It’s been almost a year since Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and I still play it online every week. Its ability to take a single-player formula that I loved and turn it into a great multiplayer experience is one of my favorite surprises this generation.Ubisoft is ready for the next entry in this now annual franchise, and thankfully the multiplayer is getting a lot of attention. I’ve been playing the beta all weekend, and it makes some great refinements, although it doesn’t revolutionize anything.
If you’ve ever played Brotherhood online you’re already familiar with the basics of the gameplay of Revelations, and I’m not going to bore you all with the returning standard features. I’ll be focusing instead on the new content in the beta. The first important thing to note is the new menu and playlist preset. Revelations offers many more options to sort and enter the game of your choice, and new preset playlists for those who want a game of a certain style. Free for All enters you into queues for Wanted or Deathmatch modes, Team enters you into the queue for Manhunt and Artifact Assault, and Welcome joins the next available Deathmatch. In general the menus are much more user friendly, and you’ll have an easier time finding the match you want.
Of course the highlight of the beta is the two new game modes; Deathmatch and Artifact Assault. Deathmatch is like Wanted, except you’ll be placed in a small area with no compass and no characters who look like yours to hide with. Chases will not trigger either, meaning it’s kill or be killed. It’s a fast-paced mode for those who want a break from the more cerebral Manhunt and Wanted games. Artifcat Assault is a standard capture the flag game, but with a catch. There are two territories in the map. When in your own territory you are a pursuer, and can slay your opponents, but when you enter your enemy’s territory to capture their artifact you become a target and can be killed yourself. Like Deathmatch, this is a much more fast-paced game mode than those found in Brotherhood, and offers some great variety to the game.
In general I enjoyed both new game modes, but of the two new ones I preferred the team-based rush of Artifact Assault. That said, I play Brotherhood because I want a more intelligent game than all the multiplayer action games that dominate our industry these days, and there are improvements made for me as well. Revelations removed the radar from Wanted, and instead leaves you with just a portrait of your target with a glowing outline when they’re in your sight. This encourages you to pay more attention to your environment and less attention to your radar. Whispers are louder and more noticeable when a hunter is near you, and your stun is faster, giving the prey better odds at survival.
Along with the basic gameplay changes, Ubisoft has introduced a number of new items and features to enhance your hunting and fleeing. The tripwire bomb is exactly what it sounds like, and is great for trapping your targets and pursuers alike. Closure allows you to trigger chase breakers, which can be especially nice when chasing a target who’s attempting to flee into one. In the new perks department we have sentry for increasing out of sight duration, two types of animus hacks to rain down arrows and kill all your fellow Templars on the field. There are also new loss perks, including vision loss to show the location of out-of-sight targets and revelation loss to reveal all pursuers in your sight.
All of these changes may seem small, but added together they make Revelations a much smoother, faster, and more enjoyable multiplayer experience. You’ll be playing on three maps in the beta, all of which are well-designed and balanced for the gameplay changes. The additions of the more action-oriented Deathmatch and Artifacts modes may bring the appeal up to those who didn’t enjoy the more procedural and detail-focused format of old. The beta opens for everyone on PSN today, and the game will be released on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC on November 15th.