Ezio Auditore da Firenze may just be one of the coolest heroes in recent memory with his intriguing heritage and masterful execution. However, despite how utterly enjoyable the Assassin’s Creed franchise has been, AC: Brotherhood left a sour taste in my virtual orifice and I intend to figure out why. What bothered me more than the ending was the shift of technicality from Assassin’s Creed 2 to Brotherhood. In AC: 2 you could virtuallly get away with almost anything. All the buildings and structures seemed to invite you to run up and about the rooftops with noob-ish ease. Most of the structures could be topped by simply holding the analog stick in the forward position.
In Brotherhood (as was the case in the later worlds of Ass Creed 2) the level design seems hell bent on transforming almost every structure/wall into a damn maze. I can understand wanting to challenge players and offer them a sense of accomplishment for overcoming obstacles but there are some of us out there that couldn’t care less about proving our worth as professional couch potatoes. How can you call what Ezio does “free-running” when almost every escapade across the gorgeously rendered buildings of “Roma” is interrupted with a structure so asymmetrically designed that it feels like you’re navigating a labyrinth?
If anything, Brotherhood seemed to cater to the notion that Ezio is no longer the spiteful youth he used to be. No longer does controlling Ezio feel like you’re above the law. When you’re having to navigate sewers for safe passage, scale all 4 sides of a building to find the correct route, rely on your guild to smooth out enemy areas, Ezio starts to seem very . . . human. However, Ezio is not a superhero and it’s possible to say that Brotherhood introduced a kind of realism to the franchise with the added gameplay difficulty. But what really got me into the series was the effortless freedom that free-running provided. Being able to leap, swing, jog, pounce, soar into almost any direction without consequence is an incredible experience that you will only find in the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Still, Brotherhood’s “challenges” were (at times) frustrating and it had the horrid effect of taking me out of the game and cursing the developers for over-complicating even the simplest tasks. I would go on to rant about the absurd “full synchronization” missions and the ridiculous restrictions they needlessly imposed, but the fact of the matter is that Brotherhood is very well-done game and the follow-up that’s soon to come (AC: Revelations) looks to deliver Ezio’s finest hour yet.
-Fifth Fleet Out-
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