Welcome back to my ranking of the Assassin's Creed games. For those who don't know, I am ranking the series as I play them on a list (which can be found here). If you want a greater explanation, you can find them on the previous blogs, in which the links can be found on the list. So, let's get right into part three.
My entire experience, whether it be the gameplay, story, or any other aspect, was more of a continuation than an improvement. Luckily for me, it's a continuation of a fantastic game, so I am in luck. Still, the game did change things up a bit, which is what I want to get into. But before that, let's get into the story.
AC Brotherhood continues the story of Ezio as he comes home to the Villa triumphant of his success of getting the apple. Well, that was short lived as for an army soon followed, destroying the villa and killing his uncle. Now it's up to you and the other assassins to get the apple back and kill the men who has put you into disarray. Meanwhile in the future, you and your crew set up shop in the villa after your last hideout was raided and keep digging through Ezio's history in search of where he hid the apple so then they can get it before Abstergo does.
One thing that can be seen throughout this game is its smaller scope considering this isn't a numbered title, and one of the places where this can be seen is in the story. Where the second game's story felt like a movie, this game's story felt like an episode. No new notable characters enter the plot, and the plot doesn't expand like the first game did. But I actually don't think this is a bad thing. I am fine with them continuing the story, because I really like what's there to begin with. I really liked all aspects of the story in AC2, so more of that isn't a bad thing. Plus, the shorter story means a shorter run time, which I had an issue with in the last game. There isn't much to say other than it's more of the same, so let's move to gameplay.
The story may have been a continuation, but the gameplay did receive some upgrades. But funnily enough, the biggest upgrades and addition weren't to the game, but to the metagame. What I felt was the biggest new addition to the game was the introduction of assassins and contracts. In the game, their are people save from the guards. If you do, you recruit them. You can either call on assassins to kill people in the game, or you can send them on contracts. Contracts are missions that you have no involvement in (other than telling who goes on those missions), in which assassins go around the world doing various things. Each missions takes real-world time to complete, and at the end the assassins level up and bring back various rewards to you. I love this addition to the game because having the ability to train assassins that can be used at your disposal while bringing in rewards was really cool to see.
Other improvements were made to the game as well though. The city-building mechanics was given a big upgrade, guilds are expanded and even have challenges that can upgrade them, you can now pick up items and either sell them or use them to unlock weapons and armor, and you can even have guilds placed in certain areas using faction buildings. Unfortunately, not all of it is dandy. The game has a weird online investment system which I feel wouldn't be that great even if it was active and shop quests can't all be found at every shop. Still, the overall improvements made to the metagame were a lot of fun to see and use.
But that doesn't mean gameplay didn't receive upgrades either. Missions now have extra challenges you can try at, keyboard keys are now shown instead of symbols, parkour and combat have been improved on with combat being way less spammy, the new map is great, missions are even more varied, menus are smoother, you can now access an inventory screen in the pause screen, you can ride horses in the city and call for your horse, a new virtual trainer has been added, and a new mission type known as the Borgia's influence is a great addition. But it's in the gameplay where the biggest blows are made too unfortunately. The biggest issue I had with gameplay was a new move added that made combat way too easy. After a counter kill, you can keep one-hit killing enemies until you are interrupted. This works on all enemy types, and with any weapon. Not only did this make combat too easy, it essentially renders enemy types useless and I had no point in trying out and buying new weapons. Other issues I had with the game include that the game was kind of glitchy for me, and those damn harassers are back.
Now their is one big detail I have left out discussion until now and that is the map. Remember when I said that the game was smaller in scope when describing the story? Well, this is where it shows as well. In the previous two games, each game had multiple medium-sized maps. In this game though, you play in only one large map: Rome. Now at first, I thought this was a negative aspect to the game because the overall square footage has taken a hit. But the more I played the more I realized that having a single big map is much better than multiple maps. One big map allows the developers to focus in on one area, and it eliminated a lot of annoying aspects of the previous games. This game has less collectibles, less synch points, inner-map fast travel, and not having to constantly go from map-to-map. Still, only having one map makes the game feel smaller, which I hope doesn't downgrade the experience in future titles. Still, only one map is a big improvement overall.
One more thing I didn't talk about was multiplayer. Brotherhood implemented multiplayer into the game. This would have been the big addition I talked about earlier if it wasn't for the fact that multiplayer is dead (I actually saw one other person trying to play which surprised me). Still, the main mode sounds like a lot of fun and I hope to be able to play multiplayer in the future, just so long as it doesn't interrupt the flow of singleplayer content in any major way.
In the end, I would say that I had a solid time with AC Brotherhood. The game was more of a continuation than an improvement, but that isn't a bad thing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and AC2 was not broken. My time with this game was just about as great as the first game, but the one thing this game didn't have that the previous game did was that wow factor. It's like eating a really good burger the second time: It tastes as good as the first time, but you know that the first time you had that burger will always be the best time. As of now, this game will rest in between AC2 and AC1 as number two, and I predict that it will end up the middle-to-high range on the list. Thank you for reading part three and tune in for part four where I assume we end Ezio's journey in Assassin's Creed Revelations.