These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Like his father before him, Cesare is a letdown gameplay-wise. He's essentially a reskin of the Longsword-wielding Papal Guard with extra Health but no unique abilities or moves of his own, and while he can deflect Ezio's grab attempts, and is immune to executions or counter kill attempts, he doesn't perform the grab or sand toss that regular guards do use from time to time, nor does he counter Ezio's attacks (like guards in AC2 could) or kick to break Ezio's defense (like Ezio's apprentices can). As such, the battle amounts to whittling down his Health, interspersed with two or three QTEs (just button mash the Weapon Hand button) while small groups of Regular guards, Agiles (rarely) or Brutes (somewhat more so) spawn with increasing frequency.
Taken to new heights with Ercole Massimo, Big Bad of The Da Vinci Disappearance DLC and leader of the Hermeticists. You don't even have a proper swordfight with him. You kill a bunch of his disciples, and then he cowers on the floor in front of you offering weak excuses for his actions before you kill him. To add insult to insult, he's not even the final encounter of the DLC, as there's an extensive platforming section afterward.
Somewhat muted compared to the AC2 example. On the plus side, the beggar women from AC1 return in addition to the Minstrels from AC2, so you can pummel them as well. On the minus side, while the guards still don't mind if you start a fist fight, it isn't completely penalty-free as doing so raises your notoriety. Interesting, those beggar women aren't begging for coins like in the Assassin's Creed, they're begging Ezio to help deal with the Borgia.
The level in which you take control of Leonardo's tank and cut down vast swathes of troops, taking down many of the Goddamned Bats in the process. Even Ezio agrees.
Ezio, to the tank: I wish I could keep you.
Creator's Pet: Salai, Leonardo's lover in the DLC. He's lazy, spoiled, spends Leonardo's money, can't keep his mouth shut, isn't helpful in a fight or for finding Leonardo. But at the end Ezio tells Leonardo that he thinks Salai fits Leonardo.
On the other hand, however, he WAS the one to think of Leonardo's possible use of Invisible Ink and suggesting that Ezio use his Eagle Vision to find hints of it in the recovered paintings (which earns a funny "he told you about that, too?" from Ezio).. Salai can be just as smart as Leonardo when he chooses to apply himself. The problem is that most of the time he chooses not to.
Die for Our Ship: You wouldn't think it; but Caterina and Cristina have received flak from certain fans who preferred the idea that Ezio was more intimate with Rosa (even though Caterina/Ezio was more Friends with Benefits, and Cristina/Ezio were Starcrossed Lovers, meaning neither of those pairings worked out). It doesn't help that Rosa is absent from the events of Brotherhood (save a passing mention in the novel).
Unfortunately, the real reason Rosa was never mentioned was due to the death of her voice actress  before the game was released.
Cesare Borgia, full stop. Lucrezia as well, if you are into evil blondes.
Many of the multiplayer characters, considering they're Templars. Actually subverted in the case of Fiora Cavazza, the Courtesan, who has a Heel-Face Turn after a run in with Malfatto, and joins the Assassins in killing off many of the other multiplayer characters before being found herself.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: When Ezio encounters Lanz the Foodpad's despairing wife, she explains that she is about to kill herself in an effort to get through to her husband, who is both a Templar agent and an apparent murderer working for the Cento Occhi after their child died. Ezio, not fully aware of how closely Lanz's background cleaves to his own, assumes he is just another killer like the rest of the Templar agents he is hunting down and kills Lanz rather than left his wife sacrifice herself "for his crimes." Poor communication really does kill.
The first Cristina mission. After Cristina rebuffs Ezio's clumsy advances, he follows her to her house. Coincidentally, Vieri is waiting for her there in order to rape her. Ezio beats him up, and Cristina rewards him with "a second chance" and a Smooch of Victory. What have we learned? That if a beautiful girl ignores you, you are justified in stalking her; that this is for her own good anyway, since her beauty will naturally attract possessive creeps from whom she will need defending; that intervening when someone is about to be sexually assaulted is "very kind" (as opposed to "the least anyone should do for any fellow human"); that in your crush's eyes, this act will completely cancel out the fact that you followed her without her knowledge or consent; and finally, that instead of being freaked out by these events (and by men in general) for a while, she will instead suddenly desire you and invite you to court her favour.
Foe Yay: A little more than subtext between Ezio and Lucrezia. In the DLC The da Vinci Disappearance, you are trying to locate five of Leonardo's paintings that were looted by the Borgias from the villa after the Monterrigioni attack. A lead brings you to Lucrezia's bedroom, where you seduce her into giving you the one in her possession, and the locations of the other four. You then tie her up and leave.
Ezio: No man can heal your pain, Lucrezia. You must do so on your own. (smiles) Say hello to the Duca for me.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: When lowering them into the Temple of Juno via a hidden mechanism, Shaun jokingly tells Desmond; "If you're trying to kill us you're gonna have to do better than that". Moments later, Juno takes control of Desmond's body and forces him to stab Lucy.
Game Breaker: All of the Game Breakers from AC2 can still be used in Brotherhood. In addition, the new executions/kill streak and Assassin recruit mechanics can make combat significantly easier.
Somewhat mitigated as enemies being able to end the kill streak (by hitting Ezio during his execution animation against someone else, grabbing him, dodging, or just being far enough away), and even an Assassino can be (theoretically) killed in combat, if they fall off of a high-enough ledge/rooftop, or if they're sent out on a max-difficulty mission without enough support (100% success probability is only confirmed with three or more Assassini).
Actually with the enemies attacking you in a kill streak, you can quickly tap right trigger and X (Or square on PS3) and counter their attacks and keep going with your kill streaks. Leading to some absolutely ridiculous one man army moments.
However, even that can fail against Bruisers and Seekers, who are immune to normal counters (except for the hidden blade), forcing you to prioritize them in your kill streaks and kill them before they attack. A mounted opponent will ruin your day too, as you won't be able to counter his attacks with anything except a medium weapon or pause to shoot him.
The Crossbow may be the game's best new weapon — it locks on very quickly, it can be used for quick "snapshot" kills at even melee or point-blank (grabbing) ranges, it has an extremely high starting capacity of fifteen bolts (upgradeable to twenty-five), it can be aimed from most angles (such as over-the-shoulder or behind Ezio), it is quieter than the Hidden Gun (no Notoriety increase just from firing and less likely to draw attention towards Ezio), it can be used for counter kills in melee, and its shots are a One-Hit Kill against all enemies except Borgia Captains, the bosses and Papal Guards.
The timing for the counter-kills with the Hidden Blades has been made noticeably easier (perhaps representing Ezio's decades of experience wielding them). Combine that with kill streaks and still being able to counter any melee attack from any guard, the longsword and short blade are virtually useless.
On the other hand, the longsword/bludgeon ("Medium Weapon") seems to have an even more generous window of opportunity for counters, and both the Medium Weapons and Short Blades can integrate the Pistol and Throwing Knives respectively into their kill streaks. Moreover, Borgia Captains and Papal Guards and Cesare Borgiaare immune to counter kill attempts, though only Cesare is immune to kill streaks.
The Dagger of Brutus. Has the largest window for counter-kills in the entire game, hits for huge damage, and has an increased chance of making enemies break and run, has its own unique and incredibly brutal kill animations. There's a reason why it is the Infinity+1 Sword.
The Poison Dart Launcher makes poison so much more useful. You can now poison enemies from afar, with almost no chance of a hostile spotting Ezio, unlike the poison blade where you had to get into melee range. Furthermore, any hostiles around will be distracted as they watch the victim's throes, allowing you to slip by. Contrast with the Hidden Gun, which almost certainly will give Ezio away, and the crossbow which is also likely to be detected. Also, it's always a One-Hit Kill, even on Brutes/Almogavars and Praetorian Guards/Janissaries.
On the other hand, this can be incredibly satisfying. Been frustrated by a previous mission, and facing a ton of guards? You could kill-streak through them all, sure. Or you could just go "oh, I so don't have time for this," and hammer that Arrow Storm button.
Goddamn Bats: The bards from AC2 are back and as annoying as ever. This time they are supplemented by groups of beggars that basically do the same thing in groups. Thankfully the beggars stop spawning as you renovate sections of Rome. The bards, not so much.
Holy Shit Quotient: The start of the game. The villa is under attack by the Borgia, cannonfire is ripping the town apart, there's an epic horseback sprint through the city to reach the walls as buildings fall around you, you take command of the cannons to fire back on the massive army the Borgia have sent against you, Mario is killed by Cesare Borgia, and Ezio is shot and, unable to fight properly, forced to flee with his family as the town is destroyed. All bets are off — the Borgia are done playing around.
Ho Yay: If you go to meet Leonardo after escaping the Castel Sant'Angelo with the Apple of Eden in Sequence 8, at the end of their conversation Ezio tells Leonardo (who had just mentioned being busy with a portrait of a lady) not to get too distracted by women to build equipment for Ezio (and presumably Ezio's apprentices). Leonardo says that women would provide no distraction whatsoever, followed by him flirtatiously putting his hand on Ezio's shoulder. There is some historical evidence that Leonardo was indeed gay, but almost immediately Ezio says, "Wait, I don't get it..." leading to an awkward silence as Leonardo lifts his hand away and looks about.
How about Leonardo's 'assistant' Salai in the DLC? As part of his introduction he asks Ezio, "Outside the church of God lies the realm of men. Do you worship there, Messere?" Also, Ezio at one point declares to Leonardo, "Salai fits you. I approve."
Jerkass Woobie: Lucrezia Borgia is this in her backstory. She winds up getting pregnant by an Assassin, and even though the baby lives thanks to the Shroud of Eden, she's forced to play with the kid while being unable to reveal that she's his mother. After she tells her son "I don't know where your mother is but I know that she loves you" it's kind of hard not to want to cuddle her.
Then there's her appearance in The Da Vinci Disappearance.Her whole family is dead, she's lost her homeland, her title is by marriage only, she's an exile in a place where no one loves her, and then she tries to seduce Ezio to make the pain a little less. Even Ezio feels sorry for her.
Ezio: No man can heal your pain. You must do so on your own.
Lanz could count as well, since his reason to being a thief of Cento Occhi was losing his child at birth. And according to Project Legacy, Gaspar de la Croix seems to be one to, albeit the reason for such is unrevealed, but also seems related to the death of a loved one. By the time he faces Ezio, he's become a wild shooter, firing at anyone who passed by his aim.
Les Yay: The "Seduce a Noble" Assassin contract involves sending one of your Assassins to court and seduce a noble lady associated with the Templars to get information. You can send either male or female Assassins on the mission.
You can do that or you can send until 5 Assassins for the job. No wonder why they only give as an answer a laconic "The mission has been a success" when they come back.
Lucrezia and Caterina, with liberal streaks of Foe Yay.
Memetic Badass: The Cardinal you chase in the final Romulus Lair mission is slowly becoming this. A GameFAQs user sums him up pretty well:
An old man who is agile enough to jump around on rooftops and on scaffoldings while wearing those silly clothes and never lost his breath; who had the balls to just stand there while Ezio screws up a jump and falls; who pushed another loser to his death with a nice taunt; and then finally decided to knife-fight Ezio just for the lulz. And, last but not least, had the best death scene in the game if you threw him off the ledge. Man, I loved that guy.
Most Annoying Sound: The Animus voice when trying to load a multiplayer game. "Searching for a programmed session...Searching for other Abstergo agents...Searching for a programmed session...Searching for other Abstergo agents...Searching for a programmed session..."
The "Loading..." voice, half a dozen times, in every single Truth segment.
The citizens screaming after a dead body shows up or when a battle breaks out in the streets. Realistic as it is, it starts to grate after a while since the number of lines of dialogue programmed to play in this situation are kind of limited.
Narm: Cesare in general, but especially his so called Badass Boast when he kills his father.
Work your way through 16's puzzles. Then go read up on some of the stuff touched on in them. Then realize exactly how little Ubisoft had to change to make it all look like an Ancient Conspiracy (just by adding a Templar backstory to real-world events), and what the nature of the conspiracy is: capitalism was created to replace the divine right of kings as the means of Templar rule. Sleep tight.
Almost the entire final scene. Aside from Juno possessing Desmond and forcing him to stab Lucy, her cryptic messages get increasingly more frightening as you climb around.
The Animus voice when Subject 16 starts speaking through it, especially when it starts saying things that read like they should be screamed - all in that flat voice.
Paranoia Fuel: A big part of the Multiplayer, since all the players are potentially hiding in plain sight and visually indistinguishable from NPCs. Somewhat mitigated in Alliance and Manhunt modes where the pursuer and target teams are clearly defined, but in full effect during Wanted mode, and possibly more so in the Advanced Wanted mode (which unlike regular Wanted has a less accurate Compass indicator). A major strategy/tactic is to get as close to this ideal as possible, as the player gets more points when they don't use High Profile much or at all while within line of sight of a target.
Subject 16's puzzles are chock full of this. "Have a nice day, Mr. Jameson," indeed.
Assassins are everywhere. That pile of hay? It's got an Assassin in it. That rooftop garden stall? Assassins. That well? TWO of them. And if you're in the middle of a field with nowhere for them to hide? Sometimes they'll bother riding on horseback or running, other times they teleport in to kill you. Nowhere is safe from the Assassins. Being a soldier for the Borgia had to be a scary job when Ezio was in town.
Almost as scary as being a Borgia courier, who wasn't even armed — and had probably already heard about their hapless counterparts in Florence and Venice.
Oh you think that is bad. Try going out with Desmond while he free runs Monteriggioni. Play around with the Eagle vision. Its not like you will see any—wait, are those red footprints? They weren't there before. Holy shit, they lead to the only accessible entrance of the Villa. The Templars are here! Oh shit!
It gets worse; those footprints came from the sewers, and lead directly to where Lucy stands after talking to her once in that segment.
And then it gets even worse at the end when Juno claims, "The cross is obstructing our path," then forces Desmond to kill Lucy. Considering the cross is the symbol for the Templars, and Juno knew everything down to the exact moment when Desmond would resist... can you really rely on Eagle Vision any more? That includes the allegiance of Desmond and Ezio.What. The.Fuck?
...Or it could just be Ezio's bloody footprints, from when he got injuried during the Siege of Monteriggioni. And the footprints are there the whole time.
Still, if you're paranoid enough, there's a lot of what could be subtle hints that Lucy is a double agent. She was able to transfer Abstergo data even though it's not supposed to be possible because "she has her ways", and can still access some of the Abstergo files because "some old passwords still work"? Yeah, that doesn't seem to fit the type of security that, according to AC1, would go into lockdown if Vidic misplaced his password pen. Additionally, during one of the modern day sequences when you leave the Animus, you just can't find Lucy. At all. Where did she go?
Even the story set-up for the multiplayer option in the games lends some credence to the possible theory that Lucy was a Templar double agent. What is that set-up? That Abstergo have been using Animus to give Templar agents the abilities of Assassins.
Averted: Word of God says that the red footprints have nothing to do with Templars, and are just there to help players find their way back to the Villa. The red color is merely an oversight.
Player Punch: The game starts off with the villa and mansion you spent all that time sprucing up being bombed and blown up by catapults and cannon fire. "No, not my roof! Not my art gallery! Not my brothel!"
Forget the brothel, that Borgia bastard killed Uncle Mario! No way he lives!
When playing the second Cristina Mission, "Last Rites", when picking up the corpses of Ezio's father and brothers, walk onto the stairwell (below the guards' line of sight) and then turn the camera to 'zoom in' on the faces...
Scrappy Mechanic: Getting 100% sync rate. To do so you cannot make even the tiniest of mistakes, like missing a jump. If you do mess up you have to start the whole mission over again, including all the cutscenes.
That One Level: Potentially every mission that requires no damage taken or detection throughout the mission for Full Synchronization. This is especially annoying if the requirement is something that could only happen later in the Memory, since if you get the "full sync failed" notice, to try again for full sync you must play the entire Memory over from the beginning. Also, some people have had Ezio get attacked right after a cutscene in a Memory with a "no damage/don't lose any health" full sync requirement, or even during the cutscene itself (while the screen is still all-white).
Conversely, if the requirement is for something early in the Memory, the Chariot Machine Gun (no detection and no killing anyone until after you burn the blueprints) and the Naval Cannon (open one of the three gates yourself instead of the Brute doing so), after completing it you keep the "full sync" even if you get desynchronized afterward, since the checkpoint that you resume from is at or after you met the requirement.
It's even worse if there are cutscenes in the memory. You CAN skip them, but if you do the game has to temporarily exit you back to the "White Void" loading space and load up the stage all over again! (At least in the PS3 version) Sometimes its faster to just watch the cutscene than attempt to skip.
The part in Sequence Eight where you need to get to the courtyard in the Basilica di San Pietro within a time limit is also very annoying due to its Full-Synch requirement of not killing anyone, combined with the guards getting on your case with abnormal speed. Moreover, to complete that memory you need to be anonymous, and by the time you reach the place there will likely be a lot of guards after your head.
To make it worse, you can't hide from the guards to lose your notoriety while en-route. If you manage to hide from them, the instant you lose them, more will suddenly spawn, knowing exactly where you are. You can't actually shake off the guards until you've made it to the courtyard, where you have to be anonymous, meaning you may have then backtrack and make the guards lose sight of you before you can go back...all within that damn time limit.
The following mission requires you to complete it without losing any health. You start with dozens of guards closing in, and you're armed with the Apple... which prevents you from using other weapons and depletes your health when used! Meaning that running is your only option. Just hope that you're able to avoid the archers on the rooftops and the agile guards that can just catch you no matter how fast you run.
The "Take no damage" requirement is especially irritating in the Tank level of the War Machines missions, where you are required to take absolutely no damage while piloting the tank. In addition to being the later half of the mission (meaning you have a lot to work through again if you fail), you also have to skulk around while piloting the tank itself, turning what should have been a fun rampage into something more like a cover-based shooter. Worse still is the last section where you face not one, but two enemy tanks, meaning you have to dodge both their attacks in order to get the 100% sync requirement.
Subverted by the fact that there are only four things that can give you damage: The static cannons (which are fairly inaccurate especially if you don't stay in one place too long, plus they have a 3 second wind up time and a line to tell you where they'll shoot)), running into explosive barrels (which is your own fault), splash damage and/or ramming (shooting an enemy tank while you're right next to him.) And the other tank's weapons, and of the four the real threat is the tanks (and only because they're harder to dodge and take longer to kill, they're only slightly more accurate than the static cannons and have the same 3 second wind up time per shot while you only have 1) even then only because Anything else (IE the soldiers trying fruitlessly to shoot you with their guns) doesn't count.
If the tanks at the end are too much trouble, there's also a glitchyou can use to prevent them from shooting at you.
Not to mention that the whole idea of the mission is to destroy the tank, as Ezio indeed does in the final cutscene, so all your efforts are in fact completely pointless.
And this isn't half as bad as the Bomber mission with the same requirement. It takes plenty of concentration just to avoid crashing the thing and hitting all the targets (some which are moving and on time limit), let alone dodge the arrows shot at you at the same time. At least with the tank you can stop to take a breath every once in a while.
To be fair, crashing or failing to hit your moving target does not effect your full synchronization. Only getting hit by arrows do.
The Bomber mission is infuriating to complete without full sync.
Attack the wooden guard towers (the sole source of the arrows) as far away as possible (you ARE in the air after all) and never fly straight at the towers. Also, Make sure you kill all the towers first and NEVER get caught in between two of them.
That One Sidequest: All the Collection Sidequests for the shops are pretty annoying, but getting the two rare Shrunken Heads for the blacksmith beats them all, as one of them is in a Lair of Romulus, and selling either of them will make it impossible to complete that quest, obtain its reward, and thus to 100% complete the main story — which is required for an achievement/trophy.
If you have enough patience, you can chase after robbers and Borgia messengers who have random loot. Eventually you may find a Shrunken Head, even though it takes very, very long time. Or you can reactivate the thieves sidequest where you have to beat up members of a rival gang over and over again and loot their pockets every time, thus "farming" until you find what you are looking for.
Shrunken heads (And Aconite, which is otherwise only randomly dropped by Borgia messengers) can be obtained if you invest enough gold in certain shops. Given that it takes 100,000 florins to get a shrunken head, and you can only invest in 1 shop every 20 minutes for some reason, it will take a while.
It takes one million florins in investments to get a shrunken head - not a mere hundred thousand.
The tactic of just letting the game run and collect money while you do other things can somewhat alleviate the problem.
Getting Gold rank on the Virtual Reality missions ranges from moderately difficult (complete an obstacle course in a certain amount of time or complete a course without being detected for example) to "Oh God why?" (get 20 kills without being hit. Yes. 20.)
Guards are also much more likely to grab you in those missions and making you an easier target if you donīt expect it, which you wonīt because in the main story it can occur that the only person that grabs you isthe occaisonal Papal Guard, never a regular one.
Any Lair of Romulus and/or Templar Lair that requires you to complete it in a certain amount of time for 100% Synchronization. Which, let's face, it, is pretty much all of them. In order to make it under the time limit, you have to know 100% where you're going (which is especially troublesome since a lot of them require you carefully gauge your surroundings), not miss ANY jumps or platforms AT ALL, avoid pretty much all combat, and add to this the occasional dose of Camera Screw just to piss you off even more.
100% synchronization of Hell on Wheels. This is an optional mission and 100% synch is extremely hard. You have to drive a tank and not take ANY damage. The last sequence requires you to fight two other tanks. What's worse about this is if you take damage even once, you have to start the ENTIRE MISSION over. Not just that part. And that mission is really long, and has numerous points where you will instantly get desynchronized if you get detected.
The Untwist: Machiavelli turning out not to be a traitor can be this to some as there was never a real motivation for him to switch sides in the games. It can still be pulled off for the history knowing players as Machiavellis personality in reality fell more in line with the Templars and his book "The Prince" is considered to be about Cesare Borgia.
Although the untwist does fit with the theory that The Prince was meant as a satirical Take That to the Borgias.
Whether satirical or just plain pragmatic, Il Principe is only one part of Machiavelli's canon and certainly not the most emblematic of his beliefs. Discourses details the difficulties of trying to run a free republic, and by all accounts both is closer to his actual ideology and disqualifies him from being closer to the Templars ideologically.
Uncanny Valley: The Nobleman, with his hunched back and seemingly undersized limbs.