Nate-Dog (User)

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"ACII Black Edition is finally mine!"

Why I think Assassins Creed Brotherhood is the worst of AC, and a worrying title for AC fans

Nate-Dog | 1296d ago
User blog

I know I'm going to get some (well, probably a lot) of heat for this but screw it I'll go for it anyway. Just so you know, there will be spoilers ahead about AC:Brotherhood itself and possibly ACII and AC.

Lots of people have talked about what Ubisoft have achieved with the Assassins Creed series. Assassins Creed was a game that was in development for quite a while and was initially planned to be a Playstation 3 exclusive but was eventually announced to be a multiplatform title. Assassins Creed never really lived up to the potential it had, something which Ubisoft admitted a while ago in acknowledging that the hype that began to surface on the title resulted in them making the game a little more mainstream and simplified than they had planned.

Assassins Creed then looked a promising title but never really got off the ground. But Ubisoft knew where they went wrong and weren't afraid to admit their mistakes and try to fix things with Assassins Creed II, and that's exactly what they did. Much improved free-running and gameplay in general with fast-climbing, more hiding options such as blending with groups and on benches, aerial, ledge and hay-bale assassinations, and more of a focus on the player individual assassination sequences and pushing players to be more stealthy. Combat was much improved too from the drab affair it was in Assassins Creed, with different weapons such as the poison blade and the hidden pistol, and also different types of swords and heavy and small weapons being available to the player to buy and use with the new monetary system. Counter-attacking and dodging worked much more efficiently and combat, while still not feeling incredibly different and diverse, was much less dull and irritating as it sometimes was in Assassins Creed.

Assassins Creed II also grabbed our attention with wonderful visuals and graphics and a number of famous and beautiful locations to explore and enjoy, such as Florence and Venice. Story wise players were introduced to the life of a very likeable and interesting protagonist in the amiable and naive Ezio Auditore da Firenze, along with his encounters with a huge range of memorable characters in the supporting cast.

I've blabbed on enough already without even talking about Brotherhood, so let's get down to it, why the hate for the game?

First of all when you jump into Brotherhood you notice how similar it is to Assassins Creed II. In the surroundings of 16th century Italy, in combat, in characters, and even in plot. I was already sceptical about the release of Brotherhood so soon after ACII was released and in a setting that seemed so similar, but hey I enjoyed ACII and enjoyed AC so why wouldn't I like this? My main worry about the game was whether there was really any point in the game in whether the story would actually hold any importance in the overall arc of the AC plot, and it was easy to see on my first playthrough that I was justified in worrying about it.

The game begins directly after the ending of Assassins Creed II (much like ACII begins directly after the ending of AC, albeit a few hours later in that case) with Ezio and his uncle Mario escaping The Vatican with the Apple of Eden. From then on the game, to put it simply, tells the story of how the Assassins lost the Apple, and got it back again. It sounds like I'm literally just dumbing down the story to nothing (which I could perhaps do with ACII aswell and make it seem just as redundant a game), but think about it. The first number of sequences are about things that in ACII would have been skipped on but referenced to since they were so small and unimportant. Ezio has the Apple, Cesare Borgia, another unimportant character although that point is for later, attacks Monteriggioni and kills Mario and steals the Apple of Eden for the Borgia household. The next sequence you get to the Tiber Island hideout. The next sequence you just do missions for the courtesans, thieves and mercenaries to gain their help. The next sequence you rescue Caterina from the Castello Sant Angelo and then destroy one of Da Vinci's war machines. And so on and so on.

In Assassins Creed II I felt there was a point in me playing out what I was playing. I find out Umberto Alberti betrayed Ezio's family and plot revenge on him. Then I begin to find out more about the Templar order. Then I take down to Pazzi to keep Florence a republic in the hands of the Medici and to stop the Templars taking full control of more of Italy, etc. Everything regarding Ezio's story in Assassins Creed Brotherhood is so redundant and unnecessary. Even the main enemy and the main antagonist, Rodrigo Borgia's (or Alexander VI's) son, Cesare Borgia. Cesare first appears in ACB in Monteriggioni as he leads the attack of the Papal Forces on the area and takes the Apple of Eden from Ezio. After this point we get to see his influence and importance in the story, but there's one problem: it doesn't exist. Cesare appears sporadically, at one time to dash out of the Castello when Ezio is trying to save Caterina, at another time to kill a man who claims to have been a loyal servant of his but who made a mistake. We never really get to see much of Cesare until the 8th Sequence when he storms into the Castello whinging to Rodrigo Borgia about him cutting his money as he can't afford to pay Louis XII for his French forces amongst other monetary issues. Rodrigo tells him he took the Apple and hid it away. Cesare eventually kills Rodrigo and finds out the location of the Apple, as does Ezio and they begin a chase to see who will get to it first. Here Ezio regains the Apple for the Assassins and all is right with the world. He eventually also catches up with Cesare once more in the future after he has escaped from the confinement of the Spanish, and seemingly sends him to his death.

My point here is that Cesare Borgia's position in, not even just the overall AC plot, but even just in Brotherhood, seems meaningless. He is portrayed as an idiotic, naive child who doesn't know how to command his men. In Assassins Creed II, Ezio spends the game trying to reach whoever is at the top of the Templar order, at least in Italy, to make whoever ordered the death of the other men of the Auditore family pay. Throughout the game you begin to learn more about "The Spaniard" and how incredibly powerful he really is and eventually, after a long and ardous attempt through multiple intelligence sources and assassinations, Ezio finds his way to reach the ever illusive Rodrigo Borgia, and even then with his fellow assassins by his side he fails to despatch of him. In Brotherhood despite the claims of other characters such as Machiavelli and La Volpe, Cesare hardly seems like he's anything near untouchable, and in time you find that that is definitely the case.

Another one of my main gripes with ACB's structuring is the fact that the whole first 5 sequences are spent introducing new players to the world of Assassins Creed. I'm all for giving new players to any series a chance in to help them understand things and how they work, but not if it ruins the experience for the rest of the players. The first 4 sequences are spent showing players through the Romulus scroll / tomb missions (which are a pretty poor copy of the Assassin tombs from ACII), teaching players how to track and trail targets, how to hide successfully in groups, how to find targets with Eagle Vision, and a number of other things. I wonder to myself "didn't I already play this introduction in Assassins Creed II"? Sequence 5, The Banker (another unimportant character who's killing seems another pointless task to achieve), is the player's first real rest in the whole game for hiding and assassinating anyone, in real sense of the word "assassinate" that is; I found the lack of real assassinations in AC: Brotherhood extremely worrying. The introduction of the assassin recruits was an interesting idea but was another reason why combat and any tasks in general were too easy in ACB.

Only on the near-completion of my second playthrough of Brotherhood did I notice also how bad some of the scriptwriting is. The majority of the memory sequences spend their time giving fan service to Ezio, making him seem like an all knowing, all wise hero of the world. While Ezio is being shown as an infallible hero unable of any misjudgement or wrong-doing, we get cringe-worthy lines from the likes of Caterina Sforza saying something along the lines of "good people of Roma, don't give up hope your time of freedom will come!" and other things such as "Vittoria agli Assassini!" (Victory to the Assassins!). You also begin to notice some other slight issues with certain story elements too. Ezio, a complete womanizer throughout Assassins Creed II, perhaps until he meets Rosa the thief who he seems to become quite close to, at the start of Brotherhood looks as if he wants to settle down for a while with Caterina Sforza, someone who he has had 2 short interactions with, while Rosa has disappeared completely despite being intimate with Ezio for a much longer period. Is she suddenly unimportant in the AC plot because Caterina Sforza was a real person and a historical figure?

Then there's the combat. The thing about a lot of games this gen is that obviously with newer technology developers have more tools available for their games and they can give players more options, but I feel Brotherhood's combat additions are more of a hindrance to ACB (and possibly all future AC games) than a help. The problem with combat in ACB, is that it is incredibly too easy. The addition of the "kick" means that instead of waiting patiently to counter your enemies's attack, or trying to dodge their attacks and break their defense from there, all you need to do is press X (or A) and attack 3 times with the sword and bam, you're done. You also have killstreaks which honestly I can't understand the inclusion of. Basically once you break one enemies' defense and kill them, all you need to do is press the attack button once and aim the analogue in the direction of any other enemy for an instant kill, and you can just do it over and over and over. If that's not enough, there's the introduction of the Crossbow. The crossbow has been teased to players ever since one of the first trailers for Assassins Creed (1), but you can tell why it wasn't included so soon. The crossbow is a way to silently kill any enemy that is from near-medium distance away without any scruple. Again the problem with this is that it makes the game way too easy and reduces that classic tension and patience you have to have in any moment of any old stealth game, like say Metal Gear Solid 1 for example, where you know that around any corner there could be enemies and where you are forced to be as stealthy as possible. With the crossbow in ACB even if an enemy is looking directly at you and from just a few yards away with his suspicion meter rapidly filling you can speedily grab your crossbow and take him out with one simple shot. One of the main problems with this is that it makes the use of the throwing knives, a key item in Assassins Creed, completely useless, especially since with certain enemies it will often take 2 throwing knives to kill them.

I don't hate Brotherhood completely. The Desmond sequences to me are the only parts of the game which stay true to the AC story and style and are of any real relevance, particularly the final 15-20 minutes of course. What I'm getting at is this question: why couldn't Ubisoft leave out Brotherhood and really go for the next title to make it as good as it can be? Brotherhood spent 2 fifths of the game introducing the franchise and gameplay to new players, another quarter giving fan service to Ezio with some absolutely really awful dialogue making the assassin order seem as if everything they do is morally simple and correct, another fifth buying things from shops and walking up to multitudes of signs to rebuild Rome, and the final fifth actually forwarding the story with Desmond's sections.

Perhaps the most ironic thing is that despite all of my complaints, right or wrong, I have a bit of hope for Revelations. Ezio reaching Constantinople and searching for a number of things, Altair's return at what could be a fairly important time in his life, and Desmond's story too. Assassins Creed (1) had a wonderful setting, something almost completely alien to what we experienced in ACII and AC:B, but with the gameplay flaws among other things it wasn't as good as it could have been. I think with the jumps ACII made AC:Revelations could be a lot of fun, but clearly I am very worried about where the series is going and whether the AC plot and games in general is going to suffer because they want the series to "appeal to a wider audience". While Ubisoft are clear about their desires to continue AC as a yearly franchise I don't think it is the best option for them, especially if they do the same with Assassins Creed III.

There are some things I have left out since I have spent an age writing this (and didn't plan on writing this much) so apologies and also apologies if some things seem ambiguous or written poorly which if so is probably because of the same reason.

xX-StolenSoul-Xx  +   1296d ago
I've actually loved Ac Brotherhood, if it aint broke don't fix it.

AC II was actually my first Assasins Creed Game and i fell in love with the series.
I do think AC II was a better story but thats not to say AC Brotherhood was bad, it was great.
I do wish they have chosen a differnt Location instead of Rome because it was to similar to Ac II but i got around to it and enjoyed it still.

The next AC is really going to end Ezios' story and they'll move on to AC 3 afterwords, i don't really expect to many changes in Revalations tough.
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sdtarm  +   1295d ago
They are only milking the franchise, AC is the most successful title Ubi have had in years and the CoD effect comes with it,

I loved AC, liked ACII and totally hated AC BH
GrieverSoul  +   1294d ago
My problem with Brotherhood is actually the milking like sdtarm said. The games was good but the plot is being strecthed. The whole AC plot was written while the first game was being developed. It was supposed to come out in 3 parts. Ubi saw an opportunity to milk this game since their Prince of Persia franchise went down the drain with bad gameplay and design decisions. So they are milking AC. The story is being stretched! the game might be good, im not saying otherwise, but good isnst the same as marterpiece. And AC might have been one if it maintained the I, II and III sequence. To tie all the loose ends, Ubi might change the original script and the end might suffer from it. Only time will tell.
Dio1080  +   1296d ago
You first AC was the worst of the series. AC2 was better than 1.
rabidpancakeburglar  +   1296d ago
Definitely, I thought that they first was just too repetitive and when I played it on my ps3 it was unbelievable how slow the xmb became when I brought it up
theEx1Le  +   1295d ago
Thats not because of the game, thats just the xmb.
Brownghost  +   1295d ago
i still feel that AC1 was a very beautiful game with a repetitive story, beautiful setting, and great characters with fun gameplay just repetitive missions and boring AIs
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rabidpancakeburglar  +   1295d ago
theEx1Le
No it was definitely an effect the game was having on the xmb, the only other game which made it half as slow as assassins creed did was fallout 3
LadyGaga  +   1295d ago
I didn't really see how AC2 really improved on AC1's biggest flaw - the combat. It's still slow, and you're still just waiting for the enemy to attack so you can counter. You just don't feel like a badass in those games.
dinkeldinkse  +   1294d ago
Have you played Brotherhood?
Unlike AC II, Ezio is basically invincible with the counterattack. With a little practice, you can basically go through the game without being hit.

I did the combat skill challenge where you see how many enemies you can kill before Ezio's health is depleted and I had like 130 kills in a row without being hit and then I gave up because it wasn't fun anymore.
SageHonor  +   1296d ago
The combat in all AC games are lame.. The A.I. has alwas been dumb too.. But i get what you mean. Brotherhood and minor things better than AC2.. In terms of gameplay. But i only payed 20 bucks for AC2..

AC is a franchise I kinda love and hate. But revelations isnt a must buy for me. ill wait for a price drop. Too many other games above that in my eyes

Also, just a thought.. dont all AC games have the assassins nearly wiped out or something like that while the Templars are in power? Kind of a pointless war ehh? I mean Desmond is in a Templar dominated present and we play the flashbacks trying to stop the Templars. Thats a main focal point and it all seems like its for nothing
xX-StolenSoul-Xx  +   1296d ago
I'll wait for a price drop as well, i usually don't buy Single player titles at full price, Yes, brotherhood does have multiplayer but it's definatly not something i spent alot of time on.
Fez  +   1295d ago
I wouldn't say templar dominated, considering the assassins have a world wide network and were also able to infiltrate abstergo industries.

The whole point of the flashbacks, i.e. the actual game, is to find clues on how to defeat the templars in the present day, so it isn't for nothing.

-
Looking forward to Ezio's story being wrapped up, but even more so to a new main protagonists or better yet modern day desmond for AC3.

Edit: Good blog with good points. Combat being far too easy was my biggest gripe with the game. Hope revelations changes things up.
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Ducky  +   1296d ago
More or less exactly how I felt about Brotherhood too.

It all felt unimportant and there wasn't much intrigue in the plot like the previous game... but it was still fun gameplay-wise.
dinkeldinkse  +   1296d ago
The one thing that irritated me is that in ACII,
It's Ezio vs Rodrigo Borgia and Ezio defeats Rodrigo, but lets him live. In AC:B, it's Ezio vs Rodrigo Borgia's family with Rodrigo being almost non-existant in the game. It just bugs me that Rodrigo is a very minor character in AC:B and that his family, who are non-existant in ACII, take over as the antagonists in the game. It would have been better if Rodrigo had been killed by Ezio.
thorstein  +   1296d ago
"Those who can, do. Those who can't criticize."

I can't wait to see your better version.
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Nate-Dog  +   1295d ago
I don't recall saying I knew how to make a game but fair enough I see your point, I spend way too much time criticising games anyway admittedly I'm not going to deny that.

The things I would have done differently would mainly be: Cesare Borgia would have had more of an influence on the game and wouldn't be portrayed as such a poor character too. He was a much smarter man than he was made out to be (at the ending where we got to see more of him that was actually a realistic portrayal of him then since at that stage he had gone down to many crossroads between the French and Louis XII, his father, the Papal Army, and other Italian families he had become involved with such as the Orsini, and since he had no money to pay Louis all the money he had owed him which put ruin to a lot of his plans) and was very cunning and tactical in warfare. I would also have left out all the fan-service to Ezio and his over-exagerrated portrayal as, well pretty much a straight up hero. I'm not saying everything was wrong, but in ACII he was the type of character a player could relate with which I like in some of my games and in general was more realistic, but in ACB he seemed to be championed too much and as I said above just seemed infallible like it was all done to impress the new players to the franchise.

As for gameplay well simply I really have never seen the need for the killstreak and kick option, even in AC while the combat was repetitive and too simple it was tough and as it should be, no matter how good a fighter Ezio (or Altair) is when he is surrounded by 5-10 enemies, some of them being brutes and archers among others, he should at the very least have a bit of difficulty in taking them out. ACII needed improvements too, maybe something like to improve fights with bigger enemies such as brutes maybe when Ezio dodges their attacks since they're so slow to turn (and since he often with a dodge jumps right behind an enemy) he can kill them with a stab in the back, like how you kill any enemy that hasn't seen you when you attack him from that position with a sword? It's an idea, obviously not completely thought out but I just felt kicking and killstreaks in particular really put a dent in any tactics or skill required in combat.

And assassinations. Ubisoft are great developers, and in ACII in particular they gave us a number of great and stealthy assassinations to pull off while getting up close with some great set-pieces among other things. My main example would be the Sequence 13 DLC (despite how ridiculous that "DLC" was), where you had a set of 9 very different assassinations to pull off, each with different surroundings and ways for the player to do that assassination. One was on a boat, where you had to jump off of a building to the boat and try and climb up, while around 5-6 guards were patrolling the ground and the entrance to the boat, and a heap of other guards were on the boat itself, including brutes, guarding your target. Another was on a rooftop protected by guards on that area. On the ground you had a whole heap of other guards (which prevented you simply walking underneath the building he was on top of and climbing up to get him), and you had a number of archers around on the rooftops which meant you couldn't simply run to a far rooftop and walk along until you got to him. And another was set with your target at one door of a square while you began at the other side, needing to utilise static and moving groups, benches and speed (as the guards would break up a group if they suspected you and you walked into a group to hide there) to get to your target without being caught. Just a few examples, Ubisoft know how to make some great assassination sequences but I don't know why they avoided them in ACB.
TenSteps  +   1295d ago
You should look at your own comment at least Nate-Dog puts some thought in his criticizing as opposed to you criticizing without putting much thought.

On-topic:
Ironically though I love SP more than MP in most games I find it funny that I only really played the AC series for the MP (basically I only liked Brotherhood only for the MP... yay I'm probably the odd man out in here).
thorstein  +   1294d ago
"puts some thought in his criticizing." You're kidding right? Criticizing is for non contributing zeroes that can do nothing but criticize be it movies, video games, or books, etc.

Until someone can actually do what the developers are doing, they need to shut the eff up. If a developer criticizes a game, I can sit back and say, "Well, at least they know what the eff their talking about." Critics are mostly useless. Their opinions amount to a pile of dung in the grand scheme of things.

No. If you are going to spend time writing about games, find out what the devs like to play. That would be far more interesting than listening to someone who knows nada about the actual processes of making games criticizing the actual games, hence the statement: I can't wait to see your better version.

Ever notice that Critics HATE being criticized. Lulz.
frnkyl  +   1296d ago
I thought Brotherhood had much better gameplay than AC2.
Brownghost  +   1295d ago
it does this guy keeps wanting all the ACs to have improvements similar to AC2
Digitaldude  +   1295d ago
You are right, however this is becoming such a re-occurring trend in video games its just common practice really.
Adding a canon story which adds very little to a franchise's world, adding small gameplay elements and shipping the game at full price.
Brownghost  +   1295d ago
ive played all and brotherhood was better than all of them and a great package with online the graphics were greatly improved with better character models and never gets old
kane_1371  +   1295d ago
You said it your self!!!!
You have new choices!!!
YOu are not forced!!!!
Gosh!!!!!
I think Ubisoft owes us an apology now cause of making many aspects of the game more realistic.
I mean who would use a crossbow for a silent kill?
Instead lets run into their face and bring dozens of soldiers running to us.
Specially since AC:BH is full of soldiers, that's gonna give you the "Classic thrill" or whatever we want, right? RIGHT?
Caleb_141  +   1295d ago
I can understand where you're coming from; especially with the games being too easy and how they bigged that up at E3 2006 to not be the case.

Well done for taking out of your time to write such a large piece :) *claps*
IM_A_NINJA  +   1295d ago
I will say I liked a lot of things Brotherhood did, like where you can recruit your own Assassins and things like that, but I also felt it had more of a add on or expansion pack then anything. I think Ubisoft is intentionally dragging out the story a bit, especially with Ezio.
outwar6010  +   1294d ago
ezio is an awesome character
outwar6010  +   1294d ago
i enjoyed the game alot and await assassins creed revelations with excitement
N3FAR105  +   1289d ago
There aren't many differences between ACII and Brotherhood which I welcome as ACII was brilliant. Brotherhood just seemed a bit more refined in the controls and had the ability to take your horse into the city and multiplayer of course. I hope Revelations is what Brotherhood is to ACII.

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