running out of the villa and killing the guards there to lower my notoriety. I suppose wiping out every guard in the villa is one way to tackle the captain, but it certainly didn’t make me feel like a badass assassin.
Hopefully, the story can justify sticking around Ezio for another two games. And I know the game adds a lot more later on, with the ability to recruit assassins. So I do think there’s plenty of entertainment to be had. I just hope my hands to survive. Seriously, why no toggle for the running?