The Average Gamer

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood – The Da Vinci Disappearance DLC Review (360)

AssCreedBrotherhood_LogoIn this first bit of paid-for DLC for the quite brilliant Assassin”s Creed: Brotherhood, the renaissance version of James Bond”s “Q” – Leonardo Da Vinci – has been kidnapped. Fortunately for you, his assistant Salai is still around to help you track him down via a mixture of puzzle solving, interrogating targets and locating some missing paintings.

For 3 wonderful hours, I was back in Ezio”s world; revelling in the sights and sounds of renaissance Rome, raiding tombs, leaping from building to building, stealthy assassinations, escaping from guards and listening to Jesper Kyd”s wonderful music. You now have a whole set of new missions restored memories adorning your (well used) map of Rome. AssCreedBrotherhood_MontStMichelWithin these restored memories lie a couple of new locations to explore, which adds a bit of variety to the game.

I also found myself in the unusual position of repeatedly failing a mission. Whilst Assassin”s Creed: Brotherhood is a brilliant game, it”s not exactly hard to play. Along comes this DLC pack and suddenly the missions are just a little bit tougher. Not too tough mind you, as after a few attempts you”ll be happily on your way again. The extra challenge is very welcome though. More of this please, Ubisoft.

On top of the “find Leonardo” missions, there are 2 new tombs to explore. Well, the second tomb is more of a quarry really, alive with flowing water and viaducts. I felt like Ezio was on his holidays, catching some rays and having a bit of a paddle in the water. I had huge amounts of fun exploring these tombs with Ezio performing even more outrageous feats of acrobatics using dizzyingly high rocky outcrops or bits of buildings. I love the confidence I have in Ezio that he will make even the most difficult jump or make a climb look effortless. These locations really take advantage of the tweaks that Ubisoft made to Ezio”s controls for Assassin”s Creed: Brotherhood.

There is also a new dice game to play in the thieves” hideout for when you fancy a break from all the killing and free-running. It”s called Hazard, sharing a name with the complicated Old English dice game from which a simpler version emerged in the 19th Century called Craps. The rules of the in-game version of Hazard are a little different: roll two dice to get a winning roll (7 or 11) or avoid the losing roll (2, 3 online casino or 12). If you roll any other numbers they then become the “chance” roll; If you hit that number again you win (whilst still avoiding the losing and winning roll numbers). After each roll you can bet up to a maximum of 7500 florins. Whilst this game is mildly entertaining to play, as I had over 800,000 florins in my burgeoning money pouch, any money I won or lost was completely meaningless. If only the bets were hundreds of thousands of florins per roll then this game would at least give you some reason to play it.

The only real downside to the Da Vinci disappearance DLC is that it”s all over so quickly. I spent about 30 minutes exploring the 2 tombs and about 2.5 hours rescuing Leonardo. That”s it. It is also more of the same as far as the missions are concerned. So you might get a bit bored with the lack of variety on offer, particularly if you”ve played a lot of Assassin”s Creed: Brotherhood.

More back-stabbing

The multiplayer component to Brotherhood is significantly expanded with the addition of 1 new map (Alhambra), 4 new characters (the Dama Rossa, the Knight, the Marquis and the Pariah) and 2 new gameplay modes (assassinate and escort).

During the Assassinate game mode every other human player is a potential target. There are no assigned targets, unlike Wanted mode in which your targets selected by the animus. You also have to lock on to your target before killing them, otherwise it doesn”t count. Although your HUD points you in the general direction of the other players, the key is to watch for unusual behaviour – running, frequent changes of direction and killing. In the games I played, nobody runs around at all. It is just too dangerous, unless you are being chased of course. But then the act of escaping also puts you on the radar of other players! All in all, these Assassinate games are a lot of fun.
One thing I did suffer from in this mode was the problem of chained kills. Anyone performing a kill sticks out like a sore thumb making themselves an easy target. So when I killed someone, someone else then killed me, and then they got killed by someone else, all in quick succession. I don”t see how Ubisoft can stop this happening without substantially altering the gameplay. However, this problem does make it especially satisfying to escape unharmed following a nice stealthy kill.

In the Escort mode games, one team of hunters aims to kill as many of the animus-controlled VIPs as possible whilst the team of protectors have to protect the VIPs and kill any hunters. The protectors also earn points when each VIP passes through one of the many checkpoints littered throughout the map. Personally, I found playing as a hunter bloody hard, as whenever I got within sniffing distance of a VIP I”d get stabbed in the back by a protector. It was much, much easier to rack up the points as a protector by closely shadowing your assigned VIP through checkpoints. But you do end up looking at every single person that gets anywhere remotely close to your VIP as an assassin. Frequently, I found myself getting a bit twitchy and accidentally killing a few innocent civilians. Unfortunately, each civilian death gifts 100 points to the team of protectors. Ooops!

The multiplayer mode does suffer from one massive problem; there”s hardly anyone else online. I frequently have to wait over 15 minutes before the system finally discovered 5 other people to play against. This is true for every game mode. The words “searching for a program session” and “searching for other Abstergo agents” will be burned into your brain as you wait (im)patiently for the game to start. Unfortunately, there”s no way of telling how many people are online to decide: A – to keep waiting as you will get a game eventually, or B – to just give up as there”s no one there, just like Team Fortress 2 on the Xbox 360. Of course, if you have 5 other Assassins”s Creed: Brotherhood Da Vinci Disappearance DLC-owning friends then you”re fine. We all have those, right?


The Da Vinci disappearance adds a very, very enjoyable 3-4 hours of gameplay to Brotherhood”s story mode and expands the multiplayer component nicely with 2 new interesting and challenging modes. This DLC pack represents an ideal reason to dust off your copy of Assassin”s Creed: Brotherhood as the multiplayer game really needs more players.

Assassin”s Creed: Brotherhood – The Da Vinci Disappearance is available now for Xbox 360 (800 MS Points) and PlayStation 3 (£7.99).

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