stealth-centric, hunt-or-be-hunted-in-a-crowd gameplay of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood
hasn’t really been widely imitated yet, so the fact that Revelations expands on
it with new modes and gameplay features is almost enough to get it on this list
by itself. However, the game isn’t content to just update what was already
there, and to that end it adds a ton of community features (including a
“challenge” system intended to spur competition between players) and unlockable
character-customization options designed to keep players interested.
But then, this isn’t an article about the games
that are just adding the most stuff to multiplayer, and there are two things –
aside from its already-established uniqueness – that make Revelations
particularly interesting. The first is that its multiplayer mode has a complete
storyline that progresses as players level up, and which shows players what the
Assassin’s Creed universe looks like from the “evil” Templar perspective (and
which is meant partly to draw in players who normally couldn’t give a shit about
playing with others).
The second is
that it takes two of the most basic, standard modes imaginable – deathmatch and
capture-the-flag – and adds its own stealth-based touches that make them feel completely
fresh. Deathmatch becomes less about guesswork and more about keeping a sharp
eye out, as it removes the radar and doesn’t repeat character models in its
crowds. Meanwhile, CTF – or, as the game calls it, Artifact Assault – splits
the map in half, with players becoming vulnerable the second they set foot in
enemy territory. True, putting a new spin on venerable old gameplay isn’t the
most original thing in the world, but if you needed another reason to consider
Revelations “unique” aside from its already distinctive gameplay, it’s a pretty
4. BattleBlock Theater
Due out: TBA Sometime this year
doubtless gathered by now, the latter half of this year isn’t exactly short on
multiplayer, but a few games go the extra step of making it key to their
gameplay, rather than the focus of separate (read: secondary) game modes.
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One and Rayman Origins come to mind, but aside from
adding party-game competitive elements, a few interesting ways to work together
and ample opportunities for griefing your friends, they don’t do anything that
feels radically different from what we’ve seen before. BattleBlock Theater,
meanwhile, takes cooperation and griefing
to extremes, and in the process creates something with unrivaled potential for
old-school multiplayer chaos.
Created by The Behemoth (the minds behind
four-player phenom Castle Crashers), BattleBlock Theater looks fairly
simplistic, with minimalist 2D characters hopping around in big, enclosed
arenas made of blocks). Gameplay-wise, however, it’s a bit more complex, giving
players the option of working together to finish cooperative puzzle levels, or
of teaming up to smash opponents in violent little minigames.
competitive, cooperation between players on the same team is required, and
you’ll have a number of ways to help one another out – by pulling each other to
safety from yawning pits, for example, or coordinating jumps off of each other
in midair to reach high places. And perhaps more interestingly, there are
plenty of ways for players to torment each other; getting physically hurled
into spikes, drowning pools or the paths of oncoming enemies seems to happen a
lot, and given that death is fairly easy to bounce back from, it’s less
irritating than it sounds. Factor in customizable characters, a wide array of
oddball weapons and The Behemoth’s distinctively adorable character designs,
and this has the potential to be a lot of fun.
3. Driver: San Francisco
Due out: Sept. 6 (Sept. 2 EU)
For: PS3, 360, PC, Wii
Francisco is already kind of a weird game, given that it centers on a detective
in a coma who can “Shift” his consciousness between cars during high-speed
chases, commandeering one disposable vehicle after another in an attempt to
stop whatever goons he’s after. But what’s got us especially intrigued is that
D:SF carries the Shift function over to multiplayer, giving players a new way
to get back in the game when they’re left choking on a competitor’s dust. Why
waste time trying to recover from a crash or get turned back around when you
can just mind-jack the nearest fresh vehicle as it speeds in the right
The game isn’t content to fall back on that
gimmick, either, and complements it with new, crash-happy game modes that
include vehicular tag, a cops-vs-robber Takedown mode in which only the cops
can Shift (but they’re stuck in relatively crummy police cruisers), and a
chaotic version or capture-the-flag with cars, in which everyone but the flag-bearer can Shift.
hectic and inventive, and what we’ve played so far looks to be a big enough
departure to set this apart from the Burnouts and Need for Speeds of the world.
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