The lights are on
You've seen a lengthy video of single-player assassinations, a screen gallery, and a written hands-on of co-op with two Game Informer editors. Now we've played one of the co-op side missions to see what's new.
I went over to an NPC in the town square to pick up the mission. When you talk to him, a menu appears offering a public or private play or to directly invite a friend. The mission involves stealing back artifacts that templars have taken and hidden in the underground passages beneath Notre-Dame. This particular mission allows a maximum of two players, so I invited a Ubisoft developer to join in.
We warped to the top of a building and stealthily entered the underground tunnels. At a split in the hall, I assassinated the guy on the right while my partner got the guy on the left. Every time you play a side mission, guards will appear in different places and they won't follow predictable routines. This is meant to keep things fresh and encourage replaying side missions again and again. Instead of having bonus objectives to earn extra rewards like in recent Assassin's Creed games, Unity with have a more analog meter that decreases every time you're spotted in a stealth mission. The only way to get the full bounty is to remain completely undetected the entire mission.
Next, we come to a locked gate down one of the tunnels. My character doesn't have the lock picking skill so I rely on my partner to step up. If neither partner has a lock pick ability, you can still make it through the mission. You just might have to take a longer route or miss some treasure. On his screen, a minigame appears. A meter slides left to right with a wide sweet spot in the center. He taps it correctly and the door pops open. This is only a simple level one lock, but higher level challenges will have more stages and smaller sweet spots. Hopefully, you can upgrade your skills so that later locks aren't too annoying.
In the final room with the artifacts, we creep along wooden beams above the group of foes below. My partner tosses a smoke bomb down and I air assassinate one of them and open up another's throat. I grab the loot and we take off, heading back to the quest giver when the demo cuts off.
With the staggering amount of side content in a normal Assassin's Creed, I'm not sure I'll be personally playing missions over and over. But if they're truly changed up as much as Ubisoft says, I'd be more than willing to accept a friend's mission invite to lend a hand and see just how different everything is from when I played it before.
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Email the author Bryan Vore, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
The Hidden Blade could be able to function like a lock-pick of sorts. But I agree, the content in this game seems to be copious.
I'm excited to try the co-op in the game.