Death from Above
I have always been interested in the Assassin's Creed franchise but wasn't sold at all till the second instalment. When I found out the next game in the series would be set in the same location as the second I wasn't entirely happy but what comes from this choice is a refinement on everything that made Assassin's Creed 2 great.
Surprisingly Brotherhood has a fully fledged single player that picks up straight after the ending of Assassin's Creed 2. You start as Desmond Miles in the back of a truck and before long you are back in renaissance Italy as Ezio Auditore de Firenze. Instead of the usual selection of cities Brotherhood all takes place in the city of Rome which is a large and beautiful environment for your adventure. Throughout the game you have the option to purchase shops and landmarks which will in turn increase your income in the same way games such as Fable have done before. Rome is a varied place to explore from narrow streets to open expanses and it is populated by great AI that make the city feel real.
The gameplay does not change much from Assassin's Creed 2 but some tweaks and improvements make a definite improvement. My favourite addition by far is the Brotherhood. You are now able to recruit and train your own Assassin's to send on missions and help you on your own. If you find a citizen fighting the controlling Borgia in the city you can help them and recruit them to your cause. After recruiting Assassins you can send them on missions allowing them to gain experience and upgrade to better armour and weapons. However, the best part of this is that with a simple wave of your arm your brothers drop from the sky slaying your enemies without a sound. This makes you feel so much more powerful than in previous games and is easily the best part of the game. Viewpoints have also changed now with the addition of guards and a general who must first be assassinated before taking over the tower. These feel like mini missions and I would spend a lot of time scouting the area before perfectly executing my plan.
The progression of Brotherhoods story is quite simple but the mission types are varied enough. Smaller missions are simple but others will take planning and time making them a lot more rewarding. When you compare the missions to those offered in the first Assassin's Creed it would be hard to believe they were the same franchise which is definitely a good thing. The conclusion to Brotherhood is bold and memorable leaving my very excited for the rest of the story.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is the first AC game to come with a multiplayer component and for the most part it is pretty solid. At the start of a game you select one of 8 avatars and then the world is filled with AI of the same appearance. You then get given a target and your job is to pick them out of the crowd and assassinate them. The twist is at the same time you are someone else's target meaning you have to get the balance right of finding your target while being inconspicuous. I love the multiplayer but it is not quite there yet. When you are being chased you have the opportunity to stun your pursuer but I never really got the hang of the timing. There is some persistence as you earn experience and level up but I never really got pulled in and the perks never seemed particularly useful. It is a really great start to multiplayer but there are definitely some bugs to be ironed out.
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood isn't a huge step up from its predecessor but minor tweaks make it a great addition to the series. Multiplayer has some flaws but will keep you entertained enough to make it worth the developers time. If you like Assassin's Creed franchise don't let the lack of a number in the title make you miss this one.