The Assassin’s Creed series is one that, while not perfect, has provided many very entertaining moments. Although the first game was flawed, the sequel managed to step above and beyond all expectations many people had for it. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is the third installment in the highly successful series, and it adds some interesting twists on a very familiar formula. While it feels very similar to last year’s game, it still offers plenty of new things for veterans of the series while allowing new players to jump in and join the fun.
The story picks up literally a few seconds after Assassin’s Creed II ended, and continues with the first game’s protagonist, Ezio Auditore, just as he finds the mystical Apple of Eden. It isn’t long until all hell breaks loose and Ezio is faced against a new enemy, the Borgia, Templars who are once again after the Apple and will do anything to get it. Ezio’s story is strong, but not nearly as compelling as it was in the previous entry. Players also take control of Desmond once again as he attempts to locate where Ezio hid the Apple to retrieve it before the Templars discover its location. Desmond’s story isn’t as impactful as it was in the first two games, but it does give us an unexpected twist at the end of the story that nobody will see coming. The story as a whole is rather disappointing, with Ezio’s journey in particular ending as predictably as it started.
The game is gorgeous, and Rome is an absolutely incredible setting. While this is the only city available to you in the game, unlike the previous two, it is a lot larger and has a nice variety of areas to explore. While you do spend the majority of the game here, you often come across new and interesting landmarks to discover.
Not only is the city large in scope, the game has many things to do and collect. Opening your map at first can be quite overwhelming, as you will find many icons directing you towards story missions, side quests, collectibles, things to buy, and much more. The variety in this game is astounding, and completionists will be kept plenty busy doing every little thing this game has to offer. There are also challenges for combat and free running available, allowing you to hone your skills at both.
You can recruit other assassins to aid you in your assignments at any time. Whenever you see an enemy, you can press LB and call one or two assassins to quickly execute the closest enemies near you and assist you in battle. You will be able to hire up to ten, and the more you have, the more that can help you during missions. Also, you will be able to send these recruits on separate assignments outside of Rome to gain experience and earn you money.
The gameplay is relatively similar otherwise. The free running remains exactly the same, so if you are familiar with how it worked in the last game you will be jumping across rooftops in no time. When it works, it really works, as you find yourself going from building to building with ease, able to outrun anybody.
On the other hand, it can be rather touchy, with one wrong move veering you in the wrong direction and possibly making you jump right off of what you were climbing in the first place. When on particularly tall buildings or structures, this could mean the loss of a lot of life or even death. This has always been a problem with the series, and one that is rather love or hate; some think it’s absolutely perfect, while others often encounter these problems. The controls can be rather finicky at times too, often leading to missteps that can be very troublesome, especially during stealth missions.
Aside from these complaints, the campaign is very solid. The combat is still excellent, with new options opening up the combat to more strategy. You now can instantly kill enemies shortly after executing someone by simply pressing the attack button and holding the analog stick in the direction of an opponent. This works well, but it’s not something you can abuse as you will almost always find yourself surrounded by enemies eager to attack.
Finally, there’s the multiplayer, the big new addition to the game. Surprisingly enough, it is a lot of fun and offers a nice alternative to the story driven single player. You are thrown into an environment and given a target to assassinate, and you must do so quickly before someone else gets to them. The key to it is to try and not appear as a human controlled character, which means to blend in as much as possible, as there will be other players trying to kill you as well.
The multiplayer is not deep, but it can be a blast to play with the right group of people. You really never know when someone will leap out of nowhere and strike as you try and track down your own target. Those looking for a fun alternative to the more popular multiplayer options out there, look no further than this.
While it is a much different experience than I expected, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood delivers. It not only offers a robust single player campaign, it gives us a multiplayer component that, while unnecessary, is still a lot of fun to play. Despite the complaints, this is easily the best Assassin’s Creed yet and a definite purchase for fans of the series.
Pros: Rome is beautiful and very fun to explore; expanded combat options opens new strategies; massive amount of content; multiplayer is surprisingly fun
Cons: Free running still doesn’t work at times; disappointing story; controls can be finicky