Good storylines always have another chapter

It wasn’t too long ago that my buddy Kelly called to say he’d finally finished Assassin’s Creed 2 and was thrilled with the cliffhanger ending. I hope he’s ready to don the robes and dual blades again, because the franchise’s third edition is here.

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Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Genre: Adventure Publisher: Ubisoft

ESRB Rating: M for mature

Grade: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

It wasn’t too long ago that my buddy Kelly called to say he’d finally finished Assassin’s Creed 2 and was thrilled with the cliffhanger ending. I hope he’s ready to don the robes and dual blades again, because the franchise’s third edition is here.

The action picks up right after the events of the widely adored AC 2, which arrived about a year ago. Once again, you’ll take on the role of Ezio.

The main gameplay and combat are almost the same as in the original. But in this version, you can now call upon a horse to whisk you away from danger and in combat you can string together kills more efficiently.

With the subtitle “Brotherhood,” you can imagine Ezio will get help along the way. Sure enough, the villagers Ezio saves can be recruited to do his dirty work. It’s an interesting concept but doesn’t feel fully formed, because many of the soon-to-be assassins don’t meaningfully affect the overall game.

In multiplayer mode, you’ll either love the slow pacing of hunting a target (while being hunted by another unknown player), or you’ll play it a few times and just think it’s fun.

The multiplayer mode is still a great supplement to the main gameplay, even if it doesn’t appear complete.

The franchise’s gorgeous visuals continue. You’re confined to just one city in “Brotherhood,” but, trust me, the developers made Rome feel enormous and you won’t get bored with the scenery.

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

Platform: Nintendo DS

Genre: Role-playing Publisher: Nintendo

ESRB Rating: E for everyone

Grade: 3 stars

Does anyone but me remember the Golden Sun games from the Game Boy Advance days? If you do, you should be able to pick up Dark Dawn and jump right in.

The DS version’s story takes place 30 years after the last game’s action, so gone are nearly all the original characters. You play the role of Matthew, the offspring of two original main characters. Their efforts to save the universe didn’t bring lasting peace, so Matthew must band together with friends to save mankind — again.

There is nothing new about Dark Dawn’s gameplay. It’s your typical role-playing game, in which you gather up some cohorts, travel around a map and either interact with townsfolk or battle foes. All the while, you’ll prep Matthew for the big, looming showdown.

Your group’s powers make the combat and exploration systems fun without being too taxing. If you want to learn more about the original game, a lengthy encyclopedia explains past storylines and characters.

The action can be dull at times, but Dark Dawn features some wonderful visuals for the DS. If you can get past the slower moments, Dark Dawn won’t disappoint.

Follow Chris Campbell at twitter.com/campbler or email him at game_on_games@mac.com.)

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