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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Preview

Duke_Ferris By:
GENRE Action / Adventure 
M Contains Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Capo di tutti capi.

I have been effusive in my love for Assassin's Creed over the years, so it should come as no surprise that the upcoming Brotherhood is one of my favorite entries at E3 this year. The series not only makes you feel like the badass assassins your ancestors were (if you're Caucasian), but it has the best freerunning, rooftop-leaping, open cities in the video game universe.

click to enlargeAnd while that should be enough for any game, Assassin's Creed generously tops that with the smartest plots around. Real historical events and people blend seamlessly into this sci-fi masterpiece. Take that, Pope!

The story of Ezio Auditore da Firenze continues in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. This time, it's not just a tale of revenge, but of intrigue and leadership as he has risen to become the leader of a guild of assassins in Rome.

Sure, you can still go out and get wet when the spirit moves you, but you'll also spend time recruiting the best and the brightest (or at least the merciless), training them and sending them out on missions to advance the guild. Should they prove successful, you can dole out the experience, like a Renaissance dungeon master, to give them upgrades and bonuses. Then, when you need them for a more difficult mission, your backup crew is more competent and dangerous than the random group of street thugs you could hire in previous games.

However, the standout at the show was the multiplayer, which is new to the series and some serious fun. Strangely, you may have played it before. I had. Back in high school, we played a game called Assassin, which some of you may know as Spy vs Spy. The premise is simple and the weapons are water pistols (or water balloons).

click to enlargeAll those who wish to participate throw their names in a hat (most likely a metaphorical hat). Everyone is assigned an assassination target from the pool of names (again, probably a metaphorical pool) whom they must squirt to “kill”. This means as a player, you are both the hunter and the hunted as an unknown person is out there seeking to douse you.

This, in a nutshell, is the new AC multiplayer. In a city full of people, you are given an image of your victim and an (usually) unerring sense of which direction will take you to the target. Points are awarded for killing your victim, and evading or killing the assassin hunting you. So it is entirely possible to win a match playing defensively.

As your online rank advances, your assassin can gain new abilities, like disguise, to become either more deadly, or more elusive, depending on your play style.

However, these are the mad geniuses behind Assassin's Creed, so they can't just toss multiplayer out there without an explanation. If you played through AC2, you fought your way though a Templar building where you saw rows and rows of Animuses (Animi? Animoose?). The multiplayer, it turns out, is Templar training, as they seek to match the skills of the assassins.

Frankly, I'm going to have a hard time waiting until November 19th. After that, watch your back.

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