by / December 1st, 2010 /

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (X360, PS3)

Taking up immediately after its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed II, left off, Brotherhood plunges the player back into the life and times of Ezio Auditore, at the start of the 16th Century, as he bids for revenge against the dastardly Borgia family, led by the power-hungry Cesare and his vampish sister, Lucrezia.

When the Borgia attack his family home at Monteriggioni, killing his beloved uncle in the process, Ezio plots revenge on the Rome-based family, hooking up with a variety of allies, including the scheming (obviously) Machiavelli, king of the thieves, La Volpe, and our old inventor pal, Leonardo DaVinci.

The gameplay isn’t massively different to both previous games in the series, with similar panoramic views, climbing sequences and exploration, but the developers have upped the ante again in terms of the variety of missions in the story mode, with everything from flirting with flower sellers to fixing cannons, and a few very memorable sequences, including firing one of Leonardo’s machine-guns at squadrons of mounted cavalry while racing down country lanes pulled by a team of horses or negotiating the dome of the Pantheon without being spotted in order to assassinate and impersonate a Borgia treasure guard or the innate sense of satisfaction inherent in taking out a rotund banker in the midst of an orgy-esque party (particularly satisfying in today’s straitened Ireland).

As you progress, you also unlock the ability to add other citizens to the Assassins’ cause, creating the ‘brotherhood’ of the title, and you can then deploy your team of knife and sword wielding killers any time you get in trouble, which is extremely handy. You also get to purchase various stores and places of historical interest around the city, once you have freed them from the influence of the Borgia towers, by killing the commander of said tower and then setting it alight, in the process freeing the populace from the influence of the powerful family.

Add in a running battle with the vulpine Followers of Romulus, some action-packed present day sequences where you play as Desmond, the latest Assassin recruit (and descendant of Ezio and his predecessor from the first game, Altair), and the sheer joy of exploring the wonderfully detailed and vast city of Rome, and you have another hugely enjoyable game, with hours of playing time.