Does Not Play Well with Others

I have to admit I’m a bit of an anti-social git and, despite my healthy Facebook friends list, I sometimes wonder whether Larry David may be right in his differentiation between neighbours and burglars:  “burglars only steal your things, but neighbours steal your time”. As a child I used to read incessantly, escaping from the harsh reality of the playground into my high school library and the pages of a book. My gaming habit largely continues that trend, providing a private sanctum away from people, and as such I tend towards solitary genres such as RPGs.

The not so usual suspects…

I’ve largely thought that the biggest tragedy of this generation of consoles is that their over-emphasis on online gaming, thanks to now ubiquitous high speed broadband (even in Ipswich), has been the death knell for local multiplayer. Even worse in many cases the multiplayer aspect of games will often receive maximum attention, with a short single player mode merely tacked on for something to do when PSN is out of commission (I’m looking at you, Sony). In the glory days of local multiplayer, marked by the reign of the N64, it was so much more satisfying sitting next to someone as you shot them full of holes with a Klobb in Goldeneye (the ultimate insult) or zipped past them on the finish line cackling in Mario Kart, after a well timed red shell up the exhaust. Somehow playing a bunch of randoms you can’t see doesn’t quite cut it, and even if I did want to speak to the adolescent yanks who were teabagging my corpse I probably wouldn’t be able to understand them through that sorry excuse for a headset that ships with Xbox and makes everything sound like its being relayed via two tin cans tied together with string… underwater. In fact I thought I’d given up on online play for good in favour of boardgames, where you can still enjoy snubbing your opponents in person and exchanging some playful banter whilst enjoying a beer, but then along came Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and I was hooked.

A mixture of abilities – from clone decoys to hidden guns – adds a brilliant layer of strategy to things.

You see the multiplayer on Brotherhood seems to have been built with the antisocial in mind. It gleefully throws away the painfully overused deathmatch formulas for something more in keeping with the gameplay mechanics of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and its originality should be applauded. In Wanted, the mode that most vaguely resembles a deathmatch, you’re given a target that you need to take down whilst avoiding being killed by an opponent, before being placed in an environment filled with NPC look-a-likes. The challenge is to avoid standing out whilst slowly closing in on your victim for a really juicy high scoring kill. Camping, hiding and cheap kills are encouraged, along with an entirely new skill set that lays the emphasis on patience, observation and strategic thinking. It doesn’t matter how twitchy your trigger finger is when someone grabs you from inside a haystack and it’s even possible to kill someone without them even knowing you were there, watching their body crumple helplessly behind you from poison as you blend into the crowd. Those who foolishly think they are playing COD and break into a run are either taken down or are penalised with reduced points. This cat and mouse game of subterfuge bristles with suspense whilst different equipment, from templar vision to smoke bombs and disguises, opens interesting new tactics.

So I would like to propose a game of Brotherhood for the Ready Up online Thursday game night and I’ll see you in a haystack soon. Wait that sounded wrong…

The lengths priests went to in ancient Rome for a donation to the church roof fund…






One response to “Does Not Play Well with Others”

  1. paul avatar

    It is such a great game. I play it a lot on PS3 and although it plays well without chat, hearing the prolonged silence followed by the “you absolute bastard” when you totally out smart your friend is what makes the game so enjoyable for me.
    I pretty much played it all day over the Christmas period and had an absolute blast, it really is a must play.
    Also, what you said about multiplayer detracting from single player, its interesting that I have never played an Assassin’s Creed game, not really my bag, but after getting the Beta on PSPlus I bought it the day it was released.

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