A strong focus on Assassin's Creed Brotherhood's multiplayer has left many details of the single-player campaign hiding in the shadows, until now.
In Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Ezio brings the fight against the Templars to Rome, hoping to end the conflict once and for all, but to do that he's going to need help. He'll have to gather together old friends and new ones, forming an assassin's guild powerful enough to take on the Templar Order head-on.
I sat in on a demo of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood's single-player campaign this week in Germany, where I got a look at how gameplay changes now that Ezio is in charge of his own assassins guild.
The first thing players will notice is the joys of delegation, the primary perk of any boss. While new toys and abilities make doing it yourself even more enjoyable, you'll find yourself in charge of a hand-picked team of assassins in Brotherhood, and that's the sort of asset you're going to want to use.
First you'll have to recruit, which should be easy enough. The battle against the corrupt officials running the city has already begun, and all you need to do is step into any number of running conflicts, aid the revolutionaries, and ask them to join your cause. You can have up to twelve junior assassins under you during the game.
What do these juniors do? Well first of all they can be a great asset during your normal, day-to-day travels in Rome. Say you want to take out a couple of guards standing in the way of a shop you'd like to have reopened as part of the Rome restoration sub-game. Simply call a pair of your lackeys to take them out.
A counter atop the screen shows how many underlings you can call at any given time – in the demonstration there were two – with the bars replenishing over time.
There is also a random mission system that helps you obtain resources while training up your underlings. Opening your map at any given time shows a number of missions offered to your guild. Each young assassin has a percentage chance to complete any given job which is cumulative, so while one assassin might have only a 50% chance of completing a mission, sending two will ensure victory, with the downside of splitting the rewards between two characters, which means less points to upgrade their skills and slower overall progression.
You can take chances and reap great rewards, or play it safe and keep your recruits' blood safely inside of their bodies.
After going over the basics of recruiting and sending assassin's on missions, my demo guide decides it's time to fully liberate that shop we were looking at earlier, and in order to do that, we have to assassinate the lord ruling over the area.
A briefing the demonstrator skipped gave us some background information on the local lord, letting us know he was a coward. Armed with the knowledge that he'll likely run, he climbs the lord's tower, taking out the guards quietly in order to make sure his prey doesn't bolt.
After a brief battle the lord is dead, but the people don't know about it yet. Destroying the tower sends a clear signal that the oppressive authority in that area has been terminated.
Once the tower is gone, the district improves. The beggars roaming the streets at first are replaced with more affluent citizens. Pick-pocketing becomes much more lucrative. The area is cleaner, the lighting is brighter, and piece-by-piece, Rome is restored.
And oh yeah, that shop opens up.
That's just a small taste of the rich single-player gameplay available in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood. If anything, it'll give you something to do if your internet gives out.