Ezio Auditore da Firenze is back once again with his master skills in the sequal to Ubisoft's 2009 hit AC2. With only a year apart does it keep the quality the predicesor had?
(Spoiler) Continuing the events of the previous game. The game starts with Ezio in Monteriggioni at a villa. Suddenly without warning the villa is under attack by Rodriga Borgia's son Cesare Boria. Ezio's uncle Mario dies along with the villa and city in pieces. Ezio escapes along with his family and decides to travel to Rome. He must build a Brotherhood and take down the Templar order once and for all along with his new enemy Cesare Boria.
The majority of your time is spent in Rome but it's no bad thing as it's surprisingly huge. Theres plenty to see and do. I found myself exploring Rome from top to bottom admiring the breathtaking visuals and detailed building structure. All the previous titles have been visually stunning but this had me most impressed. These visual treats do come with a price though. You may notice frequent screen-tear but it's not much bother as you will be to immersed in the open world. Purchasing new weapons at the Blacksmith and dyeing your clothes at a tailor is still here. If you played AC2 things will be very familiar to you. Theres some new improvements this time. For Example, Riding horses is no longer restricted outside the towns. You can now ride them anywhere you please aswell as jumping from horse to horse. The biggest new addition to single player is the opportunity to recruit and command Assassins.
Ezio no longer works alone. A few hours in the story you will be recruiting citizens to form a Brotherhood by your side. Rescuing citizens that are in trouble will become very useful to you. Once rescued you can recruit them to become a great Assassin. More citizens can be recruited by claiming towers throughout Rome but these cannot be claimed straight away. You will need to kill the Borgia Captain that holds it first. Theres 12 recruits available and each can be trained up by sending them across Europe to complete contracts. These reward experience points which are spent on upgrading their Armor, Weapons and Equipment. Some contracts are more difficult than others but if accomplished will reward higher experience points. The main use of your Assassins is helping you out when under attack. By simply pressing LB button your Assassins will join you and help finish your fight. This became very useful on more than one
If the lengthy story mode isn't enough you can always jump into multiplayer. It's a unique and welcoming addition to the series. It features a level-up system to 50 and a great selection of playable characters. You can unlock Ability, Perks and Kill Streaks throughout your progression and play in four different game modes. Wanted, Manhunt, Alliance and Advanced Wanted. Wanted mode gives you designated players to assassinate. It's not that straight forward though. Someone is also trying to assassinate you at the same time so it's best to keep a good look out. Making big movements like running may draw attention and lead to a heart pounding escape. Manhunt is similar to Wanted but is team based and requires each team taking in turns to eliminate the targets. Overall theres enough here to keep you busy for a long time if the multiplayer has you hooked.
When I heard the next in the series would be a sequel I wasn't expecting it to feel like another title but more of an expansion pack. I was wrong, AC Brotherhood is alot bigger than it's predicesor with some improvements to single player and a unique multiplayer experience that can be very addictive. Ubisoft delivers another excellent game to the franchise. It's one of the best games this year and shouldn't be missed by fans of the series.
Review by Gareth Smith