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Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Review

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Time to get medieval

★★★★

There’s a hell of a lot to love about Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Whether it be nimbly scampering across the rooftops of medieval Rome, or silently assassinating enemies in streets bustling with human traffic, the game is stuffed with genuinely thrilling action sequences and memorable set-pieces, its gloriously simple free-running system giving you acrobatic mastery of the city and making every daring jaunt a sublime joy.

In terms of presentation Brotherhood is also flawless, with graphics so sharp and realistic it makes you feel like you’re taking part in a Hollywood blockbuster, and characters so detailed you can see flickering emotions on their faces during the story’s dramatic moments. When it comes to gameplay there’s also great scope in the variety of challenges players face, with the hero riding horses, firing cannons and swordfighting with enemy troops before the main story’s even begun. And all that’s without mentioning the new stuff in this ambitious sequel, including friendly assassins who’ll come to your aid in times of danger, and a swashbuckling multiplayer mode that’ll extend the lifespan of the game long beyond after you’ve cracked the epic one-player adventure.

But while Brotherhood has everything in the right place to earn a five-star score, there’s something, well, annoying about it. Perhaps it’s the convoluted medieval story, which never makes you feel pumped-up like the heroic tales woven by Halo: Reach or Modern Warfare 2, and rarely lets you fully engage with the meandering plot. Or maybe it’s the cod-Italian accents the dialogue is delivered in, which-a makes-a the whole-a bloody thing feel-a like a Mario game with a swarthy Chuck Norris in the lead role. But mostly it’s the annoying characters who get in your way when all you want to do is run along the rooftops, especially your wisecracking colleague who looks just like Danny Wallace, albeit it without the gut, ‘zany’ antics or any shred of personality.

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