Review | Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
One Jump Ahead
Format: PS3/Xbox 360 | Genre: Action Adventure | Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Ubisoft | Release date: 19/11/2010 | Price: £39.99
Brendan Caldwell sneaks up on ASSASSIN’S CREED: BROTHERHOOD.
IT’S A conspiracy. Sorry, but it really is time to call bullshit on Assassin’s Creed. After years of silent, knowing glances perhaps it is time for The Truth to come out.
J.J. Abrams has been behind it all along. There, I said it. Someone had to. Why do you think the series keeps raising question after question, without ever answering anything? Why do you get the hairy, unpleasant feeling that it’s all being made up as they go along?
You don’t believe me about J.J. Of course you wouldn’t. Just like you won’t believe he’s been in cahoots with Hideo Kojima to create the biggest wad of paranoid waffle since millions of subliminally affected Freemason agents toasted their copies of The Da Vinci Code in search of a hidden symbol that only reveals itself when it comes into contact with butter and marmalade.
You don’t believe me. That’s fine. You don’t have to. You can’t spell “believe” without putting a “lie” into it anyway. And you can’t make an Assassin’s Creed game without pumping the story full o’ crazy. So here we are again, following Desmond Miles as he taps into the genetic memory of his ancestors through the use of the Animus so that the world can be free of tyranny and y’know, like, whatever.
Luckily Assassin’s Creed has a tradition of compelling characters to make up for the nonsense plot, although these are largely isolated to the Templars – agents of a conspiracy from the controlling upper echelons of society. The main villain of Brotherhood, one Cesare Borgia, is presented superbly. A great example – not just to game developers but to storytellers of all mediums – of how to pluck an interesting historical character and slot him perfectly into their own tale. He’s the personification of bad temper and impatience. Fuelled to the point of collapse by ambition and a sense of entitlement. He is dangerously empowered, militarily strong. At the same time, he’s about as mature as the cherubim engraved on his breastplate. Brotherhood is less a story about the rise of Ezio Auditore and more a story about the downfall of Cesare Borgia.
Oh, but listen to all this. You just want to kill people. What’s the killing people like, you ask. Settle down, Stabby McDeathlunge. I havenae waxed lyrical about Rome yet.
Roma! The city is beautiful. Unfathomable in scale and riddled with fine detail. Walk through any piazza. Beggars reach out for Florins, messengers on horseback rudely stride through the crowd, an old farmer holds his bad back, ambling through a city he doesn’t really like. And that modest looking man varnishes a door. He carefully inspects his work, his nose about as close to the wood as yours is to the TV screen.
The only thing missing from Rome’s streets are the insane guys from the first game who walked about talking to themselves. Supposedly there has been a great breakthrough in mental healthcare in the intervening 300 years.
Right – to killing. Killing is good. You’ll like the killing. It’s all roughly identical to AC2, main missions being centred on assassinating high profile Templar agents. Variety is provided by the side missions, with those granted by Ezio’s old pal Leonardo Da Vinci being the most outlandish. You use a machine gun. You drive a tank. At the rate Ubisoft think 16th century technology advanced it’s surprising the Pope isn’t being followed around by the Football and an entourage of nuclear advisors.