Before I get started I should probably declare an interest. I have taken part in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations multiplayer betas. I also put a fair amount of hours on both the full games. I would have taken part in an Assassin’s Creed: 3 closed beta, had there been one.
I personally have always found the games to be a very different type of multiplayer experience. Not the usual gung-ho twitch shooter, but a game that rewards sneakiness and patience to succeed. There is a real buzz from creeping up on someone to take them out without them ever seeing it coming or by preventing a player taking you out with a well placed counter measure and stun.
There are a few main game types: Sologames: Deathmatch, Assassinate and Wanted Team games: ArtifactAssault (capture the flag), Domination and Manhunt. Co-op: Wolfpack
My personal favorite is Wanted which assigns a target to you and your aim is to take them out but at the same time you are also the target for another player. You are given a picture of your target and compass which help to determine the direction of them and their proximity. You can also see how many other players are after your target as well as how many are after you. Opponents that are after you can either be escaped from by running away, using diversionary tactics or by stunning them.
I’m also a huge fan of Manhunt which is a team game split in to two rounds one as a target. Where your aim is to stay hidden from your pursues, points are awarded for staying close together and for stunning or escaping your pursuers. Then the roles are reversed. Points and bonuses are also awarded for assisting your team mates by locking on to the opposing team members, so they can be killed or stunned or by assisting team mates recover that have been stunned. Locking is done with the R1 button either by aiming over your target or by tapping if you target becomes High Profile by running, stunning or killing another player or civilian.
The game awards points based on the way in you stalk and kill you target. None sneaky kills such as using a Handgun or running straight at your target award few points. The best way to score is the way in which you approach your target and a meter under your targets picture fills to award more points.
Starting at Reckless, Discreet, Silent, Incognito. Bonus points are awarded for adding style to you kills or by killing people before other players.
By alternating your bonus type you gain Variety (5 different bonuses = 200 points), Greater Variety (10=400) and Extreme Variety (15=600).
Perks and skill sets
In order to keep yourself safe or to maximise your chance of killing your target you can assign abilities. From having a disguise, carrying smoke bombs or poison. There has been a big change to this. In previous Assassin’s Creed multiplayers you could only assign two abilities at a time, which are activated using the bottom triggers. Now Triangle button allows you to carry a Ranged weapon as well. After these abilities have been used a period of cool down is triggered before you can then reuse that specific ability.
All these abilities have challenges attached to them which on completion gives bonus XP and assist in leveling up.
History as Entertainment
As with Assassin’s Creed: Revelations there is a story about progression within the Templars corporate organisation Abstergo Industries but this time the multiplayer is framed as a piece of entertainment software from Abstergo. Now instead of just completing challenges to open up corporate videos, you can now open up hacked versions of these videos. They explain more about why these glossy videos are done in the way they are and has a real post-modern feel to it. You are also awarded Abstergo credits which can be used to purchase new abilities, perks, kill & loss streaks as well as bits for your character’s appearance or your profile. Ubisoft have also added the option to cheat but at a price. Now is possible to buy Eriudo Credits which can be used to open up all the costumes or appearances.
The maps look lovely and are set in the American Civil War time period. They still contain the multiple level feel of the previous games. Allowing targets to be stalked from the ground or from various vantage points like rooftops or trees.
There are some major changes to the Multiplayer. The main one being a change to the controls. As previously mentioned, Ranged weapons are now on the Triangle button, but a big shock is that stunning is now done from the Square button not the Circle button. Which makes sense as this is the same button used to attack. There are also some stylish post game pre-rendered videos showing the top three players as well as being shown for achieving certain tasks. These are a lovely addition to the game. What I really do like is the way the scoring system has been improved. You can now press Select button after you have been killed to see what score bonuses were given to the killer. Select also brings up the scoreboard allowing you to see you own position against the other 7 player’s. Also the post game analysis from Assassin’sCreed: Brotherhood which shows your scores against the competition is back.
There are also a couple of new abilities. Wipe prevents an opponents triggering abilities and also shows enemy Templars. There is also a new projectile weapon called Disruptor which will mess the vision of the enemy hit. There is also the addition of Animus Shield. This has to be the biggest change as it becomes a brilliant bit of defensive equipment. It will stop projectiles, allow you to walk through smoke bombs, booby traps and prevent the wearer being poisoned.
Another big change revolves around the four Kill Streak Bonues. There are two types for any style kills or Silent / Incognito kill bonus (requiring less but harder to achieve). They can now be gained with Stuns too. These bonuses would usually reset when stunned or killed but now you can add a Kill Buffer Perk which only deducts one from your Streak.
Previous games would award an additional bonus for taking time to Focus on your kill. This requires you being within a close proximity of the Target for three seconds before executing the kill. This Focus bonus in now awarded to taking the time to Stun an attacker. Helping to balance the scores.
There is also a the new Wolfpack co-op mode which allows up to 4 players. The aim is to work together to maximise your points and progress through levels which add time to your game. It’s actually harder to play than I expected, as in later levels the AI have some of the same abilities as human players and can be tricky to kill.
It could be fact I was only playing with randoms. I can imagine with friends it could become quite compelling.
When I first started this review I had made it through the first 50 Levels to Prestige in under 24 hours and felt that this was a major improvement over the previous installments the abilities seemed well-balanced and the Honorable Death / Contested Kill seemed to be better balanced.
Sadly my opinion has been shifted as since the last update the abilities have been “tweaked”. These tweaks now seems to have added a rather substantial lag for some unknown reason. This has made an extra enemy to battle and that’s the game itself. Kills don’t always work properly, defensive weapons don’t always deploy properly. This really generates a high level of frustration.
Also the chat functions are still shite, very poor sound quality in game and it has a convoluted way to mute other players.
When I originally wrote this there hadn’t been the two multiplayer update “tweaks”. These changes in my opinion have not been for the better. There is has been a substantial increase of in-game lag. Kills and stuns don’t always trigger the way you’d expect. Don’t get me wrong this is still one of the most unique and tense multiplayer games. It just fees broken, which is a real shame. I still recommend it just be warned you may end up fighting the game mechanics, as much as your opponents.