When I heard there was going to be a beta for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood I was very excited. While I am a fan of the series, I am more than willing to admit that the single player can get a little (ok a lot) monotonous and having a multiplayer aspect in either of the first two might have helped avoid that . That’s not to say that I didn’t understand where Ubisoft was coming from when they said that they didn’t want to put a multiplayer into either of the previous titles just to say that it had one. It looks like Ubi knew best again because while it still requires some polish which we expect in a beta, the multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is the freshest take on the concept we have seen in a while.
The multiplayer starts with a tutorial that gets you acclimated to the world of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, for veterans of the franchise it will feel familiar to be sure, though it had some quirks all its own. Even in the beta you have the option of choosing from a wide array of characters, each with their own special skills. In the multiplayer mode, you will have a target identified for you and your objective is to eliminate that target…with extreme prejudice. This wouldn’t be that fun except your target is another player that is moving around this world the same as you. You are able to track your prey through the use of a simple directional pointer at the bottom right of the screen that leads you in the right direction and gets stronger as you get closer to your target. At this point, this is where Ubisoft demonstrates why multiplayer came to the AC franchise exactly when it was supposed to.
If the only variables in the multiplayer were the ones I just mentioned then it wouldn’t be that much fun, but there’s more. Just as you, the assassin, have a sensor that is leading you to the target, they have something similar that in some cases will alert them to your presence as well. This is made more difficult by the fact that there are a lot of lookalikes floating around each level which means that even when you are in immediate proximity of your target, there may be 3 or 4 that look alike and you must quickly decide which one to execute. If you get it right then you get points, get it wrong and you have start your hunt again for a new target. But there’s more. All of the things I just mentioned are caveated by the fact that every hunter is also being hunted. That’s right, the same way you are tracking your target someone else is tracking you. This concept underlies the entire multiplayer aspect and really creates a constant sense of alertness because you never know if the person walking past you is going to shove a blade in your throat, it is bloody brilliant. At this point you’re thinking well this sounds cool, I’m not done yet.
The multiplayer uses a leveling system that allows you to gain perks and upgrades through the points you earn during each match. There are different perks depending on your level, but one of my favorites is Disguise. This does exactly what it sounds like, since your pursuer knows what you look like you can use the Disguise perk to temporarily change your appearance and hopefully confuse your enemies.
After playing for about 2 hours straight it is my opinion that there are and will be two types of players in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood multiplayer:
These are players who play the mode like they are playing Call Of Duty or something. They run around a lot making themselves easy to spot and because of the way they play they may kill you several times but these type of players will not be the most successful overall and I will tell you why in a bit.
These players move silently but swiftly as they pursue their target. They walk vice run in order to stay hidden from both their prey as well as their own pursuer. They will hide and lie in wait for their target to come to them if necessary. The beautiful thing about these players is that most of the time, their target never even saw it coming and that is what will make these players the truly hard ones to beat.
At this point you are like how can that be, it is about points isn’t it. It is about points and I am not saying that “Kamikazes” as I call them won’t win a lot of matches, but what I am saying is that Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood rewards you much more for how you eliminate your targets than just the act of killing them. To put in into perspective, if you spot your target and start to run toward them and they spot you and you eventually chase them down and finish them then that is generally only worth a hundred points. You did complete your goal, but that’s not how a real assassin would do it now would they? If you follow the way of the True Assassins by doing everything possible to ensure that your target never suspects what is about to happen to them then you will be handsomely rewarded, normally with around 400 points. So as you can see a Kamikaze would need 4 kills just to get the same amount of points that a True Assassin could get with one. I won’t lie to you its slow going to walk the way of the True Assassin and even I go Kamikaze in the last minute or so but trust me it pays off. In the matches I played I had far less total kills than my opponents and in a lot of cases more deaths but I still consistently was able to come in 2nd or 3rd place from a points perspective because of the way I executed my targets.
The Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood multiplayer isn’t perfect yet though and after all isn’t that what beta’s are for? Here are some things I would like to see in the final build:
Counter-Assassinations– In the current build you can’t stop yourself from getting assassinated under any circumstances. I would love to see Ubi incorporate some kind of way for you to be able to counter assassinate in certain situations such as when your attacker exposes themselves early by running toward you, it would be awesome if you could time a button press right and turn the tables in order to assassinate the assassin. There are many ways they could approach this, but I think that skilled assassin’s shouldn’t be helpless to defend themselves in a close combat situation when they are already aware of the attacker’s presence, this isn’t long range COD sniping or something. This is as up close and personal as it gets.
Disguise Mode Extended – The disguise mode is a great tool in order to further maintain your stealth, my only issue is that it doesn’t last very long, hardly enough time to be useful anyway. I hope in the final build they extend the time that you can be in disguise mode so that you can actually make it a part of a real strategy instead of some gimmicky thing that is cool to do but doesn’t really help you win.
If we are judging from the beta, then the game is pretty much done and they are making the final touchups and if they apply what they learn from the beta then Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood will be the most complete Assassin’s Creed yet.