Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: Xbox 360 [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PC
Genres: Stealth, action, historical timefunk, silent stabby stabfest
Modes: Single-player, online multiplayer
Hours clocked: Around 15 to 20 hours
Well, I honestly didn’t expect to complete Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood as quickly as I did, but basically once you’ve reached DNA Sequence 7, the game pushes forward at a tremendous pace, allowing no pauses or breaks or wild meandering across Roma. Sucks to be Ezio, I guess. Sucks even harder to be Cesare Borgia.
Anyways, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed II, a game I did not play, and I think I suffered a little bit from missing out on Ezio’s original adventure. Not a ton, mind you, but enough to get me wondering what some of his remarks meant and why he trusted person X or distrusted person Y so vehemently. A string of events take Ezio to Roma (or Rome, as I call it), and it is here that he will begin to build his own guild of assassins to take down the continuing Borgia threat and steal back the Apple of Eden from Cesare Borgia. On the flipside, Desmond and the other Scooby-Doo people are trying to get a password out of Ezio’s memories to find out where he safely hid the Apple. It’s a decent story with some possibly interesting characters, but a lot of folk are dropped and forgotten about after their sole mission. A shame, really, especially when concerning Ezio’s sister.
There’s a lot to do in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I’ve discussed this before. In fact, there’s so much that I did not get to finish it all before being forcibly pushed forward to complete the game. Thankfully, after the credits roll, you’ll be able to return to virtual Roma to continue burning Borgia towers, collect flags, and open up shops. This is good; this is very good. Now I can play and run around the world without quests getting in the way. That might seem like a weird thing to say, but the worlds Ubisoft constructs for its Assassin’s Creed games are just so wonderfully dense and detailed that it is fun just living in them. Don’t need to do anything special. Heck, that’s why some of my favorite missions were when Ezio had to follow a person around the city without being detected; sitting on benches never felt so great.
Having never played Assassin’s Creed II, I can only compare this new outing to the original. The controls are much smoother, but having Ezio jump in a specific direction is touch-and-go; sometimes he does a cool leap, and sometimes he just leaps to his death. The fighting…has actually been made easier, which is a letdown. Once a killing animation begins, Ezio can basically chain together five to ten more instant kills with the touch of one button. Sure, it looks freakin’ fantastic and shows off the uniqueness of every weapon, but it makes fights a little on the bland side. I failed more missions from being detected than from dying in a fight, especially since you can loot medicine from fallen soldiers’ bodies.
Upgrading Roma is an addicting thing. The minute I see a closed shop, I need to buy it so I can increase my income. If it’s under the shadow of a Borgia tower, down goes the tower. Some shops even have quests, which require you to find a specific number of items from hidden treasures and rewards from assassin contracts. And speaking of contracts, man…having your own brotherhood of assassins is great and crappy. The great comes in from summoning out of nowhere to do your bidding; the crappy refers to the, uh, text-based minigame of sending them off to do contracts to gain XP and level up. It’s a neat idea, but it’s presented uninterestingly in menu form only, and I can guarantee that people stop actually reading contract text before long.
So I have a few flags, shrines, and Borgia towers to unearth yet, as well as Subject 16’s puzzles. After that, I probably won’t head back into Roma, but I definitely will give the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer much more devotion. Currently, I’m a level 7 and loving it. Have only played the Wanted mode, which is a cat-and-mouse game of hunt and be hunted, but it’s a blast. Unlike anything else I’ve ever played online. Considering I love just walking around and blending in with crowds, it’s perfect for me. That said, I’m not great at it. Haven’t figured out how to do a stun yet, but I was able to assassinate a target from hidden in a hay pile. Will write about that and more multiplayer musings in another post.
All in all, I was surprised by the quality in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, as well as the amount of things to do. It may be a sequel to a sequel, and even just a torso for the multiplayer legs, but it’s still a wholly entertaining experience. Considering I got it for sale at $39.99, I’m pretty satisfied. So, Assassin’s Creed III…where’s Ezio off to next?