Click here for the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Walkthrough
Return to the Italian Renaissance for the second part of Ezio’s story. Stride through the cobbled streets of Rome. The Pantheon rises to my left, majestic and ancient. Citizens crowd around me, providing cover as I move closer to my target. He stands speaking to a group of guards, oblivious to the danger stalking him. His role in the conspiracy is a minor one – hardly worth my notice. But he must pay for his crimes against my family, no matter how indirectly he was involved. I raise my hand in signal. The woman I recruited weeks earlier drops from the rooftop where neither I nor anyone else saw her hiding. Her hidden blade cuts deep into his neck, and the man falls before he knows what has happened. A slowly building roar rolls across the crowd as my trainee leaps onto a nearby horse and gallops off. I turn without a word and melt into the crowd.
Ezio Auditore is a master assassin, but before now his missions were almost always completed in isolation. As its name implies, Brotherhood introduces a new wrinkle. The power Ezio now exerts reaches far beyond what he can touch with his sword or strike with a throwing knife. The Assassins are spreading their influence across an entire continent, and he sits at the head of the movement.
The themes of leadership carry over directly into gameplay. It starts by clearing your enemy’s influence over the city. As you kill the Borgia family’s minions and burn down their fortresses, the populace becomes rebellious and more willing to aid your cause. Particularly angry citizens will even strike back at the villains themselves. Aid these lone rebels, and they’ll join your cause. Once they’ve given you their allegiance, these fervent recruits will act upon your directives, striking from the shadows or leaping into melee at your side. Ezio can also send them out on missions across Europe and Asia to gain experience. When they return, you can upgrade their equipment to create even more powerful allies. The progression system is easy to grasp, and has just enough complexity to be interesting without overshadowing the action proper. By the end, the men and women you pulled from the streets will stand at your side as fully initiated members of the order. These figures are a great addition to the gameplay, if not entirely necessary. They hold their own in melee, or strike targets that are far away with deadly precision. Leveled up assassins not only look cooler, but last longer in a fight as well. Most importantly, the sense of power they offer the player is sensational.
Even without these new brothers and sisters, Ubisoft addressed one of my biggest complaints from the last game – combat. The satisfying action strikes the perfect balance between careful defensive counters of the past games and the new, lethal offensive capabilities. The ability to chain kills gives Ezio an edge that’s hard to beat, but it still takes skill and timing to master. One-strike executions string together in a vicious dance, and combining taps and holds of the attack button let you mix different weapons in one flurry. Every weapon is fun to wield;
I found myself changing up my loadout just to see the masterful animations that accompanied each implement.