E3 10: Hands-on with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

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All this week I am going to be giving ridiculously quick hands-on impressions of all the games I see on the E3 show floor. Since I think everything is a little amazing, they will be rated, from least to most favorite: 1 (A Little Amazing!), 2 (Kind of Amazing!), 3 (Pretty Amazing!), 4 (AMAZING!), and 5 (The Most Amazing Thing I Have Ever Seen!).

I was a surprise fan of Assassin’s Creed II. I expected to not like it nearly as much as I did. In fact, I rather loved the game. But I went into my E3 meeting with Ubisoft a little confused: What was Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood? I knew it wasn’t Assassin’s Creed III. I knew it focused on multiplayer. But was it a full-fledged sequel with a robust single-player campaign as well?

The answer to both those questions, I learned, is yes.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood once again stars Ezio (“His story wasn’t done yet,” the Ubisoft rep said), and takes place right where the second game in the series leaves off. While the sequel focuses a lot on its multiplayer features (more on that in a later post) there is also a full single-player campaign that is just as integral to the story as the other games in the series. Ezio has “defeated” the Pope and is living the high life in his fortress. At the very start of the game — and where the demo began — his villa is under attack by a new enemy.

At this point many different aspects of the gameplay were shown off. Obviously the acrobatic, wall-climbing stuff is still there. This time, there is more focus on horse riding, as Ezio and his horse can dash through cities and do some impressive moves of their own. Then there is the sword-fighting. Since many gamers complained about the defensive-focus of the last two games, the sword (and gun!) battling in Brotherhood is much more offensively-focused, as was demonstrated when Ezio killed more than ten enemies in a row in one combo. It was really impressive. Heavy weapons and other gadgets will also play a big role in the game, evidenced in the demo when Ezio defended his fortress from oncoming soldiers using a cannon.

The main new feature in Brotherhood, though, revolves around hiring and training fellow assassins to join your party and do your dirty work for you. After hiring a wide variety of different assassins (each with his or her own skill set), you can train them to become very powerful. At certain points in the game world (Rome: three times bigger than Venice in ACII), these assassins can be summoned to do some amazing things, be it jumping from roofs to stab enemies or shooting arrows into a giant group of guards, killing them all. This management mechanic plays a huge role in the game, and, from what I saw, it worked great and looks amazing. Also, if one of your trained assassins dies, they are dead forever, forcing you to hire a new one and train them all over again. This makes using your assassins very strategic. You can’t just overuse your companions in the fear they will be killed!

I went into my meeting today with little to no interest in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, but now I am a complete convert. The game truly looked amazing and I am really excited about the new gameplay mechanic. I can’t wait to play it when it comes out this holiday season!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (AMAZING!)


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