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Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: The Da Vinci Disappearance Review

Originally posted here.

Story complaints aside, I’ve been very fond of the latter two Assassin’s Creed games. Ezio has been a very compelling character, even if his arc in Brotherhood isn’t quite as strong as it is in the second game. One great aspect of Ezio’s journey has been his relationship with Leonardo Da Vinci. The two have a sort of James Bond/Q bromance going, so having an adventure devoted to them is very welcome.

A new character, Leonardo’s assistant Salai, is introduced early on. His overbearing attitude and gambling problems are a bit off putting, but as you get to know him he takes a certain roguish charm. He becomes your sidekick of sorts as you search for Leonardo and five of his paintings that were stolen. Early missions as you attempt to track down the first couple of paintings, as well as the finale, are very well presented. Fully voiced and animated cutscenes portray Ezio’s search for his friend’s work. Indeed, Ezio’s visit to a household of an Italian  noble, Lucrezia, proves to be the best mission in the DLC. To make your way into her estate, you have to move across the rafters of heavily populated areas. When you do confront Lucrezia, Ezio shows a few shades of his old womanizing ways that show just how far the character has come. Unfortunately, the driving force of the story itself is as confusing convoluted as the rest of the mythology, but it’s doubtful anyone really plays these games for the conspiracy theories anyway. At the end of the day, Ezio and Leonardo have some great scenes together and that’s what counts.

About half of the eight missions are very well done. Platforming and combat scenarios especially shine, but escort and tailing missions are somewhat tedious. Luckily, both of the latter types appear far less than the former. There are a great deal of platforming sections that evoke memories of the tombs from the second game. Speaking of tombs, it could be that I never saw them, but I could swear that there are two new Templar tombs added. Both of them are decent, with the second in a rock quarry being exceptionally well designed. One last piece the DLC adds to the game is an extra suit of armor. For those who thought the Brutus armor looked terrible, the Drachen armor is an excellent alternative. Black with red trim and engraved gunmetal armor, the new get up is really nice, but it comes at a bit of a price. It seems there’s a fixed weapon set that can’t be altered for the suit. So, if you don’t like heavy weapons, you might want to settle for something a little less fancy.

Overall, the Da Vinci Disappearance is a welcome return to Rome and the character of Ezio. I’d say it took me about three and a half  hours to complete, which is a little disappointing for a ten dollar DLC. But, overall, the gameplay is good and the writing is entertaining. Little pieces such as Ezio’s scene with Lucrezia and Leonardo’s homosexual relationship with Salai are handled maturely. Even Ezio’s sister Claudia has a sadly short, but welcome cameo. If you have a fondness for the characters introduced in the last two games, then it’s worth buying the expansion just to have a little more time with them.

8/10

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