Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Multiplayer: The flow

Another bloody Game Critique Corner.

I am sick, sick, sick, sick, sick to death of multiplayer that isn’t fun. Know what I mean? I loaded up Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days and in twenty minutes I packed the disc up and traded it in. What on Earth is so bleedin’ hard? When you build a compelling single-player experience, don’t go overboard and decide multiplayer would make it even better. Do what you can do. If you don’t have a dedicated multiplayer team from Day One then get the frick out.

Consider Assassins Creed Brotherhood. In fact, fuck it. Fuck Jim Sterling, I loved Assassin’s Creed 2 and I am looking forward to partying down with Ezio all over again. What I don’t want to do is spend twelve hours in a stellar period piece experience and then just fall into a pit of multiplayer. It brings the game, it’s the aftertaste.

It’s the flow, a common mistake, that stops the multiplayer from reaching heights. Or any heights at all at that. The less clicks, the better. Click, click, wait, click, click, play for two minutes, host disconnected. Sound familiar? Great multiplayer games minimize the frustration of the fact that even though we have iPods the size of our fingernails, we still get ‘host disconnected’. Someone made the argument a while ago that because internet speeds are so low, and multiplayer requires so much money, games aren’t ready for multiplayer yet. It’s a bit like going on a date with the most beautiful or sexiest person in the world (think: Jim Sterling) and then realizing that there’s no hair down there yet. You don’t just dive into it and then end up with blood all over your trousers. You moron.

If there’s grass on the field, play ball, you don’t play it anyway and end up with your underpants full of mud. Multiplayer in video-games has always been polarizing between amazing and horrible. Brotherhood falls into the latter category. I played it for twenty minutes, realized it was horrible and decided to never play it again. The gameplay of Assassin’s Creed is stalking a target and then rap… I mean killing them and slitting their throats and the joy is in sneaking past twenty guards with the little indicator flashing red and their eyes just everywhere. It’s the thrill of the chase, and the multiplayer mode could never capture this.

The closest it comes to is something akin to Spy Party. I have to guess which one of the guys in a crowd is my target, because my target is in a crowd of people who look exactly like him. At the same time he’s hunting for me, but he won’t get the points if he kills me in the open. My mates are all chasing each other around the city and now I just realized I’ve spent ten minutes jumping up and down into a wall. What the frick. This is not fun, the tutorial already showed me that so why on Earth have I decided to jump into a game that I know will disconnect in exactly three, two, one and… OMG IM NOSTRADAMEOUS!111

The flow, the powers of immersion that games command should be used in multiplayer more than anything else. Having a finicky HUD makes the experience passable, making the gameplay consisting of me walking (if I run then the target runs twice as fast as me away) towards my target and then stabbing in the neck to rinse and repeat makes the experience horrible. Balance, balance, balance if you’re doing a first-person shooter multiplayer game; otherwise it won’t be fun at all. If you’re a stealth game, or one with heavy stealth elements, what the pineapple are you doing even attempting a multiplayer mode.

I will never play Brotherhood multiplayer again.

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