Community Review: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Community Review: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

Wow. What initially felt like a spin-off, a needless money grabbing entry into what is fast becoming one of my favourite franchises, has slowly evolved into one of my favourite games of the year. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has, for me, absolutely obliterated all expectations and provided one of the most intriguing single player experiences of 2010.

But you guys have had the game over the weekend – what do you think so far?

More than any other game in the series, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood feels seamless. Almost as if all the mechanics, narrarive, missions – everything – contribute to one single purpose and one goal. Taking down the Borgia Towers, for example, allows you to upgrade that area of the city, upgrading the city allows you travel faster, unlock new areas, etc. Everything seems part of one specific whole, and that’s rewarding. There’s a real feeling that you, as the player, are having a proper impact on the game world.

There’s just so many distractions, in fact Brotherhood is almost on the level of Red Dead Redemption in that regard. Roma feels more like a living breathing city than any other in the series. Just clicking onto the map can be a bit overwhelming – it’s constantly drowning in icons, new missions, sub-missions, Borgia Towers, viewpoints, etc. But it never feels overwhelming, more like a well paced, relaxing experience that continually provides you with something interesting to do and, occassionaly, something utterly mindblowing.

If I had one criticism of the single player campaign it’s that the story doesn’t really feel as driven or as interesting as the ACII. This may be the only area of the game that feels spin off-esque.

But what do you think? Is Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood game of the year material? Does it feel like a spin-off? Let us know in the comments below.


  • I just finished the storyline. AC Brotherhood feels like a full-on game instead of 2.5.

    I expected perfection from this game, and it delivered quite well. However, it was a bit buggy in one mission *SPOILER ALERT*: at the Colosseum when I had to kill Cesare’s guards, 2 guards got scared and ran into the memory not available part and I had to get desynchronised in order to finish it.

    The multiplayer is fun and a very nice addition. Hope to see an expansion in multiplayer in AC3!

  • I am probably about a third of the way through the game and enjoying it.

    It seems like they have tried to cut down on the dull parts of the game, making things like travelling and upgrading the city much more enjoyable.

    It feels like more of a sequel to AC2 than an expansion. Don’t think it is game of the year material but definitely worth a play!

  • this game reminded me of a blizzard expansion pack. When they used to make an entirely new game using the mechanics of the previous game (Like Frozen Throne for Warcraft 3)

    Finished it last night and loved it, now I’m gunna go back and do the side missions I missed.

  • I really enjoyed upgrading my villa in ACII… is that as much fun in Rome?

    Also, that was a good way to earn money in the game… has that been nerfed?

    • It is back. Rather than talking to one guy in your villa now you have to find the building on the map and upgrade it which makes it more fun from an exploration point of view. It’s early days but in a space of a couple hour I substantially increased the amount of money I was getting every 20mins so its seems to be a case of the money snowballing much like ACII.

      Also the game is awesome. I hate myself for spending so much time on facebook just to get brotherhood unlocks though!

    • Earning money isn’t Fable-easy, but I never found myself running short when I really needed it – it starts to build up fast.

  • Love it. You’re right Mark, when you say the amount of content is nearly overwhelming. I spent most of yesterday (around 8 hours) finishing off side missions and leveling up my little assassin troop, and I’m barely 40% through yet.
    I am incredibly impressed by this offering from ubisoft, I genuinely thought that after ACII they were just trying to cash in, but this really is a worthy sequel.

  • Loved it. Although you could argue the story line WAS shorter than AC2, i still think it’s enough to call itself a full-fledged game with all the side missions and what not to flesh it out.

  • I bought the ‘codex’ edition and the C.E. hard cover guide and stupidly said to the missus that the kids can wrap it up and give it to me for christmas. At least i’m waiting for a game that has had plenty of positive reviews.

    Must keep my mouth shut from now on.

  • I’m loving it, it’s taken up all my time, leaving me hardly playing NFS: Hot Pursuit.

    It’s pretty much what you’d expect: Expanded everything and tacked on a story.

    Although the actual Assassinations feel kinda neutered. You don’t really get any sort of backstory or motivation about who you’re stabbing (Remember the Doctor from AC1? That felt good taking him down). Most of the Assassinations are just wandering to where some guy is, Stabbing him, Ezio saying “Requiescat in pace”, and that’s it. No dying monologues apart from like… 3 people. Kind of a letdown on that.

    It seems like the whole story and Pacing of the previous game takes a backseat to all the new stuff. Side missions are awesome, doing jobs for the thieves, courtesans and mercs is fun, combat is *awesome* thanks to the chain-excecutions they’ve added (Although it’s still easy), and everything feels more polished.

    It does seem like an expansion pack, though. They improved everything else and just tacked on the story. It seems the game is more focused on you going about on your own and just doing whatever you want than leading you around with a strong narrative. I like it, but I wanted a bit more story than “This guy is an asshole, go stab him.”

    I gotta say I loved the mission at the coliseum doing that play. 😀

  • When I first heard of the game and it’s multiplayer aspect. I thought it would be multiplayer focused with a single player component tacked on for good measure. After finishing the game last night I’d say it would be more accurate to say it was the other way around – a single player focus with multiplayer tacked on. I think the developers are experimenting with multiplayer in prep for AC3.

    – Continues the story really well. This isn’t some ‘optional game’ if you’re following the series for it’s narrative.
    – Presentation, still looks and feels like AC. Combat looks and feels fluid and Brotherhood recruit kills can look really impressive in certain situations.
    – A few of the missions are real set pieces.
    – Good puzzle levels like AC2 with some interesting settings.

    – Multiplayer. Though not unenjoyable just feels like you rely more on luck rather than skill. Not a drawcard to keep coming back to the game.
    – Very easy. Being a master assassin from the start means combat is never a real challenge. This issue is further highlighted when you get access to your recruits. Certain coontracts could be completed (100% sync as well) with just one tap of the left bumber.

    Overall – Still worth it and one of the better games of the year but not my GOTY. Can’t wait for AC3 and hopefully a new time period.

    • New Time Period? With any luck, the next game will tie everything off desmond-wise, then maybe after desmond has lost his mind / saved humanity / changed his name to “Altair Auditore II”, we could go through Subject 16’s story. I want to know more about him, Maybe we can live some other Assassin’s lives through Subject 16, maybe those ones that were in the Villa. Egypt, baby!

      • Holy crap, We could assassinate Moses as a final Boss? Ramases could be our Bro?

        Great premise for the series.

      • Certainly Desmond’s story should be wrapped up but they will certainly have an animus, going back to another ancestor’s memories for most of the gameplay. Judging by the final scenes in Brotherhood, I’m thinking American and French Revolutions -> Napoleon. You could have the same generation assassin undertaking jobs in both. 1775 – 1815. Or maybe a parent -> child set up.

        However I’m personally hoping for mid 1600’s. Thirty Years War, English Civil War etc. 😛

  • I’ve got mixed feelings so far, but then I haven’t spent anywhere near as much time with the game as I’d like.

    On a story level, I’m enthralled. I was genuinely quite sad after the (spoiler-less) ‘opening sequence’ in the Villa. The Desmond walkthrough immediately after was extraordinarily eerie. Going to Rome after that felt like it had a definitive purpose and goal. As the Great Daffy would say, “Of course you realise… this means war.”

    On the downside, the early combats I’ve had have been extremely frustrating. I really haven’t liked being thrown in to the new combat system’s deep end, and I still haven’t worked it out. I’m having my butt handed to me half the time and I’m running away from combat a lot more than I have in the past.

    I suppose that’s a good change, but it would have been nice if the advanced combat moves(the ‘executions’, free-flow kills and guard-breaks) were explained in a better way than “Here’s a wall of text to read while you’re surrounded by 15 Borgia guards. Have fun”.

    Other than that… Having been to both Rome and Venice in real life, this feels waaaaay more accurate than the underwhelming Venice in AC2 – that was ultimately killed by all the hype of the net screaming “GO TO VENICE!”. I salute the environment artists responsible for Rome.

    The other things I dislike…

    1) Timed sequences. namely – and it’s the only one I’ve been in so far – the first Romulus tomb. If there is one thing I loathe in games, it’s being told how quickly I should be playing it. I’d have been fine if they’d said “complete the sequence without falling”, but I was nearly throwing my controller at the screen when it said “Complete it in under eight minutes”.

    2) The ‘wolf barbarians’… Is this Assassin’s Creed or Tomb Raider? Come on Ubi…

    • Yeah, those Wolf dudes made me think the Animus had some files crossed over from Tomb Raider, and the programming was screwy. They seem out of place.

      Killing them is fun, though. chain-killed 6 of them with my knife, it looked stunning.

    • I believe the time limit for 100% sync in some of the lair of romulus missions is to make you replay the mission after knowing the route and being able to navigate it well.

      It’s pretty impossible to do any of them under 8 minutes if it’s your first time doing the mission.

      It’s good that the game encourages you to go back and replay missions you like.

      Also, the advanced combat was easy to understand and catch on for me.

  • First up, during the intro sequence they have a nice little recap of the series so far. I don’t think anyone interested in starting off with Brotherhood should be dissuaded because they haven’t played the other games.

    It’s not a perfect game, but is one of the best gaming ‘experiences’ I’ve had in the last couple of years. It felt very immersive, even though the story is a little weaker than AC2, but with the game being more polished and Ezio based almost entirely in Rome it definitely feels more focused and seamless, as Mark said. It’s much better value than the multiplayer expansion I expected and as you get towards the end there are definitely some events that advance the series plotline.

    The pacing is great overall and I found a couple of the sidequests overshadowed some of the primary missions. Not to any detriment though, they were just awesome or interesting, particulary the ones with Ezio and [REDACTED].

    The variety of missions is pretty good and even though they could probably be broken up into 5-6 categories, they rarely felt repetitive or tedious. I became particularly addicted to managing my assassins and sending them off on contracts – if that were expanded into a full on strategy game, I’d buy it in a flash.

    There are also a set of MGS-like VR missions, which don’t do much for the plot but are fun little additions. Haven’t had too much of a crack so far, but some are quite challenging and it puts more of a focus on mastering the gameplay mechanics.

    You get a bit more freedom and control over Desmond outside the Animus, and he’s pretty awesome. I just wish there were some new mechanics based on modern technology, but at least he’s got enough personality so he doesn’t feel like a cheap skin of Altair or Ezio.

    They still haven’t quite fixed the physics though, as some bodies (particularly in the 2nd half of the game) would flail around after they were dead. A little distracting, but bearable. Sometimes the climbing/jumping/running controls were unresponsive, particularly frustrating when you would fall near the end of a sequence of jumps – not a deal breaker, but typically happened coming out of loading scenes or as part of a fast, fluid movement where you would do something unpredictable like jumping off at a right angle.

    The negatives are really quite minor though and this Assassin’s Creed feels very complete. Easily the best in the series so far, it caught me completely off guard and that’s probably why I’m enjoying it so much.

    All in all, I’d be very happy with this game based on the singleplayer alone – I haven’t even started on the multiplayer…

    • Oh, combat! How could I forget?!

      Slightly different, but much improved on previous games. Once you understand how it works, it’s more fluid and it feels great to dance between a half dozen spears, swords and axes as you cut down the owner. But, sometimes unresponsive as well (“I said counter, not stand there and get stabbed in the face!”).

      I’m not sure why but Ezio seemed to zone out for a few seconds at a time, where no combat buttons would work so I had to run around a little bit and lock onto my targets again before I could attack. Probably not as bad as it sounds, but it would be nicer if it didn’t happen.

  • Loving it so far, the seamlessness of Rome and the way the game’s mechanics build on each other is amazing – I particularly love the tunnel system.


    – Secrets! I’ve always loved the codes, conspiracies and puzzles in AC1 and (especially) AC2, so it’s great that they’ve continued with Subject 16’s glyphs and some pretty wacky versions of history (Margaret Thatcher and Vladimir Putin come to mind ;D)
    – Combat feels much more fluid and free-wheeling, with less endless blocking or counters and more, well, assassinations.
    – The attempts to flesh out some of Ezio’s backstory work really well, and make him even more of a solid character this time around (compared to, say, Altair).

    – Timed missions – as Koppenflak said, they can be a real pain and actually detract from enjoying the scenery and parkour mechanics.
    – The ‘Followers of Romulus’ – in fur wolf coats, to boot – are just silly.
    – The map can get a little cluttered and it can be difficult to tell which buildings are already renovated and which ones need upgrading.

  • I have been playing it for about 5 hours and it feels like I’m only just getting into it. So far I am loving it, like ACII it just rips me off my chair and into the game.

    Combat is a mixed affair but let’s face it the game is about running, jumping and hiding. For some reason I’m feeling a lot more stealthy in this game than I did in ACII. I’m still working out if this is intentional or simply a symptom of having a low health meter at the start.

    I must say Rome is amazing! As with the first two games the map design has clearly been a labor of love. The streets weave through the city in an organised yet still chaotic manner, much like the city itself. And it looks stunning!!! When I first heard it would all be in one place I wasn’t that pleased because I really enjoyed the variation between cities in the first two games. From what I’ve seen though Rome has a whole host of different areas and I’m really looking forward to opening up more.

    I tried to have a go with the multiplayer yesterday morning but unfortunately could not find a match. From all accounts though it is quite solid and the tutorial intrigued me enough for me to keep wanting to check for matches.

    So far I am really enjoying it, I’m finding that while I’m at work I’m searching for sites about it, trying to skirt the narrow ledge of looking at things about the game but not spoiling it. This only really happens to my favorite games.

    In conclusion, my early review would read: ‘Extremely promising, looking forward to more.’

  • Ohhh I nearly forgot:

    The few side missions of Cristina with Ezio was a nice addition to the story in the early part of AC2. A little romance doesn’t hurt 😉

  • I have finished the main story and all but a few of the minor side missions, and I am disappointed. I know that my disappointment is self-inflicted – the product of expectations that were too high – but that has not diminished the feeling.

    Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a game made in around 12 months by five studios using plot ideas and assets cut from Assassin’s Creed II. It plays like a game made in around 12 months by five studios using plot ideas and assets cut from Assassin’s Creed II.

    The game reminds me a lot of the first Assassin’s Creed. There is a lot to do, and unlike AC most tasks are connected to a gameplay benefit, but beyond that connection the tasks feel pointless:

    * I can renovate cultural landmarks but doing so only increases my income – it does not change the appearance of the building, or open up new areas, or unlock new missions.

    * I can collect keys to unlock a powerful suit of armour but doing so only increases my health – it does not establish a link to past games or the Assassin’s Creed mythology, or enable me to survive a previously impossible encounter.

    * I can go on missions to destroy Leonardo’s weapons of war and eventually gain a parachute – but there is little motivation to do so in the first place (no main mission that is impossible or even more difficult because of the presence of one of the war machines) and no subsequent effect to the main story.

    In my view, the main deficiency with Brotherhood is the lack of a unifying narrative. In AC2, I upgraded the Villa because it was my home, and doing so gave me access to new chests. I raided the tombs of previous assassins to obtain the armour of the character from AC. I met with Leonardo because he translated Codex pages and because, well, he was a good guy.

    AC2 was as much about discovering the nature of depth of the conspiracy as it was avenging Ezio’s family. Brotherhood is about hunting a petulant child and reclaiming the MacGuffin.

    Brotherhood is solid, competent, even polished – but it is no sequel. The best sequels take their predecessors and build on them – like the jump from AC to ACII. The best expansions take the same mechanics to provide a whole new story – like GTAIII and Vice City. Brotherhood does neither.

    This lack of direction is, to me, the best proof that Brotherhood is a mere cash-in. Everything that needed to be said about Ezio was included in ACII. Instead we have an unnecessary coda that provides no growth for its main character and adds nothing to the overarching mythology.

    I cannot help but think that Brotherhood stole twelve months of talent and money that would have been far better spent on Assassin’s Creed III. My hope at this stage is that Ubisoft build on Brotherhood for ACIII the way they built on AC for ACII, providing fans with a game that has the breadth of Brotherhood with the depth of a new protagonist and conspiracy.

  • I am only up to sequence 4 because i have not been able to get off the fricken addictive MP. Seriously the MP is bloody brilliant. I can see myself playing this for ages on end, all the modes are great and while there is only 4-5 of them, all of them are rock solid because they all offer something different to the standard MP fare (the COD’s and BF’s).

  • One thing no-one has mentioned yet, and maybe I just didn’t notice it in previous games, but if you use eagle vision when you can hear or see a treeasure (flag, feather, chest) it will mark it on the map for later.
    This means you don’t have to break off the chase because you spotted a feather, just come back later if you can’t work out how to get at it.
    I found this very useful in various areas, particularly whe you an hear one but not see it/

    • You can also buy in-game maps for feathers, treasures and flags and they’ll be shown on your map immediately. Quite useful for those who’ve finished the story mode, have an excess of money nowhere to be used, and wanted to find the collectibles.

  • as a PC gamer, I’m stuck til 2011 waiting (is March a hard date??), and playing the facebook game in the meantime (damn Ubi for putting up a facebook-based webgame – the only reason i returned to facebook after 12 months)….

    at least i have New Vegas to keep my busy until then. 🙂

  • This game is pretty much the mash up of what was good in Assassin Creed 1 and Assassin creed 2 and an added on bonus of what the game has to offer for itself.

    Here are some parts that I loved in Assassin Creed 1 and was absent in Assassin creed 2. The long chase by the guards, that was out in Assassin Creed 2 and that made the game too easy. I mean I finish a mission and then all I have to do is jump into a stack of Hay and I am clear in AC2, even with the new class of Seeker Guards (Who I can do a hidden assassination)

    In AC brotherhood even with the Recruits at your disposal the game still felt challenging and not easy. That is what makes the game really good.

    Oh yeah almost every character who people felt was given a short end of the stick in the Previous game is given much more character development.

    you also get to play as Desmond Miles more which is an added bonus and you can get in and out of the Animus as much as you want.

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