Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is to Assassin’s Creed II as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is to Grand Theft Auto: III. That is, better and more polished in almost every way, but not a true successor to the series and not different enough to be considered one in any sense. It lays somewhere between an expansion pack and a sequel; Suffering from the middle child syndrome to some extent. Assassin’s Creed II was a huge leap in improvement over Assassin’s Creed I. Brotherhood doesn’t provide nearly that degree of improvement, but it layers additional polish to an already polished series, adding a new single player story as well as multiplayer action.
Assassin’s Creed II was an epic story spanning several decades. Brotherhood, being more condensed, does not have that degree of narrative impact but is still a good story (even though some of the plot missions feel a bit scatterbrained). I am also finding that I enjoy the side missions quite a bit. They are plentiful without feeling spread too thin, disjointed, or distracting from the main story (like GTA, I’ve only managed to finish one of those games, got bored with the rest). Rebuild your assassin empire one citizen at a time and kick back as a team of hand trained minions duke it out with a hoard of guards at your pleasure; It is a surprisingly satisfying experience. On the other hand, it feels a bit inconsequential. Level up the assassins and use them, or don’t. I don’t think it matters plot wise.
Combat is still way too counter heavy, but an execution streak system has been added: While executing your current target, you can continue a one hit kill streak by quickly selecting a close enemy with the left analog stick and hitting the square button. Though it’s more fluid, much of the combat still consists of mashing the X button while waiting for opportunities to counter attack. Even so, attacks a bit more diverse and there are a wider variety of weapons: From poisoned darts, to large two-handers to crossbow. Each weapon has it’s own flair. It’s not a huge combat improvement, but still an improvement nonetheless and most importantly, still very fun.
But you know what? I really like the Assassin’s Creed series, a lot. The overarching plot is a bit ludicrous, but I love the gameplay and there has been a notable and steady improvement with every title. I love the blend of fictionalized history with a science fiction edge. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood picks up literally right where Assassin’s Creed II left off (and in those few moments between games Ezio has managed to grow a beard?). If you haven’t played the second game, Brotherhood will make little to non sense. Similarly, if for whatever Godforsaken reason you did not enjoy the second game, Brotherhood won’t change your mind because it’s very similar. Highly recommended. Go stabify people.
…I am still convinced that Leonardo is mad at me. I can see the disappointment in his eyes, even after all these years (or months?). I would have bro hugged you if I had known 🙁