Assassin’s creed: Brotherhood review

Posted: November 29, 2010 by Tony Polanco in REVIEWS

One year after the release of Assassin’s Creed 2, the road has lead us to Rome with Assassin’s creed: Brotherhood. When this game was first announced it was billed as a multiplayer game. I was pretty disappointed by this since to me the main draw of the Assassin’s creed series has always been it’s great story which combines history and conspiracy. But rest assured that AC:B does have a full single player story as well as multiplayer.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood picks up literally seconds after the end of Assassin’s creed 2. You again take on the role of Renaissance era Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze. This time Ezio is in the city of Rome and is on a mission to rebuild the order of Assassins and finish his fight with the Borgia who have caused him and his family great harm. In the present world, Desmond and his comrades are still on the run from the Templars and are using the Animus machine to search through Ezio’s memories to find the apple of Eden. The apple (they hope) will help them in their fight against the Templars and hopefully save the world from the upcoming apocalypse.

Gameplay stays largely the same but it has been refined and it definitely feels better than before. The architecture of Florence and Venice from the last game did not lend itself very well to jumping from rooftop to rooftop but this time we are in the eternal city and roof hopping is a lot less stressful. Ezio still occasionally likes to do things you do not want him to do though. He’ll sometimes run up the wrong wall or jump in the wrong direction. When platforming, even if there is a time limit, my advice is to take things slow. Trust me, it will save you some headaches but you may still end up cursing at the screen when you do something you didn’t intend to.

In the last game you could get away with just holding the block button and hitting the attack button to counter attack during fights but this has been changed. You can still counter kill but you have to press block and attack as well as aim in the direction of the attack at the same time for it to work. During battles you really need to be aware of the enemies surrounding you. One cool new addition to combat is that you can now string kills together and rack up a huge body count. Once you kill or counter kill a foe, you can then aim at another enemy and attack to instantly kill them. You can do this for as long as there are enemies around you and you are not hit. It kind of makes battles easier but it’s so cool to string together multiple attacks and massacre everyone in your proximity.

One of the newest features is the ability to recruit assassins. You’ll find certain people that are under attack by the Borgia troops and if you help them in battle they will ask to be part of your Brotherhood. You can then call on them to help you in battle or to distract guards. Depending on where enemies are, the attacks of the recruits will differ. If baddies are near tall buildings, then you will see recruits drop out of the sky and instantly kill them with their hidden blades. If the bad guys are near a bale of hay then a recruit will pop up out of the hay, kill them and drag them inside. Each time you use your recruits they gain experience and when they gain enough experience they will become full fledged assassins and be alot stronger and have better weapons and armor. The best way to level up your recruits is to send them off to other parts of Europe to complete tasks. Make sure that when you send off your recruits that they have a high chance of actually surviving the mission or they will die and you will have to recruit someone else and start from scratch with them. This is the best new feature of the game and it’s really fun to use your assassins in battles. Sending the recruits out on missions and building them up is also pretty addictive. You can also have random courtesans, thieves and mercenaries help you with distracting or fighting guards like you did in the last game but I think most people will go with their assassin recruits.

As I’ve said, this game is a direct sequel to Assassin’s creed 2. Rome was in AC2 but it was just in one short chapter. I have a feeling that Rome in all it’s glory was supposed to be part of the last game but for whatever reason they did not put it in AC2. The story does not feel tacked on at all and is a natural extension of AC2 as well as a satisfying end to the saga of Ezio Auditore. The same cast from the last game returns along with some new ones and all of them have great voice acting and are all well written. The Italian (along with some French, German and Spanish) accents are all really well performed. I’m guessing that they had someone teach the actors how to have a proper accent for whomever they were playing because everyone’s accent sounds authentic. About 20% of the dialogue is in Italian so make sure to turn on the subtitles so you can understand every word said and learn some fun Italian curse words as well.

Graphically this game looks spectacular. AC2 looked great too but this one looks better. Renaissance era Rome looks beautiful. All of the famous buildings look like their real world counterparts. I spent a lot of time admiring the various locations. From the huge country side, ancient ruins and the sprawling urban centers, each district in Rome was rendered with a lot of attention to detail. The finely detailed textures give everything a sense of believability and the lighting is really amazing and helps to give each area it’s own look and atmosphere. The characters are all well animated and designed. The clothing is really nice too and you can tell that a lot of work went into making them look like genuine renaissance era attire. I wouldn’t be surprised if the developers had real clothing of this sort on hand for reference because the clothing and armor look absolutely incredible. People of the renaissance definitely knew how to dress to impress.

The sound design is really nice. You’ll mostly hear music during cut scenes and action sequences but what little music the game does have fits it perfectly. The sounds that you hear when travelling through Rome really help bring the city to life. You will always hear orators in the background telling people about the latest events, the ambient sound of the crowd, animals making their animal sounds and you can even hear the wind at certain points. The comments that people make when they see you doing your acrobatics are fun but can get tiring after a while because they repeat the same things over and over again. The best part of the sound to me comes from combat. The sound of steel going into flesh is really brutal and never gets old. I don’t know how they got the sound of swords slicing people up to sound so good but it definitely makes battles feel more visceral and nasty.

Multiplayer has been added since it seems every game (even if it doesn’t need it) has to have multiplayer in it now. Unlike most multiplayer games which feel completely unfair, AC:B’s multiplayer actually makes you feel like you have a chance of doing well. There are several modes that are similar to deathmatch and team deathmatch. In all modes, you have a target to kill but you are also someone else’s target. The main goal in multiplayer is NOT to draw any attention to yourself. If you start running after your target, not only will they know you are coming after them but the person pursuing you will have an easier time finding you. All of the npcs (non playable characters) in the world look like the characters that you can select to play with so if you start running around you will stick out. You gain a lot of points for killing your target without them knowing you are there and you also gain points for evading your pursuer. All in all multiplayer is actually fun but you won’t be playing it for too long. While we’re talking about multiplayer, if you want to get all of the trophies for it then you WILL need a headset. Some of the actions required are so luck dependent that if you want an actual chance of getting them all you’ll need to get together with people and coordinate. Go check out either ps3trophies.com or ps3trophies.org to help find folks willing to help. I’d offer my help but I’ve already gotten the platinum trophy and I don’t have any real desire to go back to playing multiplayer. Not because it’s bad or anything it’s just that I am not a multiplayer kinda guy.

Playing long is something that you will do in the single player. There are a ridiculous amount of side quests to complete and you WILL lose hours in single sittings collecting stuff, building up your assassins, buying and rebuilding Roman buildings and completing quests for the various allied factions. The main quest is not as long as the one from AC2 but it’s still pretty meaty. Despite this, you are going to spend most of your play time doing the side stuff because they are very generous with their rewards and are a lot of fun. Getting trophies in this game is pretty easy. The multiplayer ones take a bit of work but they are not impossible. Most of the single player trophies are given to you for just going through the story and doing the collection quests. Some of the trophies are pretty funny like killing a guard with a broom or jumping off the tallest building in Rome and then parachuting to the ground.

All quests, whether they be main or side have to be completed a certain way in order to get 100% in them. Some require you to kill with a certain weapon, not kill at all or to complete them in a certain amount of time. It is not necessary to get 100% in the quests but you will want to get as many 100%s as you can to play through some hidden quests. The hidden quests are repressed memories that Ezio has and they mostly involve a lovely girl named Christina Vespucci. Before you ask, YES she is related to Amerigo Vespucci. The Christina missions are about Ezio trying to court or get back together with Christina and while from a gameplay standpoint they are nothing remarkable, they are very cool lost story bits from Ezio’s past. I don’t want to give away the ending to these quests but it’s pretty emotional. If you are unable to get 100% in a mission the first time then you can always replay it and try again.

Two of the side quests that I want to talk about are the subject 16 puzzles and the quests for Leonardo da Vinci. The subject 16 puzzles are just as mind bendy (yeah it’s not a real word. I know :p) and kinda scary as they were before. All of the puzzles require you to make a move in chess at one point so if you don’t know how to play chess (like me) then you are going to have to consult a strategy guide to help you out. This is the second time this year that I’ve played a mini game in a video game that is based off a real world game that I have no clue how to play. I’m looking at you Red dead redemption and your poker and dice games.

Leonardo da Vinci makes a return and this time you have to help him by destroying machines that he has been forced to build for the Borgia. All of these missions require you to quietly sneak into an enemy fortification, destroy the blue prints for and then destroy the actual machine. The machines help to change up the gameplay and are a lot of fun to use and blow stuff up with. They are all basically what modern day war machines would be like if built in the early 1500s. Wooden tanks for the win!

There are exclusive quests for Playstation 3 owners. There are two Templar stongholds to go through and also some quests for Nicolaus Copernicus. The Copernicus missions are mostly timed affairs that have you getting to specific targets to deliver messages. This dlc is free on the Playstation network. While I did enjoy seeing Copernicus in the game, I’m glad that the dlc was free because it was kind of disposable and didn’t really add anything significant to the game.

Assassin’s creed: Brotherhood is another fantastic entry in the series. Although still not perfect, the platforming and combat have been improved. There are a ton of side quests to complete. You can spend hours playing this game and not even touch the main quest. Brotherhood is essentially part 2 to Assassin’s creed 2 but still manages to deliver it’s own story. Multiplayer is a nice new addition but isn’t anything that anyone will be playing months from now. All in all if you liked the last Assassin’s creed game then you need to pick this one up. It finishes the story of AC2 and tweaks the gameplay to make it faster and more user friendly. Assassin’s creed: Brotherhood is a very lengthy and fulfilling game.

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