>Of all the big franchises out there that I’m proud to be a fan of, Assassin’s Creed is the one that I have the strangest relationship with. There’s only 3 games in the series, but the pattern has already evolved thus:
- I get phobic and downright hostile towards preview coverage,
- I start dreading the game’s release, thinking it’s going to be terrible;
- The game comes out and gets rave reviews;
- I buy it immediately and end up being totally in love with it.
This happened with AC2 – watch me go from skeptical (1)…to puppy love (2)…to serious man-crush (3)…to full-on infatuation (4). It’s true that AC2 ended up only being my 3rd favorite game of 2009, but look – 2009 turned out to be an amazing year, and I was torn between AC2 and Batman:AA as my 2/3 for weeks.
AC:Brotherhood took the phobia and hostility to new, unprecedented levels, however. First of all, I was not ready for a sequel this quickly – sequels that occur with this kind of pace rarely end up being great. (AC2 came out almost exactly a year ago, which itself came out almost exactly a year after the first one.) And, of course, the marketing for this game was totally screwed up – the initial coverage made it sound like it was multiplayer-only, which was definitely not what I wanted out of an AC game, and then when it was revealed that there was a single-player campaign also, I figured it was an obligatory tack-on, and then when it was revealed that it was still set in Italy, with Ezio, I was thinking that this was going to be some shitty quasi-expansion pack cash-in, and planned to avoid it at all costs.
And then the reviews started coming in, saying it was clearly the best in the franchise. And so my rental copy finally arrived last night, and I started playing, and now I’m totally hooked, again.
The most recent Giant Bombcast has an interesting bit of discussion regarding AC:B (starting at 1:05:22), with one point being that when you break down what it is you’re actually doing in AC:B, it sounds an awful lot like Fable 3. Consider:
- You are attempting to overthrow an evil, corrupt government
- You buy property and shops, which help beautify each area and which contribute to your own personal wealth
- There is an impending cataclysmic disaster that you must prepare for
And there are other comparisons to Fable 3 that are worth mentioning:
- It’s a sequel that appeared rather quickly
- The combat is better than in the previous game, but still a little janky
- The graphics engine is a little old – still capable of great stuff, but, still, old
That’s the last we’ll talk about Fable 3, though. The first hour of AC:B has totally quashed any and all desire I might have had to slog through a 2nd playthrough of Fable 3, and in any event, the bullet points I listed above are simply conceptual similarities – otherwise, you would never confuse one for the other.
I feel silly even talking about AC:B at this stage in my initial playthrough; I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s there, and I already know too much about what is to come. I suspect that most of the rest of this blog’s entries for the remainder of this year will be related to AC:B, and I can already tell that this game will make me rethink my top 10 of 2010.