Review

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Review (PC)

In case you hadn't already figured it out, Strategy Informer has a bit of a soft spot for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. First, we gave the console version a 9.5, calling it "one of this year's finest releases". We then slapped a big old Game of the Year sticker on it, just to further drive home the point that this really is a game worth looking into.

Finally, we took The Da Vinci Disappearance DLC for a spin, and boy what a spin it was. Of course, in all our excitement, we forgot to console the PC gamers (double meaning, perhaps?) on the missing PC release. Fear not, desktop keyboardists - your chariot awaits, with Ezio Auditore at the reins. Not only that, but he's brought plenty of extras as a sort of 'I'm sorry' gesture.
 
Finally swinging onto PC...
If you want to know how fantastic Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is, your best bet is to head over and read our original review. In a nutshell, it's gorgeous, huge, often surprising, and packs a multiplayer punch to die for (and you will, plenty of times). No, what we're going to focus on here is how the PC version weighs up to the consoles.

You may remember that the Ubisoft DRM that tainted Assassin's Creed 2 caused quite an uproar, forcing you to stay online the entire time you played. If you're connection dropped at any point, that would be your current mission status out of the window as the game crashed to the title screen.

Fortunately, Ubisoft has seen sense this time around, and although certain security elements are present, it's barely noticeable anymore and definitely doesn't feel as intrusive. The game requires a one-time activation to begin with, but after that you can play the single player offline whenever you desire. The multiplayer requires you have a connection (duuh) and some of the DLC does too, but that's it.

There is the initial Ubisoft launcher too which, in all honesty we would have preferred to be rid of, but then again, PC games have been using launchers for decades, so now we're just splitting hairs. In other words, moaning to game publishers most definitely does work. We can make a difference!
 
Stabby Stabby...
Regarding the multiplayer - your friends list is available from the main Esc menu, where you can add other ASB players and then jump into a game. It's quick and easy, as is diving in with random strangers too. We didn't experience a single drop or time out, and in general lost yet another good many hours to this most wonderful of online experiences.

In terms of gameplay, the only real difference is the controls, which play out in a similar fashion to those from the original Assassin's Creed 2 PC edition. Holding down the right mouse button allows Ezio to access his secondary set of actions, which are all usually more forceful than the primary variations. Walk + right click = run! Push + right click = shove! You get the picture.

The only slight niggle we had was with the uses of the E and Shift keyboard buttons. It can feel very confusing working out which you're meant to be using - for example, E is used to talk to people and initiate certain acts, while Shift is used to open door and, well, use things. On an Xbox 360 or PS3 controller this makes sense, but on a keyboard it's a little odd. Text pops up to tell you which to press, but it's nice to be able to get to your destination and give the appropriate button a jab without having to be told.
 
Another good score!? This game's on fire! (ED: Really Mike? REALLY?)
The PC version also comes with all the DLC packs free of charge. Animus Project Update 1.0 and 2.0 are free on the consoles anyway, so that's not exactly huge news - but the inclusion of the Da Vinci Disappearance DLC for free is rather nice. Altogether, these packs offer around two hours of extra single player action, and more content for the multiplayer, including three maps, four modes and four new characters. Excellent stuff.

Thing is, while this is all well and good, we do have to wonder what took Ubisoft so long to port it over. Four months later, and the buzz surrounding the game has died down, with console owners instead waiting for the next instalment to continue the tale. The free DLC nearly makes up for it, but PC gamers will still feel a little let down. If you've still not got around to giving it a play, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a masterpiece that deserves your time - and with all the added extras now firmly in place, there has never been a better time for PC gamers to delve into Ezio Auditore's world.

Top Game Moment: Calling in your own band of assassins to carry out your dirty work

Videos

Comments

By Nicolas19 (SI Core) on Mar 31, 2011
Nicolas19
Interesting game! Loved the first one, missed the second one, this should be a blast! Budget is a bit tight for top-tier titles, but I'm considering this, based on the excellent review.
By Eversor (SI Elite) on Mar 31, 2011
Eversor
You can play off-line, great. Maybe they will do that for Splinter Cell Conviction.
By Sneaksy (SI Member) on Apr 01, 2011
Sneaksy
This game is amazing! If it's predecessors had some flaws this one seems to have corrected them... This is the direction in which all sequels should go - to perfect what is good and to add something new in order to keep players interested.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Apr 02, 2011
herodotus
Got stuck in the grind of the first "AC", skipped the second but have been away from it long enough now to perhaps give this a whirl...when the price drops. No point in giving my most hated Publisher any more cash than they alrady bleed out of gamers.
By chiefone (SI Veteran Member) on Apr 02, 2011
chiefone
Don't Skip the Second!!! This is almost the same game with a continued story and MP, plus more challenges, like enemies with guns!

The second is epic, and a great improvement over the first. This is only slightly improved over the second...but you cant get much better than perfect!

This is one of the best franchises right now.

Only 1 complaint though. How am I supposed to run after someone by pressing right mouse+space+shift+direction, then press right mouse+shift to tackle them? I let go of them all to press shift and right click and the person runs out of range... annoying

Other than that its awesome! Runs at max settings 1080p on my 2 year old laptop.
By Zvezdalina (SI Veteran Member) on Apr 10, 2011
Zvezdalina
Many people around me had only the best things to say about this game....... And your review has confirmed this to me. Now I'm sure I won't be disappointed. :-D
By Eversor (SI Elite) on Apr 11, 2011
Eversor
@ Zvesdalina. I haven't played this game, but from what i've seen you won't be disappointed at all.
By Zvezdalina (SI Veteran Member) on Apr 11, 2011
Zvezdalina
That's what everyone's been telling me! :-D
By Eversor (SI Elite) on Apr 11, 2011
Eversor
I have played the first one and was impresed. I see no reason why you shouldn't want to get AC:B.
By hunter612 (SI Core) on Apr 12, 2011
hunter612
Somehow the main storyline felt a bit too short.. :/ but wonderful game anyways :D