We got our hands on the newest iteration of Ubisoft's multiplayer cat and mouse game, and figured out what's changed since last time.

While Assassin's Creed III had a lot of new single player content to show off at E3, Ubisoft didn't forget about the growing legion of fans who love the AC multiplayer experience. We had the good fortune to hop into a couple of matches showing off the new Domination game mode, and found the multiplayer game has continued to evolve and improve with this latest iteration.

Domination mode maintains many of the fundamental concepts of previous AC multiplayer modes. Players stalk each other and aim to stay incognito while simultaneously trying to identify and eliminate the same players hunting them. The twist in Domination comes in the capture of territories around the board. You and your team must head to a designated area on the board and hold it for long enough to claim the location. Once you do, only your team can assassinate others in that area -- the other team can only retake the territory by sneaking in and remaining hidden while they recapture the zone. This variation on the formula results in some fun exchanges and power uses, as each team tries to trick the other into abandoning defended locations. 

The large map we played on was called Northwest Passage. The asymmetrical environment was an outdoor location with plenty of snow on the ground, and a number of raised hills and boulders that could help to disguise your approach to a given territory, or keep you hidden as you stalk a foe. 

We tried out several of the new character skins, all of which have been newly designed to fit into this Revolutionary War time period. From the Carpenter and Montebank to the Independant (a Native American woman) and the Lady Maverick, each character had their own fun new costumes and  kill animations.

Ability usage has changed somewhat since Revelations, as a third ability slot has been added. Players may now choose two skills entirely to their liking, while the third slot is a dedicated ranged weapon position. We tried out several of the new abilities. A Poison Dart offers a stealthy kill, but its delayed death sequence puts the attacker in potential danger. Disruption delivers a clever twist by screwing up your opponents actual interface with the Animus/game, scrambling screen elements and making it hard to see. Glimmer offers a limited form of invisibility. And Shield is the perfect counter to most other abilities; while you can still be killed with standard weapons, Shield blocks most ability effects. 

While our time with Assassin's Creed III's multiplayer was limited, our brief time in-game playing against several fellow E3 attendees left us confident that the franchise continues to move in positive directions with its multiplayer component, even if no truly fundamental ideas seem to be changing this time around.