Live and breathe as Ezio, a legendary Master Assassin, in his enduring struggle against the powerful Templar Order. He must journey into Italy’s greatest city, Rome, center of power, greed and corruption to strike at the heart of the enemy. Defeating the corrupt tyrants entrenched there will require not only strength, but leadership, as Ezio commands an entire Brotherhood who will rally to his side. Only by working together can the Assassins defeat their mortal enemies and prevent the extinction of their Order. And for the first time, introducing a never-before-seen multiplayer layer that allows you to choose from a wide range of Assassin characters, each with their own unique weapons and assassination techniques, and match your skills against other Assassins from around the world. It’s time to join the Brotherhood. [Ubisoft]
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood picks up right where Assassin’s Creed 2 left off. Building further on the solid base that 2007’s Assassin’s Creed built, these two sequels have improved drastically, each outperforming the other year over year. If you are familiar with Assassin’s Creed 2, you will feel right at home in Brotherhood. The game literally picks up at the ending of the AC2, and little to no space or information is left to the imagination. With that being said, Ezio is starting off this game just as badass as he was when you finished the first game. There is no learning curve or leveling you literally jump right into the mix and start kicking Borgia ass. With this type of introduction to the game, there is not a whole lot of room to get bored. Pushing the player right into the fray really livens things up a bit especially, again, for players that are familiar and have been waiting for this game. Because there’s nothing like doing an hour full of tutorials to re-learn things that you already know. Thankfully as a player familiar with the games, this was the route Ubisoft chose to introduce or reintroduce Ezio to the player.
But aside from the opening of the game, there’s a lot to love in Assassin’s Creed 2. There’s really an overabundance of items to chase down for the collector in all of us. Aside from the standard collectible flags, feathers, and viewpoints, you will also be setting Borgia encampments ablaze so that you can renovate areas of Rome. These renovations include a tunnel system for fast access throughout the city, a banking system, assassin’s guilds, and even a whorehouse for your enterprising sister. It’s hard to put a time limit on how long you may be exploring Rome if you plan on trying to collect all of the things that the city has to offer.
The main storyline is delivered through nine sequences. These nine sequences, took me around 12 hours to complete. Each one took about an hour and a half, but many could have taken much longer because it’s pretty easy to get sidetracked doing the things aforementioned. As always, Assassin’s Creed is telling a story on two levels. The first, and where you will spend the majority of you time, is in the past controlling Ezio ,the leader of the Assassin’s guild in Rome during the era of Renaissance. The second, is as Desmond, a decendant of Ezio. Desmond is strapped into some future tech dream machine that allows him to relive the memories of these ancestors while training him to be a badass. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this being done to stop an evil corportation that was basically formed by the Templars to control the human race. Sound convoluted? It kind of is. But, it’s one heck of an interesting story, and a carrot that Ubisoft keeps dangling in front of you in each installment. At least with Assassin’s Creed you know it’s coming, sequels that is. You know they’re gonna leave you hanging, but the endings of these games are well played by the developers as each and everyone has left me scratching my head and circling the date for November of next year.
For the first time in the franchise, this installment of Assassin’s Creed offers a multiplayer component. Many people hate the fact that game companies feel like they must include multiplayer for a game to have lasting value. This probably stems for the numerous bad attempts to incorporate a broken multiplayer component by so many developers in so many games. Not having the opportunity to play the beta for Brotherhood MP a couple of months back via the PlayStation Network, I was really looking forward to seeing what Ubisoft was going to bring here. Ubisoft traditionally have had so many multiplayer blockbusters in the past, that it’s hard to believe they could mistep with one of their largest franchises. And what I found in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood MP is nothing short of simplistic genius. The multiplayer in Brotherhood is so addictive that you will be craving your next go, if not just to level up and get some cool new perks to make your super assassin all that he can be. For a first offering, Brotherhood’s multiplayer is awesome.
It’s fairly simple actually, there are eight assassins all trying to kill their target. Rules from the game’s campaign apply. You can blend in with the crowds, use benches, and haystacks, and shadows, among other ways to stay hidden from your would be assailant. Or you can run around like a madman drawing attention to yourself in the hopes that your target gets nervous and books. The core game is fun, and does have a learning curve, but once in the groove of this different type of multiplayer experience it’s quite rewarding to sneak up on your unsuspecting prey, and equally rewarding to thwart your attacker. Assassinations with style will net you more points than the running around like a crazy person, which I mentioned above, however it’s much harder. You level through these points and the points can be spent on perks that will give your assassin things that make the mode even more fun, like disguises, evasion weapons, speed bursts and a bunch of other good stuff. Think about it this way even if you don’t like the multiplayer you’re basically getting it for free because the campaign feels just as beefy as it’s predecessors.
Brotherhood’s presenstation is again at the top of it’s game. The graphics and sound are some of the best in gaming right now, although their are times when the cutscenes can become a tad generic looking. Since the game is action oriented these cutscenes are at a minimum and there aren’t as many as you would think relative to the time that you spend doing other things. Which is where the game shines. The graphics are great and the city of Rome is brought to life , populated by citizens carrying on in what seems like their own little world that you are just playing in.
Through game menus Ubisoft manages to bridge the gap between Desmond the character you theoretically are, and Ezio the character you spend the most time controlling. By giving all the menus and interfaces the modern feel of the Animus, the game constantly reminds you of the greater story beyond the action on screen. The series has always sparkled in this department and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is no exception.
I admit it. I wanted to finish the campaign so I could move on to multiplayer. I didn’t have time to find every feather or flag and there are likely dozens of locations that I haven’t even visited, locations to sync, and other goodies I just didn’t find in my first pass. But when the game ends you luckily have the option to go back and collect all of these items if not just to one up your friends in the achievement/trophy department and I for one am grateful of this.
Ubisoft does a great job of trying to connect the two stories of Desmond and Ezio in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. But, if left up to the gamer, theycan move from sequence to sequence withought ever really leaving the Animus. With fresh dialouge between sequences and mandatory exits from the memories, it could better tell the story from both perspectives. Which would be great lip service for the real fans that want to learn more and more about the characters in both the past and the present.
A nearly identical complaint that I had about the game is the fact that much of what is included in the game is unecessary. Leonardo Da Vinci is once again in the game and there are a bunch of his War Machine missions where you can complete and earn custom gear from him. But none of this is mandatory to finish the game. In fact, not much is mandatory at all. Being a sandbox game, to an extent, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is gonna tell roughly the same story to everyone. But without making many more of the good things mandatory, those that bypass on the side missions are getting short changed big time and they probably don’t even know it.
Three years and three games later, Assassin’s Creed still has me pulling my hair out when it comes to the controls. For a game that has some fairly intense moments that require pinpoint precision, you would assume that controls are one thing that the game should have nailed by this time. In each installment of the game I repeatedly make missteps and suicide leaps off of buildings while attempting to perform actions that require both speed and accuracy. It’s not usally a matter of if it’s going to happen, it’s a matter of how many times this is going to happen in the next twenty minutes and will I be able to refrain from shouting profanities so that the hot girl next door doesn’t think I have tourettes.
Hand in hand with some of the climbing/vaulting mechanics problems, I have to say the combat is a also hit and miss. The best beat em up games have this natural flow to the combat that just feels right. Controller input = wanted on screen result = happy gamer. But, for some reason in a game like Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, where you will frequently be fighting 7,8,10 onscreen enemies there are these awkward times where pressing a button gets zero result or an enemy will just turtle up and become unhittable. It just doesn’t flow as well as some other games as a whole. But when it works, and you are stringing together brutal strikes from any weapon in your aresenal the combat is great. But there are times it just doesn’t feel like it was working very well at all.
When you put this combination together, what you get is a whole lot of frustration at certain points in the game. It forces alot of trial and error gameplay towards the back stretch and takes away a little bit of the fun,excitement, and tension.
Even with the problems that the game had, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is an awesome time. Whether you are in it for the story, the many things to explore in Rome, or the fantastic freshman multiplayer offering, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is not going to disappoint you. If you liked the first two you will really enjoy Brotherhood as I think it’s the most well rounded Assassin’s Creed offering to date. First timers to the series may find themselves a little bit lost at times with the story, but just so you know we are all there with you ( I think that’s the plan). If you were considering this as just a rental, you might want to think again because you could owe blockbuster some pretty hefty late fees once this game sinks it’s teeth in and you see all that there is to be discovered.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Available On: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
- Published By: Ubisoft
- Developed By: Ubisoft
- Genre: Action Stealth, Open World
- US Release Date: October 2010
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
- Quote: "Even with the problems that the game had, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is an awesome time. Whether you are in it for the story, the many things to explore in Rome, or the fantastic freshman multiplayer offering, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is not going to disappoint you."