|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal|
|Release: March 8, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Strong Language|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius. Known for his paintings, engineering concepts, and philosophy, the guy was certainly an intriguing figure in history, and made for an equally compelling character in the Assassin's Creed universe. And fortunately for all of us, there are some wild tales of Leonardo's personal life that fit oh-so-conveniently into the world of Assassin's Creed.
The Da Vinci Disappearance add-on game picks up Ezio's story several years after the war with the Borgia. Life has pretty much returned to normal in Italy, and though there is a new cult in town for people to get swept up in, it seems Ezio is content to spend his later years just hanging out and being a boss. Oh, and making occasional visits to see his best friend, Leonardo Da Vinci. Because what else would he do in his spare time? He already saved Italy from civil war and re-built Rome single-handedly (what a guy!), so it would seem he earned some nice R&R.
Unfortunately, his abundance of free time ends when he has a meeting with Leonardo and is asked to find and bring back Salai, who is Leonardo's "other" best friend. You know, the kind with benefits. Like a good friend, Ezio catches Salai playing dice with some questionable hooded types from the local thieves' guild, and dutifully drags him out to bring him back to Leonardo. But after some awkward flirtation scenes, Ezio realizes Salai is being followed by the shady hooded guys from the guild (what, you thought they would disappear? That's Leonardo's job!). Apparently Salai has been blabbing to all the wrong people about Leonardo's latest projects, and now they're out for blood. Ezio immediately realizes that Leonardo is in trouble, but by the time they get back to his place, it is already too late, and as the name of the DLC implies, Leonardo Da Vinci has disappeared.
What ensues is a fun, two-hour romp back through Italy, as Ezio tracks down clues in Leonardo's paintings to try and find his friend. There are plenty of fun climbing and stealth missions, and you'll run into some familiar faces, including the villainous and deliciously unhinged Lucretzia Borgia, who has a particularly sexy moment with Ezio that doesn't end up the way you might immediately expect. This DLC's story is certainly the best reason to buy it, and it ties in nicely with the overarching plot and gives Ezio a proper sendoff (you can't say that he got the best send-off in AC II or in Brotherhood.) The Da Vinci Disappearance gives the game a much-needed epilogue, and if you were having trouble saying goodbye to Ezio, it may just provide the closure you need.
Though the single player alone is worth the $10 entry price for me, I realize that two hours of gameplay in exchange for one flat Hamilton may not seem worth it to everyone. Fortunately, this DLC also pads the multiplayer experience considerably, and opens a new map, four new character classes, and two new mission types: Escort and Assassinate. The latter is a lot like the game's original mode, except instead of having one target to wipe out, you'll be able to go after anyone (who isn't an NPC, of course).
The escort mission type is more of a game-changer, but unfortunately, it's not as exciting as Assassinate. Escort tasks you and a team of protecting one poor soul from being assassinated by the other team while simultaneously trying to knock off the other team's escort. This mode is a little bit like human capture the flag, which is an interesting premise, but honestly I'd rather go around knifing people in the throat. But maybe that's just me. I've never been the strategic type. Though the Assassin's Creed Brotherhood multiplayer mode was a bit thin to begin with, this DLC really brings it into its own, effectively doubles the content, and subsequently gives it a much higher replay value. So if you aren't immediately sold on the game just for the add-on story content, the multiplayer expansion is definitely worth your $10.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was one of my favorite games of 2010, and saying goodbye to it after it was finished was certainly difficult, as Ezio Auditore is one of the most compelling characters I've ever encountered. Fortunately, this DLC puts Ezio back in the spotlight, and also gives players some clues as to what they can expect when Assassin's Creed III comes around the corner. The Da Vinci Disappearance is a great send-off to a wonderful character that AC fans have spent the past two years getting to know, and is certainly a must-buy for fans of the series. We'll miss you, Ezio!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer