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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood – updated impressions

Do you remember that bit in Assassin’s Creed II where Desmond and Lucy are scurrying through a Templars’ lab, surrounded by Animuses? That’s where the multiplayer element in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood kicks off - eight players stuck in their ancestors’ lives, attempting to knife each other and run off giggling.

This is the big thing Ubisoft is doing with Brotherhood, but you’ll have to wait for it, as discussion must fall to the majority interest which is single-player. The danger with Brotherhood’s offline mode (or accurately, constant online mode in the case of the PC version, because of Ubisoft’s DRM) is that it’ll feel like playing the second game again. Ubisoft is adamant this is a proper third game, even though it doesn’t have a “3” in the title. But it could be very similar, despite moving from Venice to Rome, since it’s still about Ezio running around a city in Renaissance Italy.

As this goes against Ubisoft’s claim that Brotherhood is a full-on new game, there are counter-arguments ready. While it might just be another Italian city, Rome is massive in comparison to Venice, with five distinct districts that form the game’s entire setting.

When you first set foot in the city, you’ll notice how dilapidated it is and you might note the lack of an upgradeable mansion like you had in AC II. This is because you can spend money on upgrading the city itself rather than a personal pad. It’s a curious idea, and will be linked with the usual unlocks and so on, and is one idea we’ll have to see in practice before we side with the yay or naysayers.

There won’t be any trips into the leafy countryside either, but you’ll be able, for the first time, to travel the city on your horse. And you’ll be appalled to know that Ubisoft is proudly hailing the pimping possibilities for your horse. No, Italian women aren’t desperately lonely - they mean you can kit your equine pal out in a variety of bridles, saddles and sunglasses.

Story-wise, Ezio’s now in his ’40s yet still nimble, sprightly and capable of slashing your whole family to death before you’ve even blinked. And he’s not the only AC II star coming back, either. Leonardo da Vinci will return with his fun gadgets o’ death and we’re promised more of Machiavelli, who flitted in and out of number two. Curiously, another character who’ll make an appearance is one that was dead at the end of the second game, the Pope.

Pope Alexander VI might have been brutally killed, but that isn’t stopping him from living and being a menace to all things Ezio in Brotherhood. He’s brought in reinforcements this time, with his son Cesare and his famously murderous daughter, Lucrezia getting involved. More famous characters are sure to be introduced as Ubisoft’s hype machine begins to rumble on in the coming months. As he was hard-pushed to deal with Rodrigo in the second game, this time Ezio’s going to need backup: hence the ‘Brotherhood’ part of the game’s title. As a grumpy middle-aged man, Ezio has decided to impart his killing wisdom to the various promising youngsters he finds as the game progresses.

Once you’ve collected them, they can be assigned different tasks using a curious chessboard-esque interface. Eventually they can even be called upon when you’re out roaming. See a rather nasty guard holding a halberd/sword/rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle? Don’t dirty your own blade with his vile common blood - just give a signal and suddenly one of the Ezio Juniors will come slinking from the crowd and empty the contents of the guards’ stomach onto the ground.

19 comments

  • theguyinthecloset - August 12, 2010 7:13 a.m.

    WHAT?? Have you even played the final scene? who told you he was dead? Ezio doesn't kill him, he just beats him to a pulp! the writers of the scenario can't kill the pope years before it happened in real life because they want to make the story work with what we know of that time.
  • Hobogonigal - August 10, 2010 9:10 a.m.

    Very excited for this game and will enjoy it even if the setting is almost the same. By the way, the pope didn't die in AC2. He just got beaten up and Ezio said that he wasn't worth killing.
  • Limbo - August 10, 2010 3:54 a.m.

    The multiplayer has me interested, although the game will need very creative game modes to keep it interesting and assassin....ish. Also, there can't be ANY glitches or bugs or something that makes players easy to identify, like the lack of a shadow or the way their body moves.
  • Clovin64 - August 9, 2010 2:09 a.m.

    I have to ask, does Brotherhood going to be worth my time considering that I only play single player modes in games? (I'm a Lone Wolf gamer! a.k.a no friends or online PS3) The developers are promising this can be considered a completley new game rather than a humble expansion of AC2. You can only play as Ezio in single player, isnt that right? Shame. I wanted to play as a lady assassin. I guess theres always AC3...
  • KainStrider - August 8, 2010 7:32 a.m.

    Borgia didn't die. Ezio just kicked his ass and left him there.
  • azimech49 - August 8, 2010 12:38 a.m.

    it looks good :) i just hope that it does not have glitches like in the second picture: the girl on the cables has no shadow! not what i would expect, shadows can make you or kill you in a game like this.
  • GangsterJew92 - August 7, 2010 8 p.m.

    Ezio doesn't kill the Pope, he just beats him within an inch of his life and then enters the vault I'm excited to see what modes they come out with besides Hunted
  • legory - August 7, 2010 9:01 a.m.

    See a rather nasty guard holding a halberd/sword/rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle? Good job, Mr. Brown. You made me laugh.
  • pepheb - August 6, 2010 11:33 p.m.

    Again, great work from ubisoft montreal! (Montreal=one of the best cities in which games are made)
  • Defguru7777 - August 6, 2010 11:30 p.m.

    Borgia never died at the end of Assassin's Creed II. Ezio planned to kill him, but as he hesitated, Borgia broke free and they fought. Borgia got an upper hand on Ezio and stole his Piece of Eden. Ezio chased him and fought him again, defeating him. However, Ezio spared the Spaniard because killing him wouldn't bring his family back. This probably sounds like a pansy type of thing to say, but I hope there are ways to beat guards without killing them. In ACII I usually just disarmed and beat up guards until they got knocked out. But it got boring after a while. I'm not asking to make the game completely non-violent, I'd just like more varied options to knock guards out instead of killing them for doing their jobs.
  • Teazey - August 6, 2010 9:40 p.m.

    The single player sounds fun.
  • austin128 - August 6, 2010 9:22 p.m.

    The Pope never died!!! Play the freakin' game before you write an article!
  • Typhoon4545 - August 6, 2010 9:05 p.m.

    Sounds like the Ship, to me.
  • reeperskull - August 6, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    i tought the online would be lame at first but the whole hide and seek concept sounds epic this is now my second most anticipated game this year. after gt5 of course.
  • IsaacFenix - August 6, 2010 8:36 p.m.

    I know this will seem very horrible, but I hope I get to kill the Pope in Brotherhood. Borgia has it coming, and Pope Alexander VI died from a horrible case of food poisoning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Alexander_VI#Death). It may be Ezio's not as forgiving as he appeared at the end of ACII, or I may just be daydreaming.
  • Dabenguin - August 6, 2010 7:58 p.m.

    I cant wait to run over people people with my horse again!
  • theemporer - August 6, 2010 7:48 p.m.

    What are you young people doing sitting around, get off my lawn and go kill things!
  • BurningSushi460 - August 6, 2010 7:13 p.m.

    The Pope lives. He just gets beat up West-Side style and left raging in the corner when Ezio is finished.
  • skynetiscoming - August 6, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    I don't remember the Spaniard dying. Didn't Ezio just fist fight him to get his staff and leave him there?

Showing 1-19 of 19 comments

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