Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is essentially Assassin’s Creed 2.5, it was released in November 2010 and is a direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed 2. It is technically not Assassin’s Creed 3 so at this point, they should have removed the traditional numbering system.
Continuing the Story
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood picks up right where number 2 ended, Ezio finishes talking to the glowing apparition who directly addressed Desmond. Uncle Mario comes and gets Ezio moving, we parkour our way out of the Vatican and get the title screen.
And then we go to the present future. Desmond, Lucy, Rebecca Crane, and Shaun Hastings are escaping the clutches of Abstergo to the Auditore estate. Once there they find their way into the underground bunker of the estate, Desmond and Lucy are forced to swim through the sewers to gain entry. Desmond uses his new assassin abilities to manoeuvre through the sewers and later set up the power grid.
Meanwhile, in the Renaissance, Ezio and everyone in the estate is attacked by the Borgia’s, who promptly kill Uncle Mario and bombard the estate. Ezio finds himself wounded and patches himself up before teaming up with some old friends. Bartolomeo and mercenaries, La Volpe and the thieves, and Ezio’s younger sister take over as leader of the courtesans. This sets up the mission of stopping the Borgia’s, avenging Uncle Mario, and recovering the Piece of Eden.
Out With the Old, In With the New
Rodrigo Borgia has been unceremoniously replaced with his son Cesare Borgia. He is the Swayze to Ezio’s Kurt Russel. He’s a cardinal and leader of the Papal Armies, and most importantly young and spry and not Rodrigo Borgia. He and his younger sister are incestuous partners in templar crime. Cesare has enlisted the help of the local cult, the Followers of Romulus, a primitive and aggressive cult that pride themselves on their strength.
All of Ezio’s assignments point him towards assassinating Rodrigo and Cesare. Ezio stops their money flow by killing their banker. Following this, he steals a key from Lucrezia’s boy toy and kills the best killer in Rome, Michelletto Corella. Ezio is then left powerless as he watches Cesare kill Rodrigo. That’s right, Ezio gets murder cucked.
In the aftermath Cesare gets arrested, Rome is free of Borgia reign, and we never heard from them again.
Until we do, Cesare breaks out of prison and heads to Viana, leaving a trail of death and destruction behind him. Having predicted this as the worst-case scenario Ezio meets him there. They fight, they yell and Ezio kills Cesare. Afterwards, Ezio places the piece of Eden in the Temple of Juno for safekeeping.
Back to the present future with Desmond and the gang, they use Ezio’s last sequence to deduce that the Piece of Eden is under the Colosseum. They head there and are greeted by the Temple of Juno, an ancient yet futuristic place full of unseen mechanisms and neon lights. Desmond does some parkour and they get the apple. Juno appears before them, showing Desmond the truth.
Lucy Stilman is a templar double agent that has infiltrated the assassins. Desmond makes the incredibly hard choice and kills Lucy, giving the assassins a chance to survive, plunging himself into a coma. To save Desmond they plug him back into the animus, and that’s where the game ends.
As this is a direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed 2, the gameplay is largely the same. Combat is similar, with two notable exceptions. Heavy weapons can be thrown for an instant kill, however, it leaves you vulnerable as you don’t have a melee weapon until you pick it back up. The hidden gun and throwing knives are now linked to the melee weapon and dagger. This allows for more dynamic movement between long and short-ranged combat.
The starting sequence serves to reset Ezio back to the bare essentials (hidden blade, sword, assassin robes) to give the player a level one starting point. I prefer this as a way to justify a level one starting point and it doesn’t take too long for Ezio to feel as strong as he did at the end of the previous game.
Leonardo’s machines are back as side missions. They did an excellent job in integrating the futuristic machines while still grounding them in the renaissance with tanks made out of wood, a rotary machine gun, a cloth and wood paragliding bomber, and a very large clockwork naval cannon. As a reward for completing these missions, Leonardo will let you buy the climbing glove from him, upgrade your hidden gun with poison darts, and replaces Ezio’s second hidden blade.
All the map collectables are back in force. Instead of assassin tombs, we now have the lairs of Romulus as an optional challenge. It is also not mandatory like it was in the previous game, but it is how you get the best available equipment. The glyphs are back and better than ever. There are extra puzzles and a much more substantial reward at the end with a playable area and some more background information.
The map is perfect, it’s all one large area with fast travel points scattered around. Only Viana is hidden behind a loading screen, leaving Rome a seamless world.
Desmond is also more agile and active outside of the animus, however, the controls are exactly the same as it is for Ezio.
The point of Brotherhood was to introduce the recruit system. As a mentor to the Italy sect of assassins, Ezio is able to recruit Rome’s citizens to fight for the brotherhood and use them in two ways. The main use is in combat and to aid in stealth. It’s possible to use a few commands to order a silent takedown of guards in the area, to fight alongside you, or to rain down a barrage of arrows.
The other way is to get money and resources while levelling the assassins and sending them on missions around the world. You can send one or more assassins on missions of varying difficulty to get rare items and money. This also bolsters the influence of the assassins in other countries. However, the more recruits you send on missions, the fewer recruits you have back in Rome to command. It’s all about balancing the risk with the reward.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a fantastic entry to the series. It could have been a smaller DLC pack for Assassin’s Creed 2, however, it would of hindered the experience. Brotherhood takes its time fleshing out a familiar character in a new world with enough mechanics and story beats to keep the player engaged. I place it at third in the series. It’s fun, engaging, and a more concise experience than some of the other entries.