Earlier this month, PlayStation Plus subscribers were invited to partake in the Assassin’s Creed: Revelations multiplayer beta. After one week a limited amount of beta keys were made available to all PlayStation 3 owners; originally due to end on September 11, the beta test was eventually extended to the 17th.
The Assassin’s Creed series tells the tale of an age-old conflict between the Templar Knights and the Assassins, each seeking to take possession of powerful ancient artefacts. Using a device known as the Animus, the modern-day Templars and Assassins can travel into the memories of their forefathers, effectively reliving their lives. The first game had the series’ unwitting protagonist, Desmond Miles, travelling to the Holy Land circa 1191, the time of the Third Crusade. Here Desmond experienced life as his ancestor, the assassin Altaïr ibn La-Ahad. Subsequent games moved the action forward 300 years later to Italy and the Renaissance period, into the world of another of Desmond’s assassin ancestors, Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
The third game in the series, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, followed Ezio to Rome during the reign of the Borgia, and also introduced an online multiplayer mode. Rather ingeniously, the multiplayer element was sewn into the Assassin’s Creed storyline as being part of the Templar Animus training facility at Abstergo Industries. By entering the Animus and logging onto an online game, would-be Templar agents could hone their skills using the multiplayer game modes on offer.
The upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Revelations offers players another chance to take the game online, this time with maps based in and around the historic city of Constantinople, what is now the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul.
It had been a while since I last played Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood online and to be honest, at first I didn’t notice that much different. The visuals seem to have had a bit of a scrub and there was smoke coming out of the chimneys that I didn’t remember previously. But on the whole it seemed very familiar.
The beta provided a great opportunity to preview what Ubisoft's rendition of Constantinople is going to look like. Three maps were available, the stone buildings of Knight’s Hospital, the market town of Antioch and a coastal area of Constantinople. Each one offered a tantalising glimpse of the world beyond the map limits that would be no doubt explored in the single player campaign. These three maps nicely tease players with Ezio's new playground.
Directly comparing what was offered by the beta with the multiplayer element of Brotherhood, it really is more of the same. The HUD has had an overhaul and the animations seem a bit more fluid, but it is essentially the same gameplay. There are some new perks and abilities, as one would expect, but nothing to get too excited about; no doubt Ubisoft are holding some content back for the launch.
Assassin’s Creed multiplayer is based on the idea of a pursuer and a target, often with players being both at once. The beta features four game modes, two of which are new to Revelations.
Wanted mode is a free-for-all for 4-8 players and sends you off to kill targets, while being hunted by pursuers yourself. Manhunt is a team game, again for 4-8 players, with each team charged with pursuing the other. Deathmatch is a new mode that works like a hardcore version of Wanted mode, in that the compasses (that aid in locating your target) and chases (that give you a chance to outrun your pursuer) have been removed. Finally, another new entry, Artefact mode, is the Assassin’s Creed equivalent to capture the flag, with two teams after each other’s artefact.
Players can also choose from a generous serving of nine difference distinctive characters with their own weapons preferences: The Sentinel, The Vanguard, The Guardian, The Vizier, The Thespian, The Deacon, The Bombardier, The Trickster and The Champion.
The opportunity to give Assassin's Creed: Revelations multiplayer a bash has left me little bit disappointed with myself that I never tried a bit harder to get into the Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer. What starts out as slow and slightly lame in comparison with the usual multiplayer fare builds into a rather refreshingly different type of multiplayer game. Revelations offers up more of what was good in Brotherhood’s multiplayer, but packaged in a more polished and slick way. If, like me, you never really gave Assassin’s Creed multiplayer a chance, Revelations is going to give you another opportunity to give it a go. Be sure to not miss out a second time.
Lasting appeal: 9
Assassin's Creed: Revelations is to be released on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC on November 15. If you tried the multiplayer beta, post your comments below!