Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood review: Ubisoft takes a third stab at the stealth/assassination genre
- Assassins = ninjas, polished gameplay, innovative multiplayer
- Plot is a tad pretentious
Ubisoft's third stab at the assassination genre is just as sleek and razor-sharp as ever. The addition of a multiplayer mode is also bloody good fun. Simply put, Ubisoft Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is killer!
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
In the course of reviewing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the third instalment in the popular franchise, I took some time to reflect on what makes this particular series so popular.
Sure you can extol the game for many things. Great gameplay, awesome voice acting and the occasional steamy sex scenes are just a few of them. But what gives the games that X factor?
I think I know what it is. Ninjas.
Assassin's Creed is essentially a ninja simulator. Yeah, yeah, I know none of the characters are Japanese — far from it — but the similarities between Assassin's Creed and those pyjama-clad psychos are undeniable. Stealthiness, hidden weapons, agile climbing, artful assassinations; these are all traits shared by the ninja. And everybody loves ninjas!
Time travel? There's an app for that
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood follows on directly from Assassin's Creed 2 (unlike the first game, which was set around 200 years previously). Once again, Desmond Miles slips into the skin of the Renaissance-era assassin Ezio Auditore; a time-spanning trick made possible through a machine called the Animus. The Animus allows Desmond to unlock his DNA's memory and relive the exploits of his ancestors. (I'm pretty sure this was all covered in Year 7 biology).
Once again, Desmond is trying to piece together Ezio's past to unlock the location to a sacred artifact called the MacGuffin of Eden... Sorry; the Apple of Eden. The redoubtable Ezio located the Apple of Eden at the end of the last game, but a surprise attack on his Monteriggioni stronghold sees the Apple stolen. Don't you hate it when that happens?
Ezio flees to Rome with his family and attempts to reestablish the Assassin's brotherhood as well as recover the stolen apple from a new enemy. Thus, a new adventure begins.
If you're not intimately familiar with the Assassin's Creed mythos, you can attempt to piece together the back story through a three-minute recap sequence at the start. Something about the Knights Templar being evil and the modern day assassins being the good guys, along with some high-tech techno babble that culminates in the happenings of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
Frankly it all sounds a bit too self-indulgent. Heck, I just spent four paragraphs trying to explain the storyline and I'm not even sure it makes any sense.
Thankfully, the gameplay is great.
View to a Kill
Scaling the walls of Rome is as natural as running for Ezio, and the climbing mechanics are polished and fluid enough that it almost looks like an artform (parkour, urban ninja style). Discounting the miraculous — and highly improbable — jumps Ezio can conduct, a lot of the climbing motions seem believable enough. It's especially satisfying when you hear the crowd's murmur of disapproval when you start climbing buildings in public.
If you don't like travelling via scaling buildings, you can call on a horse for long distance travel. You can even launch yourself off the horse, reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus. Sadly, one thing you cannot do is trample people to death with your trusty stead (I've tried).
I wasn't really a fan of the combat to start with, especially the lock-on system. I found it too easy to change targets by accident, but once you face a mob of five, you'll thank your lucky stars that you can kill the guy you're facing, then quickly move onto the one behind you.
It's a one button mash when Ezio engages in combat but timing plays a key role, as counterattacks are essential to inflict maximum damage to an opponent. The AI is pretty full-on in this game, and I found myself sweating on the odd occasion I was flanked by a bunch of bloodthirsty enemies.
Cloak and dagger (and exploding canons)
Naturally, stealth is also a very big part of the game and Ezio can blend in with crowds and haystacks which are plentiful in the streets of Italy. Honing your skills in this area will help you evade guards and perform discreet assassinations.
Ezio can also recruit new assassins this time around (guess that's why it's called 'Brotherhood'). These new guns can be given assignments and you can even customise them to your liking. Treat them well because once they die, they will not respawn.
The great thing about the missions is their variety. For one, it's not an endless torrent of, "Here. Kill this guy" (although there's plenty of that as well). Sometimes you are required to do some acrobatic jumping to eavesdrop on people's nefarious plans. Then you might have to take a villain hostage in order to get a fair maiden out of prison. You may then have to stalk a young woman to find out where she lives...
Yes. Stalking a young woman back to her home. But he's an assassin, so that's kind of cool -- right? Right? *Awkward turtle*
While I usually cringe at English delivered in pseudo-foreign accents, the voice acting in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, is superb and the dialogue isn't too shabby either. The key characters really have distinct personalities that come across in character design and the dialogue, making you care for them more than if they were just mere facilitators for Ezio's missions.
Thick as Thieves
Arguably the most valuable addition to the game is multiplayer mode. I initially trialled it at E3 this year and it ranked as one of the most interesting experiences at the event. It utilises all the skills learnt in single player mode, relying on stealth techniques and calculated assassinations to earn points.
There are four game modes depending on whether you prefer deathmatch-style play or a game relying on teamwork. In the standard Wanted mode, up to eight players are plopped into a map and are assigned contracts to assassinate each other. But there's a wonderful catch: all the NPCs in the area are doppelgangers of the players. If you kill the wrong person, the contract is void. The core concept is quite similar to the cult PC game Spy Party, but with a lot more emphasis on action.
Inventive kills will unlock new weapons and abilities through a CoD-style levelling system. There is also a mode where one team can play the role of the assassins and the other plays the role of the targets. Players can chose between a number of players, including a Courtesan, Doctor and Blacksmith, each with their own unique assassination abilities.
It is one of the most innovate multiplayer systems to come about in a long time. The cat-and-mouse gameplay provides suspense and keeps you on your toes as you try to hunt and avoid being hunted at the same time. Customisable skillsets adds a new layer to just tailing and stabbing somebody in the back or scaling buildings to escape.
And there you have it. If you can get over the intriguing yet somewhat pretentious plot, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a game to bloody your hands with. The addition of multiplayer alone instantly catapults it to the best game of the series yet.
That and, again, Ezio is a friggin' ninja
Are you sold yet?
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTFull Stack Web Developer .NET or JAVANSW
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerVIC
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- FTMicrosoft ConsultantVIC
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXWA
- TPTechnical ConsultantNSW
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- CCERP Business Analyst (Time Capture/ Management) - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTPython DeveloperNSW
- TPMicrosoft Analyst ProgrammerSA
- TPBusiness Analyst AO7QLD
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- TPVB6 DeveloperVIC
- TPFunctional Business AnalystQLD
- CCProject Manager - Adelaide basedNSW
- CCCloud Security Solutions Architect - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- TPTechnical Support Resource-Skype for BusinessVIC
- CCPMO ManagerNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)ACT
- CCIntegration DeveloperNSW
- TPTechnical WriterVIC
- CCUser ResearcherNSW
- CCTelecommunication Operations SpecialistTAS