Ok, so I ran into a problem with producing a full review of Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. I'm too engrossed in the single player to begin the multiplayer. I know that's opposes the current review trends, and I'm sure Ubisoft created something wonderful, but I honestly haven't gotten up to playing it because I'm having fun. If anything i have to say this is the most fun game so far in the series.
AC:Brotherhood brings us back into late 15th century Rome, and particularly into the life of Ezio Auditore, the main character from AC:2. This game is following the events of AC:2 from approximately 1 minute after the ending, including Desmond and Ezio summarizing what they just went through. Initially, I thought this game would only allow us to explore Italy a bit more and play around in Ezio's world, and while the game does use some story vehicles to fill in the gaps in time from the second game, it also takes a few chances to further the narrative with Desmond.
Ironically, though Desmond and the story of the Assassins and Templars is the unifying element, it takes a back seat throughout the series. I find it vastly more interesting as the only real times we're exposed to what's going on is in the past, and we're receiving alot of our revelation about the apple, and other supernatural weapons there, rather than the present day characters who should know more. However finally playing as Desmond in present day is weirdly rewarding since it not only lets you know the game is coming to an end, but you feel like it's eventually building to something. I still hope the payoff is as great as the buildup, but either way, this is a series I want to know the story of, but don't want to see end. So far Ubisoft has managed to keep it a valuable IP without oversaturating the market.
One thing this game (and series) does well is in keeping each game similar, while also increasing your abilties. Fighting here is vastly improved with the addition of killstreaks. Basically to perform an execution/killstreak, counter your opponent like you would in any of the previous games and expect a rather quick kill, then also tap x in the direction of a nearby opponent and Ezio will chain them. This can make those long fights where you're surrounded go much faster, and also makes you feel like a real trained Assassin dispatching multiple foes quickly. The game also added a virtual training area which allows you to practice the skills you'll put to use in the main game. The VR is fun, but slightly annoying since the game still has some long load times especially when restarting a memory or training area you're already in. It's not a gamebreaking load, but expect to encounter them often, which is another unfortunate holdout from the previous games.
Not surprisingly, Ezio is still vastly more entertaining than Altair, though there are plenty of references to him. Ezio as a character has more interesting allies and friends, including a young Leonardo Da Vinci, who also provides the impetus for a least 4 badges, with you having to destroy 4 of his prototype weapons. Each of these weapons are Renaissance versions of modern technology, like his flying machine. Don't expect these mission to be too hard, but they are fun and rewarding and offer a varied gameplay when things get repetitive. There's still alot of general assassinations and you're hidden blade will get it's use, especially if you are working toward 100% synchronization. The hiddes puzzles are back again, as well, this time from subject 16, and while I haven't gotten around to searching them out, I expect some good brain teasers like before.
Overall expect to complete the main campaign in about 14 hours, longer if you get distracted. But there's more than enough side content to keep you engaged, and of course multiplayer for when you want to silently stab others. Overall, it's a great addition with new features thats worth the money.