Review by ghoster88
This Brotherhood is Full of Potential
AC Brotherhood is the 3rd game in the AC series and the 2nd to focus on Ezio Auditore De Firenze. This newest foray into Rome includes a brand new multiplayer aspect. Does it live up to its wonderful predecessor?
Story: The story picks up exactly where you left off. Ezio is still in Rome which, after some shenanigans at your villa, is where you will spend the entire game. I loved this. It was a lot nicer being able to explore and learn one big city then having to port back and forth between several cities. Ezio is after the Borgia for revenge once again and youll spend the majority of the story trying to destroy them and their influence. Meanwhile Desmond and the Scooby-Doo club travel to Ezios Villa in the present day and set up shop there. The story is good and its fun to follow though it has some unnecessary twists and the Animus stuff is really unique but is overly complicated as usual and is starting to wear thin.
Design/Gameplay: The game layout is similar to the first two. You have a mini map full of story based objectives and side-missions that are yours to pursue however you wish. The mini-map will often be cluttered to death so there is never an end to what you can explore. As opposed to building up your Villa you now renovate sections of Rome to restore the freedom of the people. This is a really fun mini game that is very satisfying to see the city restored(and to see your wallet fatten). My only issue is that you have to physically visit each building you want to renovate. While its not so bad in the beginning when you are traveling around, a simple menu where you could purchase land from a far would have made the game much less tedious. The newest part of Brotherhood is its namesake. You can recruit young assassins to train and help you in your fights or to undertake missions for you. Its essentially like filling out a form but its surprisingly fun and interesting. Its fun to watch your recruits grow and progress in the guild. They are also very useful in the game. You can use your full Brotherhood meter to extinguish all enemies on screen or call a single ally to fight with you or assassinate a target. This is really helpful against targets who run and climb over everything. It got really obnoxious chasing them so I would just have one of my Assasseenos take them down while I had a cup of coffee.
The battle system has not changed at all. You still sit in the middle of a circle of enemies and wait for them to attack you so you can counter. You can now chain your kills together which makes the game even easier. Fighting isnt terrible to me, but its definitely odd that its been a consistent complaint among many and yet Ubisoft has yet to really fix it. You get a ton of weapons and tools but Batman you are not. I only ever used my Sword, Hidden Blade, Smoke Bombs, and occasionally my throwing knives. The missions are well designed, the Divinci Missions in particular being splendid. Minus some control issues, getting to pilot Leonardos Machines is a real treat, particularly the Tank, which is freaking awesome looking. Whats neat is that every mission has a Full Synchronization objective, such as completing a mission without being spotted or without killing anyone. These are fun little objectives that give you more to shoot for during your missions. My only issue with these is that it doesnt give you any out right benefits. Maybe if you do them all you unlock more cutscenes or something but on that I dont know. While the missions are fun, the variety feels very toned down. Most missions are you either fighting or following someone. Capturing the flags throughout the game is a joy compared to the feathers from 2. When you beat the game you are rewarded by being able to purchase maps that show the flag locations. Excellent design choice right there. Oh and the best new addition to the city are vertical launch pads which rocket you to the top of a building. These were awesome and need to be in every game.
Multiplayer: The biggest new feature is the Multiplayer. This multiplayer is unlike anything Ive ever played before and feels incredibly fresh and original. The main mode is Wanted which is kind of like a Death Match. You are given a target to hunt while you are simultaneously hunted by someone else. As you succeed and lead the game, you will have more pursuers on you and vice versa if you arent doing so hot. All the players are disguised as NPC look a likes so you can hide in groups of similar characters to make it harder on your pursuers. Killing your target successfully is immensely satisfying as is deluding your pursuer into attacking a computer. However it also points out the biggest issue with multiplayer. Luck plays too big of a factor. Way too often you will spawn right next to your target or pursuer and die instantly. There are also times where you will go for nearly a minute without a single target because the game glitches. The online itself is super glitchy. You will get stabbed from 10 meters away, get shot through walls, run into invisible people, and stab civilians despite being locked on to your target.
In Manhunt, which is a team based mode, one team hunts while the other hides. Its a lot of fun working with a team as you can watch each others backs but its also home to one of the many glitch abuses. The kill animations look great but they are so drawn out that you can be killed while performing them. So if there is more than one person around prepare to enter a long chain of pursuers stunning killers and vice versa while everyone is locked in animations. Its incredibly frustrating and it made grinding for the Platinum a headache. The multiplayer is a lot of fun and its so unique that I have to praise it but its also one of the most frustrating online sections I have ever played. Less luck and glitches would have gone a long way to making it better. Oh and I almost forgot, the load times are terrible! The game will refuse to start a match unless you have at least 6 players. So even if you have 4 people, it wont make a 2 on 2(people can join mid match so this really makes no sense) it will wait for a full group. Even worse, you can pick your teams with no balancing forced. Ive played many games where its 4v2 or even 4v1.
Presentation: The music is solid though only one track ever comes to memory and thats the mysterious, orchestral one with the vocals. The sound effects are great and the voice acting is top notch. All the accents sound spot on to me. Rome looks incredible. I feel like Im really there and man this game makes a heck of a history lesson. Seeing the Coliseum out in the field while perched on top of a tower is just awesome to look at. The aqueducts, the Vatican, it all looks fantastic. Ubisoft really did their homework on this one. The only issue is with the character visuals. It feels kind of old at this point and some characters and faces look very strange. It could definitely use a bit of a polishing over. Everything looks grainy and it doesnt really look any better than the first AC which is a bit of a head scratcher.
Summary: If you liked the other AC games then you should love this one as well. This was actually my favorite one for the first half of the game. Then (I think it might be a bit drawn out) it was like a switch was flipped and it suddenly got a lot less interesting and much more trite. So at the end of the day 2 is still the best despite all the improvements in this one. The online is definitely worth checking out but unless you are grinding for trophies, dont be afraid to quit when you start getting frustrated from cheap mechanics. Its amazing how much Ubisoft churned out in just a year. It has its shortcomings but the parqor is still a blast and exploring Rome is a real treat. Treat yourself and pick it up.
+Open-World Rome is incredible
+Platforming mechanics are still major fun
+Raising your own Brotherhood is addicting
+Online is unique and a blast when it plays right
-Online is not fun when luck and glitches are all over the place
-Battles are still kind of weak
-Its too long for its own good
-Constant traversal of the city gets tedious
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (US, 11/16/10)
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