Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft)
PS3 / 360 (I played on a PS3)
Not sure anymore (see "HATED" section)
20 minutes (2 matches)
Hide & Seek, Tag, Obstacle Course, Load-Outs
One thing I LOVED about it and why:
The theme and world. Technically, it's the same as AC2, although the city of Rome is a new map layout (using familiar assets), and there are new character models to control.
One thing I LIKED about it and why:
The new gate feature. When you run through certain "gates" while being pursued, they slam shut behind you, impeding your pursuer's progress. That's cool, I guess.
One thing I HATED about it and why:
Strait-jacket-like gameplay constraints. They've taken away what was the most unique and fun part of Assassin's Creed: the sandbox. The game actively discourages exploration and role-playing according to the player's unique approach to the game and preferred play style. The only real choice happens during the load-out selection screen; after that, the player must kill the target and evade the pursuer. That's it.
There's only ever one and exactly one person in the game the player is allowed to kill: the target. If you should be fortunate enough to encounter another human player who is neither your target nor your pursuer, you may not interact. There is no fighting, only assassinations. There is no option to stand and fight the person trying to kill you.
The designers have transformed an exciting, complex world of emergent gameplay into a dull, monotonous session of one-on-one tag. I suspect the developers did not actually play either of the first two games, because they have obviously missed the point entirely.
One thing I DISLIKED about it and why:
The lock-on feature. It has been nerfed to the point of uselessness. In fact, it's worse than useless -- it does more harm than good. The original system of identifying targets and locking onto them wasn't broken. Now it is.
What behaviors the main compulsion loop is encouraging:
Do exactly what you are told and you will be rewarded every two or three minutes with a few hundred points.
What the main rewards are:
Points, tallied at end of match. Fatality animations when you kill your target. Relief after successfully evading a pursuer.
What I would change about the game:
If the publisher insists on incorporating multiplayer into the Assassin's Creed franchise (not advisable, in my opinion), but doesn't want to fund a full-fledged MMO, there are several possible ways of going about it:
- Players race to assassinate a shared target or set of targets. Players can thwart each other in various ways, such as fighting one another, setting traps, stealing from each other, hiring guards / prostitutes / thieves to serve as distractions, killing NPC team-members, etc.
- Capture The Flag
- Classic Deathmatch
- Motocross-Style Obstacle Course / Collection Racing
- King Of The Hill
- Any of the many other multiplayer constructs designers have used over the years.
Whoever decided that this particular framework for the multiplayer version of Assassin's Creed was the best possible option should definitely be sacked.
What I learned from playing the game:
Never get your hopes up for an E3 demo. Don't stand in an hour-plus line for a game unless you have a reliable tip-off that it's awesome.