Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Review

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

The first thing anyone thought regarding Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood can be easily summed up in one word: Multiplayer. It was the first detail that Ubisoft gave out regarding the latest title in the sci-fi, history-laden series. They focused on it so much that it seemed Brotherhood would be nothing but a multiplayer component with a weak and flimsy single-player narrative. However, what the game really brings to the table is an Assassin’s Creed experience unlike any other. One that can garner it arguments as not just the best in the series, but as a potential Game of the Year for 2010.

The single-player story mode is exactly the opposite of what fans had feared. It is lengthy, full of content, and extremely satisfying. The continuing tale of Ezio Auditore da Firenze and his near-future ancestor Desmond Miles will take players a solid 20-30 hours to get through. Depending on how much side content the player wants to partake in — and there is a ton of it — that number could even jump up near the 35-hour mark. So anyone expecting to be denied an enriching, solid, single-player experience can put their minds at ease.

Brotherhood‘s story is so strong that it makes players wonder why Ubisoft didn’t just name it Assassin’s Creed III, though perhaps Assassin’s Creed 2.5 may fit best. It picks up immediately after the events of Assassin’s Creed II, literally, as players find themselves escaping the Vatican after defeating Rodrigo Borgia and listening to Minerva’s cryptic, mind-blowing message. Meanwhile, Desmond and crew are still on the run from the Templars and continue to search Ezio’s memories in the hopes of determining where the legendary assassin hid the Piece of Eden known as The Apple. The events showcase the fall of the Borgia in Renaissance Rome and eventually lead to a Desmond-era ending that will leave players shocked, gut-checked, and heavily salivating for the third numbered installment.

Tired of killing groups by yourself? Call your recruits to kill them for you!

If you’re looking for exploration and a wide variety of side-content, then you’ll be extremely satisfied with Brotherhood. Many tasks do transition over from Assassin’s Creed II. The assassin tombs are replaced by the Lairs of Romulus, stores and landmarks can be purchased for income, flags are aplenty, feathers return in much smaller numbers, and there are even a few Templar hideouts to be investigated. Also making a return from ACII are faction quests for the thieves, mercenaries, courtesans, and assassins.  All of this is enough to keep players busy for hours on end, but Ubisoft added one more component that really puts the term brotherhood in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

The new gameplay element featured in the game is the ability to recruit and train your own brotherhood of Assassins. Recruits are gained through destroying the various Borgia Towers throughout the districts of Rome, which in itself adds a little more spice to finding and climbing view points. Once a tower is destroyed, a slot will open up for players to recruit a Borgia-hating citizen to the brotherhood. These men and women will gain experience by killing guards when summoned or by being sent out on assignments throughout Europe. Each level will grant them skill points for extra weapons and armor, making them even more powerful allies.

The addition of the Assassins and the ability to summon them in battle can make combat seem ridiculously easy. You can summon up to three different waves to help you fight off and dispatch whatever guards and soldiers give you trouble, or you can use up all three at once to send a barrage of arrows that kills all guards in your immediate vicinity. It can make combat trivial and even laughable in the later parts of the game, but it does create the feeling that Ezio has truly become a powerful and influential leader of the Assassin order.

As for combat sans Ezio’s Assassin recruits, it is nearly the exact same as in Assassin’s Creed II. Players will be able to counter-kill enemies, dodge attacks, pick up enemy weapons, and kick tougher opponents to stagger them. A new addition thrown into combat however is the chained execution feature. If Ezio attacks an enemy frequently enough, he will finish them with an execution animation. After the first execution or counter-kill, players will be able to chain executions together by simply highlighting the next foe to be felled and pressing the attack button. This will then instantly kill that enemy with another execution. It doesn’t necessarily add any depth to the game and will make combat easier for those who become skilled at using it, but it does eliminate the boredom that came with the simple wait and counter-kill strategy that was prominent in the series’ previous iterations. It also helps, as with the assassin allies, to make the player feel like the absolute badass Ezio is.

Rome is the center of attention in Brotherhood, and it is far and away the largest single instance in the series to date. It utterly dwarfs all of the major cities from both Assassin’s Creed and AC2II. You won’t have to worry about trekking the long distances, though, as a tunnel system can be unlocked using in-game currency on the cheap that allows fast travel throughout Rome’s various districts. Players can even travel anywhere in the city by horse, but the lack of a gallop option in order to make traversing through streets easier really hurts the game when it comes to running around the more open, country-styled districts.

As is to be expected with any Assassin’s Creed title, audio is exceptional. Jesper Kyd has struck gold once again with a soundtrack that is very similar to ACII, but has enough tweaks to separate itself. The most moving, awe-inspiring moment in the game’s story is made such because of the powerful string and sci-fi chords being emanated from the TV’s speakers. The moment will give you chills, and when a composer can do that, they’ve done their job to perfection.

Voice acting is once again top notch as all the actors from Assassin’s Creed II returned to reprise their roles. Nolan North and Kristen Bell easily fall back perfectly into their roles of Desmond and Lucy Stilman, as does Roger Craig Smith with Ezio. All of the Renaissance-era actors also fully capture the era with their speech and accents in addition to their fluid transitions from English to Italian and French.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

When Brotherhood switches itself over from the single-player narrative to its multiplayer, that is when things get extremely innovative and interesting. In a surprising storyline twist, players are actually taking the role of Abstergo agents, each training in his or her own personal Animus in order to combat the Assassins. The component is broken up into a few game modes. Wanted, the game’s central multiplayer mode, pits eight players against one another. You are given a contract to kill another player, while someone else is contracted to find and kill you. The higher you place as the game goes on, you can end up with a maximum of four other players competing to hunt you down. In Manhunt, eight players are split into two teams of four. One must hide and avoid assassination while the other must take them out until the timer runs out. After the first round ends, the teams switch sides. Alliance features three teams of two and acts much like Wanted, where your team is tasked to kill another while being hunted by the third.

Winning in Brotherhood‘s multiplayer does not rely on how many kills you can rack up and what your kill/death ratio is. The game rewards the players who show the most patience and get the stealthiest and fanciest assassinations. Points for kills are rewarded based on flanking, focus, remaining undetected, and killing from hiding spots. Players can also gain points by escaping, deceiving, luring, and stunning their pursuers. It creates a high-tension game that constantly keeps the player on their toes. It’s an extremely refreshing and fun way to play with other people online, far from the chaotic frag-fests that most online gamers have become accustom to. Because of that innovation, Brotherhood‘s multiplayer becomes and addicting and memorable experience.

For a game that at first seemed to have no focus outside of multiplayer, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is one of the most pleasant and rewarding surprises of 2010. The highly satisfying single-player will keep gamers occupied for hours on end, giving them about as much content that was featured in the game’s predecessors. The stories of both Desmond and Ezio will keep series fans engrossed and eagerly awaiting the release of Assassin’s Creed III, Rome is a massive playground, combat has been tweaked, and both the soundtrack and voice acting is once again among the top in the industry. Combine all of this with an extremely refreshing, innovative, and addictive multiplayer system that is unlike anything seen before, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood can put itself above its predecessors and among the elite games of 2010.

5 out of 5


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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