Assassins Creed Brotherhood Hands-On Preview

The developers behind Assassins Creed have, this time, stepped back, had a coffee, and thought: “what cool stuff can we add”. What cool stuff have they added? A completely new multiplayer is what! Moreover, it’s quite a bit better than I, and probably every other gamer, expected. This does not feel like a quick build, it feels solid and thought out, much the opposite to a tacked on mode. The modes that we have sampled are fun and definitely adrenalin fuelled.

There were several different sections we tried called ‘Wanted’ and ‘Alliance’. Firstly, the ‘Wanted’ mode; it’s an eight player game, essentially a free for all deathmatch but with a twist. In this deathmatch, you get given a contract to go and kill one of the other players; you get a compass that will lead you to them and a small mug shot in the top right hand corner.

All well and easy? Certainly not. There can be more than one person after your target so knowing when to be quick and when to be stealthy is a big part of the mode. This all goes around in a big circle, so while you are assassinating your target, you have to keep an eye out for up to four people that will be trying to hunt you down. Every character has a clone, making the mode even more complex. This means you are never quite sure whether the person behind you is an AI character or a player about to end your life. Quite scary really.

The ‘Alliance’ mode, in some ways, is much simpler than the aforementioned ‘Wanted’ mode. In this you are split up into teams of two, both of you have the same character which is chosen by the team leader in the pre-game section. Your objective is to kill you or your team leader selects for you, whilst avoiding being killed by the team that has to kill you. This mode can have up to four teams of two. By the nature of the mode, this is far less hectic than ‘Wanted’ and gives you a chance to work with your team mate to corner and assassinate people using an array of tactics.

One of my favourite tactics was to use the other teammate to flush them out. Forgetting all of the stealthy moves they were taught in stealth school, charging head in. Shepherding them hopelessly closer to their unsuspected death. Out of the shadows I would jump, finishing them in one of my extravagant styles. Obviously, at this point swapping over to let your teammate gain some points is a must. We don’t really want rage quits. Luckily, I was playing at an event so I could talk to the person next to me about our tactics; it will be interesting to see if communication totally breaks down post release.

There seems to be a pretty stable and constant point system in place; generally, the quieter and more impressive the kills you make then the more points will line your virtual pockets. The most points you can get is performing a jumping assassination and catching your target completely off guard. If you catch it right, it can look quite cinematic too.

Aside from rewards, if you kill one of those civilian clones, then you get 100 points deducted from your score, a further incentive to get the right kill in the first place as you don’t get a second chance either. Once you’ve messed up, your contract gets changed. It’s not hard to mistake a civilian for a target, luckily, this doesn’t become tedious and boring. For me this adds depth, knowing that you have to be quick, clean, and sure of your target.

There were a few problems that I found though; one was the incredibly long waiting times to get into a match. Maybe this was due to the lack of people online due to being a pre-launch event; there will be much more come the release day, speeding up the process that links you to a game. The second, and admittedly the last, flaw was the map rotation within the modes, there was none! It’s not even the case that there was only one map, once the game found you a map then it would make you play that one map over and over until you quit or everyone left. It would be much improved if they rotated; they are all excellent maps to play on.

Over all this is a solid game and I, for one, can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on the single player and the multiplayer when review time comes!

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