Assasssin's Creed 2 was a major success and game of the year contender for 2009, continuing the saga of the assassins against the templars in brilliant fashion. Initially, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was a disappointment. Fans were expecting a new setting with new characters in a new time period. They also weren't expecting a game so soon. They felt cheated, as though Ubisoft were trying to simply cash in on an already successful game engine.
VG Chartz went behind closed doors to see how the newest installment in the Assassin's Creed franchise is playing out as well as getting some hands-on time with the new multiplayer features. One thing is certain, Ubisoft definitely isn't phoning in Brotherhood.
The demo for the single-player began with the same trailer shown at the Ubisoft press conference, with Ezio heading toward a church as a carriage exits. Guards attempt to stop him but they are mowed down by arrows from afar. As the villain exits the carriage with armed guards, more assassin's come up to aid Ezio, evening the odds.
It then fades to a scene of Ezio in bed with a woman when the villa falls under attack. The first new feature of Brotherhood is then shown off as Ezio rides his horse through the town surrounding his villa toward the wall.
He then climbs the outer walls of the villa and mans the cannons to stave off enemy cannons and siege towers. Eventually a siege tower breaks through and Ezio has to engage in combat. The combat system has been rethought to be more action oriented rather than feeling like a minigame. Bonuses in combat are awarded for striking early and fast. Kill combos will positively affect your ability in combat as well.
The main location of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is then revealed to be Rome, which will be more than three times the size of Florence from Assassin's Creed 2. Rome will feature many famous locations such as The Parthenon.
The final single-player feature displayed in the demonstration was the ability to call upon your brotherhood of assassins. This can be something as simple as killing a single opponent on a roof to taking out a line of several guards with arrows from the rooftops. They actually showed a recreation of the E3 trailer done in actual gameplay, calling in fellow assassins to fight the new enemy type: The Swiss Guard.
Off we were then to get some hands-on time with the multiplayer aspect of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. This honestly left me feeling very mixed. The mode they made available to us gave you a target while another player was targeting you. Points are earned for killing your target, particularly with style. Points are also earned for successfully evading a predator to the point their contract is cancelled. The problem here lies in successfully being stealthy against a human opponent.
For instance, I once was stalking a target while hiding in a bale of hay. They were heading straight for me, but then starting taking a wide berth around the hay bale. As they passed, I jumped out of the hay and right into the arms of my predator. Even though I had remained invisible on his radar, he visually saw me dive into the hay and waited for me to come back out. The game mechanics gave me no way of knowing he was near.
The other problem I had was a lack of countermeasure. The developer later told me there are smoke bombs that stun predators and a pushing tactic in case your predator confronts you face to face. The problem was I never knew I was about to die until the blade was in my back. The whole multiplayer process feels like a great idea that really hasn't come to fruition successfully yet.
Nevertheless, I paid $60 for Assassin's Creed 2 without multiplayer and the single player portion of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is shaping up to be a familiar and yet vastly improved experience, estimated to clock in at a bit over 15 hours of story. Here's hoping they get the multiplayer component up to the standard set by the rest of the game.