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post #211 of 230 Old 12-30-2012, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

Sales were far lower than expected for AC3 and the cost of production, development, marketing were much higher than previously. Overall quality was way down, too (objective quality in terms of bugs and design, not subjective quality in terms of story, style, etc.).
So it is a real question.

Are we sure about sales? The game sold 7 million as of 12/12, and 3.5 million in the first week, twice what Revelations did last year.

Maybe they expected 9 or 5 or something but that's a lot of games.
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Your opinion is valid, however I can still say that I liked AC1 best of the series (I've played all games except AC3) because it took me somewhere wholly new and immersed me in a great environment and multiple stories. I found AC1 fascinating, despite the repeated mission types, because I got to explore these older times. When I read Confidenceman's guide to removing the HUD, I appreciated AC1 game design even more.

This is how I feel about AC3, I guess, except it has genuinely good mechanics and interesting things to do. I went to Boston this year as a tourist and it's cool to see stuff in the game and imagine how the city looked back then compared to today (King's Chapel, Fanueil Hall, Boston Common, Paul Revere's house, cemeteries, etc.). They really did insanely good work, even the contours and hills are accurate. Yes I know it's not 1:1, apparently it is a 25% scale, but it's still better than anything that has come before. I also really appreciate that it is a subtle, nuanced take on the Revolution, something that we so desperately need. I guess it takes a bunch of Canadians to do it.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/gaming/2012/10/assassin_s_creed_iii_is_a_thrilling_hyperdetailed_journey_to_the_colonial.html
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post #212 of 230 Old 12-30-2012, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by number1laing View Post

Are we sure about sales? The game sold 7 million as of 12/12, and 3.5 million in the first week, twice what Revelations did last year.
Maybe they expected 9 or 5 or something but that's a lot of games.
They were hoping/expecting much higher. Late generation, lackluster reviews, sequel fatigue, highly publicized bugs, etc. took some of the wind out of its sails/sales.
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This is how I feel about AC3, I guess, except it has genuinely good mechanics and interesting things to do. I went to Boston this year as a tourist and it's cool to see stuff in the game and imagine how the city looked back then compared to today (King's Chapel, Fanueil Hall, Boston Common, Paul Revere's house, cemeteries, etc.). They really did insanely good work, even the contours and hills are accurate. Yes I know it's not 1:1, apparently it is a 25% scale, but it's still better than anything that has come before. I also really appreciate that it is a subtle, nuanced take on the Revolution, something that we so desperately need. I guess it takes a bunch of Canadians to do it.
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/gaming/2012/10/assassin_s_creed_iii_is_a_thrilling_hyperdetailed_journey_to_the_colonial.html
The settings in AC3 are so much deader and flatter than the settings in the prior games. The cities in the earlier games felt like "characters" in their own right. I could go on, but I've already said most of my piece on the many ways that AC3 is a disappointment.

It sounds like AC3 really appeals to people who didn't like the prior games all that much. It's more action-focused. More linear. More automated. More hand-hold-y. Much easier. Etc. All the things that are typical of bloated AAA games these days. But for fans of the series, reactions vary from "it's okay" to "it's a disaster." I'm somewhere in the middle. Regardless, for me, this game was the straw that broke the camel's back for big AAA releases. I'm sticking mostly to smaller games made by smaller teams from here on out. They're less compromised, less pandering, less patronizing, less buggy, etc.

The AC series had been the last bastion of quality, intelligent game design at the AAA level. But now that that's gone, there's no reason to bother with big games for the time being. It's not that AC3 is "that bad." It's really just that it's not "that good." Thanks to AC3, I've realized that my money and time are best spent on higher quality games that treat me with some amount of skill and intelligence. These days there's more than enough of those to go around. Next generation may bring some much-needed vitality to big games, but in the meantime, I'm not holding my breath.

Looking back on my favorite games of the past year, this is the first time this generation when the majority of my favorites were made by teams of less than 100.

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post #213 of 230 Old 12-30-2012, 01:11 PM
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I don't agree with your assessment on AC3 vs. AC2, considering I've often said that AC2 was one of the easiest and most brain-dead games I've ever played. Worst of all, I also felt like I was fighting the mechanics every time the game tried to stretch things out a bit, like exploring those tombs with that awful control and animation system.

Smaller games from smaller teams sounds like a regression to me. We're getting to the point where developers are enabling people to explore stunning alternative worlds and carve out their own experience, but now it is time to go back to 16-bit 2D? I hope not. The big-budget games we get today are the type I dreamed out about as a kid.

This year we got some truly interesting huge games, not just this one, but titles like Far Cry 3, Planetside 2, and Dishonored. I know a lot of companies are trying to figure out a way to not make games like this anymore, but that doesn't sound very good to me.
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post #214 of 230 Old 12-30-2012, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by number1laing View Post

I don't agree with your assessment on AC3 vs. AC2, considering I've often said that AC2 was one of the easiest and most brain-dead games I've ever played. Worst of all, I also felt like I was fighting the mechanics every time the game tried to stretch things out a bit, like exploring those tombs with that awful control and animation system.
AC2 is only slightly better than AC3 IMO, so that's a bad point of comparison. AC1, ACB, and ACR are the real "heart" of the series where the dev team nailed story, mechanics, setting, and system design. As far as challenge goes, it's all about how you measure it. For me, the challenge in the AC series lies in how you put the various systems to use to complete your missions. Combat, stealth, emergent events, and environment all work together and can be put to a variety of uses. It's a real strategic playground. AC3, in contrast, forces you to play just one way using just one or two basic mechanics. The sense of variety and experimentation and exploration is almost completely gone in AC3. That was the challenge of the prior games. In AC3, you just connect the dots until you reach the end. AC2 had a similar structural problem, but at least you could open it up if you wanted. AC3 never "opens up" in the same way.
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Smaller games from smaller teams sounds like a regression to me. We're getting to the point where developers are enabling people to explore stunning alternative worlds and carve out their own experience, but now it is time to go back to 16-bit 2D? I hope not. The big-budget games we get today are the type I dreamed out about as a kid.
This year saw a lot more coming from small teams than just 2D retro platformers. Journey, Dyad, and The Walking Dead are just a few of the awesome "small" games that came out this year. Big games are becoming too expensive for companies to take risks on. This gen, some of the most talented people in the industry got frustrated with all of the bloat and watered-down financially-motivated creative decisions, so they've all started up a ton of much smaller dev studios doing all kinds of awesome work. Double Fine is the poster child for that trend, and I don't think they've done a single "16-bit 2D" style game (yet).
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This year we got some truly interesting huge games, not just this one, but titles like Far Cry 3 and Dishonored. I know a lot of companies are trying to figure out a way to not make games like this anymore, but that doesn't sound very good to me.
I've yet to play Dishonored. I started it and lost interest. I don't see anything especially "new" going on. I'm also not sure how big its team was, but I don't think it was all that big by today's standards (maybe right around 100?). And even though I'm enjoying Far Cry 3, it's no Far Cry 2. I'm still fiddling with it and trying to "fix" it by introducing artificial constraints and rules. It's a broken game as is. Many of its design issues are the same issues in Ubi Montreal's other big game from 2012.

Big games are pretty, yes. But they're not interesting or smart. I hope the next generation brings some fresh ideas at the AAA level (Watch Dogs looks promising), but I'm not confident about the rest of the current gen's AAA prospects. AC3 was the nail in the coffin for my experience with big games.

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post #215 of 230 Old 12-30-2012, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

Looking back on my favorite games of the past year, this is the first time this generation when the majority of my favorites were made by teams of less than 100.

Maybe this belongs in a separate thread, but can you name your favorites from 2012? You mentioned Journey, Dyad, and Walking Dead; are there others?
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post #216 of 230 Old 12-30-2012, 02:11 PM
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Maybe this belongs in a separate thread, but can you name your favorites from 2012? You mentioned Journey, Dyad, and Walking Dead; are there others?
Off the top of my head, here are some other small games I really liked this year: Mark of the Ninja, Sound Shapes, Lone Survivor, Trials Evolution, Fez, Dodonpachi Maximum, Akai Kitana, Super Hexagon, and Hotline Miami. I didn't mention them above because only one is on PS3, and they are almost all of the "16-bit 2D" variety that number1laing mentioned. 2D goes with the low-budget territory. A few others from 2012 that I have yet to play, but that I expect good things from: Xcom (which was also by a medium-to-small team), the Legend of Grimrock, Spelunky, Incredepede, and FTL. The only big game I really liked this year was Max Payne 3. But there was nothing very new about it. It was just a very highly polished, intelligently written, and well acted game. I might put Far Cry 3 in that list if I can figure out how to tweak the settings and "rules" to turn it into a good game.

Back on topic, AC3 isn't really different from the majority of other big-budget games. And that's what's so disappointing about it. I'm not a big summer blockbuster movie fan, either. I enjoy them fine. Just like I enjoy big blockbuster games just fine. But prior to AC3, the AC series stood apart from the pack for being a big-budget series for small-budget tastes.

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post #217 of 230 Old 12-30-2012, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

This year saw a lot more coming from small teams than just 2D retro platformers. Journey, Dyad, and The Walking Dead are just a few of the awesome "small" games that came out this year. Big games are becoming too expensive for companies to take risks on. This gen, some of the most talented people in the industry got frustrated with all of the bloat and watered-down financially-motivated creative decisions, so they've all started up a ton of much smaller dev studios doing all kinds of awesome work. Double Fine is the poster child for that trend, and I don't think they've done a single "16-bit 2D" style game (yet).
I've yet to play Dishonored. I started it and lost interest. I don't see anything especially "new" going on. I'm also not sure how big its team was, but I don't think it was all that big by today's standards (maybe right around 100?). And even though I'm enjoying Far Cry 3, it's no Far Cry 2. I'm still fiddling with it and trying to "fix" it by introducing artificial constraints and rules. It's a broken game as is. Many of its design issues are the same issues in Ubi Montreal's other big game from 2012.
Big games are pretty, yes. But they're not interesting or smart. I hope the next generation brings some fresh ideas at the AAA level (Watch Dogs looks promising), but I'm not confident about the rest of the current gen's AAA prospects. AC3 was the nail in the coffin for my experience with big games.

Journey and Walking Dead are both terrible games. Journey is a platformer without any challenge, mechanics, exploration, or level design. Just like Flower, it's pretty graphics and pretty graphics. Walking Dead is a barely interactive choose-your-own-adventure. The idea that these games are vanguards for the next generation is, in my opinion, insulting to the many developers out there actually trying to make better games. And it's wildly disappointing to me as a gamer.

Trials Evolution is a great game, it's wildly entertaining, challenging, and has great control and physics. I'd be happy if that game got all the praise that TWD and Journey got, but it didn't. Fez is crap too.
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post #218 of 230 Old 12-30-2012, 06:05 PM
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Journey and Walking Dead are both terrible games.
Wow. We'll just have to agree to disagree there. Maybe not the best games ever, but easily among the best of the last year.

Off topic, so I'll put my responses behind spoiler tags:
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Journey is a platformer without any challenge, mechanics, exploration, or level design. Just like Flower, it's pretty graphics and pretty graphics.
I wouldn't call Journey a "platformer." It's an adventure game. There's an enormous amount of exploration and discovery. It's a game that doesn't hand you anything. You have to discover the game systems, control mechanics, story, object interaction, and so on. I've replayed it 5 or 6 times now, and I've discovered something (or multiple somethings) new each time. And I really loved the experience of interacting with another player using only basic gestures and sounds. Each encounter was unique, but intuitive. I really had a great time with the game. I do wish there were a bit more to it, but it was really great for all that. I'd rather feel like I wanted more of a game rather than less.
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Walking Dead is a barely interactive choose-your-own-adventure.
The Walking Dead does what big games like Heavy Rain and Mass Effect failed so miserably at: creating a coherent, compelling, and interactive story. Both of those bigger games felt like overblown versions of Mad-Libs. In contrast, The Walking Dead felt like a serialized cartoon. And because they weren't afraid to actually tell the story they wanted to tell (rather than leave it up to players), the story was actually surprisingly good. It's got some major issues with controls (especially in its action sequences), but I put up with it because I loved the conversation system and the way the story continually branched, re-united, branched, and re-united. It felt like the story was both uniquely mine and still faithful to the writers' intentions.
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The idea that these games are vanguards for the next generation is, in my opinion, insulting to the many developers out there actually trying to make better games. And it's wildly disappointing to me as a gamer.
Well, "better" is of course subjective. But for me, "better" doesn't mean higher production values. I'd rather see developers taking real risks with design and story. Big games are often too bloated and filled with over-played ideas that have been focus tested to the point of having no real impact on me as a gamer. Big games are designed to be consumed and then forgotten about once they're finished. But for me, I'd rather play games that last, games that stay with me.
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Trials Evolution is a great game, it's wildly entertaining, challenging, and has great control and physics. I'd be happy if that game got all the praise that TWD and Journey got, but it didn't.
Trials Evolution was great, but you also have to admit that it was really just more of the same. I love me some Trials, but at the end of the day, it's really just more Trials.
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Fez is crap too.
I had some major problems with Fez (the series of "puzzles" weren't really puzzles at all, but simply codes to be decoded), but the core game itself was great.

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post #219 of 230 Old 12-31-2012, 10:47 AM
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Personally, I thought the series peaked with Brotherhood.

FWIW, I just finished AC3 over the holiday break, and I enjoyed it for the most part. I completed 100% synchronization, and now I'm trying to decide whether to play the multiplayer portion to get the platinum trophy.
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post #220 of 230 Old 12-31-2012, 12:24 PM
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Personally, I thought the series peaked with Brotherhood.
Absolutely. Seems to be the consensus. How people rank the rest seems to be all over the place. I personally enjoyed AC1 a lot more than ACB, but I can concede that it's not for everyone and that it has a lot of unavoidable issues. But ACB is the best version of everything in the series (story, mechanics, motion, setting). AC3 IMO is the worst version of everything in the series. Doesn't make it an awful game, just a very disappointing one.

I've completed each of the other games to 100%, but not AC3. Some day maybe.

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post #221 of 230 Old 12-31-2012, 12:59 PM
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Absolutely. Seems to be the consensus. How people rank the rest seems to be all over the place. I personally enjoyed AC1 a lot more than ACB, but I can concede that it's not for everyone and that it has a lot of unavoidable issues. But ACB is the best version of everything in the series (story, mechanics, motion, setting). AC3 IMO is the worst version of everything in the series. Doesn't make it an awful game, just a very disappointing one.
I've completed each of the other games to 100%, but not AC3. Some day maybe.
I'd rate AC3 above Revelations. While the core story is somewhat weak and unsatisfying, I really enjoyed exploring the world.

The hunting adds a lot to the game. I loved how I'd be attacked by wolves (or a cougar, a bear, or a bobcat) while running through a forest. I loved running across a British supply convoy that I could attack and loot. I really liked how the homestead and the crafters work.
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post #222 of 230 Old 12-31-2012, 04:10 PM
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I'd rate AC3 above Revelations. While the core story is somewhat weak and unsatisfying, I really enjoyed exploring the world.
Funny. I'd say the exact opposite. The story in Revelations was weak, but the world design was the best the series has ever seen. It was also the height of the series' movement mechanics, stealth options, and combat. If not for the utter lack of story and puzzles (and the abysmal standalone missions at the beginning, ending, and as Altair), Revelations would have surpassed Brotherhood IMO.

In contrast, AC3's problems extend well beyond the story. It's a patchwork of unfinished and incompatible ideas. It needed another 6-12 months of development and iteration.

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post #223 of 230 Old 01-13-2013, 04:21 PM
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Wow - hunting bear on Bear Island this morning. It was at night, the full moon was sneaking around behind the drifting clouds (the clouds actually move!) , and the moonlight illuminated the carnage going on, as bear after bear fell to my wrist-blades. The bay was on one side, and there was a small stream trickling over a small waterfall on the other side. A real memorable scene. Really, really, nice graphics in this game.

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post #224 of 230 Old 01-14-2013, 10:23 AM
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I just got finished replaying AC II because I hadn't played it since it first came out and the story was a bit foggy in mind. This franchise just blew my mind with the hints they gave in AC II and came to fruition in AC III.

I also just started my replay of Brotherhood. I'm noticing some frustrating design problems in that game that I'd apparently forgotten. I don't think AC III is that bad any more.
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post #225 of 230 Old 01-15-2013, 08:46 AM
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I'm playing the PC version. I don't have any idea what is going on in the game. The story is a mess. What is worse is the gameplay. Trying to sneak around with no ability to actually hide just makes Boston into the end of Benny hill with 30 red coats chasing me around while I try to find some pile of crap to jump into. I have yet to successfully sneak anywhere. I always piss off the guards and end up doing a mass slaughtering or just running. I hate the UI with the gamey progress and updates. The white flashing is annoying too. I like the setting and graphics, but I cannot understand how this game sold 7 million copies, so many better games out there.

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post #226 of 230 Old 01-15-2013, 09:04 AM
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I'm playing the PC version. I don't have any idea what is going on in the game. The story is a mess. What is worse is the gameplay. Trying to sneak around with no ability to actually hide just makes Boston into the end of Benny hill with 30 red coats chasing me around while I try to find some pile of crap to jump into. I have yet to successfully sneak anywhere. I always piss off the guards and end up doing a mass slaughtering or just running. I hate the UI with the gamey progress and updates. The white flashing is annoying too. I like the setting and graphics, but I cannot understand how this game sold 7 million copies, so many better games out there.
Are you starting out notorious? You should try to be incognito before you start most missions.

I've found that the easiest way to lose guards chasing me is to just swim out into the sea until they lose interest.

Keep in mind that you're diving into the latest addition to a pretty well-established series.

Also, if you're having trouble with specific missions, it may help to watch some youtube videos of someone else doing it. Just search for the memory sequence title.
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post #227 of 230 Old 01-15-2013, 09:34 AM
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Yes, I agree with this. This DOES get frustrating. (and funny stuff about Benny Hill - now I've got the theme music stuck in my head!)
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Trying to sneak around with no ability to actually hide just makes Boston into the end of Benny hill with 30 red coats chasing me around while I try to find some pile of crap to jump into. I have yet to successfully sneak anywhere. I always piss off the guards and end up doing a mass slaughtering or just running.

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post #228 of 230 Old 01-16-2013, 07:17 AM
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I'm playing the PC version. I don't have any idea what is going on in the game. The story is a mess. What is worse is the gameplay. Trying to sneak around with no ability to actually hide just makes Boston into the end of Benny hill with 30 red coats chasing me around while I try to find some pile of crap to jump into. I have yet to successfully sneak anywhere. I always piss off the guards and end up doing a mass slaughtering or just running. I hate the UI with the gamey progress and updates. The white flashing is annoying too. I like the setting and graphics, but I cannot understand how this game sold 7 million copies, so many better games out there.
It's not you, it's the game. Despite supposedly taking "four years" to develop, it needed another year or more of design iteration and QA (read my many earlier posts to see what I think is wrong with the game). The AC series is easily my favorite series of the generation, but AC3 is a massive disappointment across the board.

As to why it sold so many copies, I can only assume it's because it had many incredibly large and sophisticated ad campaigns (which targeted new folks to the series) and it was pitched as the "end" to a long running franchise (which targeted series veterans). It was also one of the few AAA releases that actually made its fall deadline, so it didn't have a lot of competition this holiday season.

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post #229 of 230 Old 01-17-2013, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

It's not you, it's the game. Despite supposedly taking "four years" to develop, it needed another year or more of design iteration and QA (read my many earlier posts to see what I think is wrong with the game). The AC series is easily my favorite series of the generation, but AC3 is a massive disappointment across the board.
Your criticisms about problems with QA and design are somewhat valid, but his specific complaints could have described every single game in the series.
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post #230 of 230 Old 01-17-2013, 10:33 AM
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Tgable sounds like he's playing any assassins creed game. Stealth is nearly impossible when there are bad guys walking around on the fricking rooftops. The appeal of the series, to me, is everything but the main parts. The story's stupid, the controls are poor, the combat plain old sucks, and the main missions are frustrating, mapless sneak fests or impossible mini games that wouldn't make it into wii sports knockoffs.

The settings are fantastic. The puzzles are cool. The subject 16 stuff is creepy. The sim city aspect is brilliant. Climbing historical landmarks is fun.

My favorite part of brotherhood? Buying the colosseum.

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