Assassins Creed Brotherhood is Ubisoft’s newest entry in the Assassins Creed series, but it is not a sequel. The game carries on the story of Ezio Auditore da Firenze (best name ever) and retains the renaissance Italy setting of Assassins Creed 2. However, the intriguing part about this installment is that it will include a multi-player component and, as promised, the PS3 has a beta. On September 7th the beta was made available to PS Plus users as a hefty 3 GB download.
As of this writing the beta offers only 1 game type called “Wanted”. It starts off with you being given a target to hunt down and assassinate. There is a radar that gives you a general idea of which direction your target is, whether your target is above or below you, and automatically adjusts the zoom the closer you get to the victim. That may sound fairly straight forward, but there’s a twist. Other players may be after you, so as well as hunting down your enemy you must watch your own back for impending attacks.
The game encourages a stealthy approach to your situation. When you are in sight of your target and run they are told that you are nearby and encouraged to start running because, if they get away, they are rewarded with experience points for escaping. The main idea is to blend in with the many NPCs spread out through the city. This is not as difficult as it sounds as almost all of the NPCs are the same as the characters you are playing as, making things a little easier. With that said, though, doing things the NPC’s wouldn’t do such as running, climbing, and even the way in which you walk can blow your cover. This makes the multiplayer a fairly original concept. Then again it has many staples of a modern multiplayer game mixed in such as the leveling up of your character, classes, perks, active skills and other such.
There are 2 maps available in the beta: Rome and Castle Gandolfo. Rome is much like the cities in Assassins Creed 2. You are able to traverse the rooftops and the streets but it is on a much smaller scale than the cities in AC2. Castle Gandolfo is much smaller than Rome and is basically the front of a castle with a small courtyard in front. This map got very old for me, but that may be because I was forced to play it regularly.
Controls are almost the same as Assassins Creed 2 but are simplified to help the multiplayer seem fast paced. Perks are passive skills that you select out of the match whereas active skills are used during the match and involve things like disguising as another character for a short amount of time. Running and climbing is very easy, meaning you almost never fall, and assassinations are a simple one button press. Please keep in mind that I am speaking on the multi-player so I can’t say whether the single player portion of the game will carry over this simplified control scheme.
The beta has given me a good idea of how the multi-player works but it hasn’t really got me fired up and wanting to play the fully fledged release. While it is a fun concept, I can see the simplified control scheme making things seem repetitious and losing my interest. The game releases on Xbox 360 and PS3 on November 16th in North America, November 18th in Australia and November 19th in Europe.