Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Review

With the first details and images for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations now starting to surface, it seems fitting to take a look back at the previous game in the franchise. How did AC: Brotherhood stack up against the first two games and what can be improved upon in Revelations?

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood continues the storyline right where Assassin’s Creed 2 left off as Ezio is leaving the temple. Unfortunately, the Apple of Eden is once again stolen in an attack on Monteriggioni and the player must spend the majority of the game trying to marshal his forces and recover it.

There’s a lot of new things to do in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood which helps the game not be repetitive or tedious. This was a major criticism of the previous two games in the franchise (especially the first one) but it seems that the series has now completely shed that negative aspect of gameplay.

As you progress through the game, you will unlock special side missions to be done for the mercenaries, courtesans, and thieves. Each guild has different missions specifically themed towards a certain aspect of gameplay such as stealth, speed, or combat. Speaking of combat, it has been much improved from Assassin’s Creed 2. No longer is simply standing there waiting to counter every attack the best method of fighting. Players can now chain together execution combos while on the offensive. It is an amazing feeling to “dance” between scores of guards, leaving countless bodies in your wake as they frantically try to match up to Ezio’s vastly superior swordsmanship. Although killing dozens of enemies without being touched can be extremely fun, this new feature does make things a bit too easy.

If you are looking to complete all of the side missions, destroy all Borgia towers, renovate all buildings, find all of Subject 16’s hidden messages, etc then this game is going to take you a very long time to finish. It does not keep track of how much time you have played it, but several dozen hours is definitely not out of the question. On the same token, if you just want to go through the main story that is fine too. The game won’t take nearly as long to complete though and you’ll be missing out on a lot of the quirky subplots.

One new addition to Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was a competitive multiplayer mode. When the game was released, its multiplayer was heralded by users and critics alike. Finally trying it out now, it really wasn’t that impressive. The object of the mode is to assassinate a specific target without being detected while simultaneously trying to elude someone else who is trying to assassinate you. In theory, this sounds really cool. In practice, it ends up being just a bunch of people sprinting around, jumping from rooftops, and neglecting to use stealth or blend in whatsoever. While a stealth kill gives many more points, most people are too bloodthirsty to care.

One of the biggest flaws with the multiplayer is that you can’t really defend yourself against someone who is trying to kill you. Unlike in the story mode where you can just pull your sword and start fighting a guard, if an assassin approaches you all you can do is punch him! This seems really unfair and in most instances doesn’t even work. All you can really do is flee.

There is also a leveling system similar to Call of Duty where when a player accumulates enough experience and reaches higher levels, they will unlock new equipment. This tips the scales of balance a bit too far as someone just starting out only has a hidden blade while veteran players will be able to utilize smoke bombs and pistols! No matter how skilled the low level player might be, he simply won’t stand a chance against someone with better equipment. Hopefully these two issues will be worked out if Ubisoft decides to include multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

All in all, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is an excellent game that offers a lot of gameplay for your dollar. Anybody who liked the previous Assassin’s Creed games is sure to absolutely love Brotherhood. Newcomers to the series may also enjoy it for its superior gameplay to the first two games, but since they will be left in the dark about much of the storyline, it’s best if they pick up the others first.

Final score: 4 out of 5 stars.

(This review originally published on Examiner.com)