Assassin’s Creed – the franchise that just won’t quit. It seems there is always a new Assassin’s Creed coming out. While this may excite some, others may argue that it is, at this point, just milking the dollar and ruining the series. But, for now, we will focus on AC: Brotherhood. As a previous avid fan of Assassin’s Creed, this was a game I played all the way through; and then some. To me, this game is the one that started the “modern assassin” trends due to its “modern” assassination additions (what a mouthful of A).
Blue Ball Score: 21 out of 25 balls
Really? Are you asking me to review the gameplay of this game? What a broad request. Oh well, boss man is making me so here goes nothing. The gameplay itself made leaps and bounds in Brotherhood. The previous 2 Assassin Creeds were fairly simplistic and basic in regards to controls and abilities. Which, don’t get me wrong, as an older fella I enjoy simple (especially in the modern day era where wall-running is a desired ability). But, Brotherhood added some extremely needed abilities to help keep the combat fresh and new. We all remember taking on 50+ guards and just doing counter-attacks since that was invincible and you could kill an entire army (we all did it, nothing to be ashamed of). So, Brotherhood made some changes where you could not rely on only counter-attacks.
A few of the updates included: encouraging striking and being offensive, ability to do combo attacks, ability to duel wield weapons, throwing knives, and my favorite, the hidden gun. To that point, Brotherhood added the long range aspects of combat. The hidden gun, crossbow, spears, etc. This caught all of us off-guard at first. Admittedly, I was upset initially because I could no longer do counter attacks and demolish an army. I had to actually attack intelligently and use strategy. Imagine that! But, after the first few missions, we learned to quickly modify our strategies, and I think it is safe to say we all love the short and long range mix-up. It helps to keep the game fresh, exciting, and challenging. Not to mention that they added a little bit of customizations as well.
Overall, the combat was improved drastically. The overall map was encapsulating. You got to see Rome and all the beauty that it holds. I must say, I felt like a gladiator in the Coliseum. In regards to player movement itself, there wasn’t a whole lot added. There were some small additions here and there, but nothing to significantly note. Which, there was plenty here already. Freerunning, wall jumping, etc. The foundations of player movement were structurally sound and did not need to be significantly modified.
So, all that being said, Brotherhood added some extremely useful and needed aspects to the game. It helped recapture our attention and set the stage for the games to come (which, in retrospect, may or may not have been a good thing). The game improved significantly on the areas that needed to be improved, and did not drastically change areas of the game that did not need to be changed. I give the gameplay 5/5 balls.
As we all now know, there are two main story lines going on simultaneously. The animus (Ezio) and outside the animus (Desmond). I was always fascinated more with Desmond’s story than anything. Yes, the Animus story line is important, I get that, but I was always more interested in Desmond’s story. In the previous games, there was a heavy emphasis on the Animus story lines. But, in Brotherhood, they started to slowly shift and give you more of Desmond’s story. As you may guess, this made me happier than a midget at a mini-skirt convention.
In general, the entire Assassin’s Creed followers were expecting Brotherhood to be it. The big finale. It was all leading up to that damn Golden Apple that could save humanity. And, as we know, that was wrong. But, the campaign on this game was quite simple. Fight the Templars, reduce their power/control over Rome, and destroy Cesare. Although simple at first sight, Brotherhood does not fail in adding twists and turns along the way to keep you constantly guessing.
And then we arrive at the side missions. The stupid feathers, the puzzle solving to get the Hulk armor (AKA Followers of Romulus to get Brutus’ armor which was awesome may I add), and the most recent addition of recruiting apprentices. Honestly, the Followers of Romulus missions and recruiting/upgrading your apprentices was enough to keep the game constantly interesting for me. And, Brotherhood incorporated the apprentices in the normal campaign as well (being able to call them in for assistance). There were several dozen other side missions and contracts, but I do not have enough space to discuss them all.
In conclusion, the campaign was an immersive experience to say the least. Compared to all the open world games now, it may not appear significant. But, in those days, playing this game was more addicting than crack cocaine. I know I am not the only one that enjoyed all the different things you could do. Yet, the game was not overwhelming like many open-world games are today. It was the perfect blend between a diverse open world and a simple one-sided game. 5/5 balls.
Nope. I was wrong – as wrong as a necrophiliac in a graveyard alone with a shovel. The multiplayer was, um what the word I am looking for … surprising. It was unique. But a good unique. It wasn’t complex by any means. But, to put it simply, it took the underlying principles of Assassin’s Creed and implemented them in the most basic of ways. Which is the beauty of it.
A common theme you may have noticed in this review is simplicity (and all of my older reviews). Ubisoft did not get too crazy with this game and they wanted to stick to the basics that this game was built upon – assassination, strategy, and stealth. The multiplayer did just that.
In essence, you could choose from a list of different characters. Then, you were put on a map that contained every character and they all looked the same. You were then assigned a target “that looked like this.” It was your task to find this player amidst the crowd and assassinate him. Simple enough, right? Once again, I am wrong (just ask my girlfriend). The game gave you a “how close is he and in what direction” meter, and it would flash when he was super close to you, but ultimately, it was up to you to assassinate the proper person.
Now, what made this multiplayer experience extremely addicting, is the suspense. You could take any approach you wanted (act like another person among the crowd), blend in, noticeably run across rooftops like a madman, or simply hide, but you could only be successful if you were strategic. If you were always on rooftops you would constantly get picked off. Personally, I found success doing a mixture. And, to top things off, the more kills you got without getting killed yourself, the game rewarded you with perks and abilities that helped you do even better.
So, in conclusion, the multiplayer experience was phenomenal. There were a few different playlists, but nothing like today’s modern games. The multiplayer utilized the fundamental principles of the game and added some extreme elements of suspense and strategy to make the multiplayer uniquely addicting. My only complaint is I would like a little more customizations and a little more map diversity. 4/5 balls.
Let’s start off with the easy part – graphics. The graphics of this game were pretty dad-gum good. As always, keep in mind the time this was released. It will not compare to modern-day graphics, but in the time period it was released, the graphics were solid.
Assassin’s Creed has always thrived on its campaign (up until this game). So, graphics has always been important to the franchise. When you only have a campaign, your graphics have to be extremely good or else your game will be dramatically impacted. Brotherhood was no exception. Given its setting, Rome, the graphics had to be god. Rome is a popular tourist destination and it is so for a good reason. It is absolutely beautiful – including The Pantheon, The Colosseum, Vatican, Old Architecture (in general), and many more. OK, OK, I am done advertising Rome. Point being, Brotherhood had to accurately portray and showcase this beauty. And, I believe it did so to the best of its ability. Sure, there could have been some polishing up and refining, but all-in-all the graphics were solid.
Sound. What can I really say here? Sure, you could hear swords hitting each other. Clink! (Sorry for the absolutely terrible impression of swords clashing one another.) On a serious note, I do wish there was more realism in the sound. I suppose when the swords slide off one another I could have used the “steel-on-steel sliding” noise (sounds like I am asking for steel porn, doesn’t it?). Also, when you are in crowds or markets, I could have used a little more noise. You still notice that there is more noise than usual, but it wasn’t realistic to me. So, in my opinion, I could have used a little more refining in the sound area. But, hey, what do I know about sounds? I know just as much as a deaf person. 3/5 balls.
So, the question has been proposed to me before, “I do not really enjoy the open world style of game, but I hear Assassin’s Creed is so fun. Would I like it? Is it worth a try?” Yes … yes you will. This game is not as open world as you may initially think. Compared to true open-world games such as SkyRim, Dragon Age: Inquisition, or later Assassin Creed games, Brotherhood is simple. Brotherhood isn’t nearly as open world as those games. The best way I can describe it, is a confined open world game with a ton of missions/side missions/activities to do. If that contradictory statement makes sense…
As I have stated in an earlier section, Brotherhood is the perfect blend between open world and simple one-direction games. I would recommend that everyone plays this game. And, honestly, you don’t even need to play the first two games to grasp what is happening or understand what is going on. It helps to have played the previous games, but isn’t a hard must. 4/5 balls.
In conclusion, I give this a 21/25 balls. Personally, it is my favorite Assassin’s Creed game and it, arguably, set the bar and raised this series to a new level. It was the start of the modern-day Assassin’s Creed games, and helped expand the solid foundations of the game. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood provided an immersive experience in the beautiful city of Rome and successfully added a unique multiplayer experience that left its gamers in constant suspense and awe.