Category: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

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Either way, I’m interested to see what Ubisoft does with Ezio in Assassin’s Creed Revelations.  Here’s to hoping the Ezio character isn’t overkill.

-Kat

EDIT:  Interesting and good to know.  I just heard that this will be the last game featuring Ezio as the main character.

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Ezio Auditore da Firenze

If you can get past those knives, you get to those sexy lips...if you dare.

Assassin’s Creed II blew the first Assassin’s Creed out of the water.  Not only because of the many varied quests (breaking out of the standard ‘rescue citizen’, ‘eavesdrop’, and ‘beat up’ events), the beautiful scenery set in Renaissance Italy (rather than the very dull, grayish setting of Jerusalem), and the introduction of new characters and new mini quests (Subject 16 videos!), but also because of the more animated, more interesting main character.  Ezio Auditore da Firenze starts off as a spoiled rich kid, but when some catastrophic events happen to his family, he grows into the assassin.  Not only does Ezio have a lovely accent, but he actually sounds authentic.  In the first Assassin’s Creed, the main character Altair was one of the biggest drawbacks in the game.  He wasn’t interesting to listen to, and he didn’t sound like he belonged.

Ass Stamp

Is it possible to stealthily stamp this on Ezio?

But dear Ezio charms both men and women.  His stoic attitude and fierce passion for revenge has men falling in formation as allies, and his attractive features and knight-like qualities has women falling in love.  I find myself charmed by Ezio’s humor and dedication.  Even in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, when Ezio decides a goatee is an excellent fashion statement, I still love him.

Ezio Auditore Brotherhood

He protects his most precious assets with his daggers. Just TRY to kick him there, guys.

There’s nothing greater than getting behind a character you find both attractive and rousing as an Assassin.  And of course, it’s great to see Ezio getting some lovin’ in the games.  Thus, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, we award you with the Ass Stamp of Approval!

…because you know we approve both when he assassinates his enemies and when he flirts with the ladies.

-Kat

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We all know the feeling.

Stressed Cat

This cat is waiting anxiously for a game. It just heard a truck outside. Actually, this cat could be me.

You order a game online, but then for some reason it doesn’t allow you to choose release date shipping.  Not only that, but while everyone gets their game (in the mail, in stores) and proceeds to exclaim how wonderful it is, you’re left with an excruciating urge to play.  The lump in your throat grows larger and larger.  You log in multiple times a day to check the tracking number, and shout profanities when the information hasn’t been updated since yesterday.  Perhaps you even wait anxiously with one ear turned to the door, hoping to hear some shuffling footsteps or even a large truck of some time, in which case you will run to the door and peek out cautiously.  Of course, if the game ISN’T there, you don’t want to look like a fool.  Nor do you want to get your hopes crushed.

This recently happened to me with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.  Yes, I do have the game now.  But waiting was horrific.  When I placed the order through Amazon, I somehow missed the ‘Release Date Delivery’ for 99 cents.  I was really excited to get with Ezio again, and to see if Ezio would act more like a womanizer this time.  (He does.  Great job, Corey May!!) I stressed, couldn’t think of anything else but the game, and would jump up and race to the door whenever I heard some semblance of a large truck passing by.  I almost mobbed the mail truck one day, when my package didn’t arrive the date it was supposed to.  I thought about showing him my boobs (and even if it was a mailWOMAN, I thought about it)… because what if he was holding my Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood?!

Ninja

I bet this ninja is excellent at checking to see if the game arrived without anyone seeing.

And now, with Christmas just around the corner, there’s another waiting game to play.  This time, you see the pile of presents under the Christmas tree and the one you’re almost positive is the game you’re looking for.  Or maybe your parent or significant other is sneaky and hides what you want in a large box…which is even more difficult because then you get extremely disappointed thinking they didn’t get it!

So now the question is… what do you do while you’re playing the waiting game?  Be sure to leave what game you’re waiting for in the comments!

-Kat

 

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The holiday season is upon us and that means its time to go out and spend money on video games for your loved ones. Sometimes even if they don’t play. Last year I got my mom a bear skin run and No More Hero’s. She doesn’t even know what a Wii is let alone anything about Travis Touchdown. Strangely enough the bear skin rug was actually the primary area of question. But why? Who doesn’t want a bear skin rug!?!?

We all have that gamer in our lives. The one who you never know quite what to shop for. Will they like it, won’t they like it. They may in fact think you don’t know gaming at all. You might not, but here at PtC we’re want to help you fake it. You may be sitting there asking yourself “What do I get that gamer in my life who has a PS3?” Well ask no more.

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain

Heavy rain is one of my top 5 Playstation 3 video games of all time. Initially my thought behind it was “people like it because it’s such a unique concept, it’s so different, but lets see if it stands the test of time.” Well the test is still going on, but personally I find myself drawn to it again and again.

If the reviews are to be believed this game was revolutionary for it’s innovative control scheme and absolutely outstanding graphics. More than the bells and whistles this game hits the user at their core. This has one of the more engaging stories to come out of a video game this year (in my opinion). What makes it truly outstanding is not just that the story grabs you in once, but you can play it over and over and find new elements, new endings, new possibilities. Unlike games such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age where there is a good, bad, and neutral response Heavy Rain teaches moral ambiguity. You will never know the outcome of your snap decisions until after you make them. This game will grab you and hold you until the bitter heart pounding end. It’s a quick play, but the replay value increases the playtime exponentially.

This is not a game for everyone mind you. The blatant nudity and storyline about a murderer are absolutely deserving of the M rating that it receives. But still – go out and get it for the gamer in your life who is over the age 18 that likes deep engaging stories.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $43.88

Target: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $59.99

Buy from Best Buy: $59.99

Gran Turismo 5

Gran Turismo 5If you have a race fan, car enthusiast, gear head, or street racer this the game you should keeping your eye on this holiday season. Why is that? 26 locations, 71 tracks, and over 1000 cars. This is not for the amateur car guy. This is something you give to the fan who seriously sees a car and gets a big rubbery one.

What makes this so exceptional has to do with the fact that this game was in development for over five years. They went over everything in minute detail to present the cleanest, most polished, most unbelievable product they could. While the ratings for Gran Turismo 5 weren’t as high as many of us were expecting them to be it is still a pretty amazing offering that should be in the library of any gamer. Especially if that gamer loves cars.

If you have someone who appreciates meticulous attention to detail, has always wanted to attempt to drive a high end car who’s price tag would make Diddy do a double take then pick up a copy of Gran Turismo 5 today.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $55.99

Wal-Mart (PS3): $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood

Assassins Creed: BrotherhoodOh how I have a deep love for Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. It’s not the kind of love you sometimes find. Where you meet a girl and really like her a lot. You have feelings for her and you think you love her so you tell her and she laughs at you. Oh college… This is a love that is deep and passionate and most importantly reciprocated.

How is it given back? With the tightest control scheme seen in any Assassins Creed, a fantastic extension of the already incredible story of Ezio. But then it decides that killing along a defined story is no longer good enough to keep you a loyal and monogamous assassin. No it amps things up and brings other people into the relationship to spice things up. THAT’S HOW MUCH IT LOVES YOU!!

Fear not Assassins Creed: Brotherhood…we have noticed what you’ve done and we love you too. So much so that we don’t want to be the only one who gets the benefit of “sharing”. We want to share you with the world and say “Give yourself to others and make them as happy as you’ve made me.”

Now as you can imagine this is not going to be a game for everyone in the family. It has an ESRB rating of M for a reason. It’s all about killing people. Very gratifying and visceral killing, but still killing. Add to that the game starts off with Ezio getting down in a tub with Caterina Sforza and you have yourself a super sexy murderous box full of awesome.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $49.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead RedemptionThis was one of those video games that you pretty much knew was going to be fun. It mixed all of the greatness that was the Grand Theft Auto franchise and set it in the Old West with horses, and cougars, and bears. BEARS!!! Come to think of it you could give the greatest gift ever given. The opportunity to bring down a bear with a hunting knife. I can’t name a single person who hasn’t wanted to do that. Heck even my dog Maddox gazed at the TV with rapt attention as I attempted it. There was a certain look of jealousy in his eyes. As I failed I can swear I heard him sigh as if to say “If it was me I totally would have brought down the bear.” He’s a jerk.

Much like everything listed so far this game is rated M which means you’re not going to be wanting to pick this up for your niece or nephew who spends most of their time dancing along with YoGabba Gabba! Okay well in most instances where your niece or nephew spends their time dancing along with Yo Gabba Gabba!

What you get is essentially a classic spaghetti western set in an entirely open world video game. You get stage coaches, shootouts, saloons, and s….ookers. Yeah that alliteration was DOA wasn’t it?

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $49.96

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed: Hot PursuitNeed for Speed: Hot Pursuit, unlike Gran Turismo 5 is intended for the Ricky Bobby style of drivers who just “wanna go fast.” Need for Speed has always been a solid and reliable franchise that you can count on for great racing, fun environments, and (as the name suggests) pursuits from law enforcement to break up an otherwise “mundane” race.

However the makers of Hot Pursuit threw a curve ball at fan and <gasp> actually listened to them. Fans had been asking for it and Criterion answered by actually letting you play as the police. This is something that most people thought would be entertaining and a change of pace and wouldn’t ya know it. We were all right. All us. All except Steve in Columbus Ohio. He was so very very wrong.

The truly fun aspect of Need for Speed is that it doesn’t take near as much time or effort to get a high end car that you will never find in your garage. It was created in a way so that you, for lack of a better phrase, get to the good stuff quickly. It’s rated E10+ so feel free to get it for some of the younger family members.

GameStop: $42.99

Amazon: $49.95

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black OpsIf you know anyone who is a fan of first person shooters (FPS) then this is something they should already have. However if you have that one person who was, for whatever reason, holding out then absolutely go pick this video game up and make their Christmas bright. Instead of twinkling lights to delight the eyes they will gaze lovingly at muzzle flashes and artillery.

This game takes place in the 1960’s as you assume the roll of (mostly) Alex Mason a special forces solider running CIA sanctioned black ops missions. It takes you around the world to places like Laos, Vientnam, Cuba, and Russia. But single player campaigns aren’t what COD games are typically about.

What really gets the people amped up about COD is the multiplayer. With points and unlockable rewards this isn’t just run and gun. It becomes a personal experience that becomes an extension of who you are. There are so many facets to the online mutliplayer system that we just can’t list all of them in a simple gift buying guide.

GameStop: $49.99

Amazon: $54.96

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $54.96

I’m not saying these are the only video games to pick up for the gamer in your life this holiday season. These are just the ones I would specifically look for to pick up. So now I ask you, what games are on your holiday wish list? Comment below and let us know. We may even tell Santa to hook you up.
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Ubisoft has done a fantastic job with their first attempt at an online multiplayer version of Assassin’s Creed.  And it works, too.  My overall impressions were very positive, with a few kinks that need to be ironed out.  It’s different from regular, Halo or Modern Warfare – types of versus games in that everything you do in versus matches of AC:B has to be approached stealthily.  You can’t just run around shooting (or, in this case, stabbing) everyone in sight.  Well, scratch that.  You can, but it will be a quick way to call attention to yourself and you will be assassinated in no time.

In fact, in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, the online versus matches can actually get your heart pounding.  Especially when the screen flashes with a warning of ‘ESCAPE’, indicating that another player is hot on your trail, looking to take you down.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - The Courtesan

She'll drop you... and then you can watch her hips SWING

As I started my AC:B Multiplayer experience, I was given the fairly standard introduction, with tactics on how to approach an enemy and how to kill stealthily.  One thing that instantly made me incredibly happy:  You can FINALLY play as a sexy assassin female!  Hell yes!  I, of course, was the Courtesan.

Anyways, after taking out three targets in the intro, you’re able to move on to fight against other online players.  From the menu options, it looks like there will only be two types of playable games, versus and co-op.  Unfortunately for me (because I absolutely suck at online versus gaming), I only had the option to play versus.  Hopefully Ubisoft will expand the game types further, so that the online matches don’t get overly repetitive.  ‘Capture the Flag’ is always a good one, and could be creatively implemented with the assassin theme, such as ‘Cut a Coinpurse’ or ‘Steal the Treasure’.  Even something along the lines of half the players try to assassinate one non playable character, while the other half try to protect the NPC could be interesting.

But on to the gritty details!  When you jump into an online match, which usually contains around 8 players or so, you get to choose what character you’d like to play as.  Characters get picked up quickly, so it’s best to choose a person as soon as you’re on the screen.  From here, you are taken to a screen where you are able to choose something called a ‘Profile Set’, which you can customize from the main menu and has a set number of abilities, perks, and streaks.  (More on customizing profile sets later)  In the match, your mission is to assassinate a target, shown in the upper right hand corner of the screen, within a set time limit.  You need to first locate your target, using a ‘compass’, a blue circle on the bottom of the screen.  This indicator works just like an actual compass in that it points in the direction your target is.  The indicator will also widen or shrink, depending on how close or far away from your target you are.

The catch is that there are plenty of random NPCs walking around within the level, and every NPC looks like all the characters you can play as.  In other words, if your target is the Doctor, there are many look-alikes in the crowd that can throw you off, and if you’re playing as the Courtesan, there are many Courtesans walking around to throw off pursuers.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Killed with a Fan

Killed with a fan. And I bet that dude sneaking up behind is about to take her out.

Within the match, there are various ways to earn points: kill related, action related, session bonus related, and team bonus related.  The kill-related points are obviously counted when you make a kill.  An ‘Incognito Kill’ earns you a whopping 300 points, and is awarded when you never use the High Profile button, meaning you can’t run and can’t be detected.  Believe me, how anyone could get this type of kill is beyond me, because most people are hard to locate or are far away or are running around themselves, and you want to find them quickly.  Unless maybe their connection froze and they’re just standing around.  There are many various kill points you can get.  Action points are for things such as an ‘Escape’, which is escaping a pursuer while being chased.  Session bonus points include ‘Podium’, for finishing 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a match. (Yeah, I haven’t gotten points for THAT – best I did was 5th)  Finally, for team bonus points, you must be in a co-op match, and can earn a ‘Co-op Kill’, which is killing a target locked on by a teammate.

‘What can I do with points?’, you may ask.  Well, points actually help you level up.  And leveling up unlocks various abilities, perks, and streaks for your profile set.  So, let’s talk about that Profile Set.  There are three different unlockable profile sets that you are able to customize, and each set has two slots under each category of abilities, perks, and streaks.  This means that you can create characters with various special talents or bonuses that will work to your advantage while in multiplayer.  One example of an ability is ‘Sprint Bonus’, which makes you run faster for a short period of time.  A perk is something that assists you, such as ‘Reset Cooldowns’, and the streak bonus grants you extra points for various accomplishments.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Doomed

Yeah, that happened to me a lot.

The bad stuff?  Well, I might be nit-picking, but I really don’t like that once a match is completed, the game will immediately begin a countdown to plunge you into matchmaking to find a new match.  Another thing, is there any type of penalty for dropping out of a match?  I did so in the middle of a game (after being stabbed in the back 5 times without having killed anyone yet) and the only backlash was that I didn’t get to keep the points I’d earned (except I didn’t earn any, so it didn’t matter).  When someone continues to do that over and over, it’s abuse of the system.

I’m really hoping Ubisoft will crank out some new game play types and some new maps.  The Siena map…oh I’m not sure I can even craft a full sentence regarding my hate towards this level.  I will, however, type out the jotted note I’d written down about it, “Siena lvl – bleah SUCK HATE death”  Yeah, that sums it up.

The last of my complaints – which I feel is a big one – is about the various levels for online multiplayer matches.  To me, it seemed as though I was playing against people at much higher levels than me.  One character that I played against when I was at level 3 had the ‘Smoke Bomb’ ability, which is unlocked at level 8.  Granted, there are just 5 levels between our characters, but that leaves a wide gap between my abilities and a level 8’s abilities.  It seems as though the Profile Sets can breed unfair advantages to those of a much higher level.  And why, prior to a match, can’t I view the level of another player in the same match?!  Gamers love to compare stats.  Ubisoft, please oblige.

Overall I believe the multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a very solid starting point for the series.  It is to be noted that I am simply playing the Beta version; I have no doubt that Ubisoft will smooth all of these pieces out to make it a completely awesome experience.

-Kat

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