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- New multiplayer mode
- Two gaming modes: Wanted and Alliance
- Fights are still pretty automated
"Assassin's Creed Brotherhood - Full Preview"
Set to hit the shelves only one year after the release of Assassins Creed 2 (November 2009), it may seem unlikely that Ubisoft’s next title in the series -Assassins Creed Brotherhood- is likely to be passed off as a successful sequel. However, having viewed multiple trailers and interviews with the Montreal team, it looks like Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassins Creed game is going to blow gamers away; again.
Ok, let’s be sure of this; Assassins Creed Brotherhood is not Assassins Creed 3. It does, however, continue the story of Desmond Miles in the present day and of Ezio Auditore in renaissance Italy. For those who jumped into the series with Assassins Creed 2, this may seem more than slightly confusing. Fully Fledged Assassins who have been with the series since its birth in the crusades will know that Assassins Creed 3 will have a different protagonist, setting and year: It’s just how things work. Think of Brotherhood as the next chapter in an epic television series.
In Brotherhood, we follow Ezio to the eternal city of Rome as he continues to fight the Borgia. This does seem like a slightly cheap storyline seeing as Ezio spilled enough Borgia blood to fill the Roman Aqueducts in Assassins Creed 2. Personally though, I’m not worried because it’s the same team who thought up the first epic chapter of Ezio’s life who are bringing us the second.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, it looks like much has been added in many areas of the game such as an
improved the combat system, an expanded weapons cache and new exotic game play experiences. Having said this, the core elements of the game play are pretty much the same as in its predecessors and so for those who disliked the style of Assassin’s Creed 2; it is unlikely that you’ll find yourself attracted to this new release.
For those who are unfamiliar with the series, Assassins Creed is the story of Desmond Miles, a man who – through various circumstances – has to relive the memories of his assassin ancestors in a machine called the Animus. At first he is held prisoner and forced to do this by a modern-day templar company known as Abstergo, but later he uses the animus by choice in order to fight Abstergo.
Assassins Creed is a sandbox, open-world game. The main elements of game play consist of parkor movements and social stealth that give the gamer a wide variety of ways to approach each objective thrown at them. The game play is designed in a way which enables you to make it your own: some gamers are tactical; they plan every eventuality that they can predict before acting. Others throw themselves into the action and have to depend on their initiative and use the environment to their advantage in order to survive.
The majority of Brotherhood is set in the City of Rome where players will be free to interact with almost everything they can touch: Every surface rendered in the game is interactive; every member of the city will react to your movements; you can make use of an economic system and even affect the look of the buildings, social standards and sky that surrounds you! For those who really enjoyed renovating the Auditore Villa in Assassins Creed 2, this is taken a step further in Brotherhood as the entire of the Eternal City is available for reconstruction! This will involve more than just earning the money to build better houses, but will require the player to physically “remove” the Borgia influence in each district of the city.
For those horse-loving assassins out there, you’ll be very relieved to hear that – because Rome is so big (three times the size of Florence in AC2) – you can now ride inside the city. What’s more is that the horse-game play has been greatly improved: You’ll be able to fight other horsemen, perform assassinations onto and off a horse, fire ranged weapons whilst riding and give orders to your brotherhood from the saddle.
It seems that the motto for combat in Brotherhood is “strike first and strike fast”. The idea behind this is that there will be much less waiting around for your opponents to strike in order for you to – in turn - perform a deadly counter attack. Guards will surround Ezio and butcher him if he doesn’t take the offensive. When he does though, the guards don’t seem to stand much of a chance! The hidden gun can now be used in combo moves with the sword. It may seem over the top to stab a guard in the face whilst simultaneously shooting the one advancing behind, but there’s no doubt about it; you’re going to feel badass doing it!
As well as a deadly new set of combat moves, there are also new weapons for the player to enjoy. Combining the ideas of the hidden gun and poison blade, players will now be able to fire poisoned projectiles from their wrist. As with the poison blade, these projectiles will cause their victims to flail their arms around and die a slow, dramatic death; which will be useful when creating a distraction from a distance at times when it is too risky to get close to your enemies. Another weapon to look forward to is the crossbow. Ever since Ubisoft displayed it in the release trailer for Assassins Creed 1 without actually including it in the game, almost every Creed fan has craved it. Finally it’s here, but is it actually necessary? Not that I’m against new weapons being added to the series (after all, what do you add to an Assassins Creed game if not more ways to assassinate?!), but with a pistol, poison gun, throwing knives and the ability to throw weapons, it does seem like you won’t be spoiled for choice when taking enemies out from a distance!
In Assassins Creed 2 we got to ride a chariot and terrify quite a few venetians by piloting Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying machine. In Brotherhood, not only are they both returning with improvements, but we get to blow the Borgia’s resistance to smithereens with a bunch of Da Vinci’s war machines such as a highly destructive boat, tank and cannon. I can’t wait!
Leonardo will also supply Ezio with a parachute. This will be a particularly useful tool when a player is trying to reach the highest points in Rome, because slips that would have sent Ezio plunging to his death in Assassins Creed 2 can be rescued with a gentle decent to the ground. Naturally, you can also drop from the parachute and aerial assassinate. Altair would be proud.
In Brotherhood we see the return of the “save citizen” scenarios that were featured in the original Assassins Creed. However this time, there is much more to it. This is where the “brotherhood” element fits in. The game takes place at the beginning of the fifteen hundreds, a time where Rome was crumbling in neglect and corruption under the Borgia influence. In order to free the people and be rid of the Borgia once and for all, Ezio will need others who will help fight for his cause. Throughout the city of Rome the player will encounter many citizens who are being hassled and oppressed by the Borgia guards. By helping these men and women, the player will gain valuable allies who will join the Assassins guild. You can then train these rebels by sending them off into Europe to perform assassinations which will give them the experience they need to eventually become your own, personal assassins and fight by your side.
Assassins Creed Brotherhood offers a 15 hour singleplayer experience, with very replay-able game play and additional, secondary objectives that will provide players with many more hours assassinating.
All in all, Assassins Creed Brotherhood looks like a valuable and exciting new addition to the series. It isn’t necessary to have played either of the previous games in the series in order to enjoy the game, but I do recommend it as they are highly story-driven games and you will get more out of Brotherhood if you have. Although the story mode is shorter by several hours than that of its predecessor, I feel that this is very much forgiven by something new and extremely exciting that nobody expected to appear in the series quite so soon…multiplayer.
Release trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzNs4-kRLaE
Gameplay trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU3lLlALCuk&amp;amp;feature=channel
E3 Singleplayer walkthrough: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTAn0VmLHU8&amp;amp;feature=related
For the first time in the series, Ubisoft bring us an Assassins Creed multiplayer experience. Considering the style of the singelplayer gameplay, it is hard to visualise how the core gameplay elements are translated into a multiplayer game mode. There was a strong likelihood that this multiplayer, like so many others, would not fulfill expectations and would be a cheap imitation of Call of Duty’s epic multiplayer style. However the playstation-plus beta (demo) version of the game was not met by gamers with disappointment. In fact, I have heard only good things said about it and it was winner of this year’s E3 Best Multiplayer award.
The concept behind the multiplayer is that you are working for Abstergo (the modern day templars who fight the assassins) and in order to fight Desmond and his team, you are learning the necessary skills by experiencing them in the animus through the uploaded memories of templar ancestors. This is a nice twist because it means that in the singleplayer of Brotherhood you will be fighting the templars, whereas in the multiplayer you’ll be working for them.
The game designers transferred everything players love about Assassins Creed games and placed it almost directly into a multiplayer scenario. Anyone who has previously played Assassins Creed will be able to pick up a controller and be pretty successful without any training or instructions. Ubisoft have managed to develop a completely new and innovative style of multiplayer, the likes of which has never been seen before.
Shown above are a few examples of the characters you’ll get to play as. So far there have been fifteen of them revealed all of them will be aesthetically customizable to some extent. Each one has a unique signature weapon and arsenal of killing moves. In addition to the above five there is a knight, blacksmith, thief, smuggler, officer, footpad, barber, engineer, noble and priest (the officer and harlequin characters are only available when you pre-order from particular dispatchers).
At this moment in time, there have only been two game modes revealed: alliance and wanted. Currently only a brief preview of alliance gameplay has been shown and all we know is that it involves working as a team to help hunt two other groups of assassins. Wanted mode, however, has been revealed in much greater depth.
All the fundamental ideas of Assassins Creed are present in the multiplayer, whilst also introducing the new element of being not only the hunter, but the hunted. In wanted mode, you work as a lone wolf, hunting those who you have assassination contracts on whilst surviving those who have contracts on you. Wanted is not to be confused with the typical “free for all” multiplayer game mode that most games have to offer; there is much more to it than that. If you run around like a madman killing everyone that you see it will be impossible to achieve victory. Firstly, you are only permitted to kill your allocated targets, as killing civilians will result in contract cancellation. Secondly, charging about and stabbing each of your targets is not likely to be a very successful tactic either because they will see you coming, escape and earn points for evading you, thus decreasing your chances of winning the match. The best way to approach your targets will be to make use of all the social stealth elements that game provides and make sure that you aren’t seen until your blade is in your target’s back. The higher quality your kill, the more points you will be rewarded; however the better you are doing in a particular game (i.e. the number of points you have), the more assassins that will have contracts on you.
Navigation in the game is easy. At the bottom of the screen there is a blue disc/ compass/ radar beacon. A blue light occupies the disc at the angle you need to turn to locate your target and it will glow as you enter their line of site – warning you not to give yourself away through socially unnatural behavior (i.e. running). As the distance between assassin and target decreases, the light widens around the disc. Light fills the disc when the assassin is within striking distance of the target. When being chased a red arrow will appear at the edge of the radar, moving around it on a 360 degree axis to pinpoint the direction of the pursuer. To aid your escape there are chase breakers (for example: gates that close after you’ve run through them) positioned around the city and hiding spots (i.e. hay bales).
ABILITIES, PERKS AND KILLSTREAKS
The leveling up system is structured similarly to the standard experience-points based progression that is used in other multiplayer games. The more you play, the more experience points you will gain which will ultimately raise your rank and provide you with more abilities, perks and killstreak rewards for your different assassin loadouts.
Unlocking new abilities, perks and kill streak rewards has been such a successful rewards system in other multiplayer games that it would have been stupid for Ubisoft to ignore it. Earning these new gadgets and abilities gives players a new layer of interest and something to work towards. What’s nice about the abilities in Assassins Creed Brotherhood is that they’re all unique to the game and are therefore a splash of cold, refreshing water in the face for gamers who are used to the perks offered in Call of Duty.
Players will be able to load out each of their assassin classes with two perks, abilities and killstreak rewards to take into the game session with them.
Many abilities are useful when escaping from your pursuers:
The morph ability will target every NPC at close proximity and make them assume the form of the player, thus hiding them in the crowd and making it very difficult for an assassin to know which one to assassinate.
Similar to this, when being chased it will be useful to initiate the decoy ability which will send out an NPC replica of the user that will run in the opposite direction and – hopefully – confuse the pursuer. If the decoy is successful and the purser kills the innocent instead of the player they will have their contract on them cancelled and the player will earn reward points for the escape.
The speedboost ability will greatly increase the player’s speed, an ability that will be invaluable when narrowing the gap between yourself and your target in a chase, or for a quick escape. However it only lasts for five seconds and takes a full minute to recharge the ability.
There will be many other unlockable abilities and perks available in the game and some of these will be weapons such as the hidden gun, throwing knives, the poison blade and smoke bomb.
It does look like Ubisoft have managed to craft a fun, exciting and creative multiplayer for the Assassins Creed series. How long it will distract hardcore FPS gamers remains to be seen, but remember; it is the first of its kind so there’s plenty of time for it grow and flourish over the next few years leading up to the release of Assassins Creed 3.
First full multiplayer trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf-e0QvmXAQ&amp;amp;feature=player_embedded#!
Comic-con trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap4WzOCbb08&amp;amp;feature=player_embedded#!
E3 multiplayer walkthrough: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_umJ8WfCWdg&amp;amp;feature=related
Written by Matthew Walpole
- 16 Oct 2010
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