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Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is no 2.5

A new Assassin’s Creed game? Really? So soon after AC II? Yes, we were as surprised as you and probably just as skeptical about its quality. Turning out such a huge, rich game as AC II was a monumental effort on Ubisoft’s behalf, requiring the input of three internal studios (Montreal, Annecy and Singapore), so when we first heard a new adventure was due – and releasing this year – we were instantly worried about the quality. Spin-off, Assassin’s Creed 2.5, cash-in: these were all phrases clouding our minds. And then, to compound our fears, Ubisoft invited us to play the multiplayer…

Our initial reaction doesn’t do justice to the reality – this isn’t a money-spinning side-mission to nibble on while we wait for the inevitable Assassin’s Creed III. It’s a huge new game in its own right, its plot follows on directly from the end of AC II, and oh yeah, it has a separate multiplayer component with its own story and cast of characters. Again, the mention of multi-layer had our warning sirens blaring.

After all, we – like you – played through the weird ‘Capture the Flag’ style mission in Assassin’s Creed II (Venice) and hated it. Don’t worry – it wasn’t a prototype for Brotherhood. Development for that has been going on for more than five years at Ubisoft Annecy, the chaps who made Splinter Cell’s incredible Mercs vs Spies mode for Pandora Tomorrow on PS2. They know what they’re doing and the multiplayer’s inclusion won’t affect the quality of the single-player, in development at AC II lead-studio, Ubisoft Montreal. You can relax now.

The only announced multiplayer mode right now is Wanted, which we played during our trip. This is how it works: There are six visually distinct multiplayer characters, and you’re randomly assigned one before each session. Within the levels (small sections of Italian cities – Florence, San Donato and Rome are confirmed, with more due) there are up to 140 non-player characters who look identical to the players. See where this is going?

At the start of each game you’re assigned a target – one of the seven other human players inside the level. You’re shown a picture of what they look like, and have a mini-radar to tell you roughly where they are. Now, here’s the clever part. Another player within the level will be hunting you, but it won’t be the one you’re tracking. A hunts B who hunts C who hunts A etc.

It adds a real layer of tension. Sure you know who you’re supposed to be killing, but you never know when the knife might be slotted into your own throat. There are other rules: if you’re too aggressive near your target (by running full-pelt, or leaping over walls) then that player will be warned and given the chance to flee, using a line-of-sight system similar to the one in the single-player. Another nasty twist is that better players will be tracked by multiple enemies. If you’re in the lead, you’ll likely have the attention of three Assassins; not just one.

Conceptually it works well and, although we felt the map we played was too small to accommodate eight players (six would have been ideal), the mode has plenty of potential. Our favourite moment came when we stalked our victim from a low roof, before pouncing on them for an aggressive kill, and instantly blending into a group of nearby NPCs that happened to look just like us. Our tracker may have seen the kill (doubtless other players did witness it) but because we disappeared so soon afterwards we felt as if we’d gotten away with it scot-free.

According to the devs there are plenty of ways to both hide and kill within the multiplayer, and the ability to exploit these moves is what will separate the average assassins from the great. You can sit on a bench next to two NPCs and wait for your target to walk past before plunging in the blade. You can kill them silently if they sit on the bench. You can hide in bundles of hay, shoot from a distance with a hidden pistol, blend in crowds – unpredictability is definitely key.

48 comments

  • Yetiman969 - March 10, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    Multiplayer looks so cool, cant wait till this game comes out on PC. And for the co-op problem, what about one of Lucy's ancestors, since (according to the multiplayer) you can sync Animii together, so lucy plays as an extra helping hand or something
  • IcarusLeonardo - June 17, 2010 5:32 a.m.

    Alout of promising features cant wait!
  • FreekinIdiot - June 15, 2010 3:27 p.m.

    Oh and GR, I know it's hard but try to sort your spam out.
  • FreekinIdiot - June 15, 2010 3:25 p.m.

    THANK YOU! I'm glad you said it. The preview's coming out of E3 look amazing!
  • CombatWombat101 - June 15, 2010 1:44 a.m.

    Oh, and as for why DRM is understandable: wanting people to pay for stuff that you make ftw? Maybe this is just me, and maybe it's only because I'm not a whiny child, but I have no problem needing to be connected to the internet to play a game. I have an internet connection. Clearly you do too. If the internet goes down then OH NOES! Looks like you have to play a different game until it comes back on! Or, you know, read a book or something. Or play on a console, if you own one. Or go hang out with friends. Or go see a movie. Or rent a movie. Or drink yourself into a stupor. Or cry yourself to sleep because you can't play this game right now. Man, having all these options must suck.
  • CombatWombat101 - June 15, 2010 1:34 a.m.

    Well, apparently I offended someone who was already fairly butthurt, so I'll keep this simple: (this is @ JohnnyMaverik, in case anyone was wondering...) 1) I don't know where I made it seem like I don't know what I was talking about, as I merely said DRM sucks (which pretty much everyone agrees with), and DRM's existence is understandable (which pretty much anyone with half a brain and the ability to do some basic research agrees with). 2) In your angry response to me, you didn't actually respond to any of my points, which leads me to believe that you can't, either due to an inability to refute the latter statement, or due to the crippling pain you feel when you think of what DRM has done to you... 3) You say "the people that would have bought the games that came with it have not due to the DRM," as though nobody has bought it because of the evil DRM. However, the fact that PC games with DRM continue to be released means that clearly they feel like they're making enough money to warrant it. Furthermore, studies have shown that a majority of people who pirate games would not have bought the game in the first place, meaning Ubisoft don't actually lose money in that case. Sure, some people won't buy the game because of DRM and assorted ass-hattery, but those people are generally the whiny ones that Ubisoft don't want to associate with anyway. 4) Your statement that "The DRM has been hacked" does not actually back up your boo-hooing. I feel like, since people have the option of hacking the DRM and making it less intrusive, some of those that would have steered clear because of it may now actually purchase the game. 5) Before you mistakenly accuse someone of not knowing what they're talking about, you may want to do a little research of your own. Oh, and proper spelling and sentence structure, as well as not going off on an angry rampage will help you appear less like a child. Well, this turned out a lot less simple than I initially wanted, but there you have it. Still excited as all hell about this game, by the way.
  • gatornation1254 - June 14, 2010 8:18 p.m.

    All I know is Ubisoft actually listens to their customers complaints and changes what the fans don't like about the game so this will be a good one I'd say.
  • jtrnn - June 14, 2010 2:48 a.m.

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  • Spybreak8 - June 14, 2010 1:57 a.m.

    I love this idea and hopefully this is what they're doing for Mass Effect. No multiplayer in ME3, just do something like this.
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  • nadrewod999 - June 13, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    I KNEW THE SPAMBOTS WERE ABOUT TO ATTACK IN FULL FORCE! GR, please delete the accounts of anyone whose only comments praise some online/offline store with a list of what said store sells.
  • nadrewod999 - June 13, 2010 2:04 p.m.

    When I said Brotherhood was AC 2.5, I just meant that it did not continue the AC storyline, so I wanted to make sure no fanboys could say the story was completely forgotten in this next game. I already knew Brotherhood was going to be awesome: restore Rome with your money, fight Assassins and Templars in online multiplayer, PLAY AS EZIO AGAIN! XD
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  • oz997 - June 13, 2010 11:15 a.m.

    All of a sudden I'm in the mood for some AC2
  • GamerBro196 - June 13, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    i have a idea why dont desmond and lucy go in the animus at the same time that will solve the co-op problem and also you could make any of the other assassin's playble so thats another co-op idea also you could make it a 4 player co-op and an offline multiplayer mode so my besfriend(s) can vs me like 3 on 1 2 on 2 1 2 ect and a team attack mode vs waves of templers like u did with 1 player in tfs
  • GamerBro196 - June 13, 2010 9:36 a.m.

    I CANT WAIT i cant even wait to see gameplay of it
  • Jacko415 - June 13, 2010 8:30 a.m.

    Gamesradar you need to do something about the spike in amount of spammers recently
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