Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, the latest installment in the popular Assassin's Creed franchise, hits the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this week, just in time for the holiday rush. So how does Brotherhood stack up to its predecessors? Well, for one, unlike previous Creed games, Brotherhood allows you to recruit a small cabal of fellow Assassins, and wreak havoc and mayhem around the towers of medieval Rome.
Over at Canada's National Post, Daniel Kaszor says the recruiting format – which gives the game its suffix – can be a blast. "It’s hard to overstate how awesome it feels to be outmatched by a group of Templar guards and to call in an assassination strike with the press of one button," he writes. But gamers should take care, Kaszor stresses: Once a member of your brotherhood dies, he or she is dead for good.
Ezio Auditore, the hero of last Creed games, is again the center of the action in Brotherhood, but Peter Nowak of CBC News says you shouldn't expect a pale rehashing of the action in Assassin's Creed 2. "All of the goodies from the second game are here," Nowak writes, "and the economic system has been broadened from simply improving a villa to rebuilding Rome entirely."
In Brotherhood, Nowak notes, "Ezio must spend his florins buying and renovating stables, banks, blacksmiths and even landmarks such as the Pantheon." The game experience is immersive and dynamic. And yet, Nowak writes, "for all of the improvements over previous versions, it’s disappointing that Ubisoft hasn’t fixed the often-wonky combat system."
He points specifically to the "unreliable" lock-on feature, which makes it "very difficult for Ezio to retreat from a fight or to pick a correct target... The result is that well-planned fights and assassinations can often go awry, leading to much frustration."
In a 9.25-out-of-10 review in Game Informer – the review is not online – Matt Miller echoes Nowak's complaints about the combat system. But he says that the story in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a riveting one. "Filled with new gameplay, storylines, mechanical improvements, and multiplayer, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is far more than an expansion."
Instead, he says, it's a game full of "new thrills. The series remains one of the most exciting properties in video games, and Brotherhood fills an essential step in the plot as the conspiracy-laden story continues."