It wasn't an E3 full of shocking twists and revelations. Much of what was shown we already knew about. But there were some surprises to be had. Over the next week or so I'll be running down the E3 news, games and products that raised my eyebrow the highest.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood I hadn't expected much from Ubisoft Montreal's swiftly turned around follow-up to my 2nd favourite game of 2009. I figured it'd be more of the same. A good game, then, but not one to get a cynical reporter's blood flowing.
But then I saw what they've done with the single-player: that Ezio now leads a team of assassins, that they are persistent from mission to mission, and that you can upgrade their abilities throughout the game, equipping them with different weapons. Best of all though, that simple town management of your home villa in Assassin's Creed II now not only extends to the entire city of Rome, but carries (allegedly, since they are yet to be detailed) meaningful gameplay choices beyond merely filling your coffers with more cash.
And then I played the multiplayer. It took a few minutes to work out what was happening, but once it clicked... wow. In brief: each player is assigned another as an assassination target, so you've always got someone hunting you down as you track your target. The tension is incredible as you're walking through the streets, watching your back while keeping an eye out for the telltale signs that betray a human player's movements. I've never before played a competitive multiplayer game where I simply walked around for almost the entire time. In one round, I even sat down on a bench, totally blended, and waited for my prey to walk past... then knifed him in the back.
With Brotherhood, Ubisoft shows that sequels - even seemingly rushed sequels - don't have to sacrifice inventive new ideas.