Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Preview for Xbox 360

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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood screenshot
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood screenshot

Bonuses are shelled out based on the particular quality of assassination. From drop kills to silent hits, mid-air murders and revenge snuffs, each flavour of slaying has its own rewards. At the other end of the spectrum, fewer points are awarded if the other player is aware you're after them. Run at them through a crowd in the middle of the street, and you're in for a lower score.

The second mode, Alliance, sets you up in three teams of two. Essentially a team-based variation of Wanted, your aim is to track down one team of assassins as another duo attempts to take you out. The problem in this mode so far is that the game doesn't really encourage you to change your style of play from the previous one, despite the fact that you're now in a team. Sure, you can gain bonuses by playing together - either by stunning your target simultaneously, going in for a kill simultaneously or stunning your victim before your team-mate finishes them off - but working together can prove difficult.

Both modes give you the option of choosing from one of nine potential characters: the Prowler, the Barber, the Doctor, the Priest, the Courtesan, the Noble, Engineer, the Executioner and the Smuggler. Despite the suggested diversity, they're all essentially the same - equal in strength despite having different character-specific weapons and fancy kill animations. Alliance forces both team-members to choose the same character. There's some method to it, to be fair. Before the game begins you're shown who you will be after and who will be after you - two easy-enough-to-remember photos of faces you'll be able to spot in a crowd. The rub is that this setup makes every attempt to join forces with your partner extremely bloody obvious. Encircle your target as you plan for a quick stun-and-kill, and you inevitably look like a partnership of twin maniacs who stand out like a sore thumb. You'll ask yourself, "I wonder if these two identical doctors are going to try and syringe me to death?". And the answer will be yes, because they almost always will be.

Attempting to succeed as a team is noticeably slower than working on your own, because you're pushed to anticipate the next move of not two teams but three. "Who is following me?" you'll ponder "Is that my target over there? What the hell is Dave doing on that roof?" The result in my playthrough was a gradual split between team members. We may have started off going after the same target but we inevitably went our own way, running off after individual targets who themselves had split off from their team, and attempting to get to them before our team-mate took them out and got the points for himself.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood screenshot

What you end up being faced with is a slight variation of Wanted, with both its brilliantly stealth-riddled qualities as well as its frustrations. Unfortunately the problematic issue in Wanted is the same thing that fuels its basis as a cat and mouse game: It can get bloody frustrating finding the correct target to assassinate. Your primary tool here is an indicator that points you in the general direction of the player, starting out as a thin line that grows in width as you approach your target and filling out as a full disc when you are standing beside them. It can be annoyingly inexact at times; your target might be standing behind that wall over there, but the indicator won't be able to distinguish between him or the three NPCs standing directly in front of you. Kill a citizen and you'll lose the contract, and be told to hunt another player elsewhere.

On the one hand it becomes a matter of cleverly trying to spot the human traits of your targets amongst a group of NPCs, rather than simply following an arrow to an objective. But within a 10-minute game session it's tasking to stop and analyse the characters in front of you just to successfully make the kill. But the foibles are easy to ignore. It's still early days for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and regardless of the slight difficulties it offers some fantastically interesting multiplayer.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer beta for PS3 is available now. The full game will arrive on PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 19.

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clangod's Avatar

clangod@ Clockpunk

I believe there is a single player campaign which is a follow on from AC2. I'm pretty sure from memory that in involves a more detailed Rome and has added features such as the ability to ride horses through the city streets and you can recruit/ order your 'gang' members to take out assassination targets and guards etc.

I think most people expect a tacked on piece but reports say that it's a rather large campaign in its own right...
Posted 11:01 on 28 September 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ clangod

ABsolutely - the close watching and more subversive elements make it sound like a fun game indeed - got my preorder in!

I assume there is no single player campaign, but all multiplayer?
Posted 09:13 on 28 September 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ SexyJams

I'm really interested to see how it all eventuates myself Jams. I suppose I just like the idea of a more "psycological" game (for want of a better term). You don't just turn a corner and be the first of two players to press the trigger button. The appeal is in the hunt. Based on the preview it seems that they're on the right track with it but ultimately it could go horribly wrong. Fingers crossed.
Posted 01:13 on 28 September 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Just been listening to your opinions on the podcast, this was a complimenting read.
I think this is the sort of online I'd really enjoy. At least it's something different right?
Posted 21:00 on 27 September 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 19/11/2010
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 1,077 39
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