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Climbing Into Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Assassin's Creed: BrotherhoodI didn't expect to like Assassin's Creed II when I started playing it at the beginning of the year.  I'd rented it on a lark because so many people told me that I had to try it.  I figured I'd spend a few days with it, see all that I felt the game had to offer, and return it in favor of the next thing, but instead I became wrapped up in the dueling storylines, the parkour gameplay, and the puzzles.  My goodness, the puzzles.  I went so deep into the game that I sprang for the downloadable memory sequences that rounded out the story and joined Ubisoft's Uplay program in order to unlock an extra catacomb that offered even more exposition.  I wound up buying the game in the end and finishing it (minus a few of the more maddening challenges) and have been eager to see where the adventures of modern-day Desmond Miles and his ancestor Ezio Auditore would lead next.  They led to the new Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360, and as I play through the game I figured that I would offer some insights on my progress.  Spoilers ahead, of course.

I love when a sequel picks up in the exact moment that its predecessor ended, so Brotherhood's opening impressed me.  Ezio is in the secret chamber underneath the Vatican where Minerva has just explained the true history of the world.  He has many questions, but those will have to wait until later.  Seeing as how Ezio's story continues directly, he still has all of his hard-earned power-ups, weapons, abilities, and money from the last adventure.  Brotherhood should be a snap with all of Ezio's gear, and surely he'll learn all new skills to compliment what he already knows, right?  However, in hindsight, I should have realized right then and there that this was not meant to be.  After a little refresher tutorial segment where Ezio makes quick work of his enemies, the inevitable moment where Ezio is taken by surprise and all of his mighty gear is smashed, lost, or otherwise destroyed occurs.  Think back to titles such as Metroid Prime 2: Echoes where protagonist Samus Aran begins at full power from her previous mission, but then is conveniently attacked and all of her advanced weaponry is destroyed.  Yep, that's right.  Poor Ezio got Samused.

That's not all though.  It's not enough for Ezio himself to lose all of his equipment.  The Monteriggioni villa that I spent the previous game building up is the next to go, as is Ezio's poor old Uncle Mario.  High point after high point from Assassin's Creed II is torn down to make way for the next chapter of the story, and while it may be necessary from a narrative point of view, it feels like a stab at players who saw the previous game through to maximum completion.  "Everything you did doesn't ultimately matter," the developers seem to say.  There's no going back here.  Instead, we go on to the next thing.

THE NEXT THING: Desmond vs The Intersect

Exploring Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood