Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – Review (PS3)

Coming so soon after Assassin’s Creed II, and with the accompanying marketing campaign focused on the multiplayer aspect of the game, a lot of people dismissed Brotherhood as a glorified add on pack before a surprisingly deep single player component also emerged.

This is Assassin’s Creed III in all but name.

The single player campaign is as long if not longer than Assassin’s Creed II, clocking in at around 15 hours for me – including a fair bit of side mission stuff.

The story continues with Ezio Auditore in 1499 and Desmond Miles in 2012, picking up exactly where the second game left off. There is also a helpful recap of the first two games events – although I still didn’t fully understand it all 😆 – for peeps who need a refresher or for people new to the series.

The changes Ubisoft have made to the game feel subtle but really they have honed this title so much it really doesn’t do much wrong.

Firstly there is now a very welcome fast travel system around the city. This was definitely needed as there are times you just don’t fancy having to trek all the way across the map to your next objective. In game they are via underground tunnels and you have to unlock each location by ‘renovating’ the entrance.

Renovation is a big part of the game now and you can spend cash to renovate shops within an area (netting yourself a few decent discounts along the way) and even buy up property to restore.

The more stuff you renovate the more cash you get back per cycle (20 mins in real time). This is one part of the game that is entirely optional but it’s fun and pretty helpful as you go through the game.

There are lots more side mission types and your map will be chock full of things to do if you fancy a change of pace away from the main missions.

The climbing system seems to have been tightened up and I found myself doing a lot less random jumping off buildings than in Assassin’s Creed II.

My favourite two additions though are the Borgia Towers and the Assassin’s Guild.

The Borgia Towers allow you to liberate areas of the city from your enemy’s control. Essentially you have to get into a restricted area, kill the Borgia Captain and then set fire to the tower. Once that is done you’re free to renovate shops within that tower’s area.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these missions to be honest and I found myself doing them wherever possible.

The Assassin’s Guild sees Ezio building his own army of Assassins. 😎 You can recruit citizens by helping those who are being harrassed by Borgia soldiers. Once recruited you can send the assassins out on missions (you don’t see/control the missions, they are just to increase each Assassins stats) or, and this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a game for a while, you can call them into action to help you.

Yep that’s right. Your own army at your disposal. You can either select a victim and press L2, which will see a recruit emerge from the shadows/a haystack/a roof and perform a stealth kill, or you can hold L2 to have a stream of arrows rain down from the rooftops to take down any enemy soldiers in the area. It truly is an awesome sight and a brilliant inclusion.

Another new feature is the execution streak, in which once you counter kill one enemy you just need to hold the left stick in the direction of your next victim and press square to kill them with one blow. You can chain this together endlessly (at least until another enemy attacks you mid flow) and while some may feel it lowers the difficulty of the game I enjoyed the sense of empowerment I got from it.

The story is more of the same which wasn’t a problem for me although I personally would’ve liked to have seen a few more parts with Desmond in 2012 throughout the game.

But what of the much publicised multiplayer. When they announced Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood would have multiplayer I was not keen, deathmatch and team deathmatch as an assassin? Capture the flag? Surely not I thought.

And thankfully Ubisoft delivered one of the most unique multiplayer experiences around today. Playing completely to the main game’s strengths multiplayer sees you stalking opponents whilst also being hunted yourself.

The main mode, ‘Wanted,’ sees you given a picture of your target and a small radar indicating their rough position. While you track them down there could potentially be up to three other players also chasing that target.

In the meantime you could have up to four people chasing you! So essentially the idea is to act as normal as possible and blend in, while also tracking your prey and looking for the right moment to take them down.

Despite a sometimes questionable stun mechanic (as in it can be difficult to stun your pursuer even if you know who they are) the balance is pretty much perfect, with all the perks and unlocks cancelling each other out (if you happen to have the corresponding one equipped that is).

It is a wonderful game of cat and mouse and I genuinely think every gamer should at least rent this and give the multiplayer a shot. You won’t have played anything else like it and it is great to see a developer bringing something fresh to the table.

There are also team versions of Wanted and some other variations to keep you interested but I find myself drifting towards ‘Wanted’ almost every time.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is not without it’s flaws (the stun mechanic in multiplayer needs tweaking and the pacing of the main story missions could’ve been better) but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s an improvement on the previous game in almost every way and features a great, original multiplayer mode. I have no problem giving it the GREGHORRORSHOW PLATINUM SEAL OF APPROVAL™

Rating 10/10

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