Saturday, 11 December 2010

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Review

That’s something you’ll be saying a lot when you play this game.

Everything in this game looks absolutely astounding. The environments are, as you expect, brilliantly detailed and atmospheric. The characters move realistically and the ‘extras’ are also well realised.
The story picks up at the end of Assassin’s Creed II and after a very brief ‘catch up- level where you can get the hang of the controls again, you’re thrown head first into your first astounding high octane action scene.
After that you’re into all the great Assassin’s Creed stuff you’re familiar with in the previous games.
Storyline is great fun and unfolds nicely as intrigue and double-cross and twist pile one upon the other until we get to what is a pretty incredible climax.

Yes, I liked this game.
If you liked the previous games, you’ll also love this one.   
What is doubly amazing though, is the fact that this has come out only a year or so after the previous one, and far from being a cobbled together cash in sequel this is a fully fledged game on its own. In fact, if anything, this may be bigger than the last one- the city is massive and I’m pretty sure you can go anywhere with your free running skills.

Ah- that brings us to the controls. Like all good games (I’m thinking Arkham Asylum specifically here) they are deceptively simple. The combat system has been tweaked a bit and it flows nicely, making battling impossibly large gangs of enemies almost believable!

Come to think of it- why has this not been made into a movie yet?

Another new addition to this one is an online multiplayer game. And this deserves another one of those ‘wow’ moments.
I’m sure you’re all used to playing things like Call of Duty and the like with their frantic pace and non-stop fighting action. Things take a different direction here though.
You take the role of an assassin (well, obviously!) going up against other players. Unlike CoD and the like though, running into battle here with all guns blazing will get you killed pretty quickly. Here, you’ll be given a target and have to track them down, while you yourself are being stalked by another player. This leads to some astonishingly tense play- particularly when you’re just about to perform your hit and suddenly realise that you yourself are in imminent danger yourself. Do you take the chance and go through with your hit or just run and hope to get away with your life?
The single player story mode is brilliant, but this multiplayer mode lifts the game into a new level and adds an enormous amount of life to the game.

Another aspect, and one I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned in other reviews, is the clever and subversive way that this game actually teaches stuff. While the storyline is obvious fantasy, it mixes in actual fact and genuine historical characters, Da Vinci is here again, as well as the notorious Borgia family and Niccolò Machiavelli. As each of these characters appears, a bio appears, which blends the fantasy of the story and some real fact wonderfully. And for my money, if just a few players are inspired to read The Prince after playing this, then for that reason alone the game is worth it.

Not that it isn’t anyway. If you’re a gamer, this is pretty much an essential purchase.

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