Lik Chanís Take:
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a prime example of what makes for a good sequel. And when I say sequel, I mean it. AC Brotherhood literally takes place right after Assassin's Creed 2's ending. So for anyone who hasn't played or completed the previous game, I highly recommend you do that first before jumping in. You'll get a small recap of the first two games, but they hardly explain everything needed to fully understand what's going on inside and outside the Animus. So is this a sequel worthy of your time? I would say yes.
Brotherhood continues the adventures of Desmond and his gang of Assassins in their efforts to take down the Abstergo. But unlike the previous games, Desmond is more involved and there are some fun gameplay sections that gave me a real Uncharted vibe. I won't spoil it for you guys but the events outside the Animus are just as enjoyable as inside it. The writing is wittier and funnier as well. As for the inside of the Animus, after some major events take place, we continue to follow Ezio and his plans to take control of Rome and end the suffering of its people. Itís a journey that is full of intrigue with interesting new and returning characters alike. The story is much more cohesive than the previous games and it's surprisingly well paced for an open world game. I kept wondering what would happen next as the story progressed.
The gameplay is very similar to Assassinís Creed 2 but with many minimal improvements. The combat has been tweaked to allow easier methods to take down a large crowd of enemies. You can execute them one after another instead of relying solely on timing. Countering is much easier and you're given more weapons and methods to take down enemies from afar. The exploration is pretty much the same, so if you played the previous games, you'll feel right at home. The amount of optional stuff you can do in the game is quite staggering. You can renovate shops and purchase landmarks to make money, take on a variety of side quests that involve tailing someone, escorts, rescues, and assassinations. The Thieves, Courtesans, and Mercenaries all return and help you the same way they did in Assassinís Creed 2. But let's not stop there, shops now offer Shop Quests where you receive unique armor or weapons if you can trade in certain required items. I also need to mention that there are a few awesome missions that you need to complete for an old friend that made my jaws drop. Not only were they fun and varied but they were challenging as well. And for anyone who remembered those amazing platforming traversal levels in Assassinís Creed 2, you get something similar here with the Followers of Romulus missions. The game also includes a set of challenges in the VR Training mode which compare your scores with people on your friend list. There's a lot more I can mention but I'll stop there.
With all this variety, the biggest addition is the ability to recruit and train Assassins. This ability is not available immediately but once you acquire it, you'll be addicted. You basically send your Assassins to some random missions in a menu and they return after a certain amount of time with money and items if they succeed. It's not super exciting but it adds a bit of strategy to the main game since they cannot help you if they're away. You can use the Assassins you recruited to help you kill enemies without getting your own hands dirty. Not only does it add variety to some assassination missions, but it also made it fun to have allies to aid you when needed. It also made me feel like Ezio is even more of a badass than he is already.
The graphics are simply amazing. The facial animations and lip sync has been vastly improved over Assassinís Creed 2. Characters emote realistically in cutscenes and have some fantastic animations during the game. The world is lush and full of life. There is also a lot more variety of NPCs with a more varied animation. Some of them are quite humorous. While the look of the game is great, there are pop-ins and fade-ins when you're roaming the rural areas. I also found some disappearing NPCs in the real-time cutscenes and frame rate stutter at times. They don't kill the game but they are a bit distracting at times. On the other hand, the music is perfect with many returning tracks from Assassinís Creed 2 and the voice work is excellent. The voice actors really did a great job giving each character a lot of personality and presence.
Overall, Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood features a great story, great characters and a TON of stuff to do that will keep you playing for a while. As a sequel, not only does it manage to evolve the story, but it also made enough minor changes that the game feels fresh without breaking what I loved in Assassinís Creed 2. Did I mention that it also includes a fully featured multiplayer mode? But I haven't had a chance to play it yet. This is a must play and one of my favorite games this year.
Outstanding | Very Good | Fair | Poor | Awful
Recommended Buy Price: $59.99
Current MSRP: $59.99
I bought the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Collector's Edition with my own money. I played 32 hours accumulating 32 out of 50 Achievements. It is also available for the PlayStation 3 and PC.
With so much emphasis placed on the addition of multiplayer, the sequel to one of my favorite games of 2009 nearly snuck right by me. Like the full review says, though, this is a fully-fledged sequel and I was instantly sucked back into fifteenth century Rome. At four hours in Iíve hardly scratched the surface of everything Brotherhood has to offer, but I already love a couple of the tweaks introduced. Scaling the lookout towers has always been one of my favorite aspects of the series and now an extra layer of assassinations has been attached to some of the towers as you must eliminate a guard captain prior to ascending the perch. Additionally, the economy system introduced with upgrading the villa in Assassinís Creed 2 has been streamlined. You no longer have to continuously go out of your way to see your improvements and withdrawal your income. All of that now takes place in the city of Rome itself, making your progress instantly recognizable and impactful in the very world you are playing in Ė a world I canít wait to fully experience.
Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood was provided for review by Ubisoft. Iíve played the campaign for four hours so far and Iíve accumulated 6 out of 51 Trophies.