previews\ Jun 13, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Multiplayer Preview

Ezio isn’t the only assassin drifting through the streets and pouncing across rooftops. In the upcoming sequel, Assassin’s Creed II: Brotherhood, players will not only get to don the skins of other stealthy hopefuls. They will get to pit their skills against those of other players in the series’ first venture into the realm of multiplayer.

‘Wanted’ is the only mode revealed, with more modes guaranteed to come. Up to eight players scour the streets, the rooftops, and bales of hay in search of their human victims, but not without a few catches. You are contracted to kill a specific player within a time limit. Fail to locate and neutralize your target in the city and you will have to waste precious time waiting for another contract to be assigned.

Of course, assassination is never a cut-and-dry business. Other players have contracts of their own, and you are most definitely on their lists. The ring of contracts isn’t a perfect circle (e.g. Player 1 is after Player 2, 2 is after 3, 3 is after 4, etc.). Quite often, two players will be after the same target. I was scarcely three steps from my prey when a third figure dropped from a skyward perch and drove his knife into my target’s neck.

Speed is a necessary asset, but so is patience. Eight characters were shown, with more to follow, and they are identical in every way to the innocent citizens mulling about the streets. Anyone sprinting through the crowds or scaling buildings is obviously another player, and quite possibly your target. When you become the contract, you can run, but sometimes the best place to hide is in plain sight.

In one instance, I was nipping at the heels of my bald-headed target. I gave chase along window ledges, between the tents of a market, and turned a corner to see a group of identically hair-challenged priests. My radar, which displayed general directions and not exact locations, was blinking wildly. One of the priests was my target, so I waited as the timer on the contract ticked down to the final seconds. Then I saw it, a flinch, probably an accidental twitch of the analog stick, and I rushed in for the kill.

The tension is unlike that of any other multiplayer, and requires a severe rerouting of the tactics developed by first-person shooters. Players are more than welcome to zip around like a beacon to everyone nearby. Honestly, speed often yields more kills, but stealth yields substantially more points for the final scoreboard, and experience for ranks.

Players will have a few additional tools and abilities to aid their missions. I was only able to glimpse four - smoke bomb, speed boost, morph, and disguise. Higher ranks will offer more toys for your toolkit as well as innate Perks, which have yet to be fully disclosed.

The multiplayer scene is dominated by explosions, destruction, and all-out chaos. It will be exciting to see how players adapt to such a subdued style of combat, and what other modes Ubisoft has in store.

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