Early Impressions of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

As much as I loved Assassin’s Creed 2, I cringed when Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was announced. By the sounds of it, this game exhibited all the signs of a dirty cash-in. For one, this wasn’t called Assassin’s Creed 3. Two, Ubisoft planned to make this game in only a year. Three, and most alarming, Ubisoft announced that this game would feature multiplayer, a feature that nobody asked for from this series.

I’ve warmed up to it enough to pick it up on launch day, but I’m still a bit skeptical. Is Ubisoft treating Assassin’s Creed: Botherhood as a real game? Or is this just another title to slap the franchise name on?

For the record, I should state that I’m playing this on the PS3. Despite having played the predecessor on the 360, I went with the PS3 version so that I could get the additional content and do multiplayer with my coworkers. I have yet to try either of these things yet, but I’m noticing some graphical issues with this game that I did not see often (if at all) when I played Assassin’s Creed 2 on the XBOX 360. I’m not saying this to troll, but when I was playing this yesterday, I saw a lot of screen tearing and frame rate drops. Most of the time, it doesn’t make it unplayable, but it’s jarring at at times.

Platform griping aside, let’s talk about the game itself. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood begins right where Assassin’s Creed 2 ends. Those familiar with the events of Assassin’s Creed 2 should be able to jump right in without skipping a beat. However, if you’ve never played Assassin’s Creed 2, it doesn’t do a great job of explaining the events of the first two games in a way that does those stories justice.

The continuity between the two games doesn’t end there. It’s running on the exact same engine, which means the game still looks very similar and plays very similar. If you want more of that Assassin’s Creed formula, you absolutely get it. So far though, it feels like I’m playing Assassin’s Creed 2.2, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It looks gorgeous and still plays very well. I really loved how this game starts on such a high note before it settles you in. Would it be spoilers to say that it starts out in classic Metroid fashion? (highlight for spoilers)

The one gameplay thing that is tripping me up is the varying levels of sequence completion. In Assassin’s Creed 2, you beat a mission and that was it. In this game, it sets a condition for each mission that if you achieve it, you get 100% for your memory sequence. If you beat the level but don’t meet the specific condition, you get a partial memory sequence. You’re not required to get 100% on everything. At first, I was restarting everything I messed up to get 100%, thinking that I needed it to move on, but then I ran into a platforming-intensive mission that had a time limit far too short for my skills. I just decided to keep moving and accept the fact that I can’t be perfect all the time. If you’re an OCD gamer, this will annoy the heck out of you. If you’re a completionist, this is right up your alley.

Since I haven’t seen too much in terms of gameplay innovation yet (I’m only starting sequence 3 now), it’s been familiar gameplay and a continuation of a great story that’s powered me through. I love being back in the world with Desmond and Ezio and on that front, the game is very much on point. Stay tuned for more Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood feedback soon!

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