Friday, 14 January 2011

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood Review

Welcome back guys for my first games review of the New Year! 

The Assassins Creed series kicked off back in November 2007, and gamers hadn’t seen many releases like it. Sure you had Prince of Persia which is a pretty awesome franchise, but this had an added twist, massive sandbox, action-adventure game play... where you climb walls like an old-style ninja and just generally look and be awesome. You play a guy by the name of Desmond Miles who is your friendly neighbourhood bar tender, plodding along in life as you do...  then HOLY SH*T you’re captured and taken ‘prisoner’ by an insane company called Abstergo Industries and made to do things you don’t want to! ...Nah, but seriously though, Abstergo Industries have a machine at their disposal called the Animus, which basically allows you to relive memories of your ancestors... and yes, you want one. Desmond’s ancestors turn out to be Assassins, which is always an added bonus if you’re lucky enough to own one of these bad boys. So Desmond is pretty much ordered to re-live his ancestor’s memories so that the crazy people at Abstergo can find and recover artefacts, all together known as the ‘Pieces of Eden’. Sounds cool, eh? In the first instance, you play as Desmond’s first known ancestor, who goes by the name of Altaïr. Assassins Creed II was then released in November 2009, where you played as Ezio, Desmond’s next key ancestor; Ezio Auditore’s story is now continued in Assassins Creed: Brotherhood, released a year later in November 2010.
Before this game was released, the air was filled with many questions relating to the length of the game, the story line and the multiplayer. The main issue was that a lot of the Assassins Creed faithful were worried in case Brotherhood was going feel like an add-on for Assassins Creed II, instead of a being a full blown release. With Assassins Creed II being released two years after the franchise’s debut, it was understandable that the fans were concerned that Ubisoft were churning out another release just a year later. Now we all know what happens when you start churning out game after game, year after year don’t we? The modern Call of Duty titles happen! Not necessarily a good thing either...
There were also questions being raised about the multiplayer and whether this was just an effortless feat for the game to give it a bit more of a longer life. Although, with these questions came excitement, as Brotherhood is the first game of the franchise to introduce multiplayer, so naturally, there was curiosity thrown into the mixed feelings.

Ezio's day to day activity.
Assassins Creed: Brotherhood still has the core game-play of the title’s predecessor.  You still have the same fluid feeling to the controls which enable you to free run around Rome in the year 1499, the new setting for Ezio. The fact that Ubisoft  have perfected the controls in this release make this feature alone entertaining enough to keep you playing for hours on end. In contrast to the game play in ACII, the combat controls have been improved; they feel smooth and free flowing, and less restricted and repetitive. There are a lot of cool new animations in the combat sense too and there is never a dull moment when duelling or fighting five guards at once, this helps a lot to make the game feel fresh throughout and to prevent it from going stale quickly; like the first Assassins Creed was guilty of doing.
Just looking at the title, you know there’s going to be some sort of a rebellion or army starting up somewhere belonging to someone; that someone so happens to be you, Ezio! The Brotherhood is in fact a Brotherhood of Assassins, or a guild as the game likes to call it. At a certain stage in the game, you will unlock a mission path which will basically have you randomly coming across civilian rebels in trouble with the new Guards in Rome, the Borgia. These civilians believe that your cause is just, and are choosing to fight against the Borgia too, and you have to save them as they’re really stupid and pick a fight with like five guards at once...pfft. When you save the civilians from the guards, they are then willing to become your apprentice. You may have up to 12 apprentices at one time, and for each apprentice you can assign them with contracts which will have them flitting across Europe completing missions set by you, earning them experience points and levelling up through the 10 ranks, the 10th rank being Assassin.  When your assassin apprentices complete the contracted missions, they will also earn you money and item rewards; as well as contracts, you can call them in to do your dirty work for you, killing guards so you don’t have to... like a more violent version of Flash cleaning spray. 

Ubisoft have used the same graphics engine as Assassins Creed II, so not much has changed on the face of Brotherhood. However, the textures are presented in a higher resolution, and the lighting looks sharper, making Rome a perfect setting to show off the colourful and stunning visuals.

Doing good business.
The story in this game is yet again awesome. Brotherhood picks up from where Assassins Creed II left off, with Ezio still confused by what he saw in the vault at the end of the game. After escaping the Templars, Desmond and the gang escape to Monteriggioni, a city in and commune of Tuscany, Italy. They set up their animus underneath the ruins of Villa Auditore after finding a source of electricity which enables Desmond to continue the quest as his ancestor, Ezio. As a Master Assassin, you will have to re-establish the Guild of Assassins and rebuild Rome by destroying the Borgia influence, whilst renovating famous landmarks, faction buildings, shops and banks to give you an economic boost. AC:BH has a fantastic and gripping story line filled with vengeance and ass kicking; the game manages to keep you on the edge of your seat with well thought out, dramatic and action packed missions which differ from each one you choose to do, whilst being helped by an amazing setting for the release and convincing voice acting.

He doesn't look notorious at all...
It took me a while to actually play and review the Brotherhood’s Multiplayer feature, because I couldn’t connect to a damn session easy enough, which explains the delay in bringing this review out to you! Although I did eventually get into games, as the servers seem to have sorted themselves out now. After playing the Multiplayer for a decent amount of time, I get the impression it had all been a bit rushed in the making, which is what I, and many others feared. Sure, when you first play it, it is awesome, fresh and it has the addictive ranking system and skill unlocks, but the style of game play get’s a bit boring for a multiplayer game, and isn’t really a long-term option. There are five game types in the multiplayer; Wanted (6-8 Players, a game of hide and pursue), Manhunt (Two teams, each composed of 3-4 players, taking turns in hiding and pursuing), Alliance (6 players, 2 players on each of the 3 teams, again, hiding and pursuit...) and Advanced Wanted and Advanced Alliance, which basically means a lot of the assists are turned off when it comes to trying to find your target. Again, it is awesome at first, with a great idea being shown through the multiplayer, but I think with a bit more time they could have really made this multiplayer feature special, giving it the ability to last longer.

To conclude, Brotherhood in no way feels like the add-on many people predicted it would be - it isn’t an add-on at all. The campaign is solid with a fantastic story line which doesn’t feel short or rushed what-so-ever, including significant and vital sequences that bridge the big gap between Assassins Creed II and III, with some very exciting and shocking twists added in. There are also a mass amount of side quests along the way to complete, for example, there is a quest path to get some pretty cool armour and gear by adventuring into six different lairs to recover keys from shrines, guarded by weird cultists with wolf helmets...  it’s interesting to say the least.
*Slight spoiler alert in this paragraph* The new ‘Brotherhood’ addition to the campaign starts out as a lot of fun, because you can rank them up to become mean machines for them to do your bidding; You’re then let down in the end because you really are expecting there to be some sort of a big fight between your guild and the Borgia, but there just isn’t, it made me very sad. So the Brotherhood ends up being a bit pointless in the grand scale of things. Let’s hope they make things more epic in ACIII, well, they have to with it supposedly being the final instalment in the franchise!

*jaw drops*
Rome in this game looks amazing, just the fact you get to free run around this big, scenic sandbox is enough to keep you entertained for a long while, it’s like being on a hectic, sword wielding summer holiday that you couldn’t get with Thomas Cook. There are next to no limits to your adventures and you can explore pretty much everything on the map. Just climb to the top of a view point and take it all in, it’s actually breath taking what Ubisoft have achieved, the improved textures and lighting are definitely evident here.
The multiplayer is the biggest let down in this title, however it is still a lot of fun in small doses. The only problem is, is that a lot of players don’t play it properly. The game is based on stealth, you know, with you being an Assassin and all – you don’t really want to become notorious. That being said, select gamers still run around like absolute idiots, sticking out like a sore thumb... it’s like Call of Duty or Counter Strike just went back in time, and the shotgun noobs have been replaced with hidden-dagger noobs, sprinting across the map.
This game is definitely worth the purchase in my opinion, and it is important that gamers, who want to buy Assassins Creed III when it is released, play Brotherhood first; as mentioned above, it is a vital bridge from Assassins Creed II!

That’s it for my review of Assassins Creed: Brotherhood! I could have made it miles long, but the story line is just far too complex to note down fully, as there’s been book releases and everything! I would simply put you to sleep. If you haven’t yet played any of the Assassins Creed titles and you have read through this, I would highly recommend getting them all, even the first one. The two titles prior to Brotherhood will be reasonably cheap now. I know Assassins Creed II is cheap, as I recently bought the Game of the Year edition for £9.99, bargain!
Hope you enjoyed the read and I hope you will come back for my next review; I have just bought DC Universe Online, an MMORPG based on the Comic Book heroes where you can basically create your own hero and roam about completing quests and looking effing epic, so that may be my next review when I get another good bucket load of hours in! If you’re interested in the game, it’s only been released on PC and PS3 so far, I myself have the PC version, so I’ll tell you what it’s like as soon as I can give a fair view on it.

Thanks for visiting gamers, hope you’re all awesome,


Jayhmmz    (,,,)(O.o)(,,,)

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