Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is, in my opinion, the best game in the series and it’s one of my favorite games of all-time. The game has been out for over five years, but Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is still a must-play, and is worth picking up digitally or if you happen to stumble upon a copy. Here are some reasons why:
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Was the Pinnacle of the Series
I have a love/hate relationship with the Assassin’s Creed games. I love the historic settings. I love the feeling of becoming a badass Assassin. I love the combat. I love the parkour. I love the basic mechanics of the game. The earlier games had an amazing and rich story to be told and I still find enjoyment in going back and playing the first few.
I hate that it became a repetitive yearly saga that lost what made it so amazing about it in the first place. They’ve used the same cookie cutter formula in multiple games year after year that has become boring and tedious to play through. The main character goes through something dramatic, something bad happens, then he goes out for revenge as an Assassin because the person who made the bad thing happen was a Templar all along.
Recent Assassin’s Creed games go up and down in quality. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag rejuvenated the series, Unity was a very noticeable step-down, and Syndicate proved that the series might not be on its last legs just yet. It was a relief when Ubisoft announced that they would be taking this year off. It gives the series a chance to rest, catch its breath, and evaluate what made the series great in the first place, much if which is in place in Assassin’s Creed II, but refined to perfection in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
Brotherhood is set directly after the events of AC:II. Ezio returns to Monteriggioni with one of the Apples of Eden, comforted by the fact that his personal vendetta is over. Monteriggioni is then attacked by the Borgias, and Ezio’s uncle, Mario, is killed by Cesare Borgia. Realizing that there is a bigger threat at hand, and due to the fact that the Borgias now possess the Apple, Ezio heads to Rome to rebuild the Assassins Guild there.
While in many ways Brotherhood does follow the same cookie cutter plot outlined above, it just does all of these things exponentially better than most other Assassin’s Creed games. The story features amazing, poignant moments, such as the mission in which you must prevent an assassination attempt in the ruins of the Roman Colosseum during a play about the death of Jesus Christ. This entire mission is intense and memorable. The atmosphere is hard to explain, and must be experienced and played to truly be appreciated.
The gameplay in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is exceptional. It introduced a new mechanic to the already fantastic combat from AC:II, chain attacks. This new feature makes the combat flow exceptionally well, and you will feel like the highly-trained assassin Ezio is supposed to be as you mow down baddies one after another. A shining example of how well this works is in an early story mission where you are set to meet Niccolò Machiavelli in some of the ruins that are scattered around Rome. When you arrive, Machiavelli is not there and you are attacked by numerous members of The Followers of Romulus, a sect of powerful warriors employed by the Borgias to take out the Assassins. It is the most satisfying feeling to kill one, move on to the next, then the next, until you have completely eliminated your would-be killers.
Perhaps the greatest contribution Brotherhood made to the Assassin’s Creed franchise was the introduction of Apprentices. This fantastic new mechanic was innovative, fun to use and, and provided a much-needed metagame and long-term gameplay loop. These recruits are citizens of Rome who you must rescue from the Borgias. Once you do so, they join you and become apprentice Assassins in training. You can use these apprentices to assassinate targets or incapacitate guards. You can also send them out on missions of their own across Europe to fulfill contracts to gain experience, money, and objects. Eventually, they can be leveled up to become fully fledged Assassins.
As Ubisoft looks to return the Assassin’s Creed franchise to its former glory, they would do well to remember what made Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood so exceptional. The story, the gameplay, and the metagame all came together to make the game unmatched by any other in the series. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is available now on Steam, and used copies are easy to come by, so if you are a fan of the series or action games in general, you owe it to yourself to play this game.