Xbox 360 Review: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

More than just Assassin’s Creed 2.5?

When Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was first announced, I was more than a bit skeptical. Especially when I heard about the multiplayer mode and the effort that has gone into it, I had this idea in my head that any campaign added would be nothing more than a second thought. How wrong could I be? About as wrong as possible…

The campaign picks up immediately after the end of the last game as Ezio finally gets the Apple of Eden, but it’s soon stolen from him at his villa and Mario is killed, leaving Ezio with the immense task of finally eradicating the Borgia family, once and for all. There’s also the other storyline involving Desmond Miles that intertwines with this and its done very well, but the story ends on one hell of a cliff-hanger that will have us all aching for the next instalment of the series.

Gameplay remains the same, although combat seems to be easier than before. Later on in the game, you’ll get the chance to recruit your own assassins which can be called on to help you in combat or you can send them on quests all over the world so they earn XP and become stronger. Brotherhood is set in Rome, but you can finally ride horses in the city as well as buy most of the properties to get a steady income so you can buy upgrades and other items.

Brotherhood has more of the same in terms of what to hunt down such as flags, more Subject 16 puzzles, feathers and hidden temples. But for missions, you get an optional objective to achieve 100% synchronicity with Ezio. These objectives can be anything from not being detected to completing the memory in a time limit, but these objectives will unlock optional previous memories of Ezio when he was younger, which is a nice touch for those who want to learn more about Mr Auditore, but it’s completely optional.

Rome is huge in scale, but getting around is easy thanks to underground tunnels that you can repair to cut the distance down. There are also a number of Borgia Towers that need to be destroyed before you can buy properties. There is a surprising amount of things to do in the campaign and it will take a considerable amount of time to do, but I did find the game a lot easier than its predecessor. It does feel more like a stop-gap between the next game, but when the gameplay is this enjoyable, all is forgiven.

I never expected to enjoy the multiplayer portion of Brotherhood, but I’m pleased to report that I adore it, despite it seeming to be more about luck than skill. The idea is to pick a persona and walk about a location like Forli, hunting down a specific target while making sure you aren’t killed yourself. You are given an on-screen compass to point you towards your target, but it can be difficult to work out which is an AI and your actual target if your opponent is clever. If you kill the wrong person, then you lose the contract.

There are team variants of this mode, but it’s essentially the same idea. As you level up, you earn perks and abilities like smoke bombs, hidden guns, eagle vision and a temporary disguise. It’ll take a while to get to Level 50, but its good fun to do so. The good news is that you don’t even have to play in ranked matches and the game can be boosted with a group of friends that just want the achievements, so those who want to play ranked games can do so without being pestered into boosting.

Visually, AC Brotherhood’s engine is starting to show its age. Rome looks great, but character models are mixed and the framerate can be inconsistent during huge fights and chases. Despite this, the game does look great at times. Voice-acting is superb and the music is truly epic in fitting in with the atmosphere of both eras.

The Verdict

A killer campaign that leaves you wanting more, multiplayer that is fun and addictive are the two ingredients that make up Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The campaign may be more of the same, but it’s all good. I cannot wait for the next game that will hopefully clear up that rather shocking cliff-hanger…