Friday, March 11, 2011

Game of the Year 2010 // Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

The "Game of the Year" award goes to the game that had me hooked harder than any other game last year. If I wasn't playing this game, I was thinking about it. It made other games look lazy and deserves to be recognized as the best game of the year.

This time last year, had you asked me what I thought my Game of the Year would end up being, I'd have scoffed and said, "What a ridiculous question. You do realize that God of War III comes out this year, right?" And yet here I am, giving the award to Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, a game everyone thought would be just a lazy cash-in.

Anyone that knows anything about me is aware of my unhealthy love for Kratos and his everlasting rage. So... what happened? Well, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was a better game; that's what happened.

Holy shit that game was awesome.

So what was it that made Brotherhood stand out? Why was it so much better than every other game released in 2010? Glad you asked.

It Was The Boldest and Most Ambitious

On the surface, Brotherhood looks like an incredibly unambitious, uninspired game. It's set in the same time period as the last game and stars the same character, which initially seems like a betrayal of the franchise's core tenets. But those are such petty gripes when you consider how bold the game was in every other way.

Faster, better combat. Crazy new gadgets like poison darts and parachutes. The ability to leave the Animus any time you want. Challenge rooms. Recruiting, managing, and fighting alongside other Assassins. Multiplayer. Everything that happens in the last hour of the story.

Really, for such a big-budget game, it's shocking (and more than a little refreshing) how many risks it took. No other game last year felt this ambitious.

It Had The Coolest, Smartest Multiplayer

I'll be honest: most multiplayer games just don't seem to do it for me. They're too mindless and don't encourage style. Not to mention that I think playing against other humans is an incredibly overrated experience. It just feels like an empty experience, lacking the sense of purpose that a single-player campaign offers.

Brotherhood's multiplayer is unexpected, innovative, and fresh. It brilliantly slows the pace down dramatically, forcing you to play with flair and craft an interesting experience for both yourself and your victim. It's not just about whether or not you killed an opponent, but how.

That sense of purpose I've been craving is there, and the paranoia of knowing that unseen enemies are hunting you down is exhilarating, whether or not you're the one with the controller in your hand. It's everything I've wanted from multiplayer games lately.

It Was The Most Empowering

I don't care how awesome your customized gun was in Black Ops or just how "unleashed" your Force powers were, you simply cannot beat Ezio's finger.

Now, I don't mind feeling weak in video games; in fact, I often prefer it. It's usually much more interesting to play as a weak character than a stereotypical, overpowered badass. But when Brotherhood offers the ability to whistle and point at someone, then have your Assassin pupils appear out of nowhere to kill them, it's hard to argue.

The gutsy move to switch from flying solo like in previous games in the series to rolling with a crew of fellow killers really paid off. And so did the quicker, more brutal combat that made Ezio seem more like the bubonic plague than a mere Assassin.

It Was The Most Addictive

That burning tower represents my free time.

Even if I was only planning to play Brotherhood for a little while, I still made sure that the next couple hours of my schedule were clear. There's always something to do that's just around the corner, whether that's another shop to renovate, a side mission to take on, a flag off in the distance to collect, Assassin recruits to send on missions, viewpoints to get, towers to burn, etc.

And it's all really fun.

Brotherhood doesn't care that you have a life outside it. And you know what? Neither did I. It kept me up late at night and early in the morning. If I didn't outright skip class to play it, I spent the time thinking up multiplayer strategies. It's a stunning example of how to make an open world feel full.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood hooked me harder than any game last year, and that's why it's my Game of the Year for 2010.


  1. You sir, wouldn't know a good video game if it hit you in the groin. This game was good but bad in soooo many aspects.
    The graphics were not a step up from ACII and honestly in some areas may even be a step down.

    The stupidest addition to the game, was the sync system for missions! Omg was that god awful. It would have been cool like if you fail the sync you can restart from the last checkpoint. But no, you had to do the mission over again from the beginning! You know how many missions I had to redo just to get 100% sync on all the missions. And you aren't even rewarded for having 100% sync in the missions, like what's the point in putting it in the game if it doesn't mean anything?

    What made this near impossible was the guard AI's! Sometimes they would never see you sometimes they'd see you from a mile away! Most the sync's were don't get discovered or w.e. and you'd be sneaking through a castle or courtyard and some guard from fucking no where!? Like around the corner or a hidden rooftop spots you. and then what do you do? You start the mission from the beginning. You replay it to find out the guard is in a different spot or not there at all. Or a spot where no guard was before has a guard patrolling. This makes the game near impossible to guess the random spawns of the guards.

    Another thing is the multiplayer. Cool concept cool idea, I guess done well, but super shitty! First off their servers suck so much ass it's not even funny. Secondly, if you don't have the sweet ass perks you can only get when you're level 30 don't expect to get very many kills and expect your ass to get killed a lot! It makes it very frustrating when you are hiding and you have a guy who can use a perk to see where you really? What's the point of fucking hiding if they can see you!!!!? So overall this game i would say sucks, and is definitely not an improvement from ACII.

    You must not have played very many games if you think this was game of the year. Try Mass Effect 2, try Call of Duty: Black Ops, try so many more games. This game is no where even close to game of the year.

  2. Oh yeah and the story, like subject 13's video thing. Sucked ass. It gave like no information to the story at all.

  3. On the note of the sync stuff, I guess I can understand your frustration, but any game becomes that frustrating when you try to do missions perfectly. The 100% sync stuff was totally optional, so most of the time, I'd try for it and feel good if I got it, but if I screwed up, it was no big deal. So I just didn't run into many of the problems you did.

    The multiplayer, I'll admit, got a little ridiculous when you got to the higher levels. For instance, Manhunt was one of my favorite modes until I started running into teams that, on defense, would knock us down, wait till we got back up, then immediately knock us down again before we had a chance to defend ourselves. Utterly, completely stupid. Huge game flaw.

    The perks, too, were a pretty big game flaw by the end.

    Overall though, I loved the multiplayer. Yeah, it's not perfect and occasionally you have a match that's just not fun at all, but by and large, I had more fun with AC:B's multiplayer than any other multiplayer last year (all of which felt incredibly "been there, done that"), and it's definitely the coolest concept.

    Subject 13's stuff is the same kind of story tease we've been getting since day one. Either you like it or you don't. It's kind of like LOST. Hopefully it doesn't collapse as hard as that show did.

    But I /did/ try Mass Effect 2, and like the first one (which I beat), I just thought it felt like a mediocre 3rd-person shooter with a story that was hard to get invested in. Black Ops I only played a little bit of, but honestly, it just wasn't fun at all. I loved both Modern Warfare games, but I just don't think Black Ops is anywhere near the same quality.

    1. omg LOST....i see LOST commercials on G4 and it just hurts to be reminded...

  4. I WOULD think that.