Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Preview for PS3

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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood screenshot
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood screenshot

When in Rome: knife everyone, it seems. The original Assassin's Creed laid the groundwork for the series' story-based campaigns, plots which served to develop its Dan Brown-style lore of Templars alongside a subplot featuring that bird from Veronica Mars. The concern that multiplayer would conflict with the series' strong narrative focus provoked enough fans and forumites to get a bit on edge over the idea of letting players run riot in Renaissance Italy.

Brotherhood's multiplayer is only loosely fitted around the narrative of the series - the conceit being that you're playing a modern-day Templar-in-training who, along with seven colleagues, is hooked up to the Animus to take on the identity of an assassin. But ignore the absentee Desmond and Ezio for a minute, because the greatest gift AC multiplayer can give you is the fact that the living, breathing city remains completely intact. The world of Assassin's Creed is as fully realised as it has been in any single-player instalment, pop-full of heaving masses of citizens; citizens in mid-conversation with one another, citizens who will wobble about when you dash through them. What could have been designed as a simple set, a poor man's imitation of AC's city-du-jour, is a writhing, fully fleshed out metropolis. Both multiplayer modes are playable on two maps, Rome and Castle Gandolfo, and a third, Siena, to be unlocked by the community in Beta. There's still real humanity in the cities, and a real sense of impending danger.

Where single-player could often devolve from a matter of stealth into a basic chase routine, there's a methodology to multiplayer that forces you to be aware of - and I mean this quite literally - every step you take.

For one, the game discourages you from running amok. Multiplayer puts you in the shoes of both an assassin and the target of an assassin, meaning you are encouraged to fit in seamlessly with the crowd of NPCs as you make your way toward your victim. Your aim is to go unnoticed, to confuse your own hunter so that they mistake you for a random, AI-controlled citizen. It's a continuing game of cat and mouse: blend just enough to remain unnoticed, but retain enough of your typical gamer tendencies to keep an eye out for someone acting out-of-place.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood screenshot

If you reckon someone is on your tail then you can call upon one of your character abilities and perks. Knives slow your target down, while Smoke releases a smoke bomb that will immobilise them entirely. Other abilities effect the NPCs around you: Blender transforms the surrounding crowd into clones of your character, while Auto-Bash increases the number of NPCs you can run into without becoming unbalanced. None of these are particularly necessary to gameplay but they lend a degree of complexity to what could become a simple game of stealth-tag. Smoke, for instance, will wall off an enemy behind a cloud, giving you a moment to double back and stun or kill him.

Even the map is designed to complicate the chase. Chase Breakers are built-in interactive elements designed to help you escape if and when you're being pursued. They are doorways that will sparkle to let you know they'll slam shut the minute you enter them, forcing anyone behind you to find another route around. There are lifts that will take you to a rooftop, or falling platforms that will cut the chase short. Then you have the AC classics: hay stacks to dive in, walls to climb. In fact, climbing mechanics have been re-designed specifically for the speed of multiplayer. Where single-player will introduce you to walls that can be scaled at different speeds, multiplayer allows you to climb incredibly easily, and it's a hell of a lifesaver.

In the first of the two modes, Wanted, you're set up with seven others and given one player to assassinate. Someone else is also assigned to hunt you, and depending on how well you perform you can become the target of multiple players at once. To the top left of the HUD are red icons that represent how many people are searching for you at that point in the match. The game is continuously attempting to level the playing field. Lower ranking players will be given an easier time, faced only with one pursuer until they work their way up and start raking in points, while higher ranking players will find themselves followed by handfuls of assassins at once.

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clangod's Avatar

clangod@ Clockpunk

I believe there is a single player campaign which is a follow on from AC2. I'm pretty sure from memory that in involves a more detailed Rome and has added features such as the ability to ride horses through the city streets and you can recruit/ order your 'gang' members to take out assassination targets and guards etc.

I think most people expect a tacked on piece but reports say that it's a rather large campaign in its own right...
Posted 11:01 on 28 September 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ clangod

ABsolutely - the close watching and more subversive elements make it sound like a fun game indeed - got my preorder in!

I assume there is no single player campaign, but all multiplayer?
Posted 09:13 on 28 September 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ SexyJams

I'm really interested to see how it all eventuates myself Jams. I suppose I just like the idea of a more "psycological" game (for want of a better term). You don't just turn a corner and be the first of two players to press the trigger button. The appeal is in the hunt. Based on the preview it seems that they're on the right track with it but ultimately it could go horribly wrong. Fingers crossed.
Posted 01:13 on 28 September 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Just been listening to your opinions on the podcast, this was a complimenting read.
I think this is the sort of online I'd really enjoy. At least it's something different right?
Posted 21:00 on 27 September 2010

Game Stats

Release Date: 19/11/2010
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 2,339
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