Assassinís Creed Brotherhood
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: Out Now
Players: Single player, 6-8 online
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Ubisoft were right to think that the renaissance period was just too rich a setting to leave to just one game so Ezio is back, this time with his brotherhood of assassins and a few more tricks up his baggy sleeves, including a remarkably slick multiplayer mode.

I was lucky enough to play the multiplayer Beta on PS3 but what of the new campaign? If youíve played either of the other two Assassins Creed games youíll know the high-tech plot behind the period setting. Playing once again as Ezio Auditore di Firenze, through the wondrous invention known as the Animus 2.0 and the memory of human guinea pig Desmond Miles, you get to re-imagine real events that one of his Desmondís ancestors (Ezio) actually lived through and can even make events turnout differently.

After fleeing an attack that devastates his home Monteriggioni, Ezio is tasked with rebuilding Rome which has fallen into ruin due to the corrupt rule of the Templars, lead by the evil and infinitely dislikeable Cezarť Borgia. (yep, those Borgias)

Rome is a large sprawling city and Ezioís mission is similar to the one he had in AC2 Ė rebuild it by reinvesting money earned through what are often nefarious acts. Ezio travels a lot and the areas of Downtown, Vatican, Tiber, Country, Antique, Naples, parts of Spain and good old Monteriggioni are visited during the story. The core gameplay hasnít changed since AC 1 so free-running and a lot of agile climbing combined with stealth and ACís strangely satisfying swordplay are the order of the day. If anything, the way Ezio navigates obstacles is even slicker than in AC2 and his swordplay has been improved too as thereís more emphasis on getting the first blow in (AC2 was all about counter attacks which lead for some comical looking sequences as, when surrounded by a gang of enemies, you waited patiently for the AI to decide who was going to attack you next.) This is much more than just a data disc, the developers have clearly polished the rough bits off and even swapping weapons is quicker now.

The horses from AC2 are back and have been given much better treatment. Theyíre beautifully animated and are now allowed inside the cities. In AC2 the collision detection was terrible and you were unable to pass close to any scenery while on horseback, but itís much tighter now and the horses figure more heavily in the combat.

There are again sequences set in the present day as you play as Desmond and heís even learned some of Ezioís tricks but these arenít very good and youíll be glad to get plugged back into the Animus. These sequences try hard to explain the ridiculously convoluted plot but donít really succeed as I still have no idea what was going on.

The all new multiplayer mode sees you and up to 7 other assassins try to out-sneak each other whilst you try to take out one unwary enemy and get a kill. You can try to get the drop on each other from above or blend into the crowd and perform sneak attacks, or just sit on a bench and wait for somebody to stand out from the crowd and reveal their identity as an assassin. The gameplay i
s pure genius and comes as the dozens of run-and-gun deathmatch games out there. It plays like a superbly animated game of chess and requires a great deal of patience and skill to succeed consistently.

All in all, a brilliant third game in a consistently impressive series, Brotherhood plays as slick as it looks and is quite possibly one of the games of the year.

Best Bits

- Huge, thronging cities to explore.
- Plenty of gameplay for your buck.
- Slick combatóeven slicker than before.
- When itís done this well virtual free-running never gets tired.
- Surprisingly good multiplayer mode could be the online game you've been waiting for.
Worst Bits

- Daft, at times unfathomable back story.
- The action does get samey after days of play.

by: Sloppy Sneak

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