Assassin's Creed Brotherhood picks up right where Assassin's Creed II ended. So if you didn’t play Assassin’s Creed II it will be hard to follow the story. The game begins with Ezio Auditore da Firenze inside the Vault, where he talks with Minerva, one of “Those Who Came Before”. He exits the Vault, still confused by what he saw inside, just to see that Rodrigo Borgia escaped, leaving the Staff of Eden behind. Ezio doesn’t have much option to choose, so he returns to Monteriggioni with his uncle Mario.
Soon after, the city is under attack by Borgias - more accurately by Cesare Borgia, Rodrigo Borgia’s son. At this time Ezio’s still in bed with Caterina Sforza while the attack is at full swing. After some running across rooftops, Ezio finds a horse. That’s where new horse mechanics come in. As you probably heard by now, you can ride a horse in the city. That’s a great new feature because Rome is 3 times bigger than Florence in Assassin’s Creed II. Also, you can leap from one horse to another, kill the soldier on that horse and take it. Or, Ezio can stand on his horse and use it as jumping point.
Rodrigo Borgia attacks the city because he’s partly seeking revenge, but primarily seeking an ancient and powerful treasure called the Apple of Eden. At the end, Borgia’s attack succeeds, and he leaves with the Apple of Eden, leaving Ezio wounded and whole Monteriggioni destroyed. After 20+ hours of constant repairing, the city is destroyed. Now homeless Ezio heads to Rome to avenge the attack, retrieve the Apple, and to kill Cesare Borgia and his father Rodrigo.
As soon as Ezio arrives at Rome he finds that it’s in ruins. This time Ezio won’t repair and upgrade small Monteriggioni, this time, to defeat Borgias, he’ll need to repair whole Rome. And that won’t be an easy task to do. Rome is divided into 12 districts, and in each of them is one Borgia tower, which represent Borgia power in that area. If you manage to kill tower’s captain and burn the tower, that area will be normal again. By normal I mean that shops like blacksmith, banks, doctors, tailors and so on will be opened, and there will be less soldiers in the area. After the shops are open Ezio will be able to purchase and renovate them, which will add more income money to you, just like in Assassin’s Creed II.
With each Borgia tower gone, you’ll be able to recruit more assassins in your brotherhood. So Ezio decides that he needs the help of the people, and he begins to recruit citizens into the Assassin’s Guild who can help him free Rome from Borgia’s power. It’s really easy to call you other assassins to help you. Depending on the location and level of your assassin (you can upgrade their armor and weapons or even their clothing color) he or she might run or ride up to the target, or drop down from above. It’s cool to watch others doing your job. You can also send assassins across Europe to get XP points, but then you can’t call him/her to help you in game. If the assignment is difficult, your assassin will get more XP and cash. These assignments take 5-10 minutes to finish, but BEWARE: your assassins can die on those missions.
In Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood it’s easy to get sidetracked for hours finding treasure chests, taking on assassination contracts, doing missions for the various guilds or trying to level up your relationship with them, collecting feathers or Borgia flags. The gorgeous city is filled with notable landmarks – some of them include Parthenon and Coloseum and it’s great to climb up on one of them and just watch the city.
Leonardo da Vinci is back, but this time he's been pressured into creating war machines for Cesare - a reconfigured flying machine (in the bomber role), a tank, naval cannon, and a chariot-mounted repeating cannon – and you’ll have to destroy them all (but first you’ll use them on your enemies). Another Leonardo invention is parachute. Aside from using it to slow his fall, Ezio can use the parachute to maneuver through the air, and land on horses. With parachute, Ezio will be able to do some new moves from the air (like air assassination from parachute).
There’s a new piece of armor for you to collect in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood called Armor of Brutus, but to get to it you’ll need to collect all Romulus scrolls from the six secret lairs throughout the city of Rome. And those lairs are guarded by mysterious cult, the Sons of Romulus. Lairs are improvements over the tombs, however, in part because time limits are no longer so central to completing them. There is also a lot more design variety to them.
It's also worth mentioning that looting dead guards bodies now yields far more valuable items than it did in ACII. In Assassin’s Creed II you could only steal money, but in here you can steal all sorts of things - crossbow bolts, smoke bombs, medicine, poison and bullets. It’s a good new improvement, but with each improvement the game starts to become easier.
Ubisoft made some improvements in combat system, too. There’s a new kick, for instance, that can be used aggressively to break a tough enemy’s defense. Other additions to combat include a hidden pistol and some satisfying chained assassinations. Once you do a successful execution, you can start linking them together. Ezio starts moving around, killing enemies with special execution moves. Be cautious however, enemies can still attack when you link executions, and any hit will stop you.
In the multiplayer part of the game, you’re actually playing as enemy – Templars which need to train in Animus to hunt down assassins. First of all, there’s a Wanted mode. Your objective is to track down and kill your target, before you are killed or in this case assassinated by other player. To help you find player that you’re searching for, radar shows you where your enemy is. But it won’t be easy. Maps are full of the same NPCs so you can blind with the crowd, but so can your target.
Advanced Wanted mode is the same mode as Wanted, but the radar is less accurate. In Alliance mode you’ll have to split in pairs. Teams have to be coordinated to win. Same thing with Manhunt mode. While one team seeks, other team hides. Seeking team gets points for finding players, while hiding team gets point for staying hidden.
Another new feature in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood are chase-breakers. Players can activate chase-breakers to delay their pursuers, and give them more time to escape. There are different types of chase-breakers and some of them include:
- Trap doors
- Crumbling beams
- Corner Helpers
It seemed impossible for Ubisoft to release this kind of a game just one year after Assassin’s Creed II. But here we are, in 2010, playing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. There really is nothing new in terms of gameplay except for the assassins, but thankfully the previous game did so many things right, and the sequel keeps those things intact, that ACB is still well worth the time. If you are one of those who didn’t like the previous games, or if you did not play ACII, then this is not the game for you. But if you are an experienced assassin, you must buy this game.
You can find walkthrough for Assassin's Creed Brotherhood here.
Or, you can find video walkthrough for ACB here.