Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Review

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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is everything we wanted it to be and more. It's not just the most epic, focused and action-packed Assassin's Creed game yet, but it's a real contender for Game of the Year.

We like

  • Free-running and fighting around Roma. It feels more fluid than ever
  • Burning Borgia towers down and re-building the city. The money system is very rewarding
  • The refreshingly unique multiplayer experience

We dislike

  • The texture popping, but we're really picking at straws

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Caught in a moment of passion with an attractive young lady, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood's time-traveling hero, Ezio, is rudely interrupted by the sound of gunfire. News reaches him quick that the papal army are descending on Moneteriggioni in their thousands, hell bent on destroying the familiar site of the Villa Auditore, which was used for refuge in Assassin’s Creed II. Ezio leaps out of bed to support the defending army, fighting for survival as legions of enemy soldiers descend on the base and attempt to break through the gates, scale the ramparts and destroy any signs of life. You take to the battlements and try relentlessly to stem the onslaught with cannon fire as the masses approach the front gates, but there’s just too many of them to contend with.

Soldiers break through the entrance and clamber over the castle walls. Moneteriggioni has been infiltrated and its people are vulnerable. You leave the cannon, realising that you’ll be more help in the city fighting off the foot soldiers. You run around the outer and upper walls of the stronghold, kick the lever of the merchandise lift and zip up to the tower roof, before jumping down the other side of the rampart - which has now been heavily breached. You whip out your sword and muster together all of your fighting skills in order to dispatch the enemy, thrusting swords through their midriffs and knocking them off the perimeter wall to their death far below.

Buildings catch on fire. The city is going down in flames and you need to get out before you go down with it. You jump on your horse and navigate the crumbling buildings, jumping over debris to escape the carnage in an action-packed sequence that really gets the adrenaline pumping as you race to the exit. It's no use helping to defend Moneteriggioni any more, the city has been destroyed. The Borgia dynasty, behind the attacks, has crossed the mark and took many lives. Ezio is sparked into life on a journey to save humanity and crumble the grip that the Borgia now has on society.

This is most explosive and exciting start to an Assassin's Creed game to date, and it fits in perfectly with the new aggressive tone of this third title where lots of lives are at stake. Not only does this action-packed sequence give you the opportunity to get to grips with the subtle, yet game-enhancing tweaks that have been made to the combat system -- as you chain together assassination combos and send soldiers tumbling to their bloody deaths -- but it also sets a benchmark for the whole production moving forward; at no point does Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood ever disappoint in that department.

Picking up where Assassin’s Creed II left off, former bartender, Desmond Morris steps into the Animus 2.0 again to relive the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze. This time, he’s off to Rome (Roma) where the likes of the Vatican, Tiber and Antique await - all places where disillusioned city folk need a new hero that will stand up to the Borgia bigwigs. The Assassin's Creed series as a whole is swamped in fascinating, historically accurate content, but it also has a so-crazy-it's-entertaining, fantasy-fuelled back-story, which is too complicated to re-cap on now. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood once again takes place in a sandbox environment, a playground for an agile assassin who is seeking answers and revenge. To sum up the gameplay as a whole: there's a lot of killing and a lot of sneaking around; a bit of skulduggery and plenty of horse riding. Oh, and a lot of burning towers.

If you’re coming at this Assassin’s Creed without playing any of the previous games, you’ll probably be lost and puzzled by the mere existence of the Animus 2.0, the machine that allows Ezio to connect genetically with his ancestors. This really is a game that builds on the existing titles storylines and the Assassin’s Creed’s lore, with many meaningful references. But even if this is your first Assassin's Creed experience, it shouldn't affect your enjoyment of the gameplay. A decent job has been done at recapping the events in bite-sized chunks; so if you have played Assassin’s Creed before, it’s nice to ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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