Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Beta: A Live Journal

Posted on September 9, 2010

We’re spending all day playing the new multiplayer game, and sharing what we learn.

Ubisoft Montreal has some big ambitions for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Among them are plans to expand the franchise from a single-player experience to a broader multiplayer game, while still maintaining the tight fiction that has been the core of the franchise. We’ve dug into the beginning of that experience in the newly released beta, and we’ll be updating throughout the day with our impressions. Make sure and check back throughout the day.

UPDATE 1, 0:43:

It’s a big download onto my PS3, so I had a long wait before I could dive into the action. With the full beta finally up and running, I hopped in from my cross media bar, and was greeted by the stark white UI that has characterized the series so far.

It looks as if the frontend of the beta uses the same menu as the main game eventually will. There’s an entry for Story Mode, and several other options, but everything except for Multiplayer is grayed out.

Once in the multiplayer selection, the game wastes little time in setting up the plot conceit that lies behind the multplayer game. I learn that I’m an Abstergo employee/Templar, and I’ll be training through the animus in order to better confront the Assassins. The best “trainees” will be graded and progress through the training. So, yeah. While in multiplayer, you’re basically playing the bad guys.

Right away, the game kindly ushers me into an introductory session in the streets of Rome. Though I know some additional customization options are coming soon, the initial choice I’m given is quite simple – choose a skin for my in-game avatar in the upcoming match. These skins are merely cosmetic, but they do each have their own movement and kill animations, and each one of them has a little one-sentence story point connected to them.

The skins on display at the beginning include: an old priest, a hunchbacked nobleman, a prowler who looks very much like an Assassin, a sexy courtesan with a fan blade for a weapon, a beak-nosed doctor, an axe-wielding executioner, and a foppish engineer. There are slots for more, but none are playable right now.

The match that follows, roaming through the streets of Rome, is pure tutorial. It teaches the basics of interaction and user interface, which are quite clever. A circular radar of sorts sits over your character. A cone on the circle indicates your target’s direction and distance – the cone gets wider the closer you get.

Even while I take down my target, there’s someone else who is chasing me. I have to keep my eyes out for their approach, since I don’t know what my pursuer looks like. Once he shows himself by starting to run or do other high-profile actions, I’m alerted to his presence, and can try to run and escape, and then hide.

The interplay between hunting and hunted is the centerpiece of play in the Wanted game mode. With that, I’m ready for some real throwdowns, and I head off to confront other beta players. More after my first few matches.

UPDATE 2, 1:30:

Brotherhood multiplayer has a nice matchmaking system in place if you’re not already playing with a group of friends. Tap “Play Now” and the game drops you into a match with seven other players.

I’m only seeing two maps show up as options this early in the beta, but I know for a fact that are more that will roll out with the game. The first is Rome, a sprawling city map with lots of cool places to hide and run along the rooftops. The centerpiece of the map appears to be the world-famous Pantheon.  It took me well into my second or third match in the level before I had any sense of the map’s shape and strategic advantages.

Castel Gandolfo is a much more symmetrical and easily understood map, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Set within the confines of a large front-end of a castle, the action occurs in either the outer corridors or in the large courtyard near the center of the map. There are not quite as many places to hide up high, and little in the way of rooftop running, but the level has a court intrigue vibe about it that is pretty fun.

First-person shooter multiplayer guys are in for a shock when they find out how stupid it is to go running around the map like a crazy person. High-profile jumps and sprints should only be brought out as a last resort. Otherwise, it’s far too easy to alert your pursuer to your location amid the crowd – a lesson I learned all to quickly after getting a knife in the back.

Instead, carefully walking towards your target from afar seems to be a better option. The sense of stalking is quite unlike anything else I’ve seen in a multiplayer game, and it’s really awesome how much I find myself rotating the camera around to see if anyone is following me. I had some thrilling kills with my Doctor in my first match, and took 3rd place. Afterwords, a rematch headed me into the same competition again with the same players, to see if I could outdo my score.

That score, whether I win or lose, goes toward leveling my Templar trainee. It only took a few matches to get into the leveling progression system, and realize its potential depth. I’ll detail that in the next update, after I get a few more new abilities under my belt.

Go to Source (Game Informer)

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Categories: Game News, Game Secrets


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