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Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (X360)

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (X360)

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (X360) Review

When the original Assassin’s Creed was released the game received a number of positive reviews thanks to its excellent, engaging storyline and stunning graphics. Yet there were still some complaints that the game lacked depth and over time became tedious. Ubisoft then began work on the sequel and before long had announced the release of Assassin’s Creed II; this time the game was met with widespread acclaim for its more refined gameplay and variety of missions, a huge improvement on Assassin’s Creed.

After just one year Ubisoft have returned with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The developers have stated that the game is merely an expansion on Assassin’s Creed II and the third installment of the series – featuring all new characters – will be released in future. Is Brotherhood merely just an attempt to make more money from the success of Assassin’s Creed II, or is it worthy of its own release?

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Gameplay

The game picks up where Assassin’s Creed II ended and the storyline is simple, sort of. We are Desmond Miles, the most awkward and unconvincing protagonist players could imagine but a man who carries the DNA of the Assassin’s – a shadowy group of warriors who have been involved in a war with the mighty Templar’s for centuries. The Templar’s have proven a stubborn bunch over the years as they search for the mystical "Pieces of Eden", objects of unspeakable power that, when in the wrong hands, would control mankind forever.

Desmond spends most of his time hooked up to the Animus, a machine that allows him to relive the memories of his ancestors through his DNA. Originally Desmond was captured by the Templar’s who wished to use him in their search for the Pieces of Eden but he was rescued by modern day Assassin’s, and now must find the Pieces of Eden before the Templar’s… Confused? Then that is no different from us when we began playing. Players will spend most of their time in Renaissance Italy in the early 15th Century playing as the charismatic and lovable Ezio Auditore, the very same hero from Assassin’s Creed II.

Ezio must get revenge on the evil Borgia family who took the life of his uncle whilst stealing the Apple of Eden, one of the pieces that the Templar’s are in search of in the modern day. Just moving around the city of Rome can give hours of fun thanks to Ezio’s parkour skills which see him glide across the inner city on roofs, railings and walls at a frightening pace. It can take a while to get used to but before long we were flying through the city like Tim ‘Livewire’ Shieff.

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It is only when in combat that players will have the opportunity to see Ezio in full flow and with each fight they will learn new skills and pick up new weapons to help them on their quest. Before long Ezio will be tearing through entire squadrons of Templar’s in a sequence of stylish 1 button executions and swift sword fighting. The quests this time offer a far greater variety than before as players will have the opportunity to tail enemy soldiers, eavesdrop conversations or assassinate high ranking officers. Additional objectives for each mission give players the opportunity to really challenge themselves, asking them to finish the opponent with a certain weapon or move and giving a score depending on how close it was to the real thing. There are also plenty of completely optional missions to undertake which add good variation to the game.

Yet Brotherhood doesn’t just focus on the fighting skills of Ezio as further into the game, with our mini empire growing we need to control renovation of areas to create income which will help improve our arsenal or train up apprentices. Thanks to a brilliant new feature Ezio is able to send his very own army of budding assassins around Europe to hone their craft and complete missions, each mission completed improves the trainee’s skills which will come in handy when unleashing them in battle.

The various multiplayer modes are surprisingly good fun and, unlike various other games in this genre, offer new and exciting ways to play against friends. In the brilliantly thought out Advanced Wanted mode players are given a photo of their target as well as a vague indication of where they are on the radar whilst their opponent is given a picture of their would be assassin. This creates a tense game of cat and mouse as the assassin searches for his target in the dense and populated backdrop of Rome whilst the target must stay on his toes and prepare for attack from anywhere.

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Graphics
Much like with the first two games the visuals are stunning and with an environment that is completely open to exploration there has rarely been a game that looked so good. When in combat the smooth and fluid movement of the hero makes the game look as natural as the real thing and there are a number of great looking and stylish 1 button assassinations to perform. When moving through the bustling city of Rome players will rarely see the same face twice, showing just how much time and details has gone into developing the game. Of course the entire game isn’t spent in 15th Century Italy and when playing outside of the Animus (mainly around the crumbling ruins of the once prosperous city that Ezio hailed from) the game looks as eerie and spooky as anyone would imagine it to be.

It’s not very often that we enjoy sitting through the cinematics but Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood had us hooked with theirs.

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Audio
The voice acting is extremely well done and although no big name actors or actresses have been drafted in the people employed do bring the characters alive. The extremely dark soundtrack echo’s the style of the game and the Borgia families aspirations to rule all of Italy and fits well. Sound effects are, as always with Assassin’s Creed, very well done. The sound of swords clashing or Ezio’s hidden dagger taking someone out will leave players itching to perform more exquisite assassinations.

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Summary

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is engaging and enjoyable to play. Despite initially being viewed as a stop-gap release the game picks off where Assassin’s Creed II left off and expands on it magnificently. Ubisoft have somehow managed to take the story of Ezio Auditore and create what feels and plays like a completely new game whilst adding plenty of new and enticing features to boot.

Players are driven to continue playing through the single player campaign thanks to the enormous amount of effort Ubisoft have put into mixing up the content and providing varied, exciting missions and objectives. When the single player mode does come to an end, a hefty 20 hours of play time for those who want to see everything, the numerous multiplayer modes add a whole new dynamic to the game. They offer the chance to take our skills and test them on friends or foes to devastating effect. A fantastic and well rounded game from Ubisoft which just leaves one question to be asked; If this is an expansion of Assassin’s Creed II, how good will Assassin’s Creed III be?

Gameplay 95/100 Absolutely brilliant and will have players hooked for hours on end, be it exploring the huge environment or tearing through squadrons of enemy soldiers. A huge number of varied and exciting missions with assassinations that keep the player wanting more.
Graphics 93/100 The stunning backdrop of Rome is only intensified by the bustling streets and gorgeous textures whilst the huge amount of lengthy and engaging cinematics give the game a big screen look and feel.
Audio 85/100 The dark soundtrack goes well with the plot of the game and the voice acting, other than one extremely annoying English character, is very well done.
Value 90/100 When the game was announced many felt it was merely an attempt to earn some more cash off the back of an already used storyline but after playing for a few hours it’s clear that Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is anything but that. A fun multiplayer enhances the value further.
Overall
(Not an Average)
95/100 What was viewed as a stop-gap release has instantly shown that it is in fact one of the best games of the year and with Assassin’s Creed III already in the works we can’t wait to see what else Ubisoft have in store for us.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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