Bonuses are shelled out based on the particular quality of assassination. From drop kills to silent hits, mid-air murders and revenge snuffs, each flavour of slaying has its own rewards. At the other end of the spectrum, fewer points are awarded if the other player is aware you're after them. Run at them through a crowd in the middle of the street, and you're in for a lower score.
The second mode, Alliance, sets you up in three teams of two. Essentially a team-based variation of Wanted, your aim is to track down one team of assassins as another duo attempts to take you out. The problem in this mode so far is that the game doesn't really encourage you to change your style of play from the previous one, despite the fact that you're now in a team. Sure, you can gain bonuses by playing together - either by stunning your target simultaneously, going in for a kill simultaneously or stunning your victim before your team-mate finishes them off - but working together can prove difficult.
Both modes give you the option of choosing from one of nine potential characters: the Prowler, the Barber, the Doctor, the Priest, the Courtesan, the Noble, Engineer, the Executioner and the Smuggler. Despite the suggested diversity, they're all essentially the same - equal in strength despite having different character-specific weapons and fancy kill animations. Alliance forces both team-members to choose the same character. There's some method to it, to be fair. Before the game begins you're shown who you will be after and who will be after you - two easy-enough-to-remember photos of faces you'll be able to spot in a crowd. The rub is that this setup makes every attempt to join forces with your partner extremely bloody obvious. Encircle your target as you plan for a quick stun-and-kill, and you inevitably look like a partnership of twin maniacs who stand out like a sore thumb. You'll ask yourself, "I wonder if these two identical doctors are going to try and syringe me to death?". And the answer will be yes, because they almost always will be.
Attempting to succeed as a team is noticeably slower than working on your own, because you're pushed to anticipate the next move of not two teams but three. "Who is following me?" you'll ponder "Is that my target over there? What the hell is Dave doing on that roof?" The result in my playthrough was a gradual split between team members. We may have started off going after the same target but we inevitably went our own way, running off after individual targets who themselves had split off from their team, and attempting to get to them before our team-mate took them out and got the points for himself.
What you end up being faced with is a slight variation of Wanted, with both its brilliantly stealth-riddled qualities as well as its frustrations. Unfortunately the problematic issue in Wanted is the same thing that fuels its basis as a cat and mouse game: It can get bloody frustrating finding the correct target to assassinate. Your primary tool here is an indicator that points you in the general direction of the player, starting out as a thin line that grows in width as you approach your target and filling out as a full disc when you are standing beside them. It can be annoyingly inexact at times; your target might be standing behind that wall over there, but the indicator won't be able to distinguish between him or the three NPCs standing directly in front of you. Kill a citizen and you'll lose the contract, and be told to hunt another player elsewhere.
On the one hand it becomes a matter of cleverly trying to spot the human traits of your targets amongst a group of NPCs, rather than simply following an arrow to an objective. But within a 10-minute game session it's tasking to stop and analyse the characters in front of you just to successfully make the kill. But the foibles are easy to ignore. It's still early days for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and regardless of the slight difficulties it offers some fantastically interesting multiplayer.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer beta for PS3 is available now. The full game will arrive on PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 19.