Review by Shiden_Issen
Templars are the disease. Ezio Auditore da Firenze is the cure.
The newest addition to the Assassin's creed series and one of, if not the most expected game in 2010. Since the story is a direct continuation of AC 2, this may be a problem: According to Ubisoft only about 40 % of the players of AC 2, had the patience to play the story to the end, and it's even worse for those who haven't played the first or second parts and with Brotherhood being the first experience of this game saga. (I know the chance is remote, but it's still a possibility.) While the start of the Brotherhood game recaps the events of AC 1 & 2, at the start, let's face it. For someone who's never played the series before or only one of the titles, the recap is like trying to gleam the plot of "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown, from a single page summary.
The game itself starts exactly where AC2 left off. Ezio has just defeated Rodrigo Borgia and gained entry to the vault under the Sistene chapel, standing before him in the vault, the goddess Minerva, the assassin can only gape in awe as she delivers a cryptic message, the meaning of which escapes Ezio. Afterwards he escapes the Vatican with the apple of Eden and his uncle Mario in tow.
Back home in Monterrigioni villa Ezio barely has time to bed the countess of Forli Catherina Sforza following the victory celebration, when the Borgia launch a surprise attack, following the attack the apple is lost to the Borgia and Ezio himself is severely wounded. He wakes up later in Rome, and this is the start of Ezio's efforts to not only liberate Rome from Borgia occupation, but also to rebuild the Assassin order, and finally deal with the Borgia once and for all, who were the masterminds behind the treachery, that ended with the hanging of Ezio's family, save for his sister and mother. As it says in back cover of the case "Rome wasn't build in a day and it won't be conquered by a lone assassin."
The fact that the game takes place in a single city instead of several as in AC I and II, is not necessarily a downside since Rome is a large city and there's plenty to do and the different districts of the city itself are sufficiently different from each other in appearance instead of being clones.
Those who have played the previous parts have a low-to-non-existant learning curve to controls. I've played both parts before brotherhood and the controls felt almost identical without a noticable difference. But they do work without a hitch, so no complaints there. One major change however is present in game mechanics. Enemies in this game can and will attack Ezio during kill animations and can interrupt them, unlike AC I & II, where you were untouchable as soon as the animation started.
Unfortunately micro-managing, the scourge of every genre other than strategy games has also wormed it's way into this series, AC 2 introduced this meta-game in the form of renovating Ezio's family villa, this was fortunately kept at a tolerable level, without being overly complex or time-consuming. This time you're responsible for renovating the entire city of Rome, (with exception of two districts). As well as micro-managing the several guilds. Apparently micromanaging is here to stay, *sigh*.
There are two more complaints that mar this otherwise very well polished game, collecting items and memory synchronization. In AC 2 Ezio had to collect invisible feathers, all 100 of them scattered all over various cities, with nothing to help save eagle vision. In this game feather scourge is still present but only 10 feathers, however you now need to remove a grand total of 101 Borgia flags from scattered across Rome's various districts and secret locations, while the developers have apparently, learned their lesson, by providing maps, which mark flag positions on maps when purchased, or spotting a flag or feather with eagle vision also marks the location permanently, map or no. Still this is one aspect of the game that should either be ditched altogether, or barring that, keep the number of items on a tolerable level.
As for the memory synchronization, in order to achieve 100 % synchronization. There are conditions that must be fulfilled in completing memory sequences to achieve total synchronization. Some the conditions in these sequences are unreasonably difficult to fulfill, and once fail a condition mid-memory, you're forced to replay the memory from the start, with a clean slate. Again and again and again until you can fulfill the unforgiving demands. This, mind you is not challenging, but closer to hazing.
So as a summary of this game, the positives and the negatives:
*Good and riveting story.
*Beautiful visual look of the game.
*Near flawless controls
*Renovating metagame and guild micromanagement is boring.
*Pointless fetch-and-carry flag & feather collection
*Certain unreasonably hard synchronization conditions.
*Tedious guild challenges
So the final verdict: definitely buyworthy, you won't complete this in one sitting, 9/10.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Codex Edition) (EU, 11/16/10)
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