By Zeniblade 0 Comments
Possible spoilers below, but it's been like 7 months since the game came out, so whatever.
So I hit 15,000 points yesterday. I consider this to be a fine accomplishment, given that I've only owned a 360 for all of 11 months now.
In addition, I'm glad to say that the game that put me over the top -- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood -- was one that I enjoyed a great deal. So much so, in fact, that I'm even considering finally going back and playing the first Assassin's Creed, which I've avoided up until now as all words point to it being kind of a bummer. It's funny how that works with games; in a movie or TV series, the first installment often establishes the characters and direction of the story and typically should not be missed. With video games however, the first installment of a successful franchise can often be the weakest entry (ex. Hitman: Codename 47, Assassin's Creed) simply by virtue of the developers still finding their footing in terms of balancing accessibility vs. what they are trying to accomplish with the narrative and the gameplay, and it may not be until the eventual sequel or even several games down the line, provided they are still allowed to continue working on the same franchise, that they are able to hit all the right points, and ship something truly spectacular.
In Brotherhood, I think they've come close. Ezio continues to lead the Assassins against the vile and corrupt Rodgrio Borgia (aka Pope Alexander VI) and his minions, this time taking the fight to Rome after his family's villa is attacked and destroyed by the Papal army in retaliation for the attempted assassination of the Pope at the end of Assassin's Creed 2. when the leader of the assassins and Ezio's uncle, Mario Auditore, is killed in the attack, it falls to Ezio and his close ally and confidant, Niccolo Machiavelli, to establish a new order of assassins in the capital city of the Catholic Church.
One of the most unique parts of the game is the actual formation of the brotherhood itself; as Ezio, you are given the opportunity to recruit dissident citizens into your order, and eventually send them on assassination/espionage missions all across Europe. In addition, the game allows you to call your assassins to do your dirty work work -- which is to say, stabbing dudes -- at any time, and in this, gives you one of the best mechanics the game has to offer. There's nothing quite as badass as standing on a roof and watching a quartet of guards walk by, giving a little whistle, and watch your assassins jump out of haystacks, off of rooftops, and out from the shadows, only to pounce on the unsuspecting guards while you quietly slip away, as if you were never there.
It's difficult to express exactly what it is that I enjoy so much about this series, but suffice it to say that it has become special to me. It's a rare thing indeed when a game inspires me to actually go out a research the historical context that it's based on.
Like, with books and stuff.*
Indeed, it's almost as rare to find a game whose story and characters are set against an underutilized historical setting such as Rennaisance Italy, as opposed to a fictional world that exists somewhere in the mind of a writer. Don't get me wrong; exploring other worlds and stories is perhaps the biggest reason I play games in the first place, but when a game is able to take a piece of history, hollow it out and beautifully present it to you, saying "go, seize and conquer", that's something that should not be missed.
All of this is a long, meandering way of saying that I am personally quite excited at the idea of another Assassin's Creed, and that this trailer was one of my favorite moments of E3 2011 (even if the press conference in which it was introduced was comically bad).
*Specifically, it was one book. The Prince. I didn't get very far.