Leonardo Vanished?

It's not often you get a good quality chunk of DLC out of a game, unless it happens to be made by Bioware for either Dragon Age or Mass Effect 2. The last few DLC's for Assassin's Creed 2 were luke-warm and fairly light compared to what's on offer for Brotherhood, but mostly Brotherhood's DLC has been basically multiplayer only and there's been nothing meaty for the single player storyline.

Until now...

Welcome to the Da Vinci Disappearance, a 3 hour (or so) jaunt back into Ezio's world packed with various missions and an interesting storyline that focuses on Leonardo Da Vinci, Ezio's friend and great inventor. We're introduced to the plot by Leonardo's friend and lover, Salai, a rogue with a charming personality and some really great dialogue lines.

Leonardo has vanished and Ezio has to follow various clues to uncover the mystery and find his mentor before it is too late. Making a welcome return and oozing sensuality is the incorrigible, manipulative and scheming Lucretzia Borgia once again well voiced and superbly acted/written to fit into the overall narrative of the plot.

The principle characters bring the adventure to life perfectly, with top notch performances and good writing married together. The only problem is that some of the missions are a little hastily constructed and poorly thought out, there are some plot inconsistencies that you may also pick up on later on if you're eagle eyed, they don't really damage the story though and they can be forgiven this time.

It starts out well, drifts a little in the middle where it loses some pace and steam, but comes to a cracking conclusion that makes it well worth the asking price of 800 MSP. It also gives an idea of what might come next for the Assassin's Creed series and that's also worth the asking price too.

I'm not going to spoil too much of the mission content or the story for you though; you'll just have to get the DLC if you want to know more. There are a few timed missions and those don't really work well within the whole scope of the Assassin's Creed series, and I've never been a fan of timers in games at all. When you're dealing with a game that's supposed to be about free-flowing parkour and stabbing people sneaky-style, putting a timer on things basically smacks of padding it out, since you know people are going to fail a few times and be forced to return to a previous checkpoint or restart a sequence over. I prefer to try and work out tactically what I'm going to do next, plan and then see if I can follow through on that particular gameplan, altering it as I see fit when things may not go to form.

Chase and tackle parts were used to great effect in AC: Brotherhood, they make a return here too...only they're more frustrating this time due to the mission design environment itself. I'm sure there are some ninja-fingered gamers who breeze through first time though, so again, just something to watch out for.

Killing with or against friends

It isn't all single player fun and games either, there's a good chunk of multiplayer content involved with this DLC. There are 4 characters, including the Dama Rosa, a supine assassin with a killer style. The Knight, a brutish battle master with a two handed sword. The Pariah, a mask wearing killer and the Marquis who comes armed with a rapier and a deadly strike. These new characters come alongside a new map and two new game modes.

The first of these is Escort, its simple and interesting where you basically protect an AI VIP as they travel through the map, and teams take turns on attack or defence. This can lead to situations where someone murders the VIP and the defence team piles on them however. It's a good mode but nowhere as fun or frenetic as the second mode.

Assassinate is a no holds barred free-for all where the players basically kill each other, there's no target assigned and you must use your visual intuition more than the other modes. It's Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Deathmatch, and it's a lot of fun. It's probably more fun than many of the other modes put together since you're constantly on the lookout for targets and for enemy assassins locked onto you.

All in all the Da Vinci Disappearance has a significant chunk of single player content and multiplayer content to justify the asking price. Not only that but it's a very competent add-on to Brotherhood that extends the shelf life of the game a lot.

This one is 'Highly Recommended' DLC and you basically can't live without it for the game.