Some lessons may be tough to learn and even tougher to accept, but some lessons are learned with the unadulterated enlightenment that comes from a joyous, life-affirming experience. Luckily, my latest life lesson was the latter. So what did I learn? Well, I learned what I already knew to be true, but what I hadn’t accepted to be true: A good game is a good game is a good game.
This lesson was learned via Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. In all honesty, I was a complete nay-sayer of this title for the longest time. I thought the original title was overrated, and the second was really well-made, but only good for a quick weekend. After an extremely enjoyable experience, I was hopeful for that Ubisoft would someday release an amazing sequel that yet again raised the bar in a completely refreshing setting with a completely refreshing cast. However, that’s not what was announced.
Upon hearing of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, I was immediately upset. Another Ezio game in less than two years? In an atmosphere where “annualization” was looking to ruin innovation as we knew it, this was seemingly the first sign that publishers outside of Activision were about to adopt this terribly disheartening approach. I was wholly expecting Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood to be Assassin’s Creed II with tacked on multiplayer and forgettable features. Well, I may have been wrong.
I recently had the pleasure of playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. After months and months of commenting blog posts and articles about how distressing the future of Assassin’s Creed may be, a copy of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood fell into my lap. I had previously decided that I had no interest in purchasing the game, but I couldn’t turn down a free run through. The start was a slow roll, but at about five hours in, I discovered that Brotherhood was indeed a much better game than the second.
The setting in Brotherhood is largely the same aesthetically, but the focus of the narrative allows Rome to develop as a much more realized backdrop for a truly more realized title. I find myself most addicted to the immersive economy, the risky but rewarding assassin party dynamics, and the openness of a Rome filled with tons of side-quests with brilliant dungeons. The amount of side missions and collectibles always had me distracted just long enough to enjoy my completionist tendencies while working my way through the story.
I didn’t play Brotherhood before the announcement of Revelations, though. So when I read the announcement for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, I had the same initial feelings as I had for Brotherhood, but ten-fold. It blew my mind that Ubisoft had yet again not moved on from the Ezio chronicles. I didn’t have even the slightest interest in checking it out while I was at E3, but now I regret that I didn’t.
Since finding Brotherhood to be an extremely amazing and immersive game, I had to check out Revelations. May I have been wrong to judge so quickly? To be honest, I was still a bit wary, but if Brotherhood blew my expectations out of the water, then Revelations was certainly worth my attention, at least.
After checking out the E3 demo secondhand, it seems as though Revelations may actually be a title that will yet again raise the brand. Revelations sports a brand new setting with a unique environment, an older and wiser Ezio, and some engine tweaking to tighten everything up. If it makes the strides that Brotherhood did and makes for a more imperative and engaging narrative, there’s no reason to have anything but respect for the title.
Now, I’m still reserving judgment for Revelations, but I am much more open-minded since playing Brotherhood. I still think Ubisoft should be wary of the creativity squelching over-releasing that has been plaguing too many games. If Revelations is a great game, though, I’ll simply accept it for what it is. What’s the point of denying a great experience? After all, Assassin’s Creed has been less stagnant than sports games, military shooters and other titles we expect seemingly less from. A good game is a good game is a good game.