Published on August 29th, 2010 | by prime1
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – Preview
As a gamer myself I feel alienated when someone tries to steal $60 away from me and give me something that’s half-assed compared to the thing they gave me a year earlier,” says Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s Associate Producer Jean-Francois Boivin while attempting to explain why this unnumbered third core title in the Assassin’s Creed series is as true a sequel as last year’s Assassin’s Creed II. “I would have felt bad giving gamers something cheap like a mission pack,” he continues. “It was important to give something that has a lot of meat on it.”
And there’s definitely plenty of that, along with the smattering of blood and bone we’ve all come to expect from the smashing slaughter-’em-up series, which sees Ezio taking center stage once again and battling against the Templar’s following a siege on his villa. Brotherhood is anything but a mere expansion pack, of course, and despite only the single year keeping them apart, it’s arguable that this year’s Assassin’s Creed builds on its predecessor much more than last year’s ACII ever did. Alongside the usual visual upgrades, Ubisoft Montreal has once again focused on the mechanics most widely criticized, completely revamping the horse controls and improving the villa upgrade system to allow you total control over the city of Rome and its economy.
But Assassin’s Creed isn’t about to turn into Sim City. The combat and parkour is still firmly at the game’s forefront, with the former being given a significant overhaul to offer players increased control over hand-to-hand combat and – for the first time – while fighting on horseback. There’s plenty more being introduced in Brotherhood too, including what Ubisoft call ‘ballistics gameplay’, which sees Ezio taking control of a cannon to fend off incoming armies, as well as plenty of new moves, weapons and gadgets, including a machine gun on a chariot. Yes, you read that right.
Multiple ways to kill
The biggest addition of all however, is the introduction of a brand new multiplayer mode – and thankfully, it doesn’t feel as tacked on as you may have expected. “It would have been easy for us to just do a frag game,” says Boivin, “but that wouldn’t feel like Assassin’s Creed. It had to feel Assassin’s Creed and we’re really proud of what we’re able to do because there’s not really anything out there like that.” And true to their word, Ubisoft has delivered something quite unlike anything you’ll have played on PSN before. It’s all built around the idea of cunning and deception, as players creep around Rome disguised as members of the public, while attempting to pick off individual targets without being spotted. It’s ultimately a game of cat and mouse, with players skulking about rooftops, and attempting to blend in with wandering townsfolk before delivering a deadly blow to their target.
Bonus points can be earned by performing silent or acrobatic kills, with further rewards offered to the player for humiliating their target or escaping from their pursuer. An additional option to customize the player’s abilities adds depth, with the player able to allocate two unique abilities to their load-out, including a ’Disguise’ option to cloak themselves as an NPC, use smoke bombs, throwing knives or a hidden gun, or use ‘Morph’ to transform the crowd around them into duplicates of themselves, baffling their opponent along the way. More abilities unlock as you gain experience, and we’re promised further team-based and adversarial modes when the game launches this November.
So, it seems that Brotherhood isn’t just the mere stopgap between last year’s stunner and the inevitable third game that we’d been expecting. With an awesome single-player campaign and a fresh and utterly addictive multiplayer component, Brotherhood could easily be the best Assassin’s Creed yet.