Assassins Creed: Brotherhood Official Review
by Curse

Basic Information:
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
North American Release Date: 16th November 2010
European Release Date: 19th November 2010
Trophies: 1 1 15 34

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood is the direct sequel to Assassins Creed: II, and as of such follows the story lines on both Desmond and Ezio. As always, the game uses its unique mixture of stealth, action and parkour influenced platforming. After being released only a year after its predecessor, many were left wondering if it would live up to expectations. So, does it?

The gameplay is mainly an adaption on what we saw in assassin's creed II, with aspects such as combat now redefined. Combat feels much more streamlined now, and the focus is now on being offensive. This is compared to in previous iterations where you would be waiting for the AI enemy to strike, where you would then counter said attack. The whole thing now flows much better and combat is a blast, the flow is assisted by having 'streaks' where once you have assassinated one enemy, you can use that momentum to then kill a nearby enemy, and this continues until you get hit, creating new tactics, such as assassinating a smaller enemy so you get an easier kill on a larger, armored enemy. The platforming doesn't feel too altered but works like a charm as before. And the stealth and assassination play is helped by the inclusion of new gameplay aspects and newer inventions.

Streamlined combat is much more fun

The main new addition to the gameplay, is the inclusion of being able to recruit new assassins, into your own brotherhood, this adds an entire new twist onto the gameplay. Once you recruit an assassin, you then have the duty of sending them out on missions to various locations around europe to train and level them up, up until they move from being a simple troubled citizen with a flare for challenging the guards, to an assassin. You can use your recruited assassins in many different scenarios. Such as to assist you in combat against multiple enemies, perform group assassinations and my personal favorite, fire multiple arrows onto an unsuspecting group of enemies before you dive in and destroy them with your sword!

As always the new gadgets add a different edge to the gameplay, and the main gadgets are the parachute, poison darts and crossbow. The parachute is a barrel of laughs at times, parachuting from tall buildings and trying to navigate through more tall buildings, onto an air assassination. The poison darts and crossbow are both examples of ancient stealth weapons. They make no sound, but have great range, making them a great addition to have. The crossbow almost kills off some stealth aspects for me, you can easily take out enemies without causing havoc. In comparison, the poison darts are silent, but do cause havoc. After poisoning an enemy, they will attract attention of nearby guards, creating a distraction.

The story is the single greatest part of this game, I must say I'm a massive fan of it. If I was to ruin the Desmond section of the story, I would feel like I've failed you as a reviewer, so I will only say one thing. You will love it. It is truly amazing, a large amount of thought has gone into making sure everything is historically correct, and everything is just how you'd imagine it. By truly capturing both the character of Ezio, and the beautiful city Rome in the 1500's. Everything looks gorgeous, and the whole city has been beautifully remastered. This all makes the story of Ezio that little bit closer to home, and makes the characters that much more connectable to the player.

The whole story is based around Desmond Miles in the year 2012. Desmond fled his hideout with the Assassins and tried to live a quiet life as a normal person, until he was eventually found by the enemy of the Assassins, the Templars. The Templars hooked him up to the Animus, which allows the user to access their ancestors memories as though they were living it themselves, picking up skills and knowledge along the way. This leads to the game being based around the user playing as Desmond's ancestors in older times. The ancestor that this game is based around is Ezio, but for the first time in the series we get to control Desmond whenever we wish, however where we can go is fairly restricted.

The story gives the impression that the game is mainly here to display the multiplayer, and start bridging the gap between Assassin's Creed II and the future Assassin's Creed III, but it will still keep you going for admittedly a shorter time than the others. The smaller length of the singleplayer also adds to the impression that this is simply an extension onto Assassins Creed II. Surprisingly enough though, this never seemed to be much of a problem for me. It may be because im a sucker for the franchise, but the story that they give is enough. It extends both Ezio's and Desmond's part in the story a fair amount and leaves you begging for more. That bit more comes in the usual large amounts of extras to do. From side missions that involve unlocking new gadgets, puzzles that add more to the encrypted messages within the animus to a large amount of collectables.

The online portion of this game left me with a mixed impression so to say. When I first tried it out, I loved it, the action felt good, the whole style of the multiplayer felt somewhat fresh and original, and like there was enough to keep me coming back for a while. The main thing I enjoyed may sound quite odd, as it's quite a simple feature, but it's just the whole 'animus feel' that it has about it. Your menus are regular the same style as the animus menus we're becoming accustomed to. Every character you see whilst playing could have been selected by a user. For once it is an online mode that actually makes sense! Rather than the law-defying respawning, it is technologically represented through the animus, so everything you see/kill isn't actually real, much like the actual game. The whole ranking system adds a decent amount of depth and re-playability to the game. With new items being unlocked after each level-up, you'll find yourself wanting to level out to try out all of the cool gadgets. However, this creates some very unfair games, which makes the learning curve fairly steep. You be in lobbies against people using gadgets that you've never even saw before, which spins out any older gameplay tactics you once had. Although this does mix up the gameplay, it does lead to some very frustrating events.

Multiplayer is like a vicious love cycle

The variation of maps aids the multiplayer from becoming stale pretty well. You'll struggle trying to play the same tactic on every map, so to fully master the online a lot of practice in every map is to be had. For example, some maps will be easier to blend in crowds due to higher amounts of pedestrian filled streets. Whereas others will have quicker escape routes or easily accessible vantage points. Aswell as variation through the maps, the different gamemodes will keep you on your toes to an extent. There are free-for-all type gamemodes, these pitch every player against eachother, and you'll be either searching for other players in a sea of characters, or looking for a specific target, whilst being the target of another player. There is a co-op variation of the previously mentioned gamemode that works as a triangle. Three teams of two, everybody is hunting and being hunted. And finally 4v4 team based modes. Ontop of that there is a large amount of characters to choose from, and you have the freedom to customize costumes.

Assassin's Creed II felt technically brilliant, graphically, musically, everything felt very renaissance italy and it worked very well. But then you play Brotherhood, and not a lot has changed. This isn't to say that the game isn't up to scratch, they have made improvements, quite significant improvements to say that there was a year between II and Brotherhood. But it does feel very similar. It may be that the location and timezone hasn't changed much, but it does feel a little lazy in places. I'd still personally take any excuse just to get a little more out of the before-mentioned fantastic story! In terms of Brotherhood itself though, I never came across any major problems in terms of performance. The main characters look lifelike aswell as the civilians. The civilians, surprisingly didn't seem as repetitive as in other games, as I've barely noticed duplicates. The soundtrack, soundeffects and voiceovers are as always top-notch. And I rarely noticed any dodgy textures or lighting

The platinum for this can be a bit of a nuisance due to the online trophies. The singleplayer list is basically a smaller version of the Assassin's Creed II full list, it requires you to play every aspect of the game, which for me is the perfect requirement for a platinum. What I don't like is what they've done with the multiplayer trophies. And that is that although they've kept the theme of making us play every part, they've added a rank 50 trophy. That on its own would be enough, but with additional trophies that require you to achieve every single bonus, it becomes a drag to get the platinum

Closing Thoughts
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a strong game, based on the foundations provided by its predecessor, with improvements to gameplay and another fantastic story added. It might not be a must have for everyones collection, but it provides a key part to the Assassin's Creed story, and adds an interesting online mode

Gameplay: 9/10
Some good improvements made that streamline combat and make the game even more enjoyable

Singleplayer: 9/10
Fantastic story, decent amount of replayability. Leaves you wanting more as soon as you've finished the story

Multiplayer: 7/10
Feels like a good try, but it's not all there yet for me

Technical: 8/10
Would've been higher, but the lazy sequel factor ways it down a little. The factor isn't as bad as it is with other sequels, but it is still prominent for me

Overall: 8/10