You may recall in my last article that I took a look back on what I still regard as one of my all time favourite games, Assassin’s Creed II. While some of the elements of the game’s design have arguably been done better since it was released, I still found it a highly enjoyable game that has held up surprisingly well to the years.
Well, in 2010, the series returned with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. To say it was highly acclaimed would be an understatement: it is one of the highest critically rated games in the franchise (even now, it is the benchmark by which every other game in the series is judged) and was nominated for several awards, including 7 British Academy Video Game Awards (winning one in the action category, but losing Best Game to Mass Effect 2) while, among the fandom, the game is considered one of, if not THE, best game in the franchise.
I have to say, when it was first released, I felt that the series was starting to wear a bit thin. It felt as though Ubisoft were just trying to be like Activision with the Call of Duty series (which has had a new installment every year since 2005…and that’s just in the main series!) and releasing a new game in the franchise just to make money. Assassin’s Creed was starting to feel like a cash cow to me. That said, I did actually enjoy some aspects of the game and a release day price of £35 wasn’t actually something that I could grumble at too much, considering some franchises have put out stuff that most would recognise as being closer to being DLC or an expansion as opposed to a new game for far more than that!
But the key question remains: where do I stand on the game? Well, I would suggest the front of the box, personally… (HVN, please don’t make jokes this bad again. That’s my job! -ed.)
In all seriousness, let’s find out as I dive straight into Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
For the story of this game, we continue with the story of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who travels to Rome so he can work to take down the Borgia family. Ezio’s story is still fairly strong here, although I don’t feel that it holds the same emotional impact that Assassin’s Creed II did. To be fair, that is partially because of the nature of its predecessor’s story making it a tough act to follow, so it’s not entirely the fault of this game that it fails to live up to what came before it. For example, the death of Mario Auditore still feels like a gut wrenching event, but Ezio doesn’t seem as bothered by it as he did with his father and two brothers, so the impact of it doesn’t hit quite as much as it did in the previous game. That said, he does repay Mario’s death by going on a crusade across late Renaissance Rome as he tries to eradicate the Templar menace, so it isn’t entirely without payoff, just that the impact of it isn’t as immediate as would be expected. The scenes that really hit hard for me, however, are the ones that give a conclusion to the Ezio/Cristina relationship. The last scene where Ezio cradles her dying body is such a painfully beautiful thing and the writers deserve a lot of praise for pulling it off so well, considering this sort of thing can easily end up looking overly melodramatic and robbing it of the impact that it deserves.
The voice acting remains excellent, with the whole cast giving absolutely brilliant performances overall. The free running still feels very fluid and is just as fun as it was in the previous game while the combat has been given a revamp with free flowing execution streaks, yet the combat still has challenge to it which keeps it from becoming monotonous and dull. The introduction of the brotherhood system and having other assassins help you out during a combat is a welcome addition to the series that allows you to truly feel like a master assassin who is leading a group of assassins on a mission rather than just a lone ranger without any support at all despite logically having some available to them. The graphics are still well above the curve of what you would expect from a game of this sort and the performance of the game is genuinely really good…well, on consoles at least, I know that Assassin’s Creed games have always been a bit iffy on PC. Although Ubisoft have not done as badly as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment did with Batman: Arkham Knight, which is something, at least…
So where do I stand on Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood? Well, truthfully, I adore this game and it has not gotten worse with time in the slightest, to the extent that I’d argue that, at least at the time of writing, this is my favorite game in the franchise. It’s a game that I would thoroughly recommend you get if you like this sort of game at all. You do have to start with Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed II when starting off, as I think you’ll be slightly confused if you just jump straight into the series with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, but the effort is truly worth if you’re willing to put the time into it!