Reviews

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – Review

Release Date: 19th November
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Singleplayer: Yes
Splitscreen: No
Multiplayer: Yes
PEGI: 15

There has been quite a bit of dissent in the camp since Brotherhoods announcement. Some declared it was too early for a another game, others that multiplayer would not suit the series and that it would compromise the single-player element of the game. The good news is they were both wrong, Brotherhood delivers both fun multiplayer and a chunky ten to fifteen hour singleplayer packed with refinements. Oh, and a tank.

brotherhood starts off exactly where Assassin’s Creed 2 and continues the tale of both Ezio and Desmond in 2012.
In fact the story does not expand much upon the over-arching storyline, bar a shock ending , and instead fleshes out and expands upon the life of Ezio giving much more depth to him and his allies this time around. But it must be said that while the tale of Ezio is enjoyable and action packed it’s not quite up to the standard of the previous two games, but it is important to remember that this is not Assassin’s Creed 3, it’s a spin-off in many ways.
Many characters from Assassin’s Creed 2 will return and both Ezio’s sister and mother feature more prominently this time around.

The major mechanics from Assassin’s Creed 1 & 2 return, but have been tweaked and improved upon to keep everything feeling fresh.
The combat which relied so heavily on counters has been tweaked to encourage you to go on the offensive, now you can chain execution kills together to create a path of one-hit-kill destruction, this can feel a little cheap early on but in the later stages it makes going on the offensive a must as you get pressured from all sides.
It must be noted that the one-button parkour system feels slightly less accurate this time around, though it won’t ruin your game it may cause a few frustrating moments, but Ezio looks as graceful as ever as he clambers around and this time you’ll get to test Desmond’s parkour skills more as well.
The ability to upgrade your town has also been expanded on in brotherhood, now it’s been applied to the entire of the games new setting (Rome) and you can now buy shops, stables, landmarks and more provided you eliminate the Borgia towers that influence the city. Doing this provides you with solid income and an entertaining diversion.
Plenty of other tweaks exist such as horses now being usable in towns and other deft little touches far too numerous to list.

The word "pwned" springs to mind....

Factions play a big role this time around, with your own being the most important. Ezio sets himself the goal of rebuilding the Assassin’s order, and this takes the form of rescuing civilians who in turn join your cause. These guys can then be sent on contracts to earn you extra cash, but most importantly to get themselves some experience which you can then use to upgrade them with better weapons and armour. It’s not a deep system by any means but managing your Assassin’s is entertaining and worthwhile.  During play you can tap LB to call in your stabby friends who will then drop out the sky or ride in on horses to kill the guards you deem unlucky. Obviously it’s limited, once used they need to recharge but the more you recruit the more you can use.
The other factions include Thieves and Mercenaries and sadly don’t get that much attention. During the main story missions you’ll rebuild their headquarters and liberating certain sectors will allow the construction of an out post for the faction of your choice, they can then be recruited around the streets to help you out. But really they feel like they could have had more done with them, but they do provide access to more side-missions.

Speaking of side-missions, brotherhood is packed with them from Assassination contracts through to playing through memories of Ezio (memories in memories. Confusing) that provide some interesting insight into his life.
Along the way you’ll even get the chance to drive a tank, steer a gunboat and fire missiles from a flying machine thanks to Leonard and his habit of designing dangerous things.
Packing everything into one play through is going to give you a hell of a lot of game time for your money.

brotherhood also offers variety of gameplay, from stealth kills, massive battles, tanks, races and more there is a good selection on offer here and all the missions feel better designed than the previous games with better execution.

Ah, Multiplayer. He's behind me isn't he?

And graphically this is still a stunner. Rome is highly detailed and beautiful to look at with rolling countryside and tight city corridors, but it slightly less polished in places with a few glitches in places than AC or AC2. On the plus facial animations have been tweaked, meaning Lucy no longer looks like a bullfrog. Score.

All this and I’ve not even covered the extensive VR Training system which lets you hone your combat, stealth and parkour skill’s to the limit. For the more competitive player there are three levels of medals for each and leaderboards to prove your skill and the selection of challenges on offer is huge.It’s also extremely addictive.

But it’s the inclusion of multiplayer that rocked so many boats, and for a good reason – Creed has made its name in the singleplayer realm.
It brings two modes in the package, with the second being a team based version of the first mod, the first being Wanted which see’s you assume the role of an Abstargo Agent training to fight the Assassins. In Wanted you get given a contract against one of the other players, and one other player is given a contract on you meaning you have to hunt your prey while being hunted.
The key here is the world is inhabited by hundreds of AI that use the same skins as you, making blending in and stealth key. In fact those who make the effort to be a blade in the crowd will score the biggest points per kill making having the most kills irrelevant, it’s who has the skills that counts.
A compass points you toward your target, but once you get close it’s up to you to  figure out who it is, especially if the target is blending in with a crowd of AI using the same skin.
Along the way you can unlock abilities and perks as you rank up along with killstreaks. It uses many ideas from shooters oddly, but they add a nice twist to the game.
The multiplayer on offer may not appeal to many, it doesn’t offer the instant thrill of shooters, instead it offers a slower paced and tense game for those that enjoy using cunning over brawn.
It does have some flaws, but most frustrations come down to simply being killed by someone you never saw coming. However, sometimes you get a chance if they get to excitable and drain a bar by sprinting or doing odd things, and this alerts you by placing a red diamond in your HUD. At this point you have to run which leads to some spectacular rooftop chases and last-minute dodges.
It’s not perfect, but this first foray into multiplayer for the Creed series is good fun, but I do fear that it’s less action orientated approach will mean it won’t appeal to many, but this could become a solid addition to your multiplayer roster if you want something different.
Plus, getting a perfect kill is incredibly satisfying.

Bugger the swords, cannons is where it's at.

Assassin’s Creed: brotherhood may not be the best in terms of story, but in gameplay this is the best Creed game to date providing a substantial singleplayer and fun multiplayer. There are enough new features and tweaks to keep it feeling fresh but do remember, this isn’t Assassin’s Creed 3 and some may be disappointed by the lack of huge narrative leaps, but I say sit back and enjoy not only the best Assassins Creed game, but one of the best action-adventure games around.

The Good:
+ Leaping from the back of my horse mid-gallop to a beam. It’s just cool. Simple.
+ Becoming a property mogul. mmm money.
+ Assassinating an unsuspecting player.

The Bad:
– Being assassinating by an expecting player.
– I didn’t say jump off the building! I said jump onto the ledge!

Scores:

Graphics: 9.5
Rome is beautiful and the animations are silky smooth. Only the occasional texture looks a little off and some facial animations look a little odd.

Sound: 9
Terrific voice acting is back up by great sound effects and a superb musical score.

Story: 7.5
Ezio’s tale is interesting but don’t expect huge narrative leaps for the overall story, but Desmond gets more screen time thanks to the ability to get out the Animus whenever and the ending is a shocker.

Gameplay: 9
Fun combat, great parkour and loads of things to do.

Lifespan: 8
10-15 hour singleplayer campaign with plenty of side-quests and a multiplayer mode to boot. And did I mention the huge VR training with medals? No? I have now.

Overall: 9
In the end it should be noted that Brotherhood recycles much from Assassin’s Creed 2, making this more of an AC 2.5. No, it’s not the huge leap some may want, but it’s a refinement, and really isn’t that what most sequels are? If you said yes then brotherhood is for you. And if you said no, I don’t care, this is still for you.

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