For those of you who ended Assassin’s Creed 2, they would understand exactly what I mean when I say that we were left needing a sequel, just to reach a little comprehension as to what exactly in the world happened at the end to our favourite roof-top clambering and incredible leaps performing assassin namely Ezio Auditore. A year has passed and Ubisoft is treating us with another Assassin’s Creed title by the name of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Where Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is not Assassin’s Creed 3, it does however serve as a very important entry in the series.
Brotherhood picks up right where Assassin’s Creed II left us. The Apple of Eden has been secured and Ezio has taken his revenge from the Pope. Naturally, Ezio assumes that his role has been fulfilled and now its time to take a little break from all the running around, assassinating conspirators and meeting godlike entities by returning back to the Villa and reveling with his love-interest, Caterina Sforza. His extravagance however does not last long and before you know it the Villa has been attacked by the Borgia. The Apple of Eden has been stolen, the Villa destroyed and Ezio’s family almost completely defaced, there is no other choice for Ezio but to return the favour by sabotaging the Borgia rule in Rome and safeguarding the Apple once and for all.
The majority of the game takes place in renaissance Rome but this game sees more of Desmond and his modern era assassin friends than any of the previous games combined. Desmond has a lot more personality this time round and a much more significant role. Along with him various other characters have been carried forward and evolved from Assassin’s Creed II including Christina and Leonardo da Vinci, both of whom have special memory sequences outside the main storyline’s premises that have to be manually triggered. Leonardo has built some really fantastic war-machines which are unfortunately under Borgia possession but these become perfect opportunities for side-quests. There is a lot to do in Brotherhood; all that was in Assassin’s Creed II has been passed on and implemented on a much larger scale. Now that you’re in Rome there are dozens of more blacksmiths, tailors, banks and clothing stores to be purchased. There is a catch here though; Rome is under the rule of Borgia and you will be unable to purchase any shops unless you eliminate the Borgia influence of that area. Borgia towers have been set-up all over Rome and are each headed by a Tower Captain. To take over these towers you have to first eliminate the Captain and then ignite these towers to let the people that the Borgia rule over the district has been eliminated.
So now as you progress through the game and slowly start taking over Rome, you will notice that the citizens of Rome are rebelling against the Borgia family as well. Some of these citizens are willing to risk their lives for freedom and liberty as they engage the guards appointed in the city. However, fighting a well-armed army with nothing but recklessness is not going to win one any battle. This is where Ezio comes in once again as he aids these rebellious citizens and invites them to fight for his cause. Once you save a citizen he/she will pledge their allegiance to your cause. They can now be recruited and trained into master assassins. These recruits can be summoned wherever you are and aid you in your fight. They will travel across Europe and Asia to fulfill assassination contracts as well as help you pile up the dough. As they train further and gather more experience they eventually prove to be tougher contenders on the battlefield and last much longer. I found recruits particularly useful while capturing Borgia Towers as they can assassinate any locked target within a heartbeat and keep the guards busy for quite some time. Keeping track of these recruits can prove to be a little complicated and I was more than often left wondering the whereabouts of my assassins. But so long as you’re just using them as muscle on the field, they can be particularly significant. This was the Brotherhood of the Assassins headed by none other than Ezio Auditore.
Along with all these changes the combat has also undergone some tweaks – much appreciated tweaks. For starters a new combat mechanic in the form of a ‘kick’ has been introduced which is really useful against breaking a tough guard’s defenses. Brotherhood has also shed quite emphasis on horseback combat. Ezio can call his horse anytime and ride it throughout Rome, adding to that Ezio can jump from his horse and grab a ledge to start free-running and also perform assassinations while riding.. These aspects of the combat however commendable still have some issues. Things were already made quite easy with the introduction of the Brotherhood recruits but what really turned me off was the crossbow. Yes, the inclusion the crossbow meant the exclusion of stealth tactics. It was always fun planning a stealth attack on the rooftop guards by moving from ledge to ledge and waiting for the perfect time to execute your move. Now, just aim at your target with the crossbow and he’s done for.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is by no means an easy game, it is not very challenging either but in fact it provides just enough challenge to keep the players hooked to the game. Now in Brotherhood, along with Ezio’s main mission task there is also another side-objective to reach 100% synchronization like for instance completing the memory within the time limit or killing the target in a specific manner. This is something Assassin’s Creed really needed and now that you can replay all missions it becomes really fun going back and playing those memories trying to get that ‘full sync’.
Having a multiplayer component in Assassin’s Creed universe may sound like the most exciting and refreshing multiplayer experience ever and it is – at least to some extent. Unlike the single-player the multiplayer involves players assuming the role of Abstergo trainees that are using the animus to train themselves to fight the assassins. The multiplayer consists of four modes: Wanted, Alliance, Advanced Wanted and Manhunt. There are eight character models to choose from and only one player can assume the role of that character in any particular game. Alliance and Manhunt are both team-based modes where Wanted and Advanced Wanted see you as individual assassins. The basic idea is the same, you are the hunter as well as the hunted. The multiplayer really tests a person’s skills at stealth as you blend into crowds and identify your real target among the hundreds of NPCs and at the same time avoid your pursuer.
Ubisoft keeps coming up with spectacular games for the franchise and they do so simply because they understand the flaws of the game. I had many issues with Assassin’s Creed II mainly regarding its repetitiveness and combat. Brotherhood on the other hand completely obliterates my complaints of repetitiveness and has some of the most interesting and unique missions. Things have been turned up from the combat’s point of view as well as a new multiplayer feature that serves as a really refreshing break from all the typical shooters we have seen this year. Ezio’s part of the story might feel a little hollow but the overall adventure is one fantastic trip throughout Rome and history.
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