Brutes were heavily-armored guards during the Renaissance. They donned durable armor, carried large, heavy weapons and were one of the strongest guards. However, this was offset by their slow movements due to the weight of their equipment.
Brutes were tricky enemies to defeat, due to the power behind each of their attacks; some of which could neither be blocked nor countered.
A counter could only have been performed with another heavy weapon, such as those the Brutes themselves carried, a long weapon often carried by Seekers, or by a Hidden Blade. The successful timing chance for the latter, however, was notoriously small, as an Assassin was given only a fraction of a second to react.
A Brute's regular attacks could also be countered through a disarm maneuver, which left them open to a lethal, follow-up attack. The timing required for the disarm was short, however, albeit slightly longer than that of the Hidden Blade counter.
Additionally, like all other enemies, Brutes were most easily dispatched through being assassinated from above, or while undetected; with either the Hidden Blades or a ranged weapon, such as the Hidden Gun or crossbow.
There were two variants of a Brute's special attacks, of which neither could be blocked nor countered, and could only be avoided by striking pre-emptively or through dodging.
A Brute would perform a Smash by raising their weapon overhead and taking a strong downward swing; knocking their target onto their back, and inflicting around the damage as one of their regular attacks.
The Smash special attack also took less time for a Brute to prepare (approximately one second), in comparison to a Disarm Smash.
More forceful than an empty-handed disarm, a Brute performed a Disarm Smash by holding their weapon out behind them and then swinging it from right to left, breaking through an opponent's guard and often knocking away their weapon.
The attack essentially did no damage, but as mentioned, it opened an enemy up to attacks from other foes in a fight, as well as bestowing the inconvenience of being without a weapon.
Brutes were not highly intelligent, and could be escaped once their line of sight had been broken by blending or hiding. They were also neither agile nor quick, and could not free-run or climb. As such, taking to the rooftops was an easy method of escape.
Certain Brutes appeared to have a black-brown finish or trim on their armor plating, marking them as higher-ranked Brutes that were more resistant to enemy attacks. Brutes of Rome also bore unique, more intricate armor than their counterparts in other cities.
Additionally, Brutes rarely ran from a fight, even if they were forced to face an opponent alone; unless they were disarmed. Inversely, killing a Brute caused other guards accompanying them (particularly those with lower ranks) to flee.
- Dante Moro carried a Labrys axe, and fought like a Brute; though with an immunity to being disarmed.
- Bartolomeo d'Alviano behaved like a Brute in combat, and carried a Bastard sword, which he fondly called "Bianca".
- Francesco Salviati carried a Bearded Axe with him when in his villa, and fought like a Brute.
- Silvio Barbarigo, although initially unarmed, would behave like a Brute should he pick up a heavy weapon.
- Mercenaries also fought like Brutes, and carried similar weapons.
- The Templar spy encountered by Ezio Auditore da Firenze in Spain resembled a Brute.
- Some Papal Guards, when equipped with heavy weapons, would fight like Brutes.
- Il Carnefice carried a Bearded Axe and fought like a Brute when encountered.
- Auguste Oberlin fought in a way similar to a Brute, and carried either a Bearded Axe.
- In Assassin's Creed II, Ezio uses certain taunts that are specific to Brutes, usually insulting their weight and equipment. Among them are: "Can you even hear me in there?!", "Well, you're certainly well-fed!", "That looks heavy!", "Fatti sotto, porco! (Come on, pig!)", and "Ehi, grassone! (Hey, fatty!)"
- In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Borgia Brutes are noticeably rarer than in Assassin's Creed II, and French Army Brutes are more common. They are mostly found in French camps throughout Rome until Ezio assassinates the Baron de Valois. Here, Brutes can be disarmed when they are taunted.
- In the memory "Infrequent Flier," during the cutscene where Ezio abandons a burning Flying Machine, a Brute and a Seeker can be seen on the roof of the Palazzo Ducale. Strangely, these are the only two guard archetypes that cannot free-run or climb.
- When using the throwing knife special attack, Brutes can be killed with a single knife despite their heavy armor.
- In Assassin's Creed II: Discovery, Guard Captains possess the same appearance as Brutes and are armed with greatswords. However, unlike Brutes they are extremely fast and can pull Ezio down if he attempts to scale a wall.
- The Almogavars in Assassin's Creed: Revelations closely resemble Brutes in build and characteristics.
- In the 'Kenway Saga' games, Brutes were replaced by Grenadiers who could not be killed by execution streaks and their defense must be broken or them to continue the kill streaks.
- Borgia Brutes wear frog-mouth helms. In reality these helms were used primarily for jousting rather than on the battlefield.