ACB [X360] Singleplayer review..
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, or as I like to call it ‘Assassin’s Creed 2.5’, is a direct sequel to the amazing Assassin’s Creed 2. ACB is primarily played out in Rome, with the odd jaunt out to the countryside, to destroy tanks, flying machines, and the like…oh, and the odd run around modern day Monteriggioni.
Once again Desmond has entered the Animus to replay his ancestors memories. Enter the devilishly handsome Ezio Auditore…with a newly grown goatee! Those naughty Templars are yet again up to their old tricks, and it falls to us (the Assassinos) to thwart their evil schemes, burn the Borgia Towers…and buy out art dealers.
So, Ezio has just returned to Monteriggioni after the events of AC2, everything seems as I left it…nice and built. Oh, and then the hellspawn of Rodrigo Borgia (aka Cesare Borgia) pops along and ruins everything, thanks a lot, Cesare! Seeing as Ezio’s lovely little home is now in ruins, we’d best don our best assassin robes and go poke people with the pointy end of our swords! Well you know, when in Rome…
So to Roma we venture…and I have to say, it’s a stunning venture. The buildings, and the scenery are truly lovely to look at. Now while the gameplay is pretty much just AC2 (tried, tested, approved), there are some new additions. New weapons (a crossbow to name one, which makes running around the rooftops slightly too easy), new combos (which look delightfully brutal!), and a crew…I mean brotherhood of Assassins. Yup, you can now recruit and train your own little team of Assassinos. They gain XP, and thus level up, through fighting with (well, it’s more like for you, really) you, aswell as being able to send them out on missions across the world. This earns the Assassin in training XP, and you some extra Florins (sometimes even items, which can be sold for profit, or hoarded for shops quests – once you’ve managed to renovate said shops). While I think the addition of the team of Assassins is a great one, it does make the game slightly too easy – it’s not the most difficult of games anyway, but the fact that at the press of a button, a bunch of assassins are gonna jump, fly or ride out of nowhere and kill…everything in sight, does take the challenge out of a kill. Which is why more times than not, I let the assassins stay in their bales of hay, and just chill out.
The campaign missions (9 sequences in total) really aren’t very long. The things that make this game longer are all the other random things that can be done, such as the various guild challenges – courtesans, thieves, mercenaries. Various assassination contracts, the Borgia Towers – 12 in total, each tower controls a district, thus oppressing the people within. Liberate the district by annihilating…well, stabbing the Captain of the Borgia Tower. Then scale it, burn it, jump off it…and hey presto, you have an assassin hideout, and the district is all happy…and non-oppressy. This means you can now start renovating things – shops, buildings – and giving yourself an income, so you can buy all the pretty armour, all the pretty dyes, and all the pretty stabby things. Buying and renovating not your thing…? That’s cool. You can always collect the 10 feathers scattered around Rome, in memory of poor Petruccio…along with locating all of the damned Borgia flags. Now, you’d think finding random objects would be hard – it’s extremely simple, no guides needed! Buying specific maps from art dealers, reveals all the locations of the flags, and the feathers…making both achievements extremely easy…and slightly cheap, even.
So yes, there’s plenty to do on ACB. So much in fact, that you quite often find you’ve spent hours not doing anything campaign related. Along with the fact that there are added challenges during each story mission, challenges you have to complete in order to achieve 100% synchronisation. These challenges range from completing the sequence in a specific time, not losing health, remaining undiscovered, etc.
Leonardo Da Vinci makes a semi-welcome return. He’s been coerced into building war machines for stupid Cesare…so as a master Assassin, it’s our duty to destroy them. The process of destroying the various machines (a tank – yes you read that correctly, a cannon mounted on a boat, a turret mounted on a cart & my own personal hell…the para-glider that drops bombs. What the heck has Leo been smoking…?) is actually quite fun, the whole stealth part is slightly monotonous, but the part where you get to try our Leo’s creations is a real pick me up. Except for the bomb dropping para-glider – that was just rage inducing.
For those of you who like raiding long forgotten, decrepit caves and dungeons then why not go explore some of the ‘Lairs of Romulus’? Here you can fight, free run, fight, free run your way to a scroll…which in time will yield some secrets…and some treasure. Yay treasures! XD
The story of Brotherhood is also very good, as engaging as you’d expect. The fact that you play as Desmond, not just for a few short minutes, but so that he actually has a true role in the present day gameplay is also really good. As this is supposed to be about Desmond, but Ezio always gets the glory…
Subject 16 also makes a very welcome return, I adore his puzzles. There’s more of ‘The Truth’ to uncover. The puzzles are different to AC2, but also familiar. There’s always a simple way of solving the puzzles, most of the time I just seem to make them difficult for myself. But very enjoyable all the same. The concept this time, is that you’re sort of exiting the Animus, and entering a new area of code…that Subject 16 has created, away from the Animus…it’s really quite deep, and sad, when you think about it…poor 16.
But yea, ACB’s singleplayer hits the mark, as far as I’m concerned. There’s plenty to keep you busy, an engaging story, towers to burn, combat challenges (which are really helpful, if you’re struggling with combos or using a certain weapon. Plus beating your friends scores, always means win), characters that are easy to love & hate, fluid combat, and parachutes – which I personally hate.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood (Singleplayer) earns itself a stealthy 8.5/10.
The review was originally written for, and published, on the now defunct thegameinvaders.com.