Tuesday, November 8, 2011
My review of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
The story for this game picks up exactly where the second one left off. I won't go into detail about that. Like the second game, this one features Desmond Miles who is helping the Assassin's fight the evil Templars by going into a machine called the 'Animus' to relive the memories of his ancestor Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. He relives the memories of Ezio as an Assassin himself fighting the Renaissance Era Templars yadda yadda yadda even non-players should basically know the story.
The gameplay in this one is slightly different. This one pads the game even more than the second one did but still gets the occasional pass because, you know, you get to drive a freaking tank (and fire it) through the stretches of pointless roads....yes I know, only once though.
One new aspect of the game is something called 'fully synchronization'. That means, in order to truly beat the game you have to do exactly what the mission says with an added challenge or so help me you will not have the full satisfaction of beating the game! You wussed out on a few of those missions didn't you buddy!?
I can see why they have this. It adds additional playing time to the game. It even offers you rewards in the form of repressed memories you can go through. But here's the thing: they are still pretty darn pointless and pretty darn irritating.
For example, the first time you fight an order called the 'Followers of Romulus' you have to go through a 20-30 second cut-scene that introduces them and then you have to fight 13 of them. For full synchronization you cannot get a scratch.
In the upper left hand corner you see a bar that represents your health. Each time you get hit or fall you lose a varying number of the little squares. If you get a small scratch from a fight then one of the squares will go half empty and after a few seconds it will fill up again.
So, fighting the FOR up there I got a small scratch and healed and killed them all without another hitch...the game still didn't give me full synchronization for that minute scratch. So you have to keep trying and I must have tried about 15 times (literally) to achieve full synchronization. I had to watch that pointless cut-scene over and over again each time I got a small scratch. Eventually I realized that I could skip the cut-scene and i was very grateful...here's the problem though. I skipped the cut-scene and immediately I got attacked by one of the FOR. I got hit before I could even draw my sword (the only thing you can block attacks with). So, I realized my options were to watch the dang cut-scene every time I got hit and hope that THIS TIME I will not get hit, or skip it and definitely get hit. Either way I am screwed until I get it right. I eventually stopped out of pure frustration.
In another instance, you have to escort a wounded thief to a hideout without being detected by the guards. In the game you can go into crowds and hide so that is the best way to do it...or so I thought. Turns out with the thief even if you are hidden they still find you and you lose your shot at synchronization.
And there are levels were synchronization is simple. But there are definitely times where the objective is relatively simple but very lengthy. In one instance, you have to kill a cardinal. You have to go into a crowded square completely undetected by the guards and then you have to kill him while you are sitting on a bench. Here's the thing though, doing that requires memorizing the routes of the guards and finding difficult routes to get to the bench where the cardinal is. Then you have to wait for him to actually walk around to get to where you are (he has chats with a bunch of people on the way...no seriously he will just stop and stand there before moving on) if you get eventually do that then you are good to go. But if you mess it up, well sorry dude, you have to do that all over again if you want to get full synchronization.
I can see how it could be argued that the game designers wanted to add a new challenge to the game. But frankly it is just padding. We don't friggin' need it. If you want repressed memories find some different way to do it. Make them like the Subject 16 glyphs. If we don't find all of those then oh well. It is no failure on our part because we just didn't feel like playing that optional part of the game. But with full synchronization the designers (maybe inadvertently) mixed bitter failure with sweet success. I can't fully enjoy slashing the Followers of Romulus to ribbons because I let one nick me a bit. I know that full synchronization is optional but still, by adding that portion the game has moments that a small mistake means that failure is mixed with the success. When I finished killing all of the FOR I didn't think "man, it was totally awesome how I just stabbed that one dude in the head and then slashed another one in the neck a few seconds later" I felt more of "dang it, I let that one nick me a bit. I fail."
It's like the pointless mini-missions of the second one. Only gamers that care too much about beating the whole thing are going to spend the time and effort to get it all done. And it's not just something that you just go "ah, too bad. It doesn't matter that I didn't do it totally right." While that is true, there are apparently memories that you cannot access without doing it totally right. If you do want to spend the time getting full synchronization, you have to go back through and do it over and over again until you get it right. One of the best weapons in the game by far is the crossbow. If you beat the game and want to try an early memory again, you can forget the crossbow.
I am probably ranting here, but what I am saying is that the full synchronization thing is just plain mean. It isn't adding more challenge to the game as much as more padding and frustration by shoving failure into your face to go with the success. I can only hope it isn't in the next one.
The graphics are still amazing so that's a plus.
Also, there are moments int eh game where you get to use really cool modernish weapons (such as the aforementioned tank). Once again these missions are tarnished by the full synchronization aspect but they are still fun.
Overall I would highly suggest getting this game especially if you liked the first two. I loved playing it. I cannot wait for the next one to come out!
My official rating of the game: 9.0/10