I boot up Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and start a new game with five other E3 attendees – the object of the game is to kill a specific player without them knowing it. My first contract is a very vicious looking courtesan- my radar says head North, so I start walking slowly into that general direction. As I was striding the streets, I noticed my target had ducked into a corner, attempting to blend in with the crowd. As I went after her, I noticed someone behind me was acting a bit strangely; so I did the most sensible thing I could – run like hell!
I realized that I couldn’t shake my pursuer, so I threw down a smoke bomb, quickly turned the corner, climbed up a building, and breathed a sigh of relief – that is, until my throat was cut open by another player three seconds later. Yes, that’s right, as I was chasing my target, someone else was chasing me, and unbeknownst to all of us, someone had been watching and waiting patiently the whole time.
For those of you who haven’t tried out Assassin’s Creed for the iPhone, the concept is pretty simple. You start off in a town with different civilians that look like you, and conversely, look like all of your opponent’s models. Civilians never run, or climb up buildings – your opponents, however, can do everything Altair and Ezio could do in the previous games – meaning spotting them is entirely up to you. You do get a radar of course to guide you along the way, but it’s your job to notice the little nuances that differentiate a player from an NPC.
If you walk up unsuspectedly and kill your target – great! If not, prepare for a chase. In order to get you off their tail, your opponent must break line of sight, and hide in an area for a few seconds (just like the past games). It’s a pretty well put together experience: so much so, that you could easily tell that this has been in development for quite some time. The game engine from AC II remains relatively untouched, which is a good thing, especially since close combat isn’t really a priority anymore, and NPC issues are a thing of the past with all player targets.
Players can choose from a heap of different characters (but if one is chosen in a session, you can’t duplicate that choice, for obvious reasons), and a handful of perks – such as smoke bombs (which I love), costumes, guns, and the ability to make every civilian around you look like your own model. There’s enough variation in the gameplay to keep playing for hours, and I even got right back in line to play another session – considering I ranked second in my first session, and first on my second go around, I think I did pretty good!