Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Review
- Posted November 16th, 2010 at 17:01 EDT by Steven Williamson
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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.
- 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
- The texture popping, but we're really picking at straws
(continued from previous page) ...new addition that works well alongside other familiar means of escape such as bales of hay, or rooftop hideaways.
The parkour side of the gameplay has never felt so smooth and intuitive; the control scheme of Ezio feels that little bit tighter and forgiving. When the series first began it took a while to master the intricacies of the main man's moves, which required a great degree of timing and environmental awareness to flow smoothly. This is still the case to a certain degree, but it’s just not as frustrating -- Ezio doesn’t bounce back off walls as much, for instance -- he just seems to flow fluidly from one platform or pole to the next. The animation seems much smoother. Whether you're climbing a Borgia Tower, or leaping across a huge gap, our hero responds well and looks great to boot.
The same applies to combat. Though a core part of the game involves fighting and conducting assassination attempts, fighting guards and conducting assassinations rarely feels repetitive due to the satisfying move-set and the enjoyment of the fight. You can grab, or head-butt and knee your enemy; you can kick to break a defence, or parry, or counter-act and then ram your sword right through his mid-riff – needless to say, button mashing just doesn’t win the day. Meanwhile, enemy A.I. is sharp so fighting a large group of soldiers can be very challenging. You can also chain together assassination combos for the first time, which are like watching a carefully choreographed dance routine. Similarly, kills gained from diving off a rooftop, or leaping boldly from horse to horse, or getting up close and personal are just as satisfying. The addition of a hidden pistol also adds a new animation to the executions, which is fun to use. Later on during the game, you'll get to use the likes of Leonardo da Vinci's parachute, which is even better than the many "leaps of faith" that you'll be carrying out throughout the course of the adventure.
While core gameplay in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood remains largely the same as the last two games (Tomb Raider-like platform play, stealth, combat-based missions and free-running) there are a number of new additions that really help to propel the series forward to another level. Money plays a significant part in the game, more so than previous installments, and you earn it for almost everything you do - whether you're pick-pocketing through the streets or beating up the local thugs trying to control the courtesan operation. Shops have shut down in Rome after the Borgia took control, but you can move around the city and re-open them. Each district is controlled by the Borgia. The guards and captain wander around a certain area that you’re not supposed to enter, guarding treasures and establishing their influence in the city. You have to kill the captain and set light to the towers, sending them crumbling down to the floor and thus taking away their control of the area. It's a lot of fun, but it’s not easy. Each captain has a difficulty grade and is guarded heavily and flees when you're spotted. Tackling the tougher captains comes with experience and equipping your character with the right weapons for a blend of stealth play and combat is essential.
Kill the captain and you can then open up the shops with the money that you earn from various other tasks and treasure that you may pick up and sell on. Renovating the city and seeing it come to life is very rewarding and being able to sneak into a Borgia base, stab the captain, sneak out undetected, and then set light to their tower never gets boring. And this is really just a side game to the main missions. As the shops re-open you get richer, creaming in profits from the shopkeepers, and all of a sudden people want to fight by your side. For every tower that you topple you can recruit, train and send out assassins on missions, assign them skills along the way and even call them in for assistance if you're in trouble. Indeed, it's another feather in the bow of Assassin's Creed. Not only are you carrying out your own assassinations, but also there's now an element of strategy thrown ... (continued on next page)