Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Ezio Auditore Da Firenze returns, this time with a whole brotherhood of back up.

By CallMeLuke, Posted 04 Dec 2010

When you have a story that contains a massive conspiracy, there is simply no way you can tell it in just one game. The Assassin's Creed series has now grown three titles strong with the latest installment of Brotherhood. Although not considered to be Assassin's Creed III, Brotherhood is a direct continuation of the second game having the player resume the role of Ezio Auditore Da Firenze.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Review

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood takes off at the exact moment in time Assassin's Creed II ended with Ezio being in Rome. Very shortly thereafter, the story then jumps a few years ahead to Ezio in his villa atop the city of Monteriggioni. His city's being attacked by an army led by Cesare Borgia, a man who has only one thing on his mind: conquest. Ezio must do everything he can to hold off the attack so that as many villagers as possible can flee safely. Then, he must abandon what he's called home for many years. Returning to Rome, Ezio takes up new residence, makes new friends and reunites with older ones to stop the Borgia. It will be a task greater than anything Ezio can handle alone; he will need to rebuild the Brotherhood of Assassins.

If you've played the second Assassin's Creed, taking control of Ezio will be entirely too familiar. He's got the same free running moves, climbs walls and leaps from poles with ease, and packs the same arsenal of weaponry from swords, to throwing knives, to smoke bombs, to his signature hidden blade. It might seem so familiar, it will feel like you're still playing the second game leaving you to wonder if anything new has been added at all. As a matter of that, there are many new things.

Ezio's arsenal has now been expanded to include crossbows and poison darts. Using the crossbow works just like the hidden pistol, but since it doesn't deliver a loud report, you won't startle all the guards in the vicinity. So long as you move on after you shoot someone with a bolt, you won't be detected. Poison darts work just like the poison blade by causing your target to become wildly insane and begin attacking those surrounding him before he collapses. Using darts instead of the poison blade means you can poison them from afar and they will be none the wiser. These new weapons actually make the game easier to play, because you don't have to be as careful dispatching guards with these methods as you would otherwise.

Another new feature of the game is the ability to whistle for a horse at any time. Ezio can now ride horseback throughout the city, but it's a mixed blessing as the horse controls don't mesh well with the tight turns and narrow alleyways of Rome. Another form of rapid transit are the tunnels that Ezio can restore, allowing him to instantly arrive at any other renovated tunnel in the city. There are also pulleys that Ezio can utilize to whisk himself up to the top of buildings in a blink of an eye.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Review

The most prominent addition to Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is of course building your very own brotherhood. When you first unlock the ability to recruit, you have to seek out citizens in trouble and rescue them from the guards. They'll then join you, and they can be sent out on missions to level up and become stronger and tougher when called into battle. They can be dispatched at any time to take out a target that's too risky to do yourself, or for backup when a brawl becomes too much for Ezio alone.

The only real problem with this brotherhood is that it feels soulless. The game never goes beyond giving you their names and a quick thank you for saving them. You see them at your hideout loafing around, but you never get to interact with them. You don't get to talk to them, or learn anything about their backstories. Once they achieve the rank of assassin, they even look exactly the same, making it seem like you're sending out clones of yourself into the midst. They can actually die while out on missions, and if that happens, you're more upset that you have to replace them and begin leveling again than feeling any sorrow for your loss. Their AI for the most part is fantastic, but there are a couple of occasions where the game will spawn them in walls, having them drop right off the face of the game world.

Leonardo Da Vinci has returned, and this time he's made something new for Ezio: a parachute. Parachutes are easily deployed by hitting the square button after Ezio jumps from a considerable height. When deployed, he can glide safely down to Earth, release it and fall quickly, or drop from the parachute and perform an air assassination. The only downside about the parachute is there are no missions that require its use, so a very cool item for Ezio never gets any mandatory usage.

It actually takes a bit of work in order to unlock this parachute. Leonardo has been forced to develop war machines for the Borgia, so he tasks Ezio with seeking them out along with their blueprints and destroying them. These side missions will have Ezio stepping out of Rome momentarily where he'll steal a mounted gun on a wagon, destroy warships armed to the teeth, battle wooden tanks in a tank of his own, and get reacquainted with Da Vinci's glider, this time with an added cannon. These are wonderful distractions to partake in when you need to take a break from the game's main story missions.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Review

Speaking of distractions, the hidden tombs have returned, this time called Lairs of Romulus. If you've played Assassin's Creed II, you know these Prince of Persia-like levels are a lot of fun to play through. Completing all six lairs will net Ezio the Brutus Armor, which is the best armor in the game. The hidden glyphs have returned as well, requiring Ezio to seek them out on the sides of buildings and enter them to solve riddles and puzzles that will ultimately uncover more of the grossly convoluted conspiracy.

If completing lairs and solving glyph puzzles, along with doing all of the guild-related side missions isn't enough for you, there are also challenges you can do. Each guild (Thieves, Mercenaries, Courtesans, Assassins) has a set of challenges that you can chose to complete, such as killing so many guards with poison, or leaping onto a number of beams from horseback. You then move up in the ranks, but you don't really earn anything for your efforts. It's just a fun time killer for people looking to complete the game 100 percent.

Adding more fun for the completionists are the Full Synchronization requirements for missions. They will be quite varied from killing a specific target with a certain weapon, to not taking any damage, to finishing the mission under a given time limit. Failing to meet the criteria will result in 50 percent, but succeeding will give you the full 100. You'll also be able to travel around Rome renovating shops, fixing aqueducts and purchasing landmarks in order to rebuild Rome and increase your revenue. The main story's roughly nine hours long, but if you chose to do everything the game has to offer, you may exceed more than 20 hours of game time.

Visually, nothing has been improved. Even the presentation, with its menus and icons, is exactly the same. This isn't bad news, because Assassin's Creed II is quite the looker. Rome is rendered beautifully, featuring true to life landmarks, such as the Colosseum. The sky is simply breathtaking with gorgeous clouds. Characters look and animate very lifelike. The special effects are just as good as they have been with blood spurting out of stabbed enemies, wisps of smoke from your pistol, and the fantastic sense of speed from Ezio's free falls when he takes his Leaps of Faith. Hopefully, though, the next successor will use an improved graphics engine so we can see an even better looking Assassin's Creed.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Review

As can be expected, Brotherhood sounds exactly the same as Assassin's Creed II. Every sound effect from the blast of Ezio's hidden pistol, to the shanking of blades into guards, to the eagles crying during Leaps of Faiths has been lifted from the previous game. The voice acting is just as terrific as it ever was. Roger Craig Smith returns as Ezio, delivering another great performance. The soundtrack is still composed well, fitting the Italian atmosphere perfectly. The only minor complaint in the audio department is a rough grunt that Ezio keeps blurting out when he lands from a fall that isn't even remotely high enough to illicit such a response.

The biggest issue with Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is it doesn't feel very new. Even with all its enhancements and tweaks, it still feels like a lengthy expansion pack than an actual sequel. Also, there is less traveling across Italy, meaning Ezio spends almost the entire game in Rome. Although the city is huge, the game ends up feeling smaller than it actually is. With all this said, however, Brotherhood provides the same great gameplay you enjoyed in Assassin's Creed II. If you loved the second game, you'll undoubtedly love Brotherhood. Just don't pick it up expecting a revolution.

Lucas Stephens, NoobFeed

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  • Excellent review Lucas :)


    Posted Dec 04, 2010

NoobFeed

General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Stealth
Release Date: 2007-11-16

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