If it's crap ... We'll tell you
BY THIS FUCKING GAME!!!!!
Sorry about that folks, I finished playing this game (IT'S AWESOME!!!) and I am ready to give my verdict for those of you reading. This game is REALLY GOOD, really FUCKING GOOD!
I'm going to say this now, If you have not played Assassin's Creed 2 you really need to or at least get an understanding of the story as this game is a direct continuation of the second game, it literally picks up where that game ended so don't enter this game blind otherwise you'll stumble through this game's plot like you're stumbling through a dark room looking for the light switch.
So we return to the story of Desmond Miles exploring his ancestor's memories, master assassin Ezio Auditore, now taking the role of leader of the Assassins. The story here is well crafted as Ezio strives to take down the Templars after an attack on his villa in which his uncle Mario is killed by Cesare Boriga, your arch-enemy in this game. Forced to flee his home, Ezio takes the fight to the Templars in Rome to rebuild the Assassin Order and free Rome of the Templars. Ezio is developed further this time around and so are the other characters anemly Claudia, Ezio's sister. In AC2 she was basically your accountant but she develops well in this game, even joining her actively Ezio in his fight. Also you get to play as Desmond more this time around as you have the option of leaving the animus and exploring Desmond and friends new hideout (Ezio's old villa) you control Desmond and free run around the villa and interact with Lucy and the other assassins (you can also check your character's email, make of that what you will).
The game uses the same engine as AC2 which looks great and Rome is an expansive and living enviroment, you'll notice the NPC's who populate this world are very liflike they speak in italian have arguments, it doesn't seem like much but its nice to have a world where its inhabitants don't do anything. Rome itself looks great the streets and landmarks have been recreated very nicely, its just a wonder to navigate this enviroment.
The game plays closely to AC2, the free running is will have you racing across the roftops of Rome with ease. The combat has been tweaked so that you don't have to rely constantly on just counter attacks, its easier to go on the offensive and chain attacks and counter attacks together which feels really smooth and fufilling as your slaughter your enemies. Your tools of the trade; your hidden blades, sowrds, daggers (and added crossbow) will all be at your disposal. Teh truth puzzels from AC2 also returns in this game, you'll be scouting Rome for several 'Rifts' and completing the puzzles once you do.
So whats new?
Horses! that's what. Yes Rome is a big place so Ezio can now ride horses in the city of Rome, but this is not needed as you'll get to places faster by just free running, riding horses through the narrow alleyways and tight corners sucks, so get off the saddle and use those legs! As you're out to liberate Rome you'll need to build it up and spend your money doing some serious renovating, purchasing shops and landmarks and buying buildings for your allies; the thieves, courtesans and mercinaries, but first you'll need to destroy a Borgia Tower in the area before you can rebuild it, there are 12 towers in total you need to destroy before you can fully free Rome. As you rebuild Rome the city and its citizens change, the people will become happier and even vigilantes will help you out in a fight by grabbing the guards allowing you to get some easy kills. You'll be able to replay missions after you've completed them and can achieve 100% synchronisation by meeting certain objectives during missions like completing a msiion within a certain time or killing your targets in a certain manner.
The newest feature of the game is the ability to recruit and train assassins who you can send on missions and call on them to help you out in a pinch which I have to say is really satisfying calling your assassins to take care of some guuards. However you can't use them all the time as you'll have to wait for a meter to fill before calling them to fight, once you recruit enough assassins they can perform an attack called 'Arrow Storm' which will kill any guards standing in your way. Now as cool as they are, your recruits are not invincible, they can die if you aren't carefull so be sure to upgrade them by sending them out on contracts and sure enough they will become full fledged assassins. I have to say I felt a bit letdown that your assassins aren't very relevant to the story, you can't interact with them or get to know them at all, they're just names.
These side missionsare fun and add a lot of life to the game, helping the several factions in Rome, exploring hidden lairs, assassinating templar agents, exploring Ezio's repressed memories of his love Christina (Ezio's girl in Florence from begining of AC2) and destroying Leonardo Da Vinci's War Machines which is a hell of alot of fun.
The mutliplayer is an addictive and unique new feature to the series which requires patience and skill. Story wise your'e a templar using the animus to learn the ways of the assassins, in the game you'll be stalking and hunting your prey while avoiding the player who is hunting you. No running and guning here, you need to be discrete and avoid drawing attention to yourself to stay in the game. The levels are populated by characters who look just like you, your prey and your hunter, so you'll have to find them first, you have a cursor that you'll use to stalk your target, as you get closer, the cursor glows and gets wider letting you know when the oppurtunity to kill your target arises, however, be aware that at the same time someone is out to get you, if you can spot them first you'll start a chase where you have to escape your hunter. This is one of the best mutiplayer experiences on offer.
So what sucks?
Well, the games ending, a huge WTF moment and feels very out of place. As I said before your assassins aren't relevant to the story. Its good that you get to control Desmond more in this game but there's not alot to do, aside from collect a few objects in the villa there not much else apart from talking to the other modern day characters. A what feels like the biggest fuck you ever is the fact that even though the multiplayer is really good, you'll spend most of your time waiting in the lobby. WHAT THE FUCK!! I like the multiplayer but having to wait 10 minutes to play a match is fustrating I got so pissed at waiting I'd often just leave the lobby all together.
This game has more pros than cons, the single player is a good 15-20 hours (unlike that 4-5 hour piece of shit Force Unleashed 2) the story and characters are engrossing, the gameplay is sweet and the multiplayer (once you get a match) is incredibly fun. This game earns you hard-earned cash.