Assassin's Creed Brotherhood 3-Years Later ReviewGuest_Jim_* - October 31, 2013
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Brotherhood features a somewhat simple story, and in a sense dispenses even with the traditional Assassin's Creed story of Assassin versus Templar. Your goal is purely to defeat and kill the Borgias, the family of Templar leaders who are responsible for Ezio's home being attacked, uncle being murdered, and one love-interest being kidnapped. Though they are Templars, this fact does not seem to be brought up very often, as the story mostly revolves around Cesare Borgia. He seeks to rule all of Italy, probably as a step towards conquering the world, and will not suffer any allegiance that does not help him achieve that personal goal.
He is an evil, sociopathic, and psychopathic man, so killing him is probably a good idea, even without seeking revenge. You accomplish this by going after his various 'supporters.' Their loyalties are not really to him though, but to their own ambitions, and they think that serving him will help them reach those goals. Well, you kill them before they find out if that is true or not.
Helping Ezio are the Assassins you met in the previous game, who provide information acquired by thieves and prostitutes, as well as military strength from mercenaries. Eventually, Ezio's skill and wisdom earns their respect to the point that they make him Mentor, the guardian of the Assassin Order and its secrets.
Also returning, in a smaller role, is Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance man who built so many gadgets for Ezio before. Now you must ask him to rebuild them, though only at specific spots. You see, da Vinci has been forcibly hired by the Borgia to create weapons and war machines for them. This involvement limits how Ezio and he meet to marked benches, where two men can naturally, and inconspicuously, sit together.
Outside of the Animus, when Desmond is not reliving the memories of Ezio, he is able to explore the ruined villa they are using as a safe house, and learn more about what is going on in the modern Assassin Order. Reports of teams having some success, going dark, and schedules for the week can be found in your email. You can also talk to the other members of your team, to learn more about them and the situation. Or to get a laugh, depending on the conversation cued for that time.
Also occurring outside of the Animus is a change in Desmond's role. Before he was mostly just the guy in the Animus, but in Brotherhood he does take on more of a leadership role on the team. This is partially because he is the one with the physical skills to lead the others, thanks to the bleeding effect of the Animus, but also because he is the one with the memories of Ezio, a former Assassin leader. Oh, and he is having hallucinations of Ezio outside of the Animus, revealing what Desmond needs to do to advance. Still, there is some parity here between the stories, which I always like to see.
With a simpler story than the previous games, Brotherhood is able to stand out from the series. Perhaps this was intentional, as it is not a numbered sequel. However, some of what happens in it is so important to the series, you have to know it to understand what is going on in the later games. Major events at the end.