Gamescom 2010: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Single Player PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Aug 18, 2010
What We Know: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood continues the story of present day Desmond Miles and Renaissance Italy’s Ezio Auditore as they both battle the ever present Templars across time. This time around it’s all about the group dynamic of leading a band of assassins, and for this Ezio will have to recruit and manage a “brotherhood” of killers to take the fight to the Templars on their home turf, Rome.
What We’re Seeing Now: For Gamescom 2010, Ubisoft focused on two key features of the game’s story mode: rebuilding Rome and managing your brotherhood. Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day, but Ezio and his crew can cause some pretty significant changes in a relatively short amount of time. However, actually bringing about these changes requires a bit of work.
Rome is divided into sections, and each section is controlled by a member of the dominant family in Rome, the Borgias. Each section has a Borgia tower that represents that particular Borgias’ influence over the surrounding area. Before Ezio can change things (open new stores, beautify the city, boost the status of the citizenry, etc.), he must eliminate each section’s Borgia leader and destroy their tower.
Our demo started with Ezio leaping off a rooftop, assassinating some poor sucker on his horse, and riding the newly acquired equine to recruit a new assassin to help clear the nearest tower. After helping the new recruit dispatch a gang of guards, Ezio adopted the new assassin in training. There is a deep leveling up system for your assassins, and since you have to send them to run errands for you, you have to be careful that you aren’t asking too much of them, especially if their skill level isn’t quite enough to complete the job, or they haven't ranked up enough to unlock newer, stronger abilities. After all, when a member of your brotherhood is killed, they are dead for good, and you have to find a fresh recruit to replace them.
You can manage up to six batches of two assassins (so 12 total), but you can only use three pairs at any one time. To demonstrate just how badass it is to call for backup, the Ubisoft rep marked two nearby guards, tapped a button, and almost immediately, two assassins appeared out of nowhere and dropped down from nearby rooftops onto the heads of the unsuspecting guards. Your crews will continue to fight foes as long as there are foes to fight. Once all enemies have been disposed of, your assassins will disappear, and you’ll have to wait until your team tokens refill before you call them for help again.
Once the nearest batch of guards were disposed of, and their bodies properly looted (Ubisoft explained that dead bodies in the game are basically “shops” that provide you with weapons and health without having to trek to the nearest shop or merchant), it was time to take on the tower. The fighting in Brotherhood is much more about the offensive than previous installments, and favors a “strike first, strike fast” approach, and knowing you can call in reinforcements gives the combat another appreciated layer.
After assassinating the Borgia leader, Ezio climbed to the top of the tower and blew it to pieces as he dove off into a pile of hay, naturally. From there, Ezio was free to open the merchant shop he had been unable to open before. We didn’t a chance to see the long term effects of Ezio’s good deed, but Ubisoft explained that eventually, the newly “freed” areas, and eventually the entire city of Rome, will take on a new, vibrant look, as will the citizenry.
Ubisoft also showed off a couple of new acrobatic moves for Ezio (e.g. being able to horse jack people from the air, or jumping from your moving horse onto a wall/climbable object), as well as one of Ezio’s many new toys, compliments of Leonardo da Vinci: an improvised parachute that can be sprung to float your way out of a tight spot or to just make for a really dramatic exit.
While much attention has been rightfully given to Brotherhood’s multiplayer mode, AC fans should not forget that significant changes and improvements have been made to the single-player campaign as well, in the hopes of making Brotherhood the most complete and rewarding experience in the franchise to date. We'll find out if it pays off when the game ships November 16.