Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – The Da Vinci Disappearance DLC review

By the end of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Ezio Auditore has effectively conquered Rome and eliminated the heads of the Borgia family, but that doesn’t mean his story has to be over. There’s still a lot of content that can potentially be wrung out of the Renaissance setting, and hell, one of Assassin’s Creed’s most interesting characters – the series’ manic version of Leonardo Da Vinci – was relegated to a practically insignificant role in Brotherhood’s story, reduced to selling Ezio a handful of upgrades instead of being an awesome font of creativity and story progression.

Above: Look at that haggard expression. Da Vinci clearly knows he was underutilized

To correct this gross oversight, The Da Vinci Disappearance add-on revolves almost entirely around the artist-engineer, delivering a new eight-mission storyline that picks up shortly after the Borgias are kicked out of Rome (along with a few multiplayer additions to really make it worth the $10 or 800 MS Points).  As the name implies, though, Leonardo doesn’t appear in it too often; aside from showing up at the beginning and the end, he spends most of the new adventure kidnapped by the Hermeticists – a shadowy cult that follows the teachings of Greek mathematician Pythagoras – leaving it to Ezio to track him down.

Doing that means deciphering clues Leonardo left behind in paintings given to Ezio – which, since the destruction of Ezio’s villa, have been scattered all over the place (naturally). During his search, Ezio will run into a few familiar faces, do a lot of sneaking (and a lot of fighting), and enlist the help of Leonardo’s heretofore-unseen apprentice/lover, Salai.

Showing up on the map during normal play as “Recovered Memories,” the new missions shouldn’t take most players more than a couple of hours to finish. They’re still pretty substantial, though, adding a couple of new platform-puzzle locations to the game and interspersing various stealth-based objectives with battles against hordes of brown-robed Hermeticists (who incidentally can be looted for enough cool items to fulfill most of the shop quests, if you haven’t already).

Above: These guys are basically treasure chests with cruddier dress sense

It’s worth noting that fully half the missions feature some kind of stealth segment in which being seen equals instant failure, and that’s lame (although considering that most of the people downloading this will likely be pretty far along in the core game, it has to challenge powerful players somehow.) Assuming you can look past that, though, there are plenty of more enjoyable things to do, like beating up a crowd of thugs hired by one of Ezio’s old enemies, or scanning Leonardo’s paintings (once you’ve collected them all) for clues to his whereabouts.

On the multiplayer front, The Da Vinci Disappearance brings a new map (patterned after Spain’s famous Alhambra palace), four new Templar characters and two new match types, Assassinate and Escort. Assassinate is a little difficult to get used to at first; basically a deathmatch, it tasks players with roaming around, stalking anyone you think might be another player and then – when you’re sure – murdering them. Tagging other characters for assassination takes practice, as the targeting reticule is kind of unreliable, but the randomness of it adds a bigger – and oddly more fun – element of uncertainty.

In Escort, meanwhile, one team of four players has to escort a VIP to a designated safe zone, while the other team tries to hunt them down. Identifying the other team out in the open isn’t too hard, since everyone on a team has to use the same character model, and it’s a little too easy to get separated from your VIP if you’re one of the defenders, but it’s still pretty enjoyable. Just maybe not quite as enjoyable as some of the other modes.

Rounding out the package is a new collection of Achievements/Trophies, only a couple of which directly relate to the add-on itself. The others are weird challenges, like killing a guard with the bag from a lift, throwing weapons at guards or stealing horses by leaping from one to another. Weird or no, though, they’re a fun reason to keep playing – as is everything else in The Da Vinci Disappearance. It’s occasionally frustrating, a little short and a little too heavy on stealth, but fans who think they’ve exhausted Brotherhood’s potential will definitely want to grab this.

Mar 8, 2011

AC:B - The Da Vinci Disappearance Achievements/Trophies guide
Find every Harlequin and get help with the tougher challenges with our maps and videos


Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood flags and feathers guide
Demoralize the Borgia by ripping down every last banner and bird relic in Rome



Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Clusters and 2012 Artifacts guide
Everything you need to unravel Subject 16's mysteries and find antique mementos


  • LANDALES - June 20, 2011 10:10 p.m.

    Please help me. Technically my husband Mike. We have bought the above for the xbox 360. My hubby has went to the temple and stabbed Lucy but we can't get onto the disappearance. This is most annoying to me as I paid for the damn credits. Please tell him how to get onto the disappearance.
  • ThirdEchelon - March 12, 2011 3:26 a.m.

    I have to say after playing the DLC that I would dissagree with all of the "You'll hate". First of all, the whole point of being an Assassin is to blend in and become unnoticeable. Assassin's Creed should have more stealth. And anyway, on the missions you have to do this on there's almost always a clear cut way to do it (obvious beams to jump on or multiple hide crowds. Second, weird achievements are a GOOD thing. They're much better than "collect 50..." or "kill 10..." type of achievements. Last, if you look up the GPS coordinates shown at the end, you'll find some interesting tidbits if you look closely enough that allow for theorizing for the next game.
  • thesystemaddicts - March 10, 2011 1:03 a.m.

    @GamesRadarMikelReparaz Well, I was looking at the paragraph and the You'll Hate as a written approximation of what you liked and didn't. However, I didn't think anything started at 10 and worked its way down. However you come to a score is up to you, but weighing the good and bad comes into it and the review makes note of the odd trophies in the text as well as the hates - so from appearances it looked like something that made an impression enough to figure into the scoring. That said - I'm not knocking the review. I've just never noticed achievements or trophies talked about in any type of review before (i don't read them all - for shame, I know) so I asked. It's a good review of some solid dlc.
  • Bobbety - March 9, 2011 11:53 p.m.

    Just because something is listed on the "You'll Hate" list doesn't mean any score is being docked for it. Sometimes things on those lists are just filler because they have to put three of them down.
  • philipshaw - March 9, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    Great review. I was thinking of trading this game in so I don't think I will get this
  • soranamineforever - March 9, 2011 5:48 p.m.

    Come on, its Da Vinci. Whether or not he did the original justice or not, I really love his character in the Assassin's Creed games, and the fact that this DLC revolves around saving him, how can one possibly resist?
  • AntistasMetroid - March 9, 2011 3:14 p.m.

  • Z-man427 - March 9, 2011 4:50 a.m.

    I did download it and the single player is pretty fun. Honestly not interested in the MP at all. Salai is kind of hard to look at (that hair. barf) but he's a somewhat interesting character. It may be kind of early to call, but I might risk saying that the DLC campaign is better than 80% of AC:B.
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - March 9, 2011 4:29 a.m.

    @thesystemaddicts: It didn't actually factor into the scoring at all, but we always have to come up with three negative things to say at the end of every review - so it's not "WEIRD ACHIEVEMENTS! ONE POINT OFF! BLAARRRR!" It's that if I have to come up with a third complaint about the DLC, it's that, which ordinarily wouldn't get so much as a mention. (Also, for the record, our reviews don't start at 10 and get points knocked off for flaws; they start at 0 and get awarded a score depending on the overall quality of the game. It may be a small distinction, but some people really do seem to think that the "You'll Hates" are an explanation of why the game in question isn't getting a 10, which isn't the case.)
  • thesystemaddicts - March 9, 2011 3:29 a.m.

    Wow...I lost my comment so I'll just say this: @Z-man427 - the MP content is pretty great. Assassination mode is true free-for all and an amazing addition. But the campaign content I'd argue is better than any DLC in the series to date. So yeah... I've gotta ask though: Mikel, are you really knocking the DLC for weird trophies and achievements? Is this something you consider when scoring every other game? I never knew you guys thought something that arbitrary was worth mentioning.
  • Z-man427 - March 9, 2011 3:02 a.m.

    As big of an AC fan as I am, I'm kind of on the fence here. The DLC in ACII was really fun, albeit a bit repetitive with a few broken parts. AC:B was kind of fun but entirely underwhelming and I didn't like the multiplayer. If I could download the just single player and not have to pay for the multiplayer portion of it, I'd be all over it, but I don't want to pay for content that I won't be using. Who am I kidding? It's AC. I'm downloading it.
  • ThePigHostage - March 9, 2011 1:02 a.m.

    I loved AC Brotherhood. Will definitely be buying this.
  • juicenpancakes - March 9, 2011 12:58 a.m.

    Hey Ubisoft, how about instead of Baby Animalz Wii Party Poniez, you do an entire game focused on Leonardo da Vinci? Aside from Ezio, he's easily my favorite character in the Ass Creed series.
  • WrathLord03 - March 9, 2011 12:35 a.m.

    No doubt that I'm buying this for the multiplayer additions and the trophies, but the single-player will be good too. Might be a little too much stealth for my liking, but after going on the multiplayer I'm sure I'll forget about that. Also, here's hoping it fixes that problem that doesn't save your Profile Sets and Persona changes - it's about time.

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