Original Thread: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Singleplayer)
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Singleplayer)
The third main instalment of Assassin’s Creed is a crucial addition to the series, proving to be the most impressive in both graphics and gameplay.
“Ezio Auditore! Come in, come in! I'll kill you if you don't.”
- Bartolomeo d’AlvianoStarting where the prequel left off in the vaults of the Vatican, AC:B swiftly throws the player into the action, introducing a new style of combat and then guiding the player back into the art of free-running as a swift rooftop escape from Rome presents a tantalising glimpse of the magnificent city. The opening credits are then followed by memories in Monteriggioni, a final farewell to all that the player accomplished in ACII.
The storyline returns to Rome, a city that has fallen into ruin under the Borgia’s tyrannical control. Here the player is introduced to a world of far greater freedom than any of its prequels presented. Here there is much to be uncovered, something that has to be done for oneself.
However, in AC:B the player must also experience more of Desmond’s story, which is anything but tedious and involves free-running sequences and a chance to freely explore a familiar settlement under the cover of night.
GameplayAssassin’s Creed II saw Ezio rise to become a Master Assassin, equipping him with countless weapons and abilities, and Brotherhood restores them all, though briefly. Until a badly aimed cannonball strikes Ezio’s armour and weaponry to ruins, he is gifted with the old array of deadly devices and so he comes back to Rome bearing only a few weapons and not a penny to his name. Although all of his weapons can be reclaimed for a few thousand florins, money is no longer as plentiful as in the game’s prequel. The economic system is greatly improved, as is the looting system where taking down a foe yields not only a few florins but also different ammunition.
Borgia Towers are a satisfying way to liberate Rome piece by piece, starting with a stealthy assassination of either a coward or a brave Borgia leader (with a lavish sum of florins in his purse), followed by a fiery farewell to another annoying viewpoint (mercifully, igniting the tower automatically synchronises the Assassin with the surrounding landscape without the need to do so before).
The Save Citizen Missions return but thankfully do not lead to a tediously long and repetitive show of gratitude by a woman so repulsive that the player ponders over what “foul deeds” the guards would have the desperation to commit. No these citizens have their sword drawn and are in the midst of combat when you chance upon them. The cinematic that follows is a brief welcoming of another figure into your guild of Assassins.
These Assassins are another optional extra which, at the press of the left trigger unleashes two of these deadly robed apprentices onto the targets, or upon holding the same button one can see the targets fall in seconds as rain of deadly darts send them to an early grave.
Ezio’s new hideout is a spectacular abode, with chambers for replica machines, weapons and armour. Crests earned from completing guild challenges can also be seen adorning the walls here; similarly, paintings return, some by the famous artists of the period, others of Ezio’s targets, namely the last of the Borgias.
Cesare, Lucrezia and “the Banker” present a fine cast of villains, with Roderigo keeping to the shadows until the penultimate memory. The Borgias here are no noble family, and indeed this is a tale of their family, proving to be one of the most contemptible in history, and the story writers revel in recreating this.
A quick look through the DNA will show the main memories to be few in number. However the majority of Brotherhood’s gameplay takes place whenever you choose with the return of Assassination Missions, and the introduction of Courtesan, Thief and Templar Agent Missions. The Secret locations of ACII return, but the completion of these Lairs of Romulus give the player the best armour and dagger in the game, that of Brutus.
Another notable mission type involves the destruction of Leonardo da Vinci’s remarkable War Machines (that magically respawn ammunition). While these are exciting and unique, the Full Synchronisation Targets will have one screaming at the screen, but such frustration can easily be relived with a relaxing run-through of the Gatling Gun mission.
The Full Synchronisation Targets are also another great addition, particularly for those who want a challenge, for every mission there is a secondary objective, such as, stick to the rooftops or kill the target with the hidden blade. It is only when flying Leonardo’s bird-like machine or running down puny Brutes in a tank that these become frustrating.
Finally, Brotherhood sees the return of one of the first game’s greatest features: the ability to replay any mission at will, cutscenes optional.
CombatThis has been arguably repetitive in the first two titles, however the new abilities in Brotherhood make it far more exciting. The execution streaks provide the ability to take down an entire army with a few presses of one’s controls, but this is countered by the fact that guards do not take turns to strike you. Perhaps the greatest feature of combat now though is the ability to dual wield a weapon. Mid-execution, the player can hold down the armed hand button to use both mêlée and missile in his next attack, leading to a violent death of two foolish opponents (or on amusing occasion, a hapless civilian who is wandering past).
Weapons, Equipment and OutfitsAssassin’s Creed: Brotherhood introduces the crossbow, which risks replacing the hidden blade as the most useful tool of murder in Ezio’s arsenal, though it comes at a cost of 12800 florins. It is swift to aim and silent, though do not let Ezio be seen using it. It does however take a while to reload. It can be used in combat, but only to loose a bolt into a guard’s chest or to counter attack (which looks brilliant).
Heavy Weapons can now be equipped but require not only the weapon itself but also a special sheath of similar expense. Ezio has, however, lost the ability to bash a guard to the ground; instead he hurls his mighty axe or sword into a target for devastating effect.
As a reward for destroying all of his precious inventions, Leonardo gives Ezio a prototype parachute, just remember to deploy it when falling from a height!
Smoke bombs return, still in an annoyingly low number, and require purchasing from a blacksmith.
Another of Leonardo’s inventions shoots a poison dart at a target, coupled with “Fast Poison” this makes poisoning guards much more effective.
The introduction of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood takes the player from the dimly lit Vatican out into a wide new world. Sunlight pours down on Renaissance Rome for far greater effect making the scenes far more beautiful than ACII. It is a spectacular sight, with the ruins of Ancient Rome masterly recreated and the inside of the Pantheon looking completely awe-inspiring.
However there is still the problem of distant detail suddenly emerging into view and Rome’s scale makes a horse ride from one end to the other (there are shortcuts mercifully) punctuated on occasion as the game loads for a second or two.
As an added bonus, Ezio can appear as he did in the early stages of ACII in his Florentine Noble Attire, or in Altair’s armour or robes. For the followers of Metal Gear Solid there is also a Raiden Outfit as a reward for completing all the Virtual Training Missions.
JudgementUnlike ACII and ACI, Brotherhood’s combat is varied in countless ways making each combat experience different and giving the player the urge to throw Ezio into a battle for the sake of blowing one guard’s skull to pieces as he stabs another with his blade. Difficulty here is no greater than before; it generally depends on how one plays the game.
Combat: 9/10, losing a point for its ease.
The graphics are massively improved but with the aforementioned problems, they are nothing major though and do not ruin the overall look of the city.
Graphics: 10/10, everything has got better.
Although improved in many ways, Brotherhood is no more difficult than its prequels. The Assassins certainly make the game easier too, but it is up to the player to call them. However it is far more varied and do not think that since it is one city it is all the same. Rome is massive and encompasses open fields, rocky outcrops, a long river, lengthy aqueducts, rugged hills, mighty ruins and sprawling cities. Certain foes are alas rare, such as the elite Papal Guard which really test the player with their pistols and blades. There are plenty of side missions giving the player much to do when the main missions are done, and when these are done they can be replayed endlessly with an arsenal of cheats. Also, as an added bonus, hired thieves actually live up to their profession when led through a crowd, though this only seems to occur after a certain stage as they do not immediately. Furthermore, the Christina memories reveal a bit more of Ezio’s past and provide a fleeting chance for the player to return to the cities of ACII.
Gameplay: 10/10, the variation is brilliant and replaying missions is a great feature.
Jesper Kyd returns with another excellent soundtrack which is really strong wherever the player is. The fast paced chase music perfectly fits with the rapid fleeing of another well executed assassination, as do the much calmer but no less pleasing-to-the-ears tracks that overlay a gentle horse ride through the Roman Countryside. The stealth missions are accompanied by brilliant tracks that fit perfectly with the moment and the magnificent opening and exiting credits are once again overlaid with the magnificent Ezio’s Family.
Music: 10/10, everything sounds better and stands out far more.
Despite its briefness, the story packs in a lot. It covers a lot less than its prequel, but is equally enjoyable. The fact that I cannot give it a full mark annoys me because of Brotherhood’s final scene, thus I shall give it two scores.
Ezio’s Storyline: 7/10, would make a great TV miniseries, but you want more!
Desmond’s Storyline: 10/10, the end is certainly memorable.
Characters: 10/10, the scheming incestuous Borgias make brilliant villains, and the leading Assassins are far better represented, particularly Bartolomeo.
In conclusion, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is a brilliant game, similar in many ways to its prequel but the numerous additions and increased variation in combat and missions make it completely different and far better. This is, without doubt, the greatest of an already brilliant series and the most replayable.
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