STAFF REVIEW of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Xbox 360)

Friday, November 19, 2010.
by Brent Roberts

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Box art Benvenuto ai miei fratelli all'assassino ufficiale Xbox Drogato riesame dell'assassino del Credo: Fraternità. Welcome my Assassin brothers to the official Xbox Addict review of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Roma is calling us back to continue the adventure that started many years ago. Many new innovazioni have been included in this latest titolo from Ubisoft which rekindles the fire that burns deep within our souls. Grab your blade assassino and join us as we answer the call of Roma, the call of the Assassins.

One of the many highlights of the Assassin's Creed games, has always been a very well developed story, and in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (ACB), Ubisoft brings us back to the Animus to hopefully answer some very important questions. If you haven't had the chance to enjoy the previous Assassin's Creed games you will not feel lost, because the very opening of the game includes a brief synopsis of AC I and AC II, so when you start out you will be up to speed. Ubisoft has done a very good job in answering a difficult question, and that is "how do you start a story for someone when they are coming in towards the end of the story?". Even though you will get a synopsis in the beginning, I would only recommend playing this if you have played through the previous Assassin's Creed titles so that you can enjoy the entire story. With such a strong focus on ensuring a very deep, well developed story, ACB leaps ahead with mammoth new innovations, all the while delivering both an epic single player campaign, and now a very innovative multiplayer game mode. One of the core qualities of the AC games has been amazing gameplay control, and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood delivers another dagger as we get some new controls with the carismatico assassino, Ezio.

In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Ubisoft has taken the already amazing gameplay and injected some amazing new innovations that take your experience to a whole new level. One of the first new innovations you will come to enjoy is the inclusion of horse combat. Now Ezio can draw his weapon, lock onto targets, and even run enemies down on the fly. The innovations continue with horse combat as Ezio has the ability to not just attack someone from a horse, but now you can assassinate your target from a horse. When you assassinate an enemy on another horse, Ezio leaps from his horse and in one swift move, mounts, assassinates, and steals the horse. A great time to use this technique, for example, is when there are multiple armored foes on horses, and if you time it right, you can make Ezio jump between multiple enemies and drop the entire squad without raising any alarms. One thing that you must remember though is horses do not blend in. A good assassin blends into their environment, and riding on top of a horse while in town puts a bigger target on your back. Another amazing innovation brought to life in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is the ability to train your own brotherhood of assassins.

By rescuing villagers that need your aid, you can recruit them to your fratellanza. Once recruited you can send them off to perform various jobs all throughout Europe and more. Once the mission is complete you are rewarded with gold, and your assassin is awarded EXP and can level themselves up by increasing armor and weapons as they work their way through their way up to the top and become an assassino. This new innovation offers you a whole new level of gameplay as now you can create your own army of assassins which if they are not on a mission can assist you in times of need. If you have a small army in front of you, call upon your fratelli to unleash a storm of arrows that clears the way. On top of all the wonderful new innovations, the core gameplay returns with a polish that makes Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood a free running, rooftop jumping, eagle diving epic experience from beginning to end.

Europe comes to life in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and with the new landscape you are treated to wondrous new landmarks, detailed new cities, and new tombs and treasure to discover. There are moments that will leave you dazed in delight, such as climbing the Colosseo and overlooking the city at sunset, to exploring an ancient tomb to discover its treasure. Every facet of the graphics has been touched upon and all of this added effort shows off as you traverse through the various levels and cities. While the graphics do look very similar to AC II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood improved the best, dropped the rest, and developed a breathtaking setting that your eyes will enjoy from sunrise to sunset. Not only has the environment received a beautiful polished touch, but the character modeling has also been given this gift. All the characters are shown with a very high attention to detail and when you see the characters interact with you and with one another, it's amazing how the citizens literally seem to come to life. Just like the paintings you can buy in the game, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a fast and fluid, beautiful piece of art.

In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood your ears will have a feast of beautiful sounds as you traverse the city and progress through the story. Different environments will produce different music that can leave you speechless, such as hearing a haunting melody of strings as you climb a viewpoint to open up more of your map; or drive your heart beat as you get ready to unleash death from above on an unsuspecting guard as you infiltrate a castello.

The voice acting in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a showcase of quality from the very beginning moments. The voices combine with the character animation to make every encounter more believable than the one before it. Ubisoft also brings the cities to life by bringing your ears the sounds of the cities to add a layer of realism and allow your ears to enjoy every aspect of your avventura. Another audio treat that you will receive are great detailed combat sounds. All the sound effects from arrows bouncing off heavy armor, to swords clashing in the heat of battle have been painstakingly produced to help immerse you deeper into the world of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and from start to finish your ears will be thanking you.

One of the biggest worries for great single player games is always the inclusion of multiplayer. Since the beginning, Assassin's Creed games have always focused on giving you one of the best single player experiences you will ever find in gaming, however Ubisoft brings a highly innovative multiplayer experience in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Multiple game modes are available, however the innovation comes in the form of how to play. You have a target locater in the bottom middle which will fill up the closer you get to your target, but here is the key, make sure you find the right target. When you're the hunter, you're stalking, observing, and waiting for that right moment to strike. When you're the hunted however, the game becomes one of survival. Finding places to blend in can be the difference between living to fight another day or finding a knife pierced through your back. Finding your prey also involves a lot of observation as you can unlock perks such as disguise and morph to help you slip amongst the crowds. If you were wondering if Ubisoft could develop an innovative and amazing multiplayer mode for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, then wonder no more.

Lets sheathe our blade for a moment and regroup and decide if Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood hits the mark, or misses it completely. One question that needs to be answered is, "is this game AC II.5, or would this be better as DLC for AC II, or is this game so developed that it could be considered a standalone title?". Ubisoft has taken the time to develop a massive amount of innovations which help bring the already epic story to life like never before; and while ensuring an epic single player experience, Ubisoft put one right between the eyes with their multiplayer gametype. With all of these new innovations, a very in-depth story, and a great multiplayer gametype, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is one that you must have in the collection. Listen to your calling assassino for Roma is waiting for you to answer. Your brothers are here with you, we will not fail.

Overall: 9.1 / 10
Gameplay: 9.2 / 10
Visuals: 9.3 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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