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I’ve replayed ACII and Brotherhood for the first time in 10 years…

Now, I know this isn't a reddit for multiple playthroughs, but considering it's been so long since I've played these games I feel like I've had a new perspective to reflect on.

I don't call myself an Assassins Creed fan, but it's probably one of the most important franchises in my gaming history. OG Creed was the main reason I asked for an Xbox 360 from my parents, and while I liked the setting and introductory story beats, the combat and mission structure had me tapping out halfway through the adventure. Once Assassin's Creed II rolled around, it was everything I ever wanted in an AC game. AC 2 along with Arkham Asylum (Both came out in 2009) were 2 titles that solidified my love of gaming, putting it above most other mediums in terms of past times and inspired me to gradually learn about gaming's history. I recently picked up the ezio collection on PS4, mainly to play Revelations which I never actually got around it. But I said "F*** it lets blow through the whole trilogy". That being said, I've only knocked down the first two games which I haven't touched in years. I thought my experiences revisiting them were worth it's own post.

First off, I couldn't believe how dated the parkour feels in modern day hands. I platinumed Syndicate last year, and adored how seamless it felt (most of the time) to zip around London. The best word I can use to describe Assassins Creed II and Brotherhood is "fumbly". It's easy to stick to something you didn't intend to, and it can be hard to get a proper sense of momentum and speed when traversing around the rooftops. That Boy Aqua has some good videos describing the development of parkour throughout the series. That being said, it feels more strategic than instantly gratifying. You have to line up your jumps a lot of the times and think about what you need to do next rather than mash in whatever direction you choose. If you go back and play the old Tomb Raider games, it feels even more difficult and precise in regards to getting around. I wouldn't say AC II's parkour is bad however, just a bit of a different vision.

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Stealth also feels very dated. I completely forgot you couldn't crouch in these games. It's really weird seeing Ezio casually saunter about a templar infested base nonchalantly tossing out throwing knives to nearby guards. While you could criticize the brain dead AI who stand with a dopey expression wondering why their colleague is suddenly taking a bloody snooze on the concrete, I've always found it hilariously endearing. I think stealth can be really difficult to nail effectively for developers and I've always despised the Uncharted style AI where every mf'er immediately knows where you are the second one of them sniffs your farts. So if it's going to be one way or the other, dummy bots are always laughably welcome.

One thing I do remember hating all those years ago though was the Desmond sections. I HATED Desmond when I was a teenager and just wanted to play as Ezio 24/7. Nowadays I find Desmond's gang weirdly endearing. Perhaps it's just a fondness for seeing Ubisoft try to tether these games with some kind of over branching narrative. Is it technically great? I don't really think so, but in 2021 I kind of appreciate the effort at least.

Once I was halfway through Brotherhood, I thought to myself that playing these games back to back might have been a bad idea and that I should probably put off Revelations for a bit, however I forgot how legitimately great the third act of Brotherhood is. I won't spoil, but I don't think I appreciated how great Cesare is as a villain in my first playthrough and if anything, I'd have loved to have seen more of him this time around. I always thought the final hours of AC 2 were a bit underwhelming (Hello codex page collecting) but the Brotherhood conclusion has me thinking "Hot dang I need to boot up Revelations ASAP".

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So while these two games might have some crow's feet, I'm super happy I went through them. One thing that I really like is while they have open worlds and side content, it doesn't feel TOO much. I recently started the Witcher 3, looked at the size of it and went "NOPE". One of my main problems with games nowadays is that there's kinda too much for me personally. In my opinion, Horizon and God of War had too much in it which cost them points in my personal experiences playing them.

That being said, while the Rome setting is great, I didn't really care for the city management this time round. But I appreciate a game that doesn't force you to play the side stuff to justify it's existence and you can just enjoy the experience for what it is.

Will be back with my thoughts on Revelations soon

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