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Customer Review

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brotherhood is Hella Good!, January 1, 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Video Game)
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood picks up right where Assassin's Creed 2 left off with Ezio in Rome. You do not need to play AC 2 to enjoy this game, but you will enjoy it more if you do.

High Concept: 10/10
Take a character like Batman, make him an assassin, drop him into Renaissance Italy, and surround him with corrupt government and church officials that need to be exterminated for the good of mankind! Allow this character to become a millionaire and renovate Rome while building a guild of Assassins.

Story: 10/10
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood has a story within a story. On the outside, you play Desmond, the ancestor of Altair and Ezio, who's hooked up to the animus (a virtual reality simulator) in order to uncover clues from the past to stop a diabolical secret organization by recovering a powerful magical artifact known as the "Apple of Eden."

In the Virtual World you are Ezio, an aristocrat who gets swept up in the political turmoil of 15th Century Italy. A change in the government makes you a fugitive, so you use your assassination skills to tip the balance of power and rescue Rome. You get your weaponry and gear from none other than Leonardo Da Vinci and you form the Brotherhood of Assassins with Niccolo Machiavelli.

Ezio is up against a megalomaniac named Cesare Borgia who wants to rule Rome. Under his influence, Rome begins to crumble. It's up to Ezio to cleanse Rome of his foul stench. Through the story, you meet many fascinating European historical figures with their own dark pasts. Similar to the Da Vinci Code, the story may have you questioning your beliefs, researching historical figures, or wanting to take a more active role in the world around you. It's rare that a video game story actually makes you want to rethink history.

Gameplay: 9/10
The combat is similar to Assassin's Creed 2, but the animations and gameplay are more fluid this time around. You can kill enemies with daggers, swords, hammers, maces, poison darts, crossbow bolts, throwing knives, a pistol, hired thugs, summoned assassins, and stun them with smoke bombs. The combat is also very easy. As you kill one enemy, you can insta-kill others by pointing the analog stick at them and pressing the X button. You can easily kill 12 guys in 20 seconds and you do feel like an assassin while doing it.

Although, the free running is good, it's not perfect. At times, Ezio may jump in the wrong direction and fall to his death. This is extremely rare, but when it happens, it sucks.

The Open World: 10/10
The problem with most Open World Games is that moving through the world to your next objective feels like a waste of time. You often spend 2-7 minutes just traveling. Well, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood has created some interesting ways to mitigate this.

This time around, it is a lot easier to get from one place to another in Rome. The overall land mass is a bit smaller than Assassin's Creed 2 and Ezio runs faster. You can also go about 25% faster by pressing the Y button to summon a horse, or horse-jack someone. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood also uses underground sewer entrances as "Fast Travel" Spots. Enter them, pick where you want to go on the map, and you teleport there.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood also rewards you just for playing, so there is NO Downtime between missions. The main objective of the game is to expunge the Borgia influence from Rome. You do this by assassinating the magistrates and burning down their watchtowers. As you destroy the tower, you are free to renovate shops, blacksmiths, and landmarks in the area. Improving Rome also pays you in dividends. Every structure that you renovate adds to Ezio's bank account every 20 minutes. You get paid for playing!

Another way to profit from downtime is the use of the Assassin's Guild. Halfway through the campaign, you get to recruit rebellious townsfolk to your cause. By using messenger pigeons, you can send your recruits on missions to gain more money for Ezio and XP for the recruit. It works similar to a Facebook Game. You scroll through a list of missions with a difficulty rating of 1-5. You choose which assassin(s) will perform the mission. The game gives you their % of success and the time it will take to complete the mission. You press a button to send them on their way. If they succeed, you get rewarded. If they fail, they die. As the recruits gain XP, you can upgrade their weapons and armor. This makes them more powerful when you summon them in game. So, as you are running through the world, you get text updates that say: Mission: Assassinate a Herald Complete. When the mission has been completed, you are free to upgrade them and send them on more missions. This is a really innovative idea with only one drawback. You have to believe that an assassin can travel from Rome to Constantinople, kill a guy, and return to Rome in 6 minutes. It's best not to think about it and just count your gold.

Missions: 6/10
The only flaw in this game that prevents it from being a true masterpiece is a handful of mission designs. Every Mission in the game has an objective, "Kill the Magistrate" with a condition "Avoid Detection" and an optional condition "Kill him with your hidden blade." The optional condition makes the game more challenging and gives you a 100% synchronization bonus. If you were to kill the magistrate with your crossbow, you only get a 50% rating for completing the mission. The synchronization bonus isn't really used for anything though, it just makes the game more interesting.

Some Missions are amazingly great and drive the story, while others are just plain bad.
Here are some tips for Mission Designers:
- If the Player can Fail a Mission within 1 second of starting it, while they are reading the objective, it is a bad mission.
- If you need checkpoints every 10 meters with a paragraph explaining what to do, it's a bad mission.
- If there is only 1 way to complete the mission and 142 ways to fail it, it's a bad mission.
- If the Player can fail a Mission because an arbitrary clock on the HUD hit zero, but Ezio still has a chance of completing the mission in the world (he's standing right next to the target with no guards around) it breaks game fiction and is a bad mission.
- If the Player can fail a Mission because an arbitrary distance counter on the HUD said you were too far from your target, even though you are in a locked room with the guy, it breaks game fiction and it is a bad mission.
- If the whole purpose of the game is to upgrade your weapons and gear and you have missions that forbid the player from using their weapons and gear that they have spent 15 hours upgrading it is a bad mission. (Especially when there are six in a row.)
- If the rules of the mission are inconsistent with 99% of the rest of the game, it is a bad mission.
Your mission designs should never get in the way of the Player feeling like an assassin.

Note: The game is broken into 9 Sequences. After you complete Sequence 7, the game becomes a linear string of missions that you cannot decline until you complete the game. If you want to do optional missions or upgrade your guilds, do this before you finish Sequence 7 or after you complete the main campaign!!!

Multiplayer: 6/10
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood features an interesting Multiplayer Mode where you are in a room of 200 clones. 6-8 of the people in the room are players. Some are trying to assassinate you while you are trying to assassinate someone else. There is no combat, you just press X to kill them for the most part. You are awarded "Style Points" for your kills. It is an interesting gameplay mode, but it lacks depth. As you gain XP, you can upgrade your character and unlock more gear like smoke bombs, disguises, throwing knives, and poison. The gear is designed to give you a better chance at killing your target or escaping from your pursuers. If an assassin is about to take you out and you see them coming, a B button icon appears above their head. If you press B you have a chance at punching them in the face, and stunning them to escape. There is a problem though. Pressing the B button doesn't aways work. I'm not sure if it is a latency issue or what, but it just seems odd that the game tells me to Press B to escape, I press B, and die. The game should give the player a 1.5 second invulnerability window to press B and escape. 60% of the time that I press B, I die. Games should never kill the player if they do exactly what they are supposed to do.
There are also some team modes where you work in groups to take out another team and they try to take out your team.
There are a few major drawbacks to the Multiplayer Modes. The wait times to actually join a game can be from 1 to 40 minutes long. To make matters worse, you can't do anything while you are waiting to join. You can't organize your gear, set your preferences, study the map, research the complex scoring system, choose the map that you want to play on... nothing. You just stare at a static progress screen. There are also a few problems with assigning targets. This is a major problem because the only way to score points is to escape assassins or assassinate other players. I've had 3 minute stretches of a 10 minute match where I wasn't assigned a target and nobody was sent after me. I could only wander around the level and watch everyone else outscore me.
If you can actually get into a game, the Multiplayer is pretty fun, but you can tell it's very rough. It's very simple and rewards you for playing, but it lacks the depth needed to keep people hooked for months.

Graphics: 10/10
One of the best looking open world games of all time, in terms of art direction and quality. The environments, characters, effects, and animations are all phenomenal. The highly detailed buildings, clothing, and props all realistically fit the world. The characters look and animate great right down to their facial expressions. It actually feels like you were transported into 15th Century Italy!!!

Sound: 10/10
The sound track and sound effects are amazing. The music is appropriate for the setting and gives a sense of action, mystery, and danger. The sound effects put you right into the action or they'll make you want to seek comfort in the shadows as you stealthily plan your next assassination. The soundtrack is also available on itunes!!!

Replay Value: 7/10
Assassin's Creed II offers 12-24 hours of gameplay, which is especially impressive in this day and age where most action games are 7 hours long. After you finish the game, you have the option to keep everything that you've earned and continue playing to collect items, finish side quests, or unlock achievements. However, there's no reason to start the game over from the beginning. Even with limited replay value, you're still going to get your money's worth. There is also a multiplayer mode where you assassinate other players and gain XP to upgrade your characters.

Overall: 8.5/10
When the concept, story, art, and music are all amazing, you have a very immersive world. The criticisms about Assassin's Creed Brotherhood are that it doesn't offer much of a challenge, and 10% of the missions are unfun.

Buy it if you liked Assassin's Creed 2 or Prince of Persia.
Buy it if you like fun and easy games that constantly reward you.
Buy it if you want a thinking man's Action RPG.

Rent it if you want to try it out and have about 15 free hours.

Avoid it if you like a challenge or hated everything about the original Assassin's Creed.
Avoid it if you are EXTREMELY Catholic. The portrayal of the Vatican may upset you.
Avoid it if you don't like the idea of being a dude, who's playing a dude, who's playing another dude.

And there you have it. If you can't trust a guy whose name is Poisoned Blade and dresses like an assassin (seriously look at my profile pic) then who can you trust?
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