Ever since the first Assassin’s Creed game in the franchise came out in 2007, fans of the series have been pulled far into the compelling story that is full of twists and turns. Assassin’s Creed II was an excellent follow up to the award winning game, which followed a new character from a later timeline than the first game.
Rather than go straight towards Assassin’s Creed III, developer Ubisoft decided to continue the story of Ezio Auditore da Firenze from the second game with their latest installment Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
Brotherhood takes place immediately after the second game ended in the year 1499. After fleeing the Auditore villa when a surprise attack nearly destroys the town, Ezio calls upon the help of his Assassin brotherhood to aid him in defeating Rodrigo Borgia once and for all.
Meanwhile in the present, Desmond and the group of Assassins take refuge in the old sanctuary that was built by Desmond’s ancestor in the Auditore villa. There, they plan to continue along with what research they had from the second game.
Another interesting feature is that for the first part of the game your Assassin’s Creed II game-save (if you have one) is recognized and you start out with exactly the same money and weapons that you had at the end of II.
Much of the interface of the game has been kept the same, but slightly touched up. One change from the first two games is that you have a customizable D-Pad action wheel. You can set various actions, items or weapons to the different directional buttons in any configuration that you prefer.
The combat system in the game has also been slightly improved upon. The A.I. is a little more intelligent in combat this time around. They will decide to attack at random moments, making their movements less predictable than in the first and second games. They’ve also added in a feature called “execution streaks.” While executing an enemy, you can quickly switch and execute other enemies in a seamless chain that quickens battles and adds flare to your attacks.
Upgrading your equipment is the same as in the second game. Shops carry the different merchandise needed for upgrades. However, the money earning system has been modified to fit the story from the second game. Rather than having someone overlook the city and upgrading levels of one type of store, Ezio must reopen and renovate closed down shops throughout the city of Rome. In return, the shop owners will pay him royalties for lending them money for rebuilding.
Another big change to the story is the addition of your very own personal “army.” You can hire other warriors to undertake missions for you. An advancement system also exists to level your warriors up and make them better at fighting for you. This can be used to earn you money while you’re attending to other matters.
Probably the most massive change to the franchise is the addition of multiplayer via Xbox Live or the Playstation Network. Players can compete against each other in one of four different game modes. “Wanted” is a free-for-all deathmatch style where players are assigned random targets and it’s kill or be killed. “Alliance” is similar to Wanted except you are grouped into teams of two. “Manhunt” pits one team against another in a game of cat and mouse. One side tries to assassinate the other while they blend in and hide to gain points.
In all of the game modes, a compass displays the general whereabouts of a target, but it’s up to the player’s keen observational skills to pick out the correct target in the crowd. “Advanced Wanted” is similar to Wanted, but the compass does not display whether the target is above or below you.
Players also have access to an ability system, where they can use items like smoke bombs or a speed boost, kill-streak rewards and even death-streak rewards. There are several classes for the player to choose from but they don’t add anything except a different look to your character.
The idea for multiplayer in a game like Assassin’s Creed is a very good idea, and Ubisoft executed it to the best of their ability. The game modes are balanced as well as the abilities. The problem does not lie in the game itself but in the community. The objective of the game is to be as stealth-like as possible and to not gain much attention. The players you see often do the complete opposite. They will run around like idiots to the point where it just doesn’t seem fun anymore.
Another problem is that once a target confirms your identity, it is very difficult to escape. Once the hunter can press the assassinate button, it’s all over for you. There’s no way to escape short of trying to run if you’re far enough away, no action sequence, no nothing. It can get very frustrating at times and it makes me wish that they incorporated some type of event to escape or counter an assassination.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a very worthy sequel to an already fantastic game. The single player has only been improved and the addition of multiplayer has added a new touch of curiosity and replay value to the franchise. The game is definitely worth it for those new and familiar with the world of Assassin’s Creed.