Gaming Moments of 2010 #3: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

All the big guns have come and gone. The best games are all now on shelves and we’ve just decided on our game of the year. Now we’re taking a look at our 10 favourite gaming moments of 2010. Be aware that these are just my subjective choices – feel free to let us know some of your favourites in the comments below.

Climbing the Pantheon in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood ran the risk of being bloated. It’s as dense as any RPG - with management mechanics, the ability to build up cities, increased inventory, a seemingly infinite amount of side-quests.

Before I played it, I had concerns. Was the core mechanic - climbing – being neglected in favour of an abritary list bullet points? Would the simple thrill of traversing a difficult climb be replaced with a number of pointless design upgrades?

Miraculously, somehow, Ubisoft truly managed the juggling trick of making everything work in spite of itself. The extra parts worked well - I have friends who built up crack assassin squads and remember it as their favourite aspect of the game. For me, however, the simple act of climbing remained, and will always remain, king.

My favourite moment of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood occurred early, and wasn’t necessarily part of any mission. I spotted what seemed like an impossible climb, and I decided to attempt it.

The Pantheon, not as tall as the church in Acre, but incredibly awkward. The dome placed on top was clearly too smooth to climb but surely, I thought, the designers would provide an avenue to help players traverse one of the most striking pieces of architecture in the game?

I approached, and spent a decent amount of time sizing it up – running around the outside, fruitlessly clambering up potential start points only to hit frustrating dead ends. It was only ten minutes in that I realised you could actually walk inside, through the front door.

So I strolled in.

Wandering around inside, I began to notice a number of points that I felt could be climbed, so I tried, and before long, I had managed to clamber about 20% of the way up the building. But then I began to wonder – how the hell would the game allow me to make it up the remainder, to the very top? Surely the inside surface of the dome would be an unscaleable mess?

I was wrong – jutting out of the dome were hundreds of tiny juts, like rock climbing struts. Slowly I began to plot a course, climbing slowly as Ezio’s incredible animations began to adjust to a unique climb. Eventually, as I approached the end, Ezio was hanging solely via his fingertips – legs dangling – desperately searching for hand placements as we made it through the final stretch.

I looked down for a second – we were stark bollocks high, and I had almost made it to the top. I had my eureka moment – this was what Assassin’s Creed was all about. Not team building, not money collecting, not combat – not even assassinations – it was about the simple act of picking a building in the city and somehow trying to scale it.

Like some elaborate, naturally occurring puzzle – when it comes to climbing, Assassin’s Creed allows for multiple approaches to the same problem, and that’s the beauty of it. That’s why I love the series, and that’s why I loved Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.


Comments

    I'm confronted with a fear of heights every time I scale tall buildings. The Pantheon was the worst of them all (sweaty palms all the way...).

      Climbing's not so bad, but I always get a bit of a flutter or chill when I jump off something in Assassin's Creed and think "oh boy... this is going to end badly" - guess it says something for the immersion :P

      I think I mixed up the buildings a bit (it's been a few weeks since I played), the Castel Sant'Angelo was far worse. Especially when I had to go all the way up the flag post and do the parachute achievement.

    And later in the game, you start at the top, and climb back down again :)

    Loved Brotherhood. Stacks of awesome moments.

    See, that's part of my biggest problem with Assassins Creed.
    You'll go to make the jump to the next handhold... and end up jumping in the complete. other. frigging. direction!

      u sure ur holding the thumbstick the right way? the only times it hasn't jumped in the right way for me was when I had an awkward camera angle or when I'm being chased by guards and held the thumbstick a little in the wrong direction but that was entirely my fault. I've never felt like the game was what caused me to jump in the wrong direction.

        See... I think it's the camera.
        Especially on the timed puzzles, you'll be in free run and make a jump... I'm certain the stick is going in the right direction.

        Maybe it's just doing it to agrevate me personally.

      Try the virtual training challenges.
      They help with all the advanced climbing and jumping moves A LOT.

    I think most people just climbed up from the back of the building where it takes barely a minute to get up. I might try climbing up from the inside a go.

    But the best climb is once you finish the game, to climb to the top of the Castel Sant'Angelo.

      I tried climbing the castle outside of the castle missions and I don't think it's possible :(

      In the missions they open a door for you that allows you to get inside but you cant go through there outside of the missions.

      I've managed to get about half way up the central tower using the same path that you use in one of the missions but got stuck and couldn't go any farther :(

        Just keep going right and scale down a bit to get some rocks that aid you to the top : ) There's a pretty clear route on the outside of the circular building.

        Once you finish the game the door to the first courtyard opens that lets you up onto the walls. Then you need to make your way to the back of the castel where you can climb. The trick is to get into the courtyard where you find Lucrezia Borgia. From there it is pretty simple.

        Plus, don't forget the parachute or it'll be a one way trip.

      ...And then parachuting from the top of the flag post.

    You can climb the pantheon from the outside :)

    This game scratches my real life itch of wanting to get to the top of things like lookouts cranes and the like. For me the best climb though was the one up to the top of the big red flag of the Popes house for the achievement. Truly satasfying.

    Is it weird if sometimes when I do a Leap of Faith or jump from somewhere really high my stomach gets the twisted butterflies feeling like you do when your really high on a swing?

    Yea, I climbed it from the outside and went down on the inside (for the mission). Only climbing gripe I have is at the end when your Desmond inside the cathedral area. For some reason the end of the game seems rushed in the climbing aspect. There is obviously only 1 way to the checkpoints but each jump you make from pole to pole throws you way outta the way at impossible angles in relation to the other game. I constantly found myself running back to the begining and doing the whole thing over again just to fall again because the ledges are inches away (even when i reach)

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