A Look At Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Posted By | On 10th, Sep. 2010

Assassin’s Creed is probably one of the biggest names in the industry, and for every different person, it evokes different feelings. Some call it repetitive, predictive, boring, and “vague.” Others act as if there’s no such thing better than being an Assassin, jumping on rooftops and murdering your targets. One thing is known: there is nothing in between. Either you simply love Assassin’s Creed, or you hate it. I, for one, am so in love with Assassin’s Creed, I can’t miss a single game in the franchise.

When Assassin’s Creed was just out in the market, and the art of assassinating was something new for the world of gaming, I found the concept of the game strange. A game with Prince of Persia platforming and action adventure, with sandbox gameplay, set in medieval Italy? Not to mention the fact that many of the players and critics were calling the game repetitive and flawed. It definitely wasn’t worth my time. But then, I noticed something. The game tried to be different. It failed in many aspects, and it often seemed to stumble upon its flaws, but the overall atmosphere and level of addictiveness that the game was full to the brim of amused me to unimaginable extents, and I immediately fell in love with anything Assassin’s Creed. Before Assassin’s Creed II came out, I tried my hands on Altair’s Chronicles, and the mobile version of AC, and surprisingly, I liked them both a lot.

When Assassin’s Creed II did come out, however, I was blown away- clichéd, yes, I know, but that’s the only way I can describe my feelings for Assassin’s Creed II. The level of finesse and quality that Assassin’s Creed II boasted of, and the leap it had taken in all aspects of the word over its predecessor made me fall in love with it the minute I picked up my controller- for me, and many others, Assassin’s Creed II was a perfect game.

With immense freedom, new mechanics like the ability to swim, row boats, heck, FLY- all of it came together in more ways than one, and ultimately delivered a nigh perfect experience, engraving the name of Ezio and the memories of his adventures in our very being forever.

And we though the game couldn’t be perfected. We were wrong, apparently.

Just have a look at that video. It’s not as if Assassin’s Creed II had any flaws or bugs, and the structure in the game was very open and free-flowing. Compared to this game, though, even Assassin’s Creed II looks restricted. The free flowing combat, the all new combos, thrilling horseback swordfights, spectacular chase missions, cool explosions and exciting stealth kills- at the risk of sounding like a guy from an advertising campaign, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood will blow us all away with it’s immense depth and free-flowing gameplay.

Combat, horseback assassinations and other new mechanics

What was the biggest complaint with Assassin’s Creed? The combat. While counter-attacks looked exciting and offered for movie-like, cinematic action, they made the game repetitive. Counter-attacks being the most useful, all we did was wait till the enemy attacked, which made the combat feel sluggish and slow-paced. While Assassin’s Creed II added some of its own mechanics into the mix to make combat more interesting, it certainly didn’t fix the problem wholly.

Things certainly got more interesting with counter-kills, but it made for a slow-paced, repetitive combat system.

With Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, that problem looks to have been fixed, completely and wholly. Not only have Ubi Montreal added a slew of new combos and modern day weapons, like a hidden pistol and such, they have also enhanced the game’s AI, which means the enemies will keep us on our toes, and their moves will be highly unpredictable, making the players’ dependence on counter-attacks more or less useless. A combination move of the throwing axe, the sword, the hidden dagger, the pistol and your own melee attacks might do the trick though.

The combat, this time around, is not just on foot. Horse-to-horse combat is what will make Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s combat so good. Jumping from your horse onto your foe’s stead, stabbing him, throwing him to the ground and riding away as an entire contingent of guards runs after you not only sounds exciting, it will be exciting when played as well. And knowing Ubi Montreal, and all that they have achieved with their past games, this will all be done very smoothly, without any hitches. Oh, and did I mention that horses can also be used inside city this time around, since Rome is SO FREAKING BIG?!

Hah! Tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk

But what actually adds depth to Brotherhood is its Role Playing mechanics- yes, you heard me right. Assassin’s Creed II had a lot of RPG mechanics, like buying new equipment, raising the skills of you character in different aspects and stuff like that. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood builds on that. You can save certain citizens from the cruel, tyrant guards of the city, and, Ezio being a Master Assassin now, can make those specific citizens join your order of assassins, or rather, your “Brotherhood.” Later, you can send these assassins on missions, gain skill points level them up, customize their looks, and when in need, you can call upon your idle followers for help.

These specific sequences are what are giving me the hots for Brotherhood. Surrounded by twenty guards who’re bent upon killing you? A press of your button, and your followers jump out of thin air, killing most of your foes, and giving you room to either run, or take part in the skirmish yourself.

Other than recruiting new members to your brotherhood and levelling them up, there’s a lot more to do in Brotherhood. Being set in Rome, we have been given to wondrous real-time locations, such as the Colosseum, Vatican City and the like, all rendered in stunning visuals, with immense detail and shocking accuracy. So, you can just spend hours and hours, wondering at the glorious historical monuments rendered beautifully before your very own eyes, exploring the depths of buldings you would not be allowed to enter in the real world, practically re-living the past through the eyes of an Assassin, actually making you feel as if you’re re-living your ancestors’ memories through the Animus. Atmosphere is what has been the highlight in Assassin’s Creed games, and it is here where Brotherhood will probably strike gold- the city looks real, authentic, with great architectural creativity, and the typical aspects you would expect from a middle-age city- rivers, lakes, gardens, slums, rich districts, beautiful, epic environments.

And to think that Rome in Brotherhood will be thrice as big as Florence in Assassin’s Creed II simply blows me away- it isn’t as if there was lack of space in Florence, and the freedom it offered was spectacular. With five different districs, Rome will be heaven for all Assassin’s Creed lovers. Especially if you like leaps of faith.


Stop pointing that at me

One thing is clear- this game is epic. It has marvellous set-pieces, grandiose environments, and is set in Rome brought down to the ground by corrupt tyrants of the Templar Order. And it is our duty as the Master Assassin to free Rome and all its districts from these wretched rules.  In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, we actually have to rebuild Rome, and prevent it from falling into ruin, as the corrupted Templar rulers spend all their money on the development of the Vatican City, and ignore the rest of the districts.

For that, we have to destroy all the outposts of the city, each and every one guarded by hundreds of guards, and housing one single ruler, so that that specific portion of the city comes out of the influence of the Templar rule. Each assassination in these towers is followed by a cutscene of an explosion taking place in them, as Ezio jumps off the highest point of the skyscraper.

Update: This video is no longer available.
Thanks, Gamespot, for providing us this developer diary entry #2!

This will encourage shopkeepers to open stores, and commercialism will boom in the freed districts. Players themselves can invest in the city. Freeing these sections of the city unlocks rewards and more missions for the players to complete. It all will definitely add a lot of repeat value, variety and longevity to the game, increasing the campaign by at least 5 more hours. And trust me, knowing Assassin’s Creed games, that won’t be the end of it.

A multiplayer component has also been added to the mic this time around, adding even more to the depth, replayability and complexity of this game. Apart from the conventional co-op mode, we will also have a new mode called the “Wanted” mode. In this mode, eight players will be pit into a map (Rome and Castle Gandolfo have been confirmed till now), and each of them will have to assassinate one of the other. We have to move through the city to find and kill our target, making sure our “predator” doesn’t see us. If he does, our target will be alerted to our presence, triggering a chase sequence. Different killings will grant us points.

The Plot…

(May Contain Spoilers)

The game will begin shortly after the events of Assassin’s Creed II. It begins in the village of Monteriggioni, which gets assaulted by Borgia’s forces, which are led by Rodrigo’s son, Cesare Borgia. During the battle that ensues, Ezio’s uncle, Mario is killed, Cesare escapes with the Piece of Eden. And now, four years later, when Ezio is a Master Assassin, his quest if for revenge, and nothing else.

Not much has been revealed of the story yet, but we know for a fact that Assassin’s Creed games have been known to have great stories, so I guess we can expect the same from Brotherhood.

I have not even begun scratching the surface on what all can be done in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and the amount of perfection, polish, finesse and freedom that it offers in every single aspect of the game. Just know this much: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood will be the biggest, grandest, the best game in the series so far, and more likely than not, it might never be replicated.

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