Genre: Action Adventure
ESRB rating: Mature
Release date: Available now
Inside everyone’s DNA lie the memories of their ancestors. With the Animus machine from Abstergo Industries, you are able to obtain and record these memories as if they were your own. The only problem is that Abstergo Industries is the modern day form of the Knights Templar, an ancient secret society that wants nothing more than power and control while hiding behind the mask of religion. They use the Animus machine to find ancient artifacts to help them accomplish this. Luckily, there is an order of assassins that are sworn enemies of the corrupt Knights Templar, and want to bring them down. This is where you, the player, comes into the picture.
Assassins Creed: Brotherhood, from Ubisoft, takes place right after the events at the end of Assassins Creed 2. Desmond and Lucy, with her band of assassins, are on the run from the Knights Templar. On top of that, they have newly obtained knowledge that there is a coming apocalypse, but there is hope. Temples are scattered around the globe that hold the necessary means to stop the end of days. The only problem is that they do not know where these temples are located. So Desmond must once again enter the memories of his famous ancestor, the assassin Ezio, in the hopes of finding information about the location of the temples.
The gameplay is not much different from the previous Assassin’s Creed titles. You navigate the densely populated Italian Renaissance city environment by climbing walls or jumping from one ledge to another. The main missions occur through memories, and must be synchronized via the Animus. These are the memories of Ezio throughout different dates in the story line. The combat is also similar, and focuses on assassinations. These have an added cinematic finish such as jumping off a ledge and killing an enemy below with a knife. Aside from the similarities of combat, controls and story progression, there has been some new features packed into the game. Brotherhood permits the recruiting of people to the assassin order. Once recruited, these assassins are your weapons to command. Whenever you feel it necessary, you can call on them to kill whomever you wish. They jump out of hay stacks, jump off roofs, and even shoot arrows from places you can’t see. These fellow assassins also possess a leveling system where you can send them off on missions to increase their effectiveness. In addition to the recruiting of AI, however, they’ve added a multiplayer component this time around. It plays a little differently than single player, and appears based on such standard-fare game modes as free-for-all and team play, but with a twist. Once you have chosen a character she/he is scattered across the city landscape with multiple exact copies and your opponent’s character copies are scattered as well. For the most part you have to kill other the players who are your targets. You still have to be stealthy when you go in for the kill, avoid getting spotted with sudden movements or running, and avoid death yourself to score points. You get more points for being stealthy and having a dramatic kill. At the end of the match the player or team with the most points wins. When you complete matches, your profile gets experience points and levels up. The higher the level, the more perks and skills unlocked, which aid you on your way to the winner’s circle.
Don’t worry about being completely lost in the story. Ubisoft does a great job in the beginning of getting you caught up, so you can jump right into this fantastic saga and not feel like you missed out on everything. One of the most entertaining things about this game is one of the new added features – the use of your fellow brotherhood assassins. It does not get old as they just pop out of nowhere silently killing town guards. I also found the multiplayer to be surprisingly entertaining. I have to admit I had my doubts when I first heard about it, but it has great competition and strategy elements brought together with the Assassin’s Creed style. The way the matches play out, you must use the techniques acquired in the single player game to be successful in the multiplayer, and this is a fantastic inclusion.
Assassins Creed: Brotherhood is a fantastic game, however, it does have some problems. The gameplay tends to become repetitive through some stretches of doing the same things over and over again. Start a memory, climb a castle, sneak into a castle, kill a bad guy, run away from the guards and repeat. If the story wasn’t so well written, it would get extremely old real fast. There’s also exists a carryover problem from the previous titles – the controls. Yes, it is easy to climb up walls and ledges, but it’s just as easy to fall off of them. To their credit, Ubisoft did eliminate most of the frustration factor by adding in checkpoints to the climbing puzzle areas.
The multiplayer addition is very enjoyable and will bring hours of excitement. The acrobatic travel across the city is fun, but comes with some frustration level. The story here is one of the best in video games today, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood does a great job getting you caught up if you haven’t experienced it before. What are you waiting for? Suit up your assassin’s robes and go kill some bad guys.