After lurking at the top of my Gamefly queue for several months, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood finally slipped through the mail slot a few days ago. AC: Brotherhood is the third installment of the Assassin’s Creed franchise which has been both capitalizing on and contributing to the internet phenomena of parkour since 2007. For those unfamiliar with parkour/freerunning, they are sports in which one attempts to get from point A to point B as quickly, fluidly and creatively as possible; they are also activities in which we see that Darwinism is still alive and well in the human species. While it’s easy to watch a couple of videos and marvel at the lunacy of human beings, I must admit that after playing AC: Brotherhood for a few days, it’s hard to resist the temptation to go over buildings instead of around them. This is a tribute to the stunning graphics and immersive game play that have become a hallmark of the series; a series which has become progressively better and more interesting with each new addition (a quality that is all too rare these days).

If the first Assassin’s Creed laid the groundwork with an intriguing story, intricate terrain traversal and  strike-from-behind assassinations, Brotherhood has realized the genre’s potential, eliminating the few week points of its predecessors (namely repetitive assignments and all-too-easy accidental deaths) while offering so much more. Rome circa 1500 is a sandbox full of buildings to renovate,  treasure to find, citizens to save and corrupt politicians to kill.  The coolest addition in Brotherhood is the ability to recruit and train assassins as you slowly prepare an army to take down the reviled Borgia.  There are still plenty of the assassination contracts and wall climbing that made the earlier games feel a little rote, but the abundance and diversity of other activities make gameplay anything but routine.

Before playing the game I read some reviews that panned the game as fleshed out DLC whose only real worth was the online play content.  I don’t know what those reviewers were smoking, but I don’t want any; it would hinder my ability to follow the well written and engrossing plot (and I’d probably fall off a building). In the short time I’ve had the game, I’ve logged more hours than I care to publicly admit and I’m still only 30% through the story. Granted I’m not in any hurry to finish.  I’m more than happy leaping from rooftop to rooftop, training new assassins and bringing stealthy justice to corrupt officials.

RARscore: Solid. 9.0