The story mode of the game is split between two time periods, in 2012 with Desmond Miles and his team working against the Templars and their conspiracy for world domination. The second story arc follows the exploits of Ezio Auditore da Firenze in 1499, who was first introduced in Assassin’s Creed II.
This time the action in Ezio’s story moves to Rome, which is beautifully rendered (and ENORMOUS!), during which you are tasked with removing the Borgia family’s influence in the Italian capital, after a few early missions, it soon becomes clear that even Ezio with all his skills can’t hope to conquer the Borgia regime on his own, which introduces a new element to the gamplay, the ability to recruit and train your own crew of assassins.
In order for your new recruits to become better assassins you can send them on assignments throughout Europe, and any that you haven’t sent away on missions will be able to assist you with back up should your enemies outnumber you. As your recruits gain experience and start levelling up, you can equip them with better weapons and armour.
There are also economic elements that come in to play. In order for you to rebuild Rome which has become rundown under the influence of the Borgia family, you will need to firstly use your deadly skills to eliminate the Borgia captain who controls a particular sector of Rome, once he has been dispatched you must climb to the top of a Borgia tower and set it ablaze leaving that sector available for you to develop by buying stores for blacksmiths, doctors, tailors etc. which also adds money to your income enabling you to buy important landmarks which don’t come cheap.
Another addition in this game is the inclusion of an online multi-player mode, with varied games on offer including: Wanted, Alliance and Manhunt, which don’t follow the usual death match fare opting for trademark stealth, which leads to a more suspenseful experience.
You are tasked with eliminating a target (a fellow competitor) but you can’t just go in all guns (or blades) blazing and break cover, as your target will become aware of you and flee across rooftops to try and escape. There is a certain twisted satisfaction to be had from trailing your target, watching them kill their prey, and just when their guard is down ending their life with a well placed sword in the back!
Added in the Animus Project 2.0 update is another multi-player game: Chest Capture , two teams composed of three competitors play against each other as Hunters and Protectors. Hunters will attempt to steal the contents of the chests placed around the map, whilst protectors are tasked with trying to stop hunters from doing so.
There is enough in the story mode to keep fans of the series entertained and the addition of the multi-player modes offer good replay value.