The addition of multiplayer can be a divisive topic, especially with a series known for its story and characters. When we learned that Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood would have an online competitive mode there were more than a few worried looks around the room. Overall, most of the fears subsided- we got a robust single player mode and we also got a neat new way to play as an assassin with friends. As I’m primarily interested in the story, I can’t say I’m totally convinced we need a multiplayer mode for Assassin’s Creed 3. However, last week, I got some hands on time while in Boston that might have convinced me to give it a closer look and maybe change my mind.
I admit I’m not a huge fan of the multiplayer in Brotherhood. I messed around with it a little bit but something didn’t quite click with me. The concept was interesting in theory- basically, you pretend to be an AI controlled character to trick the other players so that you can quickly and stealthily eliminate your target while and in turn you’re followed by another player who assigned to kill you. It has a very nice cat and mouse scenario. I definitely see the appeal to it but it’s been my experience from Brotherhood that the matches devolve into a kill-fest once there is about a minute remaining on the clock. It’s a very different feel from most other multiplayer games, but if you like slower paced, methodical gameplay banking on tricking other players then you should definitely give this a go.
Not much has really changed with the multiplayer in AC 3 but there are a couple of new modes to keep it fresh. The ‘main’ elimination mode will have you second guessing plenty of times if that sharply dressed lad is really a secret killer or was it just making erratic movements due to a slight programming hitch. You’re awarded points depending on you dispatch your target where adhering to the stealth assassin’s creed grants you more. Though there is much to be said of high risk maneuvers and quickly ridding of each target by any means.
Successfully, assassinating your opponents gives experience points that will rank your overall profile through a number of levels with each new level granting more assassin gadgets and player skins. It’s pretty standard by now but thought I’d mention it all the same. Additionally, after each match you’re award various bonuses and acknowledgements from different statistics like multi-kills, most time alive, and even most time spent on roof tops. So even if you aren’t best player you’ll still be able to get some experience out of the match.
There are a few other modes I tried out as well- Domination and Wolf Pack. Domination is a team based mode of 4 vs. 4 with each team capturing and then defending specific locations on the map. As you’re part of a squad, you all play with the same character. Don’t worry, though, there are plenty of other AI controlled characters that can throw off your enemies; so unless all four players are sprinting to a point you should be able to remain incognito. I found the best tactic was just to hide in a pile of hay as you’re capturing a point. There’s a certain satisfaction with popping out of a hiding for perfectly timed kill. You’ll also have a few tools to help defend such as a tripwire trap that springs as an opponent steps in its vicinity.
If slowly hunting your victims while keeping an eye over your shoulder isn’t your cup of tea, then Wolf Pack is for you. Wolf Pack is Assassin’s Creed 3’s co-op mode. A team of 2 to 4 players is given a group of targets to take down in limited amount of time. It’s a little more rushing from target to target because you only start with a minute on the clock and each new mark gets tougher as the team progresses. You’re awarded more points for synchronized kills but this mode gets chaotic fast and seems easier to just run down the bad guys as quickly as possible. I enjoyed it enough but you’ll need to hone your combat skills to make it through all 25 targets (we were only able to get to around 8).
I’m still mixed on the multiplayer portion for the Assassin’s series. It’s a nice enough distraction but that’s all I really see it as, a brief break from the story mode as side attraction. It’s still apparent that the meat of the series remains with the story but for those that want a little more will certainly enjoy the new modes.
[Assassin's Creed 3 releases October 30th. Played on Xbox 360. Event and travel provided by Ubisoft]