I wonder if there’s a new season of The Borgias starting on Sunday or so, or whether it instead got cancelled. I wonder this primarily because of my current familiarity with the characters and some of their life events, courtesy of my completing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood over the weekend. Because, see, after the happy ending in Assassin’s Creed II, the first thing that happens is the Borgias destroy Ezio’s home in revenge for that golden apple fiasco under the Vatican. It’s a whole big thing that won’t make enough sense to be spoiler if you haven’t played the first game and, if you have, basically it’s an excuse to get him injured and friendless so that he starts off the game not a god walking among men. Whether this is a good decision is left to the individual player, but I suppose it is at least an understandable one since someone could plausibly pick up this game first.
After that, it’s pretty much the same game, which is an entirely good thing. You climb and run and sneak and murder your way through early 16th C. Rome in an attempt to stop the Borgia and their Templar allies from controlling the fate of the world, with all kinds of side missions and secret explorations and memories of Ezio’s buried past along the way, not to mention the near-future modern day shenanigans in which it’s apparent that someone is helping Desmond Miles from afar, because he may not be able to trust all of the people helping him explore Ezio’s memories. To put it simply, this the best serious sandbox series ever, and the prettiest sandbox series ever regardless of plot seriousness. (The best non-serious sandbox series is Saint’s Row.) If you like to look at the beauties of the past, and you like to climb around on everything, you will love this game. If you like conspiracy theories and dark futures, you will also love this game. If you like both, this is your candy store right here. And there’s already another sequel out!
A word or two about the multiplayer: extremely fun among friends who have played the same approximate amount of time as each other, suffers from the modern theory that playing online a lot isn’t enough of an unbalancing reward, so we will also give you levels and new toys with which to crush newcomers who for some reason can’t play online 12 hours a day for the first month of release. I’m not sure how to solve this problem, and realistically there is no way beyond me accepting that multiplayer online has passed me by for the most part. (But yay for friends.)