Not much has actually changed in this version of Assassin’s Creed. Ezio has most of his weapons from the beginning with a few slight tweaks including stronger poison, parachute, poison darts (which are a lot of fun to shoot at the enemies by the way), a crossbow and a heavy sheath that allows you to carry larger weapons instead of having to pick them up and drop them. The game is still a free running action adventure sandbox game, but there is no more emphasis on the guilds and a new mechanic in which allows Ezio to train new assassins that he can call and use whenever, with a limit of course.
When you destroy the Borgia towers, I will explain the Borgia later, you can train one assassin per tower for a total of 13 assassins. The player can then send these assassins on missions in order to level them up to what this game calls master assassins. A nice aspect of this is that when there are a lot of enemies you can call in some assassin’s and they easily can take care of the them, take note, it was a whole lot of fun calling in all 7 that I could at a time.
One more change between these two iterations is the combo and fighting system. In Brotherhood you can now dual wield allowing a lot more options during a fight. They have added a whole bunch of new finishing moves and combos to your combat repertoire. There is a lot less bugs in this game as well though I was playing it long after the release so they could have easily patched it by now.
The story continues where AC2 left off. Ezio returns home and decides that his days as an assassin are done and wonders if he should have killed Pope Rodrigo Borgia. Shortly after, Monteriggioni is attacked by Cesare(pronounced Ches – er – á) Borgia (Son of the Pope) and Mario Auditore is killed in the process. Ezio decides to return to Rome and rebuild the Assassin’s Guild/Brotherhood (hey look the name of the game) and take down the Borgia threat. Eventually after about 4 years of destroying Borgia strongholds, resources, and the like, he takes them out of power and discovers the location of the Apple of Eden that was taken from Leonardo da Vinci.
The whole reason for Desmund to follow this time period of Ezio’s life is in order to find the location of the Apple of Eden themselves and the Grand Temple. The characters in this game are a lot stronger than in the AC2; in fact the Pope’s kids even have an incestuous relationship that drives Cesare in trying to conquer all of Italy. These characters were all based on actual historic people which makes the story even more compelling.
I didn’t talk much about controls in the last review so I figured I should make a mention of how this game is played on PC. A lot of the controls rely on a mix of 4 or 5 different keys. While in combat and locked onto an enemy, if you hold the right mouse button down you will parry an attack. However right after you parry, if you click the left mouse button you proceed to do a counter attack which (unless the enemy is especially good at defending against) will do a finishing move that will kill that enemy.
If immediately after your finishing move you click the left mouse button again and a direction, you can do another finishing move that will continue until you either miss or run out of enemies you can perform the move on, this is called a chain attack. Also, using ‘Q’ allows you to change your weapons and pressing spacebar while holding the right mouse button will kick your enemies. When you are in free run mode, right mouse does a sort of fast run and holding space allows you to scale walls and move faster up said walls. The shift key allows you to drop while climbing and if you are falling, it also allows you to catch a ledge and stop. These are most of the standard controls apart from ‘wasd’ to move around and mouse to look around.
As for the graphics they are still very nice, even for a 2-3 year old game and are a slight improvement over the second game. On top of that, the architecture of the buildings and the design of Rome was very well done and close to that of what Rome might have been like in the early 16th century. The sound and voice acting is still top notch and is over looked in a game like this where the voice actors have to try and use strong accents and mix the languages between English, Old Italian and French.
Overall this is a much improved game, however it felt to me like the story just didn’t stick with me as well as AC2 or Revelations (which was my favorite out of the trilogy).