(Ubisoft for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
Everybody says they want new multiplayer experiences outside of the expected Fall crop of shooters, but then when the season finally rolls around, what’s everyone playing? The same old stuff, even though this year we had compelling alternatives like the fully-featured, addictive Blur and the intense Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. But really, what everyone wants to do when they go online is kill each other, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s excellent multiplayer satisfies that need handily (and without guns!). It casts you as a 15th-century Italian assassin tasked with identifying and executing a rival on a crowded map. Like in Splinter Cell: Conviction‘s fine competitive modes, you can use a variety of techniques and special abilities to find your target or disguise your location, leading to memorably nerve-wracking encounters across beautifully realized mini-worlds. The multiplayer alone would have been a compelling enough reason to revisit the Assassin’s Creed world this year, and the fact that there’s a fantastic single player game included as well (continuing the adventures of Ezio from AC II) means there is no reason why you shouldn’t jump back into the boots of the hooded menace.