If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Ever played a difficult game in which you've said to yourself "I wish I was invincible so I could get past all these levels"? Well here's a game that grants that wish straight away. 'Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood' is only of the easiest, most hand-holding games ever made. From start to finish you a walking deity and can one-hit kill anything at the touch of a button. You have a huge arsenal of weapons and armour to help you defeat legions upon legions of soldiers. Is this all it's cracked up to be? No it isn't.
[RECAP: Skip to the next paragraph if you know about 1 and 2 already.]
You are everyman Desmond Miles, descendant of a bloodline of legendary assassins, dating back to the Crusades and beyond. The first one began with Desmond, captured by a company known as Abstergo Industries, who is forced to use a device known as The Animus to retrieve memories of the first assassin, known as Altair. The story ends with him finding an artefact known as 'The Apple' while Desmond develops the sight of the assassins, known as 'eagle-vision'. The second begins with Desmond and a lab assistant, Lucy, escape Abstergo and take refuge in a warehouse with two other people who have made a new Animus. We now follow the memories of the assassin Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. Taking place in Renaissance Italy, we follow his life from birth to his 40s. Throughout the story there is an ongoing battle for revenge and 'The Apple' which has become in the possession of Rodrigo Borgia. It ends, briefly, with Ezio taking possession of 'The Apple' and revealing the truth behind it. A message for Desmond, now with the skills of an assassin, to see of an on-coming cataclysm and find a way to stop it. This story ends with our heroes escaping from an ambush by Abstergo and on the run once again. But Ezio's story is far from over…
'Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood' is the third-instalment to the main storyline of the 'Assassin's Creed' series. It's a direct sequel to 'Assassin's Creed 2' and takes place right after both Ezio and Desmond's timelines. Ezio's begins with him, 'Apple in hand, and his uncle Mario, escaping the city of Rome. Retreating to their hometown of Monteriggioni, following a night with a countess, Ezio is awakening by an invasion by The Borgia's army; led by Rodrigo's son Cesare as a form of retaliation. Despite Ezio's efforts, Cesare kills Mario and The Borgias have 'The Apple' once again. Injured from the battle, Ezio is transported to Rome by the head of The Brotherhood; Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli. You are informed that Rome is under the hand of the Borgia and the people suffer for it: Houses are in decay, nearly all forms of business are closed and people live in fear. You must now restore Rome by killing Borgia captains, burn down towers, recruit civilians and restore the Assassin's Brotherhood to its former glory. While in the present, Desmond and the crew end up in Monteriggioni as a safe haven from Abstergo's eyes. Once set up, they connect Desmond into The Animus to find out the location of 'The Apple'.
The story of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has no real presence like its predecessor. Minus all I've said, there's no real development to the story on both sides, after the first hour, until the final hour in which we are unable to care. There are some small points but they feel too separated from each other to feel like they belong in the main story. The only real form of development I, personally, shown any interest in was The Borgia family. They made sure the scenes we saw them in mattered and had some significance to their characters. We also get shown how dysfunctional the family is and I was wondering, throughout the game, which one would strike first. Plus it felt like our actions were taking effect on Cesare as he went more mad and desperate. But apart from that the characters aren't really there despite having a few small scenes of them just talking about the situation and not giving us a reason to care about them. I, personally, only cared about helping them because the game demanded it. As for Desmond's side, it's a pile of bad jokes and vague descriptions of the current situation. Story-wise, nothing happened except at the end.
Now onto the main aspect of a video game, the game play. Despite the massive improvement between Assassin's Creed 1 and 2, 'Brotherhood offers only a few small changes including: The ability to call your own personal assassin sidekicks whenever you please, crossbows and the ability to counter-kill endlessly at the move of a thumb stick. You can also perform side missions based around assassinating a character, which unlocks them in the multiplayer. Most of them were the same but there were a few exceptions; example you need to tears down posters for this artist to come out and attack you. You are able to replay missions once-again, like in AC1, along with completing certain challenges (don't lose health, time attack, kill with a certain weapon) to unlock a romance story of Ezio's past and get more health. The issue with this is that you feel too focused on these challenges and you'll get notice of your failure in a way that you can't ignore; it would have been better if these came once you beat that level.
There are a number of missions involving Leonardo Da Vinci's designs being stolen by the Borgia, who have now constructed them to fully functioning. You always do the same thing: Beat an architect, sneak into a fort, burn the planes and then ride the machine out in a mini game in which you get the use it. Despite the tedious of how repetitive they got, the final part was always worth it.
As for the sandbox aspect of the game, it's exactly the same as Assassin's Creed 2. This was good because it offers so much exploration. However it's a downside because everywhere is the same which offers little variety in terms of presentation. In Assassin's Creed 2 there were different looking cities and the locations changed depending on what part of the game you were in, it made this place feel more alive and interesting to explore. While in Brotherhood it stays exactly the same throughout the game. The biggest difference is a few military camps. The city is boring too in terms of its civilians and its buildings. That part in the trailer is the only interesting looking place. You may argue that Assassin's Creed's buildings looked wrecked and boring; but they made it feel like you were in the time they would have been like that. Along with the fact that you can still get gold easily, the aspect of currency feels pointless. Also the idea of having different weapons was also pointless because, despite some enjoyable animations, they all work the same due to the endless-counter kill.
Now onto my biggest issue of the game: The difficulty. This game was far too easy for one simple reason, the enemies didn't evolve. In Assassin's Creed 1 you only thought grunts and the occasional general. In Assassin's Creed 2 they countered your abilities by improving themselves. For example, in AC2 you could run faster so they had guards that could catch up to you, your counter-kill could be interrupted by the brutes in heavy armour and your ability to hide in haystacks was countered by guards checking them. After that game the series developed 'Symphony of the Night' syndrome, you are unstoppable too early. The enemies in Brotherhood haven't changed and are at your mercy at the touch of the button. There's no real challenge now, due to the fact that your abilities are no longer countered. They try to add a challenge by making loads of missions where you can't get caught, but your 1-hit KO crossbow solves that issue. If people don't want a challenging game they can go play Mario.
There's one more issue involving the game play and that's how it holds you hand. How does it do this? The controls. These controls are the laziest I've ever played with, it was tolerable in the first two (the second more because the variety made up for this) but doing it a third time is a joke, especially when the majority of levels are platforming. Which works by holding the right trigger and moving your thumb stick; engaging isn't it? Also you are always told when to press a button, the target of the mission is flashing, there's the camera showing us exactly how to get to a location. Jeez man let us think for ourselves. Overall the game play took the good aspects of the previous two but it doesn't bother to develop them to make this game stand out. In the end, it's just a glorified expansion pack.