I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Assassin's Creed franchise over the last few years. I loved the concept of the first one, and the story, but the game itself was bogged down a bit by incredibly repetitive missions.
The sequel, which I didn't play until a good bit after it was released, went a long way towards fixing and improving on some problems, but retained the somewhat clunky combat and some new problems of its own (the very easy economy, for instance). Still, it was a load of fun, and a step forward for the franchise.
So when it was announced that Assassin's Creed Brotherhood would pick up immediately afterwards, using the same setting and same character, as well as following only a year after the second game came out, I was concerned that it would end up as more of an expansion pack than a full sequel.
Actually, to be fair, until a couple of months ago, I was under the impression that AC: Brotherhood was a multiplayer focused addition to the series, with some single-player tacked on for good measure. So that may have contributed to my suspicions of expansion-packness.
Still, full fledged game or not, there's no denying that there are no revolutions in AC: Brotherhood (apart from multiplayer). There are minor tweaks... being able to break enemy blocks does help turn combat away from simply waiting to counter their attacks. They still seem to stand around waiting their turn, but one step at a time.
The missions seem very familiar to what we saw in AC2, and the graphics haven't improved any. The single-player game falls somewhere inbetween a huge expansion pack and a full-fledged sequel. It's fun regardless, though, and I'm hearing there's a good 10-20 hours of playtime there.
The true gem of AC: Brotherhood (in my opinion) is the addition of multiplayer. The multiplayer is what really feels fresh and new here, with a new type of competitive play that adds a little psychological component.
In a typical free-for-all game, at any given time you are both hunting another player, and being hunted yourself. The game is point-based in score, with more points being awarded the stealthier you are. So it pays to make an attempt to blend in to the crowds whenever possible and avoid drawing attention to yourself.
I haven't played a lot, so I'm nearly positive we'll still see a bunch of jackasses freerunning across the rooftops at speed trying to "lolololassassinate" eachother, but I'm hopeful that the stealth-based point bonuses will ultimately discourage that sort of behavior, and promote playing like a true assassin.
The multiplayer mode shows a ton of promise, but ultimately isn't without issues of its own. Again, I don't have a lot of experience yet, but it does seem that sometimes you can be spawned right near your predator, and you end up skewered before you even get your bearings.
The game features a CoD-style level up/perks system, which looks like it will be pretty fun to explore.
All in all, it's not the true sequel, next generation of Assassin's Creed I think a lot of us wanted, but you know what, it's a hell of a fun way to pass the time while we wait.