AC Brotherhood started out taking a page from the Uncharted series. Not only does Nolan North voice Nathan Drake, he also is the voice for Desmond Miles. The opening scene where he’s running around with Lucy (Kristen Bell) is almost ripped out of an Uncharted game, the characters are constantly quipping back and forth as they make their way through the caves.
That style of gameplay, which is more commonplace now, was definitely at it’s infancy in this game. They only really had that style of interaction during that one scene, which is a shame. It definitely would have taken a lot more work to do that for the majority of missions, mostly because Ezio is a lone wolf most of the time.
Playing this game and the 2nd one back to back, the first thing you notice when you’re in the animus is that the team at Ubisoft discovered more colors while creating the sequel. Coming into Rome and running around, the environment is just more saturated with colors, this really makes the world seem more vibrant and alive. Everything in the previous game was just a drab brown in the end.
The map is just a singular open space this time, which I do actually appreciate, I didn’t really like all the mini ones from the last game. My biggest complaint about the map design this time are the large islands of land toward the south of the map that can only be reached through one road going up to it. This means that if you come at it from the wrong side you have to circle all the way around, find the road leading up to it and then navigate from there, why couldn’t you just scale the rocks on the outside? So annoying and just a bit of a waste of time.
The city design is starting to move to a more natural layout, it’s less of the maze like design of the last game, which is definitely welcome. A big inclusion to this city is that there are a lot more stairs and changes in height to the main streets, this just helps in making navigation feel more interesting and less repetitive.
No longer do you have a villa to update and earn income from, now it’s simply the city of Rome, you burn down Borgia towers and renovate art stalls or armor stalls and the like. All the while earning a steady revenue from all your properties that can be picked up at the bank. Of course, I started doing this and would leave the PS4 running so that I could collect money while not playing the game.
The game really started out feeling fresh, I liked the new city building system, growing my income and doing story missions. The thing that started to kill this game for me in the long run was that I was going for the platinum trophy in it. Which meant that I would have to get 100% sync in all the missions in the game. This included not only the story missions but the side missions for all the guilds in the game, which kind of sucks just a little bit if i’m being honest. If that wasn’t enough, the mission designs were just repetitive. So it really made going for the platinum a bit of a chore, besides having to do the normal collect 100 flags for whatever reason Ubisoft mission thing.
I had the same issues with the controls from the last game, where my character sometimes just wouldn’t do the things I wanted him to do, and the frustration really sets in when that happens during a mission where i’m going for 100% sync in and Ezio fucks up and I have to restart the mission from scratch because Ezio is an idiot.
I enjoyed the ability to freeflow assassinate motherfuckers in this game, you parry an attack and then can just stream together a one hit kill on every person in range, if you’re skilled enough that is. This makes dealing with groups a lot better and made the combat more enjoyable overall. Towards the end of my time with the game I also started enjoying Ezio’s other tools, like the throwing knifes, where he’d target multiple targets and just one hit kill them with it, made dealing with some groups a lot easier for sure.
The story was good, but going for the platinum (again) kind of ruined it for me. I had to take large pauses in continuing to go do side missions and the like, even though I really didn’t have to do that since it was all open to me after beating the main story. It’s just how I play games is all. We finally got to see this fat bastard die though, so there’s peace in that.
Some of the side missions are really touching though, when you go back into Ezio’s past and are doing little side stories that seem to be missing from the first game. It fills out his relationship with Christina and what happened to his family members bodies after they were hanged. Pretty touching stuff for an AC game.
It was cool at the end to finally get the Apple of Eden and to actually be able to wield it in combat, killing people instantly.
Desmond and the gang were finally able to find the Apple in the present day, but that led to Desmond stabbing Kristen Bell in the stomach because the ancient precursor lady made him do it? It’s all very confusing and I’m sure it will all be spelled out so that I’ll understand it in the next game, right?
Final Score – 7.8
Original Release – 16 Nov 2010
This game is a slow iterative process of improvements from the last game, which is an interesting thing to see and play. I did enjoy the game, but some of the issues I had with it held it down a bit. I’m not expecting that much of an improvement with the 3rd game of Ezio. Having played all these games, almost a decade ago, I’ve forgotten a lot about them, but every once in a while i’ll recognize something or other, those are usually the more standout pieces in the game. The more memorable ones. Perhaps as a game designer, those would be the moments to focus on and really try to expand on. Hopefully creating a game that is only made of that.