A Brit Late: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Multiplayer)
You could be forgiven for thinking Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (which will again to be referred to as Assbros) was a multiplayer only game, based on the amount of press that portion of the game got over the singleplayer. While the game does have a surprisingly meaty single player component, the multiplayer component is just as in-depth and lays some good groundwork for future iterations of the franchise.Rather than quantity over quality, the multiplayer mode only has four modes. Wanted, Manhunt, Alliance and in free DLC, a treasure capture mode. I’ve only played the former two, so I’ll talk about them. Wanted is a simple deathmatch mode, where up to 8 players play in a free for all where they are given a target to kill, while at the same time being targeted by up to 4 other players, depending on their position in the game. On the other hand, the aim of Manhunt is still to kill other players but it is more cat and mouse, as two teams of 4 players face each other in two rounds, where one team has to hunt the other team who are hiding. In all modes, the crowd is made up of identical character models of all of the different multiplayer characters, so you can accidentally kill a crowd member you might think is your target.
I’ve really been enjoying the multiplayer component. Multiplayer games have felt quite stagnated as the moment, there doesn’t seem to be little room for anyone doing anything different. So it was refreshing to find something different in Assbros and also that game modes that require more skill than luck. After all, like the title name states, you’re an Assassin, or rather in this mode, a Templar in an Animus training program. You can’t simply run across rooftops all the time, you’ll be easily spotted by both your target and pursuer. Stealth is the name of the game, and it’ll be those who can best pretend to just be another mindless AI crowd member that will prosper. It means there is a bit of a learning curve, but it feels very rewarding when you know how to play properly and start getting the big points for each assassination. If you just run towards your target, this initiates a chase event, and you’ll only get 100 points if you stop them dead. However, you’ll get more points just for silently killing them as you walk past. There are still players in the game who will be about as stealthy as Silvio Berlusconi’s sexual desires, but it won’t be much of a hindrance to you as you will actually benefit by finishing in a better place.
The same rings true when hiding. In Manhunt, you won’t get any points for simply walking about. Points come from walking with crowds, sitting on benches, joining conversations and stunning enemies. However, if you don’t follow crowd members identical to you then you’ll stick out like a sore thumb, so you have to think of what is the best method of hiding from your opponents. There are also hay-bales and bushes you can hide in and in chases, you can run through doors that will shut after running through them to stop your opponent.
Being a professional, you of course have tools at your disposal, which come in the forms of weapons, perks, kill streaks and loss streaks. This is essentially a copy of the model made popular by Call of Duty, complete with customizable classes. Like that, different tools don’t unlock until you reach certain levels, which isn’t much of a problem in that game but it can put players at a disadvantage here, especially when tools such as Templar vision (which will identify your opponent in a crowd) don’t unlock until the later levels.
Each weapons has its own advantages and disadvantages and since you can only carry two per class, it will decide the approach you take as a player. Do you take a smoke bomb so you can easily stun your opponent in a crowd and escape? A hidden gun to take care of far away opponents safely? A sprint boost to easily catch up to targets running away? A good player will make use of all the tools based on their judgement and having the multiple classes is useful for quick switching after each death.
One unfortunate annoyance is the targeting system. If you see an opponent running then you can lock on so that you know where and who they are in a crowd. If you hold the lock button then you can aim down and target someone if they stood out but were still in low profile. However, when your target is running through or is in a crowd, the game has a hard job of properly targeting and this can result in accidentally killing the wrong person because of your trust in the system. You can imagine that can be pretty frustrating, especially when a game is close.
So that’s Assbros multiplayer in a nutshell. I could mention maps, but with a game like this, map design isn’t a huge factor as they are nearly all grid layouts of buildings, hay-bales and bushes. In my opinion, it’s a multiplayer game for the thinking man. While a little bit of random intervention comes in from how many people have you as their target when you’re winning and the locked abilities, a good player will still be able to use limited tools and silently take out or hide from their opponents. For me, it was so refreshing and for the most part, will get rid of online idiots over time. As long as it doesn’t become the main focus of future titles, I would like to see Ubisoft work on an improved version in the future.