Confronting Multiplayer - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - PlayStation 4 -
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Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Confronting Multiplayer

A few days ago, we brought you details about the E3 single-player demo of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, but the rest of the story was on the show floor this week in the form of some competitive multiplayer. Earlier today, we posted a video that offers a glimpse into a full multiplayer match. Meanwhile, I hopped into a multiplayer match myself with some fellow E3 attendees to see what's changed since the last installment.

Undoubtedly, the biggest change visually is the expected one. Black Flag's multiplayer transitions from the Revolutionary trappings of Assassin's Creed III to the unmistakable flamboyance of a pirate theme. A whole new cast of playable characters is available, and a new selection of maps are present that are built to evoke the early 18th century Caribbean setting.

Look past those visual features, and the big new feature Ubisoft is touting at this year's show is its Game Lab functionality. Game Lab allows players to take any game mode and completely alter or tweak its fundamental rules and conditions. Change available weapons and power-ups. Take away restrictions on kill conditions. Or create a mode focused on one very particular style of play.

Each day of E3, the team from Ubisoft created its own Game Lab mode to show off to the crowds. On day one, a purist mode stripped out all the abilities and other special cues or power-ups, and let players fight it out with just their wits. When I arrived on day two, Ubisoft had inputted a new mode they called Pistoleer. In this iteration of the familiar cat and mouse gameplay, players could only take out their targets using the pistol -- no melee kills allowed. These new restrictions make players think on their feet and change up standard strategies. For instance, in the Pistoleer mode I played, attempting a kill at close range almost always resulted in a failure, since the aiming time on the pistol gives an opponent the time they need to run up and stun you. Thus, spotting and identifying your target from a distance is a must.

A single match was nowhere near enough time to grasp all the small tweaks and features that have seen improvement in this new iteration of Assassin's Creed. However, the high fidelity of the next-gen visuals had me happily gawking, and the game plays great on the PS4 controller I was offered for my time with the game. The new customizable approach to multiplayer should result in some creative offerings from the community, and I'm eager to see how this change to multiplayer helps to extend the life of Black Flag's multiplayer after the game releases this fall.

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  • I'm always happy with more AC multiplayer. Can never get enough of it.

  • Meh.
  • Assassins Creed has tried multiplayer in the past and it has not really worked out. Hopefully this time AC can make a good multiplayer to attract more people to buy this game.
  • I liked the multiplayer in Brotherhood and Revelations, but didn't try it in 3 although I heard it was pretty good there to.  I really play these games for single-player content but the fun multiplayer is a nice bonus.

  • The multi-player was fantastic in Brotherhood, okay in Revelations, and pretty bland in AC3, mostly due to the micro-transactions. AC4 in general just isn't doing it for me. If I get a PS4, I'm getting Watch Dogs for my next-gen open-world fix, not this.
  • IMO, AC multiplayer has always been pretty bad do to unbalanced gameplay and such, and im not sure game lab is enough to shake it up. But there is still some hope that this new mp is much better.

  • The new Game Lab mechanics sound cool but if Wolf Pack or some other form of co-op MP isn't included, I'm going to be extremely dissapointed....

  • No multiplayer naval battles, ubisoft is really gonna miss out.
  • Guess I may have to switch my preorder from PS3 to PS4.

  • All I wan is FreeRoam and Coop Missions ala Red Dead so the multiplayer still sucks to me

  • Ive always enjoyed the ac multi, hopefully this will continue to refine the experience.

  • I'm glad that they are ever-evolving the multiplayer formula. There's always stuff you can tweak in gaming, trust me.

  • I want ship on ship multiplayer

  • the multiplayer looks really fun based on the video GI posted earlier

  • I certainly can't wait.

  • I love the premise of AC multiplayer it's just whenever I've played it in the past there's always 2-3 people that sprint from point to point & don't play it the way it's meant to be played. So frustrating cause it has all the trappings of an excellent multiplayer experience.

  • Love AC multi-player. Looks like the arenas and matches are finally gonna be a bit more dynamic too. I'll bite.