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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Ubisoft
Developed By: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action
Players: 1 (2-10 online)
Rated: M For Mature (Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence)
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Screenshots: Link
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Written By: Marcus Prunty

January 6, 2011 - ďRequiescat in paceĒ is something you hear when youíre on the wrong end of the blade in Renaissance Italy it seems. Ezio Auditore makes it a point to pray for you after he has doled out some revenge. He is once again the Assassins assassin as you play through this epic adventure which is Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. Brotherhood is the continuation of the story from Assassinís Creed II. In the beginning of the game you will see an amazing intro sequence that refreshes you on what happened at the end of the last game and transitions very well into Brotherhood fairly seamlessly. This game takes the world of assassinations to the next level and expands upon the previous games.

This game is different from the previous masterpiece in Assassin Creed 2 in that it all occurs in Rome. In Assassins Creed 2 we spent a little bit of time in Rome towards the end of the game; well this time we get to fully explore Rome like never before. The game begins with a short montage of Assassins Creed 2 and then begins with you being triumphant over Rodrigo Borgia and returning to your villa in Monteriggioni to celebrate with your family and other assassins. But this celebration and return to a semi normal life doesnít last long as the villa is attacked and pretty much destroyed forcing everyone to flee and evacuate the safe haven that you spent a lot of the previous game building up and restoring to glory. The attack is led by Cesare Borgia the son of Rodrigo, as Ezio feels he has finally destroyed his enemy another one takes the place and is more destructive then Rodrigo ever was. This is how Ezioís journey to Rome begins as he goes on his new mission for revenge.

Once Ezio reaches Rome he realizes that this Rome is much different than the Rome he visited before. Rome is gripped by the throat with the power of the Borgia; they influence all 12 districts which Rome is divided into in the game. The control is so intense that many shops are closed and there are soldiers everywhere. The only way to liberate the people is to take down the Borgia Towers in each of these districts. This is accomplished by approaching the tower and finding the Captain thatís in charge of the protection of the tower once he is killed you are allowed to burn the tower to the ground thus freeing that district from Borgia control. This tends to be a lot easier said than done as each Borgia Tower has a different difficulty level, some are really easy to invade others can be hard to survive as soldiers will swarm you and the captain will escape assassination. Once the tower is burned down you can now rebuild that district like you did with Monteriggioni piece by piece. Stables, blacksmiths, art merchants, and many more shops will need to be reopened so that you can purchase upgrades from them and or use their services. The more of these shops you open and liberate the more discounts you get when you go to make purchases and other sweet deals. The more banks you have opened the more money that can be deposited into your account at a time before itís full.

Leonardo da Vinci returns as your good friend in this game who helps upgrade your weapons that he helped make for you in the previous game. But this time around he has gotten himself into more trouble that you must help him get out of and that will help you win the Borgia Battle. Leonardo has created several War Machines that you must find and destroy, as well as the schematics for them so the Borgia canít make more. This guy was amazing as these machines looked to be impossible to build back then. But itís a welcome diversion of stealth and cool toys.

There are a couple new tweaks to the gameplay of Assassins Creed Brotherhood that Ubisoft Montreal threw in that I think make the game more interesting. Once you take down a Borgia Tower you get an assassin apprentice slot. This slot is filled by a Roman citizen who is sick of being oppressed and wants to fight back. You have to locate this person and he is usually being attacked by soldiers once you help fight them off they will pledge their loyalty to you and you will make them an assassin apprentice. Once you have apprentices you can send them on Assassin missions all over Europe and Asia and Parts of Africa that will earn them experience points thus making them stronger and deadlier. You can also call them to fight alongside you in battle if you feel your outnumbers. Since there are 12 Towers thatís 12 apprentices you can get. This is huge as this will make all battles a heck of a lot easier because all apprentices can be leveled up to masters which basically makes them as deadly as Ezio are and instantly puts every major fight in your benefit. While taking down the towers and getting these apprentices isnít necessary to your ultimate goal of destroying Cesare Borgia it definitely makes it a lot easier to get to him.

The other tweak that I liked was the shop quests that you can do to get better armor or pouches or other bonuses. Now these quests are hard to accomplish in that you need a variety of items to exchange into the shop to get the new items and these items can be very hard to find. Looting dead bodies of soldiers you kill is now really important as you can get weapons like bullets, medicine, poison, and other ammo that you may need. The treasure chests are no longer just cash money a lot of them contain those items you need for the shop quests. Also the Assassination contracts can yield you many of these items as well as your apprentices not only get experience and money they can also get various rare collectibles. All of these items you can sell to the shops but I suggest keeping them all so you can do the quests and unlock those bonus armors and accessories that you may need.

The combat in the game has been ratcheted up a notch in my opinion; they added some new animations to the various ways you fight. Now you can kick your enemy which stuns them and makes it easier to land another attack and dodge and countering attacks which can make for easier kills. The ultimate new ability is when youíre slashing away at an enemy and you automatically pull out your pistol and shoots them in the face. The first time I did one of these combo kills I was like Wow! What was that? The more times I saw it the more times I loved it. They are brutal and shocking but make the combat very awesome. The combat has also been expanded to horseback riding. Now you can sword fight on a horse with enemies on the ground as well as enemies on other horses. You can even jump from your horse to the enemyís horse and kill them.

Thereís a part of Assassin Creed Brotherhood that I did find to be annoying but a lot more people might consider it challenging and like it. They added a new facet to mission completions and its call full synchronization. Full synchronization changes up for every mission in that one mission could say assassinate target with cross bow, assassinate target but donít be seen by anyone, kill so-and-so in fewer than 8 minutes, and many more. These can be annoying as you will get frustrated after completing a mission to see you only received half synchronization or failed all together. But if you like a challenge you can replay the missions in an attempt to get full synchronization.

Now we come to the biggest missing element in previous Assassin Creed games; the multiplayer aspect. The multiplayer in Brotherhood is fresh and I believe a nice twist on the gameplay. You are now able to play as the bad guys the Abtergo and you are training to hunt down Assassins like Ezio. You are given a person to assassinate but while youíre trying to locate said target someone is hunting you, trying to assassinate you. So accomplishing your mission as quickly as possible is a plus to surviving, however you canít just simply run around as this will alert your target and they will get away. You also have to worry about whose hunting you as that approach will lead to you being discovered and ultimately killed. There are special abilities in multiplayer as well one of which is the ability to transform everyone around you into the same character thus making whoever tracking you attack the wrong character so you can get away. The modes in Brotherhood multiplayer are Wanted, Advance Wanted, Alliance, and Manhunt. Wanted is more a free for all whereas Alliance splits you into teams where you have to get together and hunt down your target. Manhunt divides you into 2 teams where one hides the other hunts. You earn points by staying hidden and if you can stay hidden while close to your team you get even more points. Manhunt is one of my favorite games as it takes a lot of observation from both the hunters and the hiders. The hiders need to act like NPCs to avoid detection or stay still and act normal. Itís harder than it sounds which makes it a lot more fun.

The visuals have been improved upon in this game and polished. The sound design in Assassin Creed Brotherhood is on par with that of Assassin Creed 2. Thankfully, Ubisoft accomplished immersion through audio in several different ways. Usually when playing open world titles, the NPCs roaming the area are lifeless, self-contained individuals that you can barely interact with. In Brotherhood, beyond almost full interactivity with the NPCs, the computer controlled characters also converse among themselves as if you were actually roaming through real life cities as you complete you missions. When youíre fighting, you hear the clangs of metal hitting armor and even metal ripping into flesh as you kill soldiers and other people. The music used during the game is very soft and doesnít overpower the scene which is a welcome relief from other games where you canít really hear the dialogue because of the music. The suave voice of Ezio, the powerful voice of his uncle Mario are just two examples of very nice voice acting that was a crucial part of the game.

The camera also takes full advantage and makes the true nature of the game; which is assassinating people, look glorious. I found myself stopping plenty of times during the game to assassinate guards and pick fights with them just to kill them in some spectacular way with the combo kills and assassin apprentices running into help you out. The many ways you can kill someone in this game is just awesome. From stealth spots in hay or wells, to hanging from rooftops; the blending effect still works very well and helps in evading the targets or soldiers. As you attack various guards and even people your notoriety goes up to where blending is a lot harder to do. There are various wanted posters you can rip down to reduce your wanted level as well as you can bribe heralds which will also drop your wanted level. Finding the posters can be as hard as finding some of the treasure chests so I always made it a point to bribe the heralds.

With the help of a young inventor names Leonardo da Vinci you will get various weapons for your arsenal like poison blade, smoke bombs and even a flying machine. Assassins Creed Brotherhood is a definite upgrade to its predecessor. Everything has been improved upon in this game. The visuals accompanied by the subtle sound design that doesnít overpower the moments in the game are a nice added touch. A story set on revenge as you play as Ezio and learn of his past in order to help Desmond's present plight and his future. While I didnít mention the Desmond part in this review itís simply because I donít think itís all the central to the gameplay not till the end of the game and I wonít ruin that for you. But I will tell you that they are still on the run from Modern Day Templars and they need Ezioís memories to find something to help them win the fight. The rest you will see for yourself in the climatic ending of the game. This game is a nice sequel to the Assassin Creed 2 which was a major hit. If youíre new to the franchise you will like this game, if you play it after part 2 you will really love it and appreciate the nuances and upgrades over the previous game. This is a must play and a must buy for your collection.


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