This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been. . .never since my last confession. See, I don't like multiplayer. If my daughter brought a multiplayer game home, I'd whip it with a riding crop and rinse out her vagina with baking soda. But so help me, I played the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer. Not only that, but I unironically thought it was quite good.
The main problem I always have with multiplayer is that human beings are grabby, entitled, selfish, ugly, stupid, evil cockstoppers, but Ass Creed Bro cleverly embraces these qualities, with every player under orders to ruin someone else's day. You wander about in crowds clutching a single bitterly crumpled photograph of your target, spotting them, following them into a dark alley, and bidding "how do you do" with an extend-o-blade skullfuck. It's almost exactly like my last high school reunion. You can't deadleg me now, can you, Lee Drummond?
As a stealth game enthusiast, it's just all kinds of fun to stand by a market stall pretending to be an NPC, watching your target walk slowly down the street towards you also pretending to be an NPC, picking your moment to break off and jab him between the ribs. Ha! You got outNPCed, son!
What's that, father? No, I guess I won't keep playing it. That's the other thing I hate about multiplayer: I don't want to play the same game over and over again. I get enough dull routine in my sex life. Also, if the players hunting you are any good, then whether you bump into them or your target first is pretty much a crapshoot depending on who randomly spawned closest to who.
Yes, father, I suppose it barely counts as multiplayer at all when the only social interaction available is a knife in the eye, and it's more like some kind of survival challenge mode where other people use each other in place of AI opponents. And I still firmly believe that while a multiplayer-focused game selling for under 30 bucks for its DLC is fine, any game with the balls to charge the same price as nine back-alley blowjobs had better not show its face at my door without a decent single-player campaign in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other.
So no, I guess I'm not being hypocritical at all. Thank you, father, this has been a great comfort. It's a shame you're my current target. *stab*
What surprises me about Assassin's Creed: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is that it is actually a sequel. I assumed it was going to be some kind of optional add-on story for Ass Creed II in the mold of Final Fantasy X-2 but with hopefully less. . .well, less Final Fantasy X-2. But it's actually a significant installment in the ongoing Ass Creed canon. Except Ass Creed II 's plot was all about 15th-century assassin Ezio Auditore da Whateveritwas, while future Desmond, the blandest human being since Blandy McGee's tax accountant, sat around eating pies, and in Ass Creed Bro it's Ezio's turn to faff about for 10 hours while Desmond gets the significant plot updates.
I'm willing to bet this was some planned conclusion to Desmond's story that somehow got cut from Assassin's Creed II and which Ubisoft have now cheekily stretched out into a full game. That's fairly obvious, because gameplay-wise Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is pretty much just Assassin's Creed II 1/2: Oh No! More Faffing About! Ezio, being Italian and therefore shiftless and work-shy, forgets that he's literally an assassin and fails to kill Rodrigo Borgia, whose family promptly blow up Ezio's villa. Thank fuck for that, said I. At least now there'll be no more of that stupid city renovation sidequest, or so I thought.
"No more city renovation?" says Ass Creed Brotherhood. "Oh, sorry. I thought you said lots more city renovation!" Ezio moves to Rome to plan the attack against the Borgias while setting up his very own home assassination business with Niccolo Machiavelli and passes the time by buying up the entirety of Rome one shop at a time. Not sure what the thinking is here, Ezio, me old mate. Are you planning to assassinate the Borgias or just evict them? As before, the only purpose for a lot of this is to increase your regular income, but it's also pretty much the only thing you can spend that income on, creating this nightmarish tidal wave of money that only grows the more you try to get rid of it.
Meanwhile, future Desmond and his future Scooby Gang of attractive college students are traipsing around future Italy, searching Ezio's memories for the location of the recurring MacGuffin they think will solve all their problems. And I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say that it certainly does that!
At first, Brotherhood is simply more of Ass Creed II with only one city and a rockin' beard, but after a fairly ungainly amount of time into the game the one major new gameplay mechanic gets introduced: Ezio gets to take the Pied Piper role and picks up disaffected youth off the street to enroll them in his little assassin kindergarten. I consider it no coincidence that the maximum number of recruits you can have is the same as a football team plus one substitute, because the assassin mentoring minigame has a bit of a Championship Manager feel to it. You send your little Mini-Mes off to complete assassination and espionage missions around Europe, which sounds interesting, but it all takes place through text-based menus, and it's about as involving as filling out an application form for a provisional murder license.
The benefits for doing all this are threefold: more fucking goddamned by the Jesus money, leveling up your little tykes so that one day you can tearfully watch their graduation ceremony, and if you've got a few recruits knocking around spare while you're out in the field you can sic 'em on a target for an easy kill. But why should someone else have all my fun? What happened to you, Ezio? You sold out. It used to be about the killing!
To summarize my review of it, Ass Creed II was a good game, if a bit too easy and loaded with unnecessary shit. Lo and behold, Ass Creed Bro is all of that too, now frankly groaning under the additional unnecessary shit and even easier now that you can literally get someone else to do the work for ya. Under all that, it's still got enough of the good, but it's the same good, and was it really worth putting a whole new game out when they could have just released the multiplayer as DLC and not deprived me of a nine blowjob spectacular.
My understanding was that Ass Creed as a series was about exploring various historical settings with future Desmond as a framing device, but as much as I like Ezio my concern after two games is that we're getting bogged down with our spaghetti-scoffing friend. I hate to say it, but maybe it's time for the inevitable game entirely about future Desmond. He's still got the personality of a damp fish - which might explain what his fish-lipped girlfriend sees in him - but the other characters of the Scooby Gang are actually quite appealing, especially the snarky, sarcastic, misanthropic British man. He really rubs me up the right way. Can't think why!
- Historians now believe he was gay: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
- If more people gave up assassinations to play football this would be far more beautiful world
- Ezio gets around fast for a bloke wearing an entire laundry basket