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Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

By Bobfish27-08-2012
Leigh Cobb (editor)
Blankdoor (editor)

The Defence

Ubisoft Montreal
Action, Adventure, Platformer
Release Date:
US 18-03-2011
EU 22-03-2011

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT
AMD Radeon HD 4850
2 GB
9 GB

The Case

With a development time of only a little more than a year, and clearly touted as being an addendum to the series, rather than a full sequel. A lot of people were extremely apprehensive about this one. Myself included. News of additional content in the shape of multiplayer only served to compound those concerns. But, when the game was released, it was followed with announcements of Assassin’s Creed being the most commercially successful, new IP of the current gaming generation. So, the question now becomes, is it worthy?

The Trial

It has already been made quite clear, by this point, that I am a vocal fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. So much so, even, that I own and enjoyed the handheld games which are mostly reviled by, well, everyone. So, yes, let me say outright, that I love this game. The first, still, remains my favourite of the series, but I would put Brotherhood at second place. And let me tell you why.

Act casual.

Act casual.

The scale of the game is mind boggling. Sure, there have been larger environments in games before. Crysis, for example, and the almost completely forgotten Boiling Point (which starred the Mummy himself, Adrian Vosloo, and is worth checking out). But this game has scale on a different order of magnitude. The map is immense. And, yes, there have been larger, but few have included this amount of detail. Generally speaking, larger maps see masses of repeating textures to pad them out. And there are the same here, don’t get me wrong, there likely always will be. But the sheer variety of building types, and windows, and paving stones and everything else. Let me say again, and I cannot stress this enough, the game is freaking enormous.

And it looks amazing. Again, I’d say it still remains about on par with the first game. And this is, again, due to running solely in Dx9. I don’t want to seem like I’m trivialising the enhancements to the engine, far from it. The first game just has that minor advantage of the more advanced lighting and particle effects. This one cheats a little bit, lots of post process, for the same result. That really goes into the art versus graphics argument, and is pretty much irrelevant. It looks great. That’s all you really need to know.

On top of that, there are even more new animations. Not only does Ezio have yet more weapons at his disposal, including two handed axes and swords, with new ways to dispatch enemies attached. He also has more animations for existing weapons, as well as the new ability to string death strikes together. From the first killing blow, you can immediately launch into a second, by only aiming in the right direction and making a further attack, then third and fourth ad infinitum. Until, either, everyone has been dealt with, or some one lands a lucky blow and breaks your chain.

Let's DANCE! Put on your red shoes and...

Let's DANCE! Put on your red shoes and...

Of course, this brings us back to the argument that, yet again, the game is too easy. And, in fact, has become even easier than previous titles. And it’s a valid complaint, in a lot of ways. Combat has always been slick, and intentionally on the less challenging side. That’s kind of the whole point. Ezio just really is that good, Why should it be more challenging just to keep people happy? The challenge comes, rather, from the parkour, and the newly included stealth missions. Being detected even once leads to failure. Now that, that can be really tough sometimes.

The audio and voice acting, I don’t even need to go there. It’s as incredible as ever. And the plot, boy oh boy, but does it take some major turns this time around. I would like, however, to comment on one key point, which has raised a great deal of debate. I won’t give too much away, but all I will say, he does not say Lucy. His exact words are “she is not who you think she is” not Lucy, she. It could just as easily apply to a certain other female character. Bear that in mind.

And speaking of the plot, the multiplayer actually has relevance to it, albeit in passing only. A factor that I haven’t previously touched on, is what they call the ‘bleeding effect’. Prolonged exposure to the Animus, apparently, allows the users body to absorb some of the abilities and skills of the ancestor being observed (“I know kung fu” ~ed). The idea behind the multiplayer, is that you are agents of Abstergo, using other Animus (“Animuses? Animi?” ~ed) machines to capitalise on this fact. In preparation for an impending confrontation between the Assassin and Templar orders.

Look! Elvis!

Look! Elvis!

And I have to say, I’m not really a fan of multiplayer. It’s rare that I give it even a cursory glance. But this one actually caught my attention. It utilises a series of special abilities quite similar to Call of Duties Perks, but with far better balancing. Each of them, if used correctly, is incredibly useful, and can either impede your opponent, pull your arse right out of the fire, or both. But none of them is so great that they give anyone an unfair advantage. You have just as much chance at success with none, as you do with a full compliment.

The variety of modes available is also quite impressive. With some offering a more traditional, do your own thing approach, whilst others strongly emphasise teamwork. Some promoting one group against another, whilst, my personal favourite, has three sets of two working in a triangle. You and your partner hunt those two, whilst they hunt the group that are hunting you. If you have a good group of players, this can be one of the most rewarding online experiences you will ever encounter. And is a hell of a lot of fun.

The Verdict

So I love the game, bet you never would have seen that one coming? It takes everything great about the previous two, and just builds on it. Refining what already worked, tweaking what was uncertain, and overhauling what didn’t. Apart from some minor issues with the parkour (not dropping off a three foot wall) this could be considered the perfect game. It’s fun, it’s a good length, it has lots of replay value, and a compelling multiplayer. And it was made in only a year. Bloody good show Ubi. I tip my hat to you.

Case Review

  • Compelling Multiplayer: If even I like it, it must be doing something right.
  • Enormous Map: Rome is, well, it’s pretty big, let’s put it that way.
  • Incredible Visuals: Still no Dx10/11, but it honestly doesn’t need it.
  • Likeable Protagonist: Ezio, finally, has stopped being a douchebag, and actually had some character development.
  • Uplay: Having DLC tied to Uplay servers can be awkward if there are any problems with them.
  • Multiplayer: Finding a host can be awkward and matchmaking can be temperamental.
Score: 5/5
I feel the score speaks for itself.


Brotherhood was released just about a year after AC2 and a lot of people were expecting a step down in quality, but what we got was pleasant surprise. This time, it seems that Ubisoft did put some effort even in porting. You still play as Ezio and continue his story straight from the point where AC2 ended. From a gameplay perspective there are new additions again, the most notable being other assassins under your command. They come with a mini management game, where you can level them up from simple thugs, to a full fledged assassins that can help you more than you can imagine.

This time the visuals look great, maybe from a technical standpoint it still looks worse than AC1, but this can be argued to an artistic direction. The voice acting is top notch, as is the music. And this time around, they brought in a multiplayer. I still think that it was unnecessary, but it is pretty unique. Although I experienced a lot of problems while trying to find a game (and this can be given to a bad posting for net coding) but when I did it was an interesting experience. Still, I think the MP is worth only a try, as it gets pretty unbalanced when playing against high ranking players, so just to see what is all the fuss about.

Score: 4.5/5
Comments (2)
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Posts: 3290

well, all I'll say, there's a reason I've bought them all three times so far

Posts: 237

Im still at the begining of this game. Too many games came along that i wnated to play. I may end up playing it again after Darksiders 2 and Sleeping Dogs. From what i have played and with the other two before it, I can say that its a really good franchise.