Assassin's Creed 3's "Wolf Pack" co-op fails to excite
Though the Assassin's Creed series is largely known for its expansive single player campaigns, the unique multiplayer modes have been a big draw for gamers looking for something outside of the traditional deathmatch experience. Thankfully, many of these fan favorite multiplayer modes are returning in Assassin's Creed III, alongside several new modes which promise even more variations on the game's backstabbing fun times.
Last week I got the chance to try out the new Wolf Pack multiplayer mode at Ubisoft's AC3 preview event in Boston, Massachusetts, the first time the Assassin's Creed series has ever featured co-op. Unfortunately, though Wolf Pack is a decently enjoyable multiplayer romp, this co-op experience wasn't deep enough to hold my attention for long.
Wolf Pack is a co-op multiplayer mode where four assassins work together to take out specific groups of targets, working against the clock to rack up kills and accrue as many points as possible. The key here is that the timer is extended each time players earn enough points to reach a new "sequence," with major bonus points awarded to teams who can successfully synchronize their kills. Simply put, if each assassin simply runs around the map taking out targets on a whim, the mode is sure to end quickly. However by effectively communicating the location of targets and taking care to make the kill at the same exact time, skilled teams will likely be able to dominate the game's leaderboards.
Wolf Pack feels a bit like an Assassin Creed flavored twist on Resident Evil's "Mercenaries" mode, with the frantic race against the clock leaving little time to think. Unlike Mercenaries however, players will have to maintain some degree of stealth as they progress to harder and harder sequences, where targets not only begin to spread out around the map, but are also prepared for confrontation. Synchronizing kills becomes very difficult once targets start becoming uncomfortable with the weird cloaked figures standing behind them waiting for the signal to strike. Some of these NPCs will flee if shadowed for too long, while others will turn to do battle with potential assassins. Point is, this mode will be almost impossible to play without a headset, as teams will need to be in constant contact throughout each session.
Again, the only real problem I had with Wolf Pack is that it isn't a terribly thrilling implementation of co-op, and the seeming complexity involved in setting up tandem kills means you'll need a truly dedicated team to excel at this mode. Still, it's a welcome addition to AC3's suite of multiplayer options, and it's nice to work alongside your fellow assassins for once. We'll be looking to see how popular Wolf Pack mode proves to be when Assassin's Creed 3 drops in November.