Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Death by killing

It took around three hours for the new Assassins Creed to get past the hand holding stage and allow me to wander the streets of Rome as I saw fit. In those three hours it made it abundantly clear that it has very little new to offer, that it is content to rest on the laurels of the previous excellent game, and that Brotherhood's entire purpose is simply to rustle up the funds for the next game. Think of it as Pixar's Cars (or Cars 2, blech): they need to sell some mediocre shit so they can indulge in the better stuff later on. I would me more accepting of this mediocrity if Assassins Creed 2 hasn't sold upwards of 8 million copies, making Brotherhood's very existence superfluous. Ubisoft, please don't pull an Activision on us and begin to 'exploit' you properties on a yearly basis. We don't need a new Assassins Creed every year, just give us a third game that eclipses the previous two in every possible way. Is that so much to ask? Apparently yes, as even the mighty Epic has pushed Gears of War 3 back another year to make sure it is up to the task.

Brotherhood is being held up to such impossible standards because the second game was very nearly perfect. Instead of an honest sequel what we have here is a side story picking up exactly where the last game left off. Points for continuity, but when I am doing exactly the same things in exactly the same way as the last game the tedium normally reserved for the last few hours of a title sets in almost immediately. It feels like I just got done jumping off of roofs into hay bales and stabbing fools in the back with hidden blades. Now I am doing it all again in another city that looks just like the last one.

Time out. Listen to me, complaining about how a very good game isn't good enough after having stomached Clash of the Titans, a bad movie cash in even on the drastically lower scale used to measure games of its ilk. Assassins Creed 2 wowed me in every way. It was an improvement over the first game from beginning to end. Brotherhood is simply more of the same with a multiplayer aspect tacked on that no one will play correctly no matter how good it is supposed to be. What's next, Assassins Creed: The MMO? Assassins Creed Licensed Kart Racing? Pizza by Ezio or Altair's Carpet Warehouse? I am so leery of brand over exposure that as soon as I see a second or third game with the same name on it I start trying to not enjoy myself. It's a wonder that anything Capcom does every gets my attention at all.

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