AS­SAS­SIN’S CREED: BROTH­ER­HOOD (MA)

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PS3, Xbox 360, $109.95

★★★★ SET in Rome at the turn of the 16th cen­tury, Broth­er­hood fol­lows di­rectly from the events of As­sas­sin’s Creed II.

Play­ers again as­sume the role of the deadly as­sas­sin Ezio Au­di­tore da Firenze, who faces his great­est threat yet: Ce­sare Bor­gia, a power-hun­gry killer with an iron grip on Rome.

To con­quer the Bor­gia, Ezio will lib­er­ate the 12 dis­tricts of Rome, travel fur­ther afield to de­stroy war ma­chines and as­sas­si­nate any­one who stands in his way. Cooler still, he’ll also re­cruit ap­pren­tice as­sas­sins who can be called upon to elim­i­nate tar­gets.

Con­trol­ling Ezio is great fun. Play­ers are able to ex­e­cute in­cred­i­bly ac­ro­batic moves, whether run­ning across the city’s rooftops or leap­ing on an en­emy from on high for a bru­tal kill. New to the se­ries is

is out now. the abil­ity to ride horses any­where in the city and to leap from the back of a horse into an as­sas­si­na­tion. Com­bat is as vis­ceral as ever, while Ezio’s cross­bow is handy for elim­i­nat­ing dis­tant threats. Rome is an ap­peal­ing play­ground for the ac­tion. Mas­sive and sprawl­ing, it has dense ur­ban ar­eas, im­pos­ing ci­tadels and grassy ru­ins.

Climb­ing sig­na­ture land­marks such as the Colos­seum or the Parthenon is a thrill. There’s a huge amount to do, too, with col­lecta­bles and side-mis­sions ga­lore, though fans of As­sas­sin’s Creed II may find the game­play un­com­fort­ably fa­mil­iar at times.

Per­haps the most re­fresh­ing com­po­nent of Broth­er­hood is its mul­ti­player mode. In this game of cat and mouse, play­ers hunt a tar­get while si­mul­ta­ne­ously be­ing hunted, and those who are pa­tient and stealthy are re­warded.

In this game, you never want your tar­get to see you com­ing.

Kill or be killed: As­sas­sin’s Creed: Broth­er­hood

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