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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is no 2.5

Similarly, there are options in defence. Each player will have special abilities (yes, perks) to deploy during a chase – like the ability to temporarily morph into a different character, send a decoy in the opposite direction, or deploy a smoke bomb. It’s obvious, even from the early build, that the balance between attack and defence is spot on – you get points for both kills and escapes. It gives us hope that the multiplayer will deliver long after aspiring Ezios have given up on the main story. Speaking of which…

On the surface Brotherhood’s solo campaign seems to be a similar experience to Assassin’s Creed II. You still play as Ezio, you’re still in renaissance Italy (albeit Rome this time) and you’re still the deadliest thing in Europe since the Black Death. It’s the age-old argument that, if the basic gameplay and themes work (and people want more of them) there’s no need to make needless changes.

However, this isn’t to say Brotherhood lacks innovation or variety. The core mechanics (with the exception of the weapon combat, which is being overhauled) may stay similar but it will be considerably fleshed out, its scope expanded. In terms of single-player, the big innovation is the ‘brotherhood’ part of the title. Following a lifetime of fighting the Templars, lead by rival family the Borgias, Ezio turns his attention to the heart of European power: Rome.

It’s too vast a city to tackle on his own, so our hero sets up an Assassin’s Guild with the aim of recruiting and training an army of followers. You’ll go through this process at the beginning of the game, and will be able to micromanage both your Guild HQ and your followers, overseeing their training and sending them off on contract-killing missions throughout Europe.

In fact, the ownership element of the game is vastly expanded. Now you can buy swaths of Rome, gentrifying districts as you pump money into them through banking, shops and other guilds. We’re assuming certain properties will grant mid-mission perks (safehouses and the like) but this is still unconfirmed. The more property you own, the bigger your income – just like the Monteriggioni villa in AC II – but in addition to that, your Assassin’s Guild provides extra benefits that help you out on the streets. On a basic level, it's squad commands.

As Ezio, you have an entourage of deadly followers hidden from sight, just waiting to do your bidding. Give a signal, and a chosen man will leap from cover to off the foe of your choice. Alternatively, you can order your men to silently take down bodyguards, leaving your target wide open for attack. Understandably, Ubisoft is keeping story details under wraps. Machiavelli and Leonardo (plus his flying machine) return, Secret Tombs are back – there’s one under the Coliseum – and countryside horse sections are gone, replaced by the ability to bring your nag into the city and involve it in your free-running and assassinations.

In keeping with the ethos that made AC II such a great sequel, the devs are again listening to fans, removing stuff they don’t like and tweaking moments of sloppiness. It’s a formula that worked last time, and from this early snapshot of Brotherhood, it seems to be working again. Familiar? Yes. Any less exciting? Hell no.


An interview with AC Brotherhood’s Producer Vincent Pontbriand and Lead Designer Patrick Plourde.

Are we just playing as Ezio, or are we playing as Desmond playing as Ezio in Brotherhood?

Vincent Pontbriand: We are continuing the story of Lucy and Desmond and other present-day assassins. That’s important for the franchise. It’s actually our core DNA and it’s our overarching storyline, so we are pushing the story ahead and you learn more about the relationship between these characters and their ultimate goal, which is defeating the present-day Templars. The narrative will have a few twists.

Would you describe it as Assassin’s Creed III?

VP: We could have put that number on the game. It has the scope. To develop our brand we like to keep our numbers for new settings, new characters. So eventually, when it’s on the moon, you’ll have your ‘3’, no problem [Laughs]. We like to say it’s like a new season on a TV show. We establish characters, setting etc. so we can have that behind us and create a new storyline. It’s not a new setting but it’s a new playground, a new city. We’ve built an entire city from the 16th century to have fun in.

Are you concerned people might get Renaissance Italy fatigue?

VP: We considered all that, but we did our market research and people want more, and more than a DLC pack. People want to know what happens next. Rome is a little less Renaissance than Florence. Florence hasn’t changed much in 500 years. Rome at the time was just beginning to enter its period of Renaissance. We’re taking that fact and playing with history a bit. But it’s still a rich period. Between 1500 and 1527 Rome was paradoxically both entering its Renaissance but was also in the grip of the decadent Borgia family. Then the French army invaded…

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48 comments

  • Yetiman969 - March 10, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    Multiplayer looks so cool, cant wait till this game comes out on PC. And for the co-op problem, what about one of Lucy's ancestors, since (according to the multiplayer) you can sync Animii together, so lucy plays as an extra helping hand or something
  • IcarusLeonardo - June 17, 2010 5:32 a.m.

    Alout of promising features cant wait!
  • FreekinIdiot - June 15, 2010 3:27 p.m.

    Oh and GR, I know it's hard but try to sort your spam out.
  • FreekinIdiot - June 15, 2010 3:25 p.m.

    THANK YOU! I'm glad you said it. The preview's coming out of E3 look amazing!
  • CombatWombat101 - June 15, 2010 1:44 a.m.

    Oh, and as for why DRM is understandable: wanting people to pay for stuff that you make ftw? Maybe this is just me, and maybe it's only because I'm not a whiny child, but I have no problem needing to be connected to the internet to play a game. I have an internet connection. Clearly you do too. If the internet goes down then OH NOES! Looks like you have to play a different game until it comes back on! Or, you know, read a book or something. Or play on a console, if you own one. Or go hang out with friends. Or go see a movie. Or rent a movie. Or drink yourself into a stupor. Or cry yourself to sleep because you can't play this game right now. Man, having all these options must suck.
  • CombatWombat101 - June 15, 2010 1:34 a.m.

    Well, apparently I offended someone who was already fairly butthurt, so I'll keep this simple: (this is @ JohnnyMaverik, in case anyone was wondering...) 1) I don't know where I made it seem like I don't know what I was talking about, as I merely said DRM sucks (which pretty much everyone agrees with), and DRM's existence is understandable (which pretty much anyone with half a brain and the ability to do some basic research agrees with). 2) In your angry response to me, you didn't actually respond to any of my points, which leads me to believe that you can't, either due to an inability to refute the latter statement, or due to the crippling pain you feel when you think of what DRM has done to you... 3) You say "the people that would have bought the games that came with it have not due to the DRM," as though nobody has bought it because of the evil DRM. However, the fact that PC games with DRM continue to be released means that clearly they feel like they're making enough money to warrant it. Furthermore, studies have shown that a majority of people who pirate games would not have bought the game in the first place, meaning Ubisoft don't actually lose money in that case. Sure, some people won't buy the game because of DRM and assorted ass-hattery, but those people are generally the whiny ones that Ubisoft don't want to associate with anyway. 4) Your statement that "The DRM has been hacked" does not actually back up your boo-hooing. I feel like, since people have the option of hacking the DRM and making it less intrusive, some of those that would have steered clear because of it may now actually purchase the game. 5) Before you mistakenly accuse someone of not knowing what they're talking about, you may want to do a little research of your own. Oh, and proper spelling and sentence structure, as well as not going off on an angry rampage will help you appear less like a child. Well, this turned out a lot less simple than I initially wanted, but there you have it. Still excited as all hell about this game, by the way.
  • gatornation1254 - June 14, 2010 8:18 p.m.

    All I know is Ubisoft actually listens to their customers complaints and changes what the fans don't like about the game so this will be a good one I'd say.
  • jtrnn - June 14, 2010 2:48 a.m.

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  • Spybreak8 - June 14, 2010 1:57 a.m.

    I love this idea and hopefully this is what they're doing for Mass Effect. No multiplayer in ME3, just do something like this.
  • itkonlyyou118 - June 13, 2010 3:29 p.m.

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  • nadrewod999 - June 13, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    I KNEW THE SPAMBOTS WERE ABOUT TO ATTACK IN FULL FORCE! GR, please delete the accounts of anyone whose only comments praise some online/offline store with a list of what said store sells.
  • nadrewod999 - June 13, 2010 2:04 p.m.

    When I said Brotherhood was AC 2.5, I just meant that it did not continue the AC storyline, so I wanted to make sure no fanboys could say the story was completely forgotten in this next game. I already knew Brotherhood was going to be awesome: restore Rome with your money, fight Assassins and Templars in online multiplayer, PLAY AS EZIO AGAIN! XD
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  • oz997 - June 13, 2010 11:15 a.m.

    All of a sudden I'm in the mood for some AC2
  • GamerBro196 - June 13, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    i have a idea why dont desmond and lucy go in the animus at the same time that will solve the co-op problem and also you could make any of the other assassin's playble so thats another co-op idea also you could make it a 4 player co-op and an offline multiplayer mode so my besfriend(s) can vs me like 3 on 1 2 on 2 1 2 ect and a team attack mode vs waves of templers like u did with 1 player in tfs
  • GamerBro196 - June 13, 2010 9:36 a.m.

    I CANT WAIT i cant even wait to see gameplay of it
  • Jacko415 - June 13, 2010 8:30 a.m.

    Gamesradar you need to do something about the spike in amount of spammers recently
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