The Da Vinci Disappearance is an ambitious piece of DLC for Ubisoft, granting players access to a large chunk of single-player content, but also some new modes, skins and a map for the multipayler side. At the February Games Showcase in San Francisco, I was able to play through two missions in an Xbox 360 build.
The DLC spans three different areas: Rome, Belguardo (the new area I got to slink around through) and another undisclosed location. The DLC kicks off with a brief meeting between Ezio and Leonardo at his workshop, which initiates a go-fer quest: Ezio must track down Leo's assistant, Salai.
Salai is down at the local tavern, gambling. His hot hand has seemingly upset a gang of cloaked men who are evidently fond of not only the color brown but, more importantly, Salai's company. They want him to keep playing and follow Ezio and Salai out of the tavern, which initiates a combat sequence. After the battle, Salai reveals that the conflict wasn't about money, but rather a discovery that Leonardo has made and apparently been quite vocal about: a hidden temple.
Returning to Leo's workshop, the place is a mess and signs of a struggle indicate he'd been kidnapped. A note scribbled on the floor refers to paintings which were thought lost during the attack on the Ezio's villa earlier in the game. So aside from finding Leonardo, Ezio must now track down five different missing paintings for clues about Leonardo's discovery.
My hunt for the first painting took me to an estate in Belguardo. A brief cutscene shows this is the manor of Lucrezia Borgia, who has decided to shut the gates and bar entry for everyone. She's kinda afraid of being stabbed by an assassin, you see -- a very valid fear, granted how many stabbings that have apparently occured in Italy in the early 1500s.
So Ezio must sneak in, first making his way through an elaborate garden maze and eventually an adjacent building before sneaking in above the main gate. Once inside, he confronts Lucrezia who orders her guards to put the painting in a cart and place them both outside. Ezio's unresistable, almost animal-like sensuality made her forget he's the enemy, I guess.
Instead of following through with the implied romance, Ezio ties Lucretzia up and makes his way for the door. This triggers a pretty fun chase sequence, where Ezio must dodge large groups of soldiers while trying to flee the compound before the allotted time. Jumping out of a window and landing into a bale of hay, I found the painting waiting for me -- which ended the demo.
While I would've liked to have seen the multiplayer side of the DLC, the single player content of Da Vinci's Disappearance already proved its scope will be much larger than that of Assassin's Creed 2's bare-bones DLC offerings. This is undoubtedly a meatier offering and seems to justify its price of admission.
The Da Vinci Disappearance is set to launch March 8 for 800 MS Points ($10) on Xbox Live and $9.99 on PSN. The DLC will be included in all digital deluxe editions of the PC version.