GAMERSYDE | X360, PS3, PC Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | 9:45 PM

GC: First Look at AC Brotherhood

GC: First Look at AC Brotherhood

With the next par of Ezio Auditore's adventures in the making, there was no way we would have missed a chance to see Assassin's Creed Brotherhood at the Ubisoft booth last week. A whole new part of the single player campaign was shown for the occasion and we're telling you everything inside.

The demo we saw in Cologne allowed us to see what the beautiful city of Rome looks like in the game, and though the engine at work is obviously still the same as Assassin's Creed 2 - which was itself running on an upgraded version of the first episode -, it is difficult to resist the sight of the Coliseum and to imagine that this time, it will be possible to get there. This new playground is also a lot bigger than ever before since Rome is actually three times the size of Florence. One can easily deduce that it will take a great amount of time to explore every corner of the Roman city and visit all its most famous monuments.

During the presentation, the developers insisted on the new guild system and on combat and we learned that Ezio's talk will consist in taking out 12 Borgia towers in order to weaken the power and influence of the clan. These towers will also act like viewpoints and give Ezio a better appreciation of his surroundings. Before attacking a tower, it is a lot safer to recruit some assassins first, as they will come in handy when Ezio needs a diversion or a little help. How does it work? Well, for example, while exploring the city, you will sometimes run into a rebel that is in trouble with the law and helping him will make him want to join your cause. Each assassin will be able to level up, so you can basically upgrade their skills, weapons, armors, equipment or even colors. To earn experience, they will have to be sent on special missions throughout Europe. It does not mean you will get to play such missions and visit new environments though, you play Ezio and they are under your orders. Thanks to a simple menu system, you can select a mission, see what is to gain and also the chances of success of each pair of assassins. Careful though, losing a man during a mission will mean losing him forever, no matter how experienced he has become.



When a team is sent on a mission, it is obviously unavailable for some time and Ezio has to call other men when he needs a hand. The bigger the guild, the higher the number of assassins you can use and it is symbolized by several bars on the top left corner of the screen - the number of bars depending on the number of teams you have. In the simple press of the L2 button, you call your men and ask them to eliminate one or several targets. Let's take an example: two guards are posted in front of a closed shop and you don't want to draw attention by starting a fight. You then order your men to take care of them, you see them appear on the rooftops and jump on the two guards leaving them no time to realize what happened. To get rid of a Borgia tower, you simply need to blow it up after climbing on top of it. It is also possible to take out the power leader of the tower, which will lower the influence of the Borgias in the area even more and get you some nice discount prices in the shops. Power leaders can either be cowardly, in which case you will have to chase them around until you are close enough to "hidden blade" him, or so brave that they will stop at nothing to defeat you.

Like I said in the beginning, combat was a big part of the demo we were shown, but without a hands-on, it is difficult to really see how improved it has been since the last game. There are of course a few new moves like when Ezio throws an axe on at a nearby enemy and specific tactics to use against certain adversaries, but it looks very similar to Assassin's Creed 2. The developers insisted on the importance of keeping the right pace to get a momentum and continue to attack effectively. Gadgets are also back and while we learned to fly with Da Vinci's hand-gliding machine in Assassin's Creed 2, here we will learn to fall. Ezio will indeed be equipped with a parachute created by the Italian inventor, something that will provide Ezio with an easy way to escape should there be no haystack in sight when jumping from higher grounds. Let's just hope that it will be more useful than Da Vinci's flying machine.


With a whole new system allowing you to handle a team of assassins and a city as mythical as Rome to visit, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood should not disappoint the fans of the franchise, even though we are all waiting for a true sequel to find out how the story is going to unfold. Ezio being such a charismatic character, it should not be too difficult to live a new adventure at the time of the Italian Renaissance. Not to mention the existence of a promising multiplayer mode. But until we can see more, and try it ourselves, we will only venture to say that this sequel plays it a bit safe and relies on most of the game mechanics of Assassin's Creed 2. However, given how great last year's episode was, there is no reason to be picky, is there?

All comments

Commented on 2010-08-24 22:21:58
while i liked ezio as far as his whole suit goes, i hated him as a character. completely unlikable, and largely pointless in terms of AC2 overarching story. the idea of being stuck in his shows for another game scares me and it feels like a major cash-in especially considering the time between titles.

AC games only seem like they're worth playing when the setting, time period and character changes. without it i really dont see the point. it's no secret i didnt like the second game at all, and found the first pretty mediocre too, but i'm still open to the idea that the series could be good since i've alwasys liked the premis. but i'm going to wait untill Ac3 to jump back in, cos i have almost no desire to play this one at all.
Commented on 2010-08-25 00:13:42 In reply to KORNdog
Posted by KORNdog
while i liked ezio as far as his whole suit goes, i hated him as a character. completely unlikable, and largely pointless in terms of AC2 overarching story. the idea of being stuck in his shows for another game scares me and it feels like a major cash-in especially considering the time between titles.

AC games only seem like they're worth playing when the setting, time period and character changes. without it i really dont see the point. it's no secret i didnt like the second game at all, and found the first pretty mediocre too, but i'm still open to the idea that the series could be good since i've alwasys liked the premis. but i'm going to wait untill Ac3 to jump back in, cos i have almost no desire to play this one at all.
Word.
Commented on 2010-08-25 08:51:40
I third that.
Commented on 2010-08-25 08:58:21
As a character I hated Ezio but I loved how more agile he was compared to Altair and had 2 blades instead of 1.

I wish Ubisoft could continue the story with Altair and not "loverboy".
Altair acted like a true assassin, had that serious vibe to him, I wish Ubisoft came up with the things for AC2 for Altair instead.

Altair>>>Ezio
Commented on 2010-08-25 10:08:02
I am still stuck on the capture the flag minigame in AC2...I hate it...it reminds of the time when I got stuck on the horrible wack a mole minigame in Jak 2 (although I loved that game)
Commented on 2010-08-25 10:34:59 In reply to KORNdog
Posted by KORNdog
while i liked ezio as far as his whole suit goes, i hated him as a character. completely unlikable, and largely pointless in terms of AC2 overarching story. the idea of being stuck in his shows for another game scares me and it feels like a major cash-in especially considering the time between titles.

AC games only seem like they're worth playing when the setting, time period and character changes. without it i really dont see the point. it's no secret i didnt like the second game at all, and found the first pretty mediocre too, but i'm still open to the idea that the series could be good since i've alwasys liked the premis. but i'm going to wait untill Ac3 to jump back in, cos i have almost no desire to play this one at all.
Actually I liked Ezio as a character. He might not be the most charismatic alter ego in videogame history, but I liked his growing up from a little naive rascal to a hardened cynical man. Moreover he's an assassin, so it feels actually right that he's a low-profile character and not a flamboyant and/or badass character such as, say, Duke Nukem or Dante (and as such, naturally less easily likeable than them).

However, I must say that I don't like too the choice to make us play as Ezio again, because it feels they want to rip us off. I mean, the whole concept of Desmond discovering his descendants' deeds is to "play" as each of them in each chapter of the franchise. Playing with the same character means that the previous chapter was unfinished in terms of plot so the question arises: why didn't they close that story arch? Because so they could easily and cheaply "milk" more money?

Nonetheless I cannot wait to play also this chapter. AC2 is currently on top of my favourite games list (and I've been an avid player the last 20+ years). While I liked AC1 a lot it was too repetitive and had a lot of wasted potential. That same potential was however in my opinion fully tapped in the second chapter, which was totally better in every single aspect. So much better actually than I couldn't find a single flaw in the entire game. I deeply loved everything in AC2: the better combat and highly enhanced controls, the new gimmicks, the engrossing story with its perfect harmony of history and fiction, the setting, the minigames, the management and embellishment of Monteriggioni (how I loved to adorn the villa with famous paintings!). I even enjoyed the collection of every single treasure in the game, even if it accomplishes nothing other than the joy of admiring every single corner of their fictional Florence, Venice, Forlì and all the others. But more than everything else I simply adored to roam the italian cities which are so exceptionally beautiful, alive and realistic. I'm italian and, even if they clearly are not the exact replica of the real cities, I felt at home. They put so much details and attention in the architecture and urban layout that they managed to replicate remarkably well the feeling of the renaissance Florence, Venice, Forlì, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni. Strolling through the carnival in Venice (even if it's nothing compared to the real deal) was such a joy that I wandered through the calles and canals not wanting to go on with the main story but simply enjoying the party. I love so much Venice that me and my wife married there even if we live 200 kilometers away... :)

In short, I liked AC2 so much that I felt sad when I finished and accomplished everything, DLCs included. To me, it is the best game ever so far. So, now, naturally I cannot wait to play AC3, since I crave to "visit" their fictional version of renaissance Rome and to be engrossed again by their awesome storyline and gameplay. Furthermore, the new guild system promises to be a lot of fun. Really can't wait... :)
Commented on 2010-08-25 11:04:29
Ezio is everything that I detest in a character except an Assassin! What was odd is to see Ezio put on his father's attire and pretend that he's an assassin. He's out for revenge and all the rest that follows is irrelevant in my eyes. And this is the one element that made me dislike AC2 so much! Altair on the other hand... you believed that he was an assassins and this made my journey with him such a powerful experience.

AC 1 had so much more vision behind it than AC 2.
Commented on 2010-08-25 11:19:45
I don't get all this hatred towards Ezio. Like I said, he's not the most charismatic character ever but he doesn't deserve to be "detested" in my opinion. It was actually a much more believable character than Altair who, let's face it, was just an arrogant a**hole that brought dishonor and disgrace to his brotherhood at the very beginning of the first game (and should have been executed, not spared, for having spat on the very creed he should have followed). Furthermore, he has no character development whatsoever (apart from gaining new abilities) during the entire game: he's just a silent nobody and we get to know nothing on who he really was and why he became an assassin. From my point of view, apart from being a silent badass, there's really nothing to like about Altair.
Commented on 2010-08-25 11:31:47
@Zarkan Dude rest your case and certainly don't get all riled up because of what we think! Our opinions should have little weight to how you judge your own experience of that game. I loved the game mechanics and mission in AC 2 but I was somehow constantly reminded that Ezio was not a real assassin just a guy seeking revenge after his father. The switch from Ezio street boy to assassins was very incredulous. Perhaps it's just me but conviction only takes you so far as somebody who seeks revenge... there's no way you can ever move, jump, climb and fight like that unless you have been trained for many years in that art form. Ezio didn't have any of the aforementioned and yet he was a better assassin than Altair. He, moved a lot swifter and was more agile. I simply couldn't get that!
Commented on 2010-08-25 11:46:59
@Cheboury: Sorry I didn't mean to be rude, I just can't comprehend all this sheer hatred for this character. :)

As for his development, actually we're shown that being a rascal he's quite apt at fighting (if only with bare hands) and running/climbing (to get into girls' beds as we see ;P). Furthermore, he starts to fight with weapons effectively only when his uncle actually trains him for a few years (we can see that between a chapter and the next the years going forward). But I totally can understand if this doesn't feel right for you. Really, I just wanted to express my opinion, not bash yours! :)
Commented on 2010-08-25 16:10:29
@Zarkan: You have to be the nicest guy on this block!:-) You weren't rude, far from it! It's just that I thought you were clear about you view on Ezio in your first post. The point of discussion between Ezio and Altair is a moot one! I also realize that as gamers we should be able to share our opinion with each other. You have valid points for sure... and i should be the one apologizing. By all means, speak your mind if that is your conviction!
Commented on 2010-08-25 16:42:33
Ezio outfit > Altair outfit!!

Ezio wins!
Commented on 2010-08-25 17:38:43

....Ezio's talk will consist in taking out 12 Borgia towers in order to weaken the power and influence of the clan.
Reminds awkwardly of AC1 with its simple objective of assassinating 9 people. Let's hope that all of these towers will be quite different from one another.

Ps. SPELLING ERROR!!! I think "talk" is supposed to mean "task" ;)

About the game


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