It’s been a year since Ubisoft released Assassin’s Creed II and threw us into the life of Ezio Auditore di Firenze, a young Italian man who learns the secret art of stab-ology.
While the original Assassin’s Creed was a bit of a disappointment to many people, the sequel finally gave everyone the game that they always wanted by adding necessary changes as well as a great deal of depth to the story and world.
Instead of moving on with the story, we jump back into the life and times of Ezio in the events following Assassin’s Creed II.
Is Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood enough to warrant a purchase, or does it feel like nothing more than a full price expansion? Find out in our full review.
Something I want to make clear right away is that if you have not yet played Assassin’s Creed II then it is highly recommended – if not completely necessary – that you play it first. As I mentioned previously, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood takes place directly after the ending of Assassin’s Creed II as well as continues the story of Desmond and the Animus.
Now you may have heard that Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is more of an expansion than a whole new game. The truth is that what you have heard is correct. What you may not have heard, is that it just so happens to be a very large and good expansion.
Brotherhood not only features more story and features, but is also the first Assassin’s Creed to offer multiplayer as well.
The story campaign itself is solid and fun, with good progression. You will spend most of your time in Rome, with a few other mission specific areas as well as the ability to do a little moving about with Desmond as well, but I won’t say more than that.
Rome itself is massive in scale and beautiful to look at and thanks to the amazing monuments and architecture, works just as well as as trip through history as it does as the setting for a videogame.
Brotherhood plays and feels like Assassin’s Creed II in almost every way, but some new additions and features have given the gameplay a fresh boost. A little while into the game, you are given the ability to recruit new members to your brotherhood.
I really enjoyed having other members of my brotherhood available to me in the game. You are able to target enemies and then signal your assassins to take them out. This really comes in very handy when you need some help getting into heavily guarded areas. They will appear almost out of nowhere, sometimes even popping out of hay bails and taking their targets down quickly before getting the heck out of there.
There is more to them than just using them as a weapon though. Each Assassin can be managed via pigeon coups or headquarters. Contracts are available and offer varying amounts of money for you and experience your assassins. When they level up they are capable of taking on bigger contracts and can also be upgraded with better armour, weapons and equipment.
When they are sent on contracts, they are unavailable to you in the game (the length is determined by the individual contracts), so you have to manage having some around to assist you and making sure that you are boosting them up to higher levels. You will grow pretty attached to them after a while, which makes it all the more scary that they can die.
Send one of your assassins on a contract that is possibly above their skills and they may very well wind up dead, with the mission failed. Not only that, but if you (in the game world) send them into situations to take out guards or other figures and they end up getting caught up in a large battle, they have life just like everyone else and you could helplessly watch and fight as you see some of your best high level guys get overrun and killed.
In that respect I would have like the option to order them to flee, as there is nothing worse than watching some of your best assassins (some which you have managed for quite some time) get killed and all you wanted to do was tell them to run no matter what.
Like in the previous game, but on a larger scale, you are able to renovate stores or locations as well as even buy large structures. Stores will give you more and more discount as you renovate more of them and all renovations and structures bought add to the total amount of money profit that you make in the city.
Stores have shop quests that, if completed, unlock additional special items and certain areas in the game (such as a thieves guild) offer a host of additional challenges for you to tackle, such as hiding guards in hay bails or pickpocketing a certain amount of people.
Structures and stores that are in areas under the control of the Borgia army can not be bought or renovated until the areas has been cleared. In order to remove the Borgia influence from an area, you need to find their tower on the map. At the tower you need to assassinate the head honcho in that area, and then once that is done, climb the tower and set it on fire.
On the whole, the story mode is solid, adds new features has tons of activities (many not mentioned in this review) and has also been streamlined to make exploring easier for the player by allowing horses into the cities as well as allowing you to revamp underground tunnel systems that will let you quick travel across the map.