Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Review

A big fear gamers had when Ubisoft so quickly announced the sequel to Assassin’s Creed II was that the story will not be as strong and compelling.  The cause for this fear was the developer’s strong focus on multiplayer.  The previous Assassin’s Creed games had only a single player mode which often translates to more time and focus spent on the story.  But could the developers pull it off again only a year after the last game?  Well yes and no.

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is made up of two parts, the main campaign and online multiplayer.  If you were to ask me right now if I thought Brotherhood was a good game, well I’d have to say, “Keep reading the damn review!” But honestly I really enjoy this follow-up.  Ubisoft created a much deeper character with Ezio Auditore than they did with Altair.  And with any good character players grow an attachment.  Feeding off of this and creating another game with the same assassin proves successful and easy for players to jump back into the action.  The only negative to come of this is the story of underdog to hero has already been told, so even though Ezio continues to be his badass killing self, we are left with little room to care about his story.

AC: B starts off exactly one second after ACII left off.  You find yourself in the chamber where Ezio was given a confusing message for Desmond.  Talk about sending a message through time.  You’ll find your weapon layout is all intact with throwing knives, a pistol, dagger, and sword.  Little tutorial is given so those who have not played any of the previous games may feel a little overwhelmed.  But don’t worry because built into the Animus, Desmond (and you) can retrain through the use of VR style missions (i.e. Metal Gear Solid).

In this game Ezio’s enemy is the Cesare Borgia and his wealthy family.  Cesare is after the Apple of Eden which Ezio managed to grab hold of at the end of ACII.  You return home to your villa that was renovated and brought to power by your wealth in the previous game.  Your Uncle Mario shows you some of the villa’s upgrades since you’ve been gone.  But the family reunion does not last long as Cesare manages to destroy your home and kill someone that is close you in the process.  This is Ezio’s motivation and his revenge brings him back to Rome.

Rome is run by the Borgia and they suck at it.  You find the city in near ruins and in order to gain the trust and following that you need to fight the Borgia you must renovate the entire city.  The map is littered with side quests, shops and banks to purchase, and hundreds of collectibles such as Borgia flags, feathers, and cluster puzzles (these are just like the glyphs found in ACII).  And to help you this time around are the other assassins that you recruit.  That’s right, you recruit other assassins that can kill just as swiftly (if not better) as you can.  You get to command them to drop on your enemies that are blocking your path.  Or you can send them on missions to make them stronger and bring in money.

Rome is huge so expect lots of running around, but you can also use the city’s sewer system to fast travel to points you have visited.  Again there are the watch towers which expand your vision of the map.  But in addition there are Borgia towers which require some extra work to access.  Each Borgia tower has a captain that must be assassinated before attempting to burn the tower and reclaim the area.  Only once you have done all this can you start renovating the shops in that area.

But you want to renovate as many shops as you can because the more you own, the more money you make and discounts you get.  The scale of Rome is beautifully represented with an incredibly draw distance and detailed graphics.  The colors are vibrant which makes you feel like you are travelling through the countryside of Italy.  Getting around by horse is also an option and this time your horse is not restricted from entering the city walls.

The battle system has been upgraded to make the game play out quickly.  When you are surrounded by multiple guards, and you will be often, you must only kill one of them to initiate a kill streak.  Once started it only takes one strike to kill each of the other guards.  You may need to fend off an occasional strike from behind but the whole fight can be over in seconds, much faster then in ACII.  It feels much like the battle system of Batman: Arkham Asylum but here you can counter every attack.

The music continues the same feel from the last game.  I honestly can’t tell if these are the same songs being used, but it still adds that sense of mystery with a European tone. As the tension rises so does the music, so a chase feels like a chase scene and battles start your adrenaline.

But don’t forget that all of this time spent with Ezio is really Desmond in the Animus.  Brotherhood makes much more use of Desmond, giving him more bits of gameplay and reasons to leave your virtual world.  While I still feel like his character is bland,  Ubisoft has done a better job of not making me hate him.  You can control him in the same way as Ezio, climbing buildings and make death-defying leaps.  It seems that this games series will eventually lead to an entire game played by Desmond, and that may not be as horrifying a thought anymore.

If this were everything the game had to offer then I would end the review right here and give it an 8/10.  There is just a little less polish and Ezio’s story doesn’t draw me in as much as it did the first time.  Essentially it all feels like a large expansion pack, which is not bad since AC II was so good it left me wanting more.  But this game does not end with the campaign because Ubisoft also developed a unique multiplayer experience.

Multiplayer is hard to compare to anything else because there really hasn’t been anything else like it.  In the online game mode you are given a target, one of the other players that is roaming around the streets disguised as an AI.  But just as you have a target, someone else is stalking you are their target.  It’s a vicious cycle that Penny Arcade captures so well in this comic.  You are constantly in fear of who is following you. “Is that AI walking strangely?” “Did I just see someone following me?” No other game has given me that feeling before and it’s a blast.  As you play more you will level up and gain perks (i.e. Call of Duty) that can save your life or give you that slight edge to pick off your opponent.  It all plays out nicely and is refreshing when all there seems to be lately are tons of FPS games online.  Ubisoft is also supporting the multiplayer like a FPS with DLC which will add new maps and gameplay modes.

So with that said Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood as a whole is a must buy for this holiday season.  With over 10 hours of gameplay in the campaign (tons more if you do all the side quests) and a compelling multiplayer that will leave you feeling refreshed from all the shooters on the market.

I give Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood a 9/10

Written by Bryan

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Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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