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Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood
Platform: Playstation 3
, Xbox 360
When Assassinís Creed Brotherhood was announced less than a year after Assassinís Creed 2, I was worried. It felt like a quick cash in on a successful franchise with multiplayer shoehorned in. After all, there was a two year wait between the original Assassinís Creed and Assassinís Creed 2. How could Brotherhood not feel like it was rushed out the door?
But what Assassinís Creed Brotherhood is a direct continuation of Assassinís Creed 2. And I donít mean that in a figurative sense as Brotherhoodís story picks up the second after 2ís story ends. While Brotherhood tells a complete story, the overarching story of Ezio and Desmond is best enjoyed having played at least Assassinís Creed 2, if not both of the previous games. After completing his quest for vengeance and an artifact of Eden in Assassinís Creed 2, Ezio returns to his home at Monteriggioni, only to have it soon come under siege and be decimated. He flees to Rome to (yet again) get vengeance, this time against the Borgia family who have exerted their influence in every aspect of the city.
The story isnít the only carry over from Assassinís Creed 2. If you liked the gameplay in Assassinís Creed 2, the good news is that itís almost exactly the same. (Though, the bad news is also that itís almost exactly the same.) There have been a few tweaks here and there, primarily in the combat system. Now, while killing one enemy, you can set your sights on another target and chain another kill instantly. It makes the combat flow much more quickly and more satisfyingly. (It kind of reminds me of Batman: Arkham Asylumís combat system, although the system in Brotherhood isnít nearly as fluid or polished as Arkham Asylumís.)
But if you donít feel like fighting guards, now you can have your group of assassins do the fighting for you. You can recruit like-minded citizens to your side and train them as assassins by sending them on missions throughout Europe. In the previous games, if you were chasing someone and guards started attacking you, it was frustrating to get sucked into combat and lose your target. Now, you can just call your assassins to distract them for you... or even take out your targets for you. But my favorite thing has to be walking by unsuspecting guards, calling out the assassins to take them out and walk away slowly while the carnage ensues.
The previous games took place in various cities scattered across a map, but in Brotherhood, youíre completely confined to Rome. Which at first sounds restrictive, but Rome is bigger than other city from any of the other games. And you wonít just find a Renaissance-era urban jungle to free run in. There are rural areas as well and a lot of variety in one city. If you were a fan of rebuilding your villa in Assassinís Creed 2, thereís a lot more of that in Brotherhood. But instead of rebuilding one villa, youíre rebuilding all of Rome, by renovating shops, aqueducts and even purchasing famous landmarks like the Colosseum.
Assassinís Creed has traditionally been a single-player experience. But with Brotherhood, multiplayer has been introduced into the franchise. Framed as Abstergo agents training within Animuses (Animi? Animae? Anime?), you can compete with other people in the franchiseís version of familiar modes (deathmatch, team deathmatch, etc.). Whatís interesting about this multiplayer is it rewards players for playing in a way that they probably arenít accustomed to if theyíve played other multiplayer... slow and calculating. Youíre both the hunter and the hunted in most of these play types and staying under the radar is beneficial.
The more stealthily you kill your targets and escape detection, the more points you receive and the faster youíll level up. As you level up, youíll gain skills and perks and something I havenít seen in multiplayer before... lose streak perks. So if you suck, the game tries to balance things out. Itís a fun, interesting and different take on multiplayer.
Before playing the game, I kind of pondered why this wasnít just Asassinís Creed 3. But after playing it, itís really Assassinís Creed 2.5. Which is not meant to denigrate it, but it is both a continuation and an evolution of Assassinís Creed 2. Itís more of the same, but luckily for us, it was fun the first time around and is still fun the second time around.
If youíre a fan of the Assassinís Creed series, this one is a ďbuyĒ
. In fact, if youíve been following the story of the franchise, itís pretty much a must buy. Because even though it isnít a numbered sequel, Iíve got a feeling that the effects of Brotherhood will be felt in the next game.
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