The Chosen One
Following the cliffhanger ending of Assassin’s Creed II and the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Brotherhood wastes no time continuing the Assassin’s Creed formula and returning right where we left off. Unfortunately the story this time around pales in comparison to the opening 2 games and while the enhanced gameplay mechanics add an extra layer of focus to the title, the plot suffers as a consequence of this.
We begin with the group in 2012 having escaped the Templar attack at the end of Assassin’s Creed II. Desmond Miles, Lucy Stillman, Rebecca Crane, and Shaun Hastings flee to Monteriggioni, establishing a new hideout in the ruins of the Villa Auditore. After restoring electricity and firing up the Animus 2.0, Desmond once again takes control of Ezio through Desmond’s genetic memory with one simple mission – find the Apple of Eden and prevent the impending disaster, believed to be orchestrated by the Templars.
Ezio’s story continues in 1499, where he exits the Vault and continues to feel confused by Minerva’s prophetic message about his purpose. Ezio escapes Rome with his uncle Mario and returns to Monteriggioni. Believing his part in this tale over, Ezio is confronted by Niccolò Machiavelli who challenges Ezio’s decision to leave Rodrigo Borgia (now Pope Alexander VI) alive.
The following morning (which happens to be New Year’s Day), Monteriggioni is attacked by Rodrigo’s son, Cesare Borgia. Mario is killed at the hands of Cesare and the Apple is lost to him and the Templars. Injured but alive, Ezio escapes and travels back to Rome seeking vengeance for his Uncle’s death. There, he discovers that the Assassins are failing in their fight.
Determined to rebuild, Ezio convinces Machiavelli to let him assemble a Brotherhood powerful enough to destroy the Templars and his new nemesis, Cesare. Over the next four years, Ezio works to cripple the Borgias’ hold over the capital through assassinating key people working with Cesare.
After returning the Assassin stronghold to full strength, Ezio is given the rank of Il Mentore (Italian for “The Mentor”) and made the leader of the Assassins in Italy. At the same time, Ezio’s sister Claudia is also made an Assassin.
News of Ezio’s actions reach Cesare who asks his Father for more money and the Apple. Rodrigo refuses and attempts to poison his son, realizing that Cesare’s lust for power may destroy what they’ve built. Cesare is wise to what’s going on though and turns the tables – killing his father instead. In a twist of fate, Ezio happens to witness this and, after learning of the Apple’s location, manages to retrace it. Ezio uses its power to overwhelm Cesare’s forces which subsequently leads to Cesare being arrested.
Unfortunately Cesare doesn’t stay behind bars. He breaks out and, after gaining the support of John III, attacks the city of Viana. Ezio rushes off to confront him and atop the ruins of a castle, they fight. Although Ezio doesn’t kill his foe, Cesare claims that he can’t be killed by “a mortal man”, and kills himself, dropping off the ruins to his death. Ezio then takes the Apple and hides it in a Temple built underneath the Roman Colosseum.
This concludes the past timeline for Brotherhood and as we return to 2012, Desmond and the others use the coordinates extracted from Ezio’s memories and travel in search of the Apple. Only, when he gets there he’s confronted by a hologram of a being called Juno, who appears to be of the same race as Minerva. Strangely, only Desmond can see her and the rest of the group remain blind to its presence.
After calling humanity ignorant, her calm facade drops and she suddenly becomes angry, yelling, “We should have left you as you were!”
As Desmond approaches the Apple and touches it, time freezes everything around him. Juno cryptically states that Desmond is of the same race and her enemy, before mentioning that a woman will accompany him through “the gate,” but must not do so. After these cryptic messages, Juno takes control of Desmond and forces him to stab Lucy in the stomach. As time unfreezes, both of them fall to the ground with Lucy dead and a comatose Desmond alive but in a bad way.
As the credits roll, two shadowy men in the distance discuss the possibility of putting Desmond back in the Animus again, leaving lots of questions hanging over this one and all eyes turning to Revelations.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood takes the same story beats that made the first two games so good but doesn’t quite do enough to spin that into something that feels wholly original, using the same vengeance plot for Ezio we saw last time out. Cesare is a pretty forgettable antagonist too and while the game mechanics and world adds more variety to proceedings, the plot itself suffers as a consequence of this.
Desmond’s story takes another twist at the end in the modern timeline too, learning he may be linked to this “First Civilization” and the key to unlocking the Apple and stopping certain doom. Not only do we get a “chosen one” narrative to contend with now, we also have that solar flare end-of-the-world apocalypse as well. It all feels a bit messy and unnecessarily convoluted.
The plot itself is ultimately a tale of two halves. On the one hand, Ezio’s continued journey and rise to the level of Mentor is a nice touch and ties into the ideas of Brotherhood that remain a fixed focus of this title. In doing so though, the present day timeline suffers.
With Revelations up next, the door is left wide open for this conclusive chapter of Ezio’s journey to play out.