Review by Sly4_finale
Vittoria per gli Assassini! (Victory to the Assassins!)
Ubisoft comes through with yet another remarkable game in a very popular series, Assassin's Creed. This new addition to the franchise includes a whole lot of new content, including a new arsenal, "brotherhood" feature and even an exciting multiplayer mode with online connectivity. Overall, this game makes the two previous games seem like test-runs for this game. Pushing the limits on the Assassin's Creed series, Brotherhood makes a very exciting must-have game.
The game starts off directly after the second game ends: Desmond Miles, a captured man by the evil corp. Abstergo, gives you a quick briefing on his previous experiences in the Aminus/Aminus 2.0, reliving the lives of Altair from the Crusades era, and Ezio Auditore, his ancestor from the Renaissance era. After having given you the Reader's Digest version of the plot, Desmond is hurled right back into the virtual world where Ezio is receiving a message from the end of the second game. Shortly after some introduction scenes, Ezio's villa is attacked by the Borgia, a group of people who are under the control of a want-to-be dictator, Cesare, and his pope friend from the AC2. Basically, the story is the same as the other two: You're an Assassin. You're against Templars. Have fun along the way. It's a good story, but it feels almost as if it were an unnecessary addition to the second game. Also, the story doesn't really advance very much in Desmond's time; he basically spends all of his time hiding from Abstergo now with his small Assassin team. Other than that, nothing big happens throughout the majority of the game.
I hope you liked the gameplay from the previous titles, because it's coming back for thirds. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood expands on the ideas taken from the previous games, one of them being the reconstruction of Rome, after the Borgia have abused it. On top of this, the developers have added the Brotherhood feature, which basically means you get some added back up in battle now. Unfortunately, the Brotherhood lacks in any serious depth: You can call on your Assassin recruits to come help in battle, clear out guards, or send them on missions to bring you back money and items. Other than that, the Brotherhood function is more for amusement or last-resorts, seeing as a good player would not really need their back-up, aside from aiding you in missions where you must remain undetected, but even then, most of the time, you won't have the Brotherhood.
Which leads me to my next point: Thanks to some upgrades to the Animus 2.0, there have been two added features, one being a "Full Synchronization" the other being VR (Virtual Reality) missions. The Full Synch addition gives you the option of adding difficulty to your missions by having to fulfill certain tasks during them, such as remaining undetected, not touching the ground, or avoiding taking x-much damage for the duration of the mission. The VR training allows you to test your skills as an Assassin, and thanks to the online connectivity, you are now allowed to brag to the PS3 network about just how Assassin you are.
Another important thing to bring up is the reconstruction of the city, which is major in this game. Just like in the second game, money means a lot to you: buying medicine, ammunition, weaponry, the like. Well, you get to buy shops and buildings in this game, too. This allows you to have a profit wait for you at a bank while you play your game. The construction has been taken a step further, allowing you to freely set up guild areas where you are permitted *you can buy a building, then set up a Thieves, Mercenaries or Courtesans headquarters there* and invest money into other structures for their repairs. However, the Borgia are stopping you buy placing towers around in territories and barking orders to the townspeople on how the Borgia would run things. Well, being the Assassin that you are, you're going to kill the Guard Captain in each of those territories and then ignite the tower, all the while still looking awesome. Think having to Assassinate a SMART person, who will (sometimes) run when his guards have been attacked.
Lastly, shop quests have been added to the game. You take items that you find from looted chests, dead pickpockets and carriers, and bring them to a store, and you'll get a special item from that store. This means you can't just play through the game and get better equipment automatically with progress, and in order to obtain ALL of the items (pouches, weapons, armors, artworks), you have some collecting to do!
Ubisoft used the same engine from the second game as this one. 'Nuff said.
Soundtrack/Sound Effects: 10/10
I personally do not think there's anything more fun than hearing a guard call out, "Get down (from the roof)!" then hurling a giant battle axe at him, and watching his blood spew all over the place, all while having great voice acting and a nice battle axe-meets-head sound effect. The music is very nice in this game, and I particularly love the chase music (where you've just killed a guard and are now fleeing for your dear life). The voice actors (thankfully) have remained the same, adding onto the cast the new actors for new allies and enemies. Overall, the music is pleasing to the ears, there aren't many audio glitches, and you won't have to worry about some off sound when you do something.
Online playability/features: If I could give this a 15 out of 10, I would, but I can only do 10, so... 10/10
This is the most prominent feature of this game, and it's probably the reason you got/are looking at this review in the first place. The online features in this game are absolutely amazing. First, I'll cover the basic add-on's that you get with your online connection to Uplay/Facebook and other DLC, and then take about the multiplayer online. That "bad news first, then good news" mentality going on there.
Online, there is a Facebook application called "Assassin's Creed: Project Legacy" which is just like any other Facebook application; however, you can link it directly to your game profile to reap added benefits. What's one way? Well, you can give your Assassins extra experience from the Project Legacy application, for one. Another feature is that you can buy landscapes from Project Legacy and then play your profile on Brotherhood later in the day, having bought the property in game and having the money increase from it. Lastly, there are two special capes that you can only get from playing Project Legacy, so if you're into finishing the game 110 percent, you're probably going to want to create a Uplay and Facebook account in order to collect on these benefits.
Another service Uplay brings is giving you points for simply achieving in-game achievements (Achievements for 360 users and Trophies for PS3 users). However, Uplay picks certain trophies, and you'll get a varied amount of points (I believe 120 in total for this game, not entirely sure) to spend on extra content, as well. Unfortunately, the sum in the rewards is less than the sum of the content prices. In other words, you cannot buy EVERYTHING in the market with the achievement points, and I'm unsure if you can buy Uplay points, either. Other downloadable content includes an expansion pack (which I have not gotten, so I can't tell you anything about that) and the exclusive gives you the Harlequin multiplayer character (if you pre-ordered it, kudos to you).
Now, onto the serious online content: The multiplayer Assassin's Creed game that I'm sure EVERYONE has been waiting for. In this mode, you are an Abstergo Agent, who is training inside of the Animus to strike back at the Assassins! *gasp!* You have been supplied with very...unique Templar-Assassin agent info from Ezio's time line, which was apparently extracted from other patients/prisoners at Abstergo. Well, that's the story, but you're probably asking: What about the actual gameplay?
Well, here's how it goes: There are four game modes in all: Wanted, which is a free-for-all game, where you're handed a target but you must avoid being assassinated yourself; Manhunt, where 8 players are broken down into two teams of 4, each given a round to hide/assassinate (when you're on the assassinating team, you have to find and kill each of your targets again and again. When you're hiding, you must avoid being assassinated); Alliance, where 6 people are broken up into 3 teams of 2--this mode is a lot like Manhunt, but instead of taking turns being targeted/targeting, you are being targeted by one team, while the other is targeted by you. Think of it like an Assassin's Triangle. The last mode is Expert Wanted or something amongst those lines. I've yet to play this mode, but I doubt it's too much different than the others. Rules are: Stay alive, remain stealthy, earn points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the match is (are) the victor(s). These games play a lot like Call of Duty online matches in a lot of ways, except your target isn't right in front of you. What resembles CoD the most, however, is the profile set-up system, where you get to pick two skills (stuff like Speed Boost, Poison, Smoke Bomb), Perks (have yet to unlock these!) and Kill/Lose Streaks. Sound familiar to you?
Overall, the multiplayer content will keep you busy for a VERY long time after the single player campaign has lost its charm.
Because the game allows you to repeat memories without having to start a totally new file, the replayability is kind of oddly weighed in this game. For one, you don't really have to start from scratch, but you can go back and redo whatever memories you wish to do. Question is: does that add replayability or take it away? If you really want to spend time having to rebuild Rome in another profile, be my guest, but you can just repeat missions an infinite amount of times in a single run-through.
The multiplayer will definitely keep you coming back for more for a while, so that definitely does add to the replay-value for AC: Brotherhood.
TOO LONG; DIDN'T READ
A whole lot of new content.
Even though there's only one city (Rome), it's HUGE and will take a while for you to fully explore.
Awesome multiplayer addition with other beneficial online features.
Interesting new Brotherhood system.
New weapons and counter-kills.
Varied missions with added challenge from "Full Synchronization" requirement.
Much of the same; the graphics and battle system are the same. Most of the counter-kills return, too.
The Brotherhood system needs some more depth.
Uplay/Facebook features limited to those who want to achieve EVERYTHING.
Pretty much just a needless add-on when it boils down to the storyline.
Once you get this game, you're going to become ugly from your lack of sleep, since you're playing this game 24/7.
Overall Score: 15/10.
Buy or Rent: Buy, buy, buy! This game is a must-have for all action genre lovers (preferably ones who have kept up with the AC series to this point.)
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (US, 11/16/10)
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