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Old 11-26-2010, 07:12 AM   #1
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[360/PS3] Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Review

Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood Review

Title: Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood
Platform: 360/PS3 (coming to PC in Q1 2011 supposedly)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
ESRB: M
MSRP: $59.99 (360/PS3), $99.99 (360 CE/PS3 CE)
Editor: Loren 'AgtFox' Halek

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What's Hot: Another long campaign, or at least as long as you wish it to be; side quests have been expanded and multiplied; continues right from the end of the previous game; future sections are more numerous; expansion of economy sub-game in first game in that you now restore shops and buy landmarks; multiplayer is a ton of fun; definitely not what I expected

What's Not: Donít like some of the requirements for full synchronization in missions, especially time-based ones; if you arenít into side quests, you might be able to blow through this
Letís start this off with two points: first, Iím unsure why they didnít name this Assassinís Creed II: Brotherhood or some iteration of that. I understand why it isnít the third game since Ubisoft has chosen to give numerals only to a game that lets you control a new character. My second point is that I am flabbergasted by this game. When I first heard about this game I figured it was going to be centered around multiplayer and really have no single-player experience like the last couple games have had. Man was I wrong! This game is as long, if not longer, than Assassinís Creed II and actually contains a full fledged story. It took me roughly 20 hours according to the game to beat it, but I did several side quests.

SPOILER ALERT: The next paragraph will talk about the ending of Assassinís Creed II, so if you have not played that game as of yet, skip to the following paragraph where I start talking about the game and my experiences where no spoilers will be spilled.


Brotherhood opens up right where the last game ended, with Ezio Auditore in the temple listening to Minerva and not really understanding who this ďDesmondĒ is that she is talking to, but does take in what she talks about which he explains to his Uncle Mario and his fellow Assassins. In fact, right at the beginning they do a nice job of catching you up on the story of the series to that point, showing cutscenes from the previous games and experiences with Altair and Ezio while Desmond, voiced by Nolan North, narrates whatís happened up to this point.

You play as Ezio Auditore once again and with him feeling his quest is complete after the events of the second game he returns to the Villa his uncle owns and explains what he saw in the temple. He becomes a bit too complacent with how things are going, but with him leaving the bad guy alive eventually comes back to bite him in the ass. They attack the Villa, destroying it and closing off the Assassinís area in the basement and Ezioís armor and weapons from him. We then flash to the future and catch up with Desmond, Lucy and the gang as they attempt to setup camp at the Villa in the future. The Assassinís area is still blocked off, so Desmond and Lucy team up to find a way in. Desmond has become adept at his Assassin lineage and sees ghosts from the past that show him the way to take and watches as people died attempting to exit the villa with Ezioís help.


After their camp is set up in the Assassinís area, itís time to hit the Animus and live through Ezioís continued memories at the beginning of the 16th Century. At the very beginning there isnít much to do, but as you hit the viewpoints high above you start to see how much bigger this game is in area, missions and an expanded economic sub-game. This time around you have to use your money to renovate the shops (doctors, blacksmith, art dealers, banks and tailors). The more of these you renovate, the less things cost to buy and the more items that open up. The banks are of course the newest shop type here. As you continue renovating areas the amount of money you make every 20 minutes in the overworld (not in missions) increases and that money is held at the banks since Ezioís sister Claudia no longer oversees the books (she oversees something else). There is a limit to what the banks can hold, so be sure to stop by regularly to fill your pocketbooks. Along with this you can also purchase landmarks around Rome like the Coliseum and the Pantheon among others. These are very expensive to buy (like tens of thousands of flora), so money is deeply important if you want to renovate everything in the game. I personally spent much of my time through all the Animus Sequences to try to renovate everything I could.

Along with this there are other new side missions to undertake. There is an underground tunnel system that can be renovated which allows Ezio to quickly travel from area to area. There is the ability to also renovate special buildings where you can put courtesans, mercenaries or thieves in once you have unlocked the bases of each. Through these buildings you can hire them on and use them in your missions. I didnít utilize them much, but they are there and the buildings can be changed to different factions whenever. Later in the game you also are able to recruit other Assassins that you can send out to other places in the world to undertake missions and make even more money and you can also use them in your missions if they are not on other missions. With increased experience you can upgrade their armor and weapon level and make them even more adept assassins. Itís a delicate balance to undertake, but honestly you donít even have to touch the Assassin sub-game if you donít want to. I just wanted to experience everything I could.


As you go through the Animus Sequences, of which there are nine this time around, even more side mission types will open up. At one point unless you turn off some of the markers your overhead map is going to get very full with the hidden treasures you can see by buying maps, all the side missions, all the shop types and a lot of other things. Rome is also split into sections, each of which is lorded over by a Borgia owned tower. You have to eliminate the captain in the area and then the tower opens up for you to climb and ignite the gunpowder at the top. Immediate question is why do they leave gunpowder barrels at the top of a tower, but I digress. It is actually cool to see Ezio light it up and then go on the Viewpoint perch (each tower has one) and throw a torch into the tower as he does his eagle dive. Itís a nice cinematic cutscene.

I didnít notice much of a change in graphics or sound from the previous game. That isnít necessarily a bad thing. The game is mostly loaded on the go unless you go into a mission, into an underground tunnel or have to replay a section. There is a bit of pop-in that you can see in the distance and some slowdown here and there, but when you take into effect what all this game is pushing at one time with the buildings, people and all that it is pretty amazing. The voiceovers are of course top notch with a lot of actors making a return appearance from Assassinís Creed II. The Italian spoken and the English with Italian accent (done by the Animus) are simply well done.


You wonít notice much change in the gameplay either outside of maybe a tighter combat engine, although it took me a bit to get reacquainted with it all. There are also some new weapons that make an appearance here like the crossbow and a new Leonardo creation. If anything, Brotherhood seems to be bigger, better and tighter than the phenomenal Assassinís Creed II, maybe leading credence to the ability for Ubisoft Montreal to churn this out every year.

Then there is what I thought this game centered on, the multiplayer. It is set up baseline much like other games out there. There are a few match types available as you start off your journey. Thereís Wanted where up to eight people play. Each player is given a contract to kill one of the other players and there is also a player out there with you as their target. You gain points with the way you kill them (silent, precision, revenge, etc.), but also have to be cognizant of who is hunting you and attempt to hide from them. This mode is wild and crazy because you could kill your target and your hunter is right behind ready to kill you. The more points you get the closer you get to increasing your level. With level increases you will get special moves (like being able to disguise yourself or run fast), unlock new gameplay types and many other things. There are team based gameplay types once opened and there is even one where one player plays the assassin and the rest try to get away. This mode is a lot of fun and you will probably be spending a bunch of hours with friends and strangers. The nice thing is that it uses a compass where a blue bar will increase the closer you get to your target, eventually filling the whole circle. The crazy thing is that each map is filled with the different types of peole you can play as, so sometimes there might be a double around and you have to be careful not to kill an innocent person or you lose your contract and have to wait for a new one.

In the end I was shocked by what this game turned out to be. It had a lengthy single-player story, one that was a bit longer than Assassinís Creed II for me, although that all depends on how open you are to all the side missions you can take. Add into this an extremely fun multiplayer section and there is no doubt in my mind that this game should be in the Game of the Year conversation. I find it amazing that Ubisoft Montreal was able to turn this out in a year with a full story, full voiceovers and everything. They could have basically phoned it in, but chose instead to reward us with another fantastic entry into this top tier series. In my mind Assassinís Creed is a strong series this generation and if youíve missed it up to this point you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Score: 5 out of 5 CoGs


Loren says, ďNot the game I thought it was going to be. The single-player section may be longer than Assassinís Creed II for many of you. Iím just awestruck that Ubisoft Montreal was able to turn this around in a year even with Patrice Desilets leaving for THQ during its development (he does get story credit at least). This is a top notch game that many may look past. Please donít because this game is simply amazing and a fantastic one to immerse yourself in during a cold winter day.Ē

*Note - Review based upon the 360 version of game
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:00 AM   #2
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Loren says, ďNot the game I thought it was going to be.Ē
That's exactly how I feel about the game. For the second year in a row, I was eating crow after first dismissing the game and then cancelling my preorder, only to find myself running out a week after release to grab a copy.

The fact that the Ezio portions feel incredibly strong and not like some kind of padding or retcon of the end of AC2 is very satisfying. I'm also super duper happy that the Desmond sections have been fleshed out as I am one of those people who find the meta-story with Desmond to be the most compelling part of the AC series.

And the multiplayer... So nice! It's right up my alley. Nice and slow and methodical. Hanging around next to an AI with the same model as my player character and seeing another assassin stab it instead of me just makes me grin like a fool!
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:30 AM   #3
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Erm, it's Auditore, not Altidore. Or did they localise it for the US in the strangest way possible?

I'm pleased to hear so many positives about it, and after loving AC2 I figured I would buy this now rather than wait. Only problem is now I'm under 5 inches of snow and suspect I'll have to wait an extra week for it to show up, at which points could have had it cheaper by a tenner. Ugh.
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:57 AM   #4
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Erm, it's Auditore, not Altidore. Or did they localise it for the US in the strangest way possible?

I'm pleased to hear so many positives about it, and after loving AC2 I figured I would buy this now rather than wait. Only problem is now I'm under 5 inches of snow and suspect I'll have to wait an extra week for it to show up, at which points could have had it cheaper by a tenner. Ugh.
Thanks for the catch, don't know what I (or Word) was thinking. Maybe we were in a soccer state of mind.

5 inches is chump accumulation here.
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Old 11-26-2010, 09:35 AM   #5
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5 inches is chump accumulation here.
Get quite a lot of results for Ezio (even Etzio) Alditore on google, so there's definitely precedent.

As for the idea of living anywhere more prone to snow than here (we're coastal and usually don't see much if any)... madness! Although I guess I'd at least be prepared for it.

Back on topic - as stated variously,I was really surprised by the multiplayer. Even once my friend told me it was awesome, I just figured he was wrong, but it's so engrossing. It took a little time to work out how my actions would result in the other players seeing me, and at that point can start putting together some kills of the sort of class you can show in singleplayer. Don't know whether I'll play enough to hit lvl50 in it, but certainly plan to spend some time with it.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:34 PM   #6
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That's exactly how I feel about the game. For the second year in a row, I was eating crow after first dismissing the game and then cancelling my preorder, only to find myself running out a week after release to grab a copy.

The fact that the Ezio portions feel incredibly strong and not like some kind of padding or retcon of the end of AC2 is very satisfying. I'm also super duper happy that the Desmond sections have been fleshed out as I am one of those people who find the meta-story with Desmond to be the most compelling part of the AC series.

And the multiplayer... So nice! It's right up my alley. Nice and slow and methodical. Hanging around next to an AI with the same model as my player character and seeing another assassin stab it instead of me just makes me grin like a fool!
What is that I am feeling? Oh, yes! Vindication two years in a row.
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:33 AM   #7
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And I highly doubt that they just made this game in a year. This is more akin to being the most expensive piece of DLC ever... on a disc Or a standalone expansion disc that overshadows the original game, for those of us who remember the days of expansion discs.

If they actually DID start this game about a year ago and were able to do something of this quality that quickly, I'll eat my hat.
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Old 11-26-2010, 10:52 AM   #8
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Curses. Looks like I'm going to have to buy this sooner than I expected. I waited out AC2 and really enjoyed it when I finally got my hands on it. Anyone playing on the PS3? how is the frame rate and tearing compared to AC2? is there any difference or still the same?

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Old 11-26-2010, 02:58 PM   #9
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Curses. Looks like I'm going to have to buy this sooner than I expected. I waited out AC2 and really enjoyed it when I finally got my hands on it. Anyone playing on the PS3? how is the frame rate and tearing compared to AC2? is there any difference or still the same?
I'm playing on the PS3. Looks and plays just fine from what I can see.
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:41 PM   #10
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I'm playing on the PS3. Looks and plays just fine from what I can see.
Thanks Spig. I just dived in - looks like they have ironed out the ps3 issues - it certainly seems a lot smoother so far.
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:27 PM   #11
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Thank for another excellent review and a score I can agree with!
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Old 11-26-2010, 02:39 PM   #12
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I think it's the best AC yet. I have a few minor story quibbles, but add me to the growing list of people who are surprised by it, too. I just hope that the departure of Desilets doesn't adversely affect the next game.

Why did he leave, anyway? The only reasoning offered in articles I've seen is distaste at Ubi's statement a while back that they would start trying to push annual installments of some of their franchises, but that doesn't ostensibly seem like a good reason to up and jump ship.

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Old 11-26-2010, 04:42 PM   #13
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I've been really wanting to get this, not only because it's amazing, but also so I can finish up my collection of the Assassin's Creed series, since I've got AC1 and AC2 (even though I haven't really played through either of them yet). Sadly, it's out of my price range still, being so new. But as soon as I can get it, I totally am.
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Old 11-26-2010, 05:54 PM   #14
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Finally started playing this week, directly after finishing AC2. So far I've found the combat easier, the life bar over the enemies heads flash briefly before they attack so you know who will attack you when and the timing for counters seems looser so they're easier to pull off.

I also like that the city has colour this time around, in AC2 the colours were a lot more washed out, I guess as an artistic "this is the animus and not the real world" vibe although Monteriggioni was ok colour-wise so it wasn't completely consistent.

Anyway, I'm enjoying it so far, I'm still in the first area being OCD about renovating everything and clearing all the Borgia towers before I go to the next story mission.

Stuck on the last Borgia tower though, captain does a runner (including disappearing in a dead-end just down the corridor from his spawn point ) before I can get close, guess I'll have to progress the story so I can bring some help in my next attempt to kill him .
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:00 PM   #15
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Anyway, I'm enjoying it so far, I'm still in the first area being OCD about renovating everything and clearing all the Borgia towers before I go to the next story mission.
You won't regret that approach, I think. In this and AC2 before it, I think the sooner I bought and upgraded everything I could, the better. It opens up the game more and more.

I haven't loved all the 100% goals, but they've done a better job than most of keeping the majority of them fun without being a frustrating pain.

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Old 11-26-2010, 05:58 PM   #16
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[360/PS3] Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Review

Without having completed the game yet, I also think it's the best so far. Rome is huge, the addition of the guild mechanic is perfect for this game (and ordering fellow assassins to attack is endlessly entertaining), and the set-piece missions are creative and challenging, especially with the 100% Sync goals.

I've loved the AC game universe so far and, after seeing this entry, hope Ubisoft makes many more.
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Old 11-26-2010, 09:43 PM   #17
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As a further testament to how well this game is put together, I was watching a documentary the other day and it showed that rounded wall outside of the Vatican. Before it said where the shot was from, I was saying to myself, "That has to be the Vatican... I've climbed up that wall..."

I had a similar bout of cognitive dissonance with AC2 when watching a special on Venice and it did a panning shot through the fish market. I felt like I had already been there and it took me a second to remember that I had climbed on the beams in AC2.
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:26 AM   #18
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I had a similar bout of cognitive dissonance with AC2 when watching a special on Venice and it did a panning shot through the fish market. I felt like I had already been there and it took me a second to remember that I had climbed on the beams in AC2.
That happens to me all the time now that I've been to Rome, Venice, and Florence. We stayed in a hotel over the fish market in Venice and I remember looking at the Duomo in Florence and saying, "I've climbed on that ridge right there" to my girlfriend. Now, I'm doing the reverse in Rome since as I'm playing I can say, "I walked up that steep path to Palatine Hill."

Scale is smaller, naturally, and some things I remember don't match because so much has happened since the 1500s, but it's close enough to be commendable.
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Old 11-27-2010, 12:19 PM   #19
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Man, I almost hate to see all of the love for AC 2 and now Brotherhood. Why? Because I really hated some parts of AC and wound up selling it before I could even bear to finish it. I got hung up on all of the repetitive missions and wanted to do them all. And there is the problem. I wanted to complete every mission minus the flags collecting. I kept failing missions due to the "crazy" retards on the streets who would draw attention to your guy.

Anyways, I am bitter. I really did not want to give AC 2 a try since I gave up on AC. I feel I will miss out on parts of the story. And I really do not want to go back to AC. I sold it and I erased my save. So I really don't want to dive into the series starting at 2. I am also not a fan of playing a game where you are a guy hooked up to a machine reliving assassinations. And the game blocks off paths simply by saying that part of the map hasn't been loaded yet or some crap. It took the immersion away and felt really cheap. Do they do that in AC 2 and Brotherhood? Can I start with AC 2 and not miss much story?

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Old 11-27-2010, 05:09 PM   #20
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I am also not a fan of playing a game where you are a guy hooked up to a machine reliving assassinations. And the game blocks off paths simply by saying that part of the map hasn't been loaded yet or some crap. It took the immersion away and felt really cheap. Do they do that in AC 2 and Brotherhood? Can I start with AC 2 and not miss much story?
If you don't like it, you don't like it. Not much to be done about that. But if you want to give it another try, AC2 picks up at pretty much the exact moment the first leaves off, so you will be behind on the story. I suppose you could read a summary of the first, but if you really hated it that much, I'm not sure you'll like AC2/Brotherhood as much as others do. It's true there are a lot of great improvements, but they are still all part of the same series.

All the games do the blocking off thing. I'd like to say it's less apparent in the later games, but I'm not sure that's true. I definitely had to postpone my viewpoint clearing a couple times because of invisible walls.
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