Review by WhatTheDeuce92

"A return to the adventures of everybody's favorite Italian assassin!"

Brotherhood is the third major installment in the Asssassin's Creed series. If you're considering buying this game, the first thing I have to say is if you haven't played the first two games, play those first. Or, at the very least, the second game. Brotherhood is a direct sequel to Assassin's Creed II, and so if you haven't played that, a lot of the game might be lost on you.

That being said, Brotherhood picks up right where the previous game left off. For those that aren't familiar (and once again, if you aren't, you should look up the previous games before reading more), in the Assassin's Creed games, you usually play as two main protagonists. The first, Desmond, is a present day character. Desmond is being put into a machine known as the Animus to locate an ancient item from the past, the Apple of Eden. To do this, the Animus allows Desmond to relive the memories of his assassin ancestors, which brings you to the real main protagonists of these games. Brotherhood is a continuation of the story of the second game's assassin, Ezio, as he continues his journey; this time, in Rome. Brotherhood's story isn't amazing mainly because at times it's not that interesting, but it serves its purpose to the series and in the end, was decent.

I'll say this right now. While I did like the first Assassin's Creed, I didn't think it was anything amazing. Then, Assassin's Creed II made so many great changes and in all of its freshness, was probably one of the best games I've played this generation. Brotherhood doesn't reinvent the series once again like its predecessor did; this time, it's pretty much more of the same.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. Brotherhood just tries to take what made Assassin's Creed II did and improve. Sometimes it succeeds at that, other times not as much. In the end, there are certain things Brotherhood does better than its predecessor, and other things it doesn't. For the most part, it's still the same nonlinear sandbox style gameplay, with lots of buildings and structures for Ezio to show off his parkour-style moves.

While there are quite a few new things added to Brotherhood, there are three things I consider the biggest. The first is a great change to the combat. This is the addition of execution-style kills, where the player can immediately kill another enemy during combat after killing the first one, and from there chain together kills. It works really well.

Living up to its title, the second main addition is the feature to manage your own brotherhood of assassins. After burning down a Borgia tower (another new addition), Ezio will encounter citizens being bullied by the guards, and by saving them, Ezio can recruit them to his cause. From there, you can train your assassins by sending them out on missions, which will eventually give them enough XP to level up to the rank of Assassin. In addition, Ezio can call on his recruits during a fight to help him fight off enemies or assassinate a target. It's a great addition to the series, and I had a lot of fun with it.

The third biggest addition is multiplayer for the first time in Assassin's Creed. While there's no offline multiplayer, you can go head to head with people online. There's a few different modes, but the most common I ran across was Wanted, which is where you're given another player as a target to assassinate, all while a different player has been given the assignment to assassinate you. So, you're both chasing someone and trying to escape from someone else. It's fun, but it's not something I personally invested too much time into. I know a lot of other people enjoyed it more than I did.

Those were the biggest changes/additions in my opinion. However, like I said, there were a lot of other things added as well, such as the Borgia towers, a virtual training program to do some VR missions, and some shop quests. Also, a lot of the things from Assassin's Creed II return, such as flags, feathers (although not nearly as many), treasure chests, and shrines.

As if it's not obvious, there's a lot to do in Brotherhood. While the main story will probably only take you about 10-15 hours, you're guaranteed many hours of play time if you do everything the game has to offer. I did all of it, and it took me around 45 hours to 100% complete it. Also, if you're into the online multiplayer, that's guaranteed to add on even more hours. This certainly isn't just an expansion; there's a lot to do in Brotherhood.

As far as the other aspects of the game go, there aren't many complaints. The graphics are even better than they were in Assassin's Creed II. Everything looks great and there's some real diversity to the different spots in Rome. There were certain times during the game when my game lagged (and also once or twice that it froze completely), but it wasn't too often and maybe it was just me.

The music is decent, however it does get repetitive. There are only certain times where I felt it really stood out. But, that's nitpicking. Everything else in the sound department - sound effects, voice acting, etc. - I have no complaints with. It was done well.

As I've said, there are certain things Brotherhood certainly does better than its predecessors. However, I still liked Assassin's Creed II. The second game blew me away when I first played it, because it was such an improvement over the first game. Brotherhood, on the other hand, didn't have the same "wow!" factor. It largely felt like a game I've played before, and that's because I pretty much did. However, just because Brotherhood didn't blow me away, that doesn't mean it's not still a fantastic game. It does more than enough things right to keep the series fresh, and there's so much to do in this game that it's really easy to get sucked in, and it's well worth a purchase.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/25/12

Game Release: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (US, 11/16/10)

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