The lights are on
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.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.
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