While at E3, I was able to get a pretty good amount of time with a playable demo of Assassin's Creed: Revelations Multiplayer mode. Fans of Brotherhood's multiplayer will be pleased to know that the core gameplay hasn't changed dramatically, so if you're skilled at Brotherhood you can jump right in and start getting stabby. Fortunately, Ubisoft added some very interesting tweaks to the abilities and scoring of the game.
The mode that they were showcasing on the floor was Manhunt, which is the same as in the previous game. It consists of two teams of four playing two rounds; in the first round one team is the hunters while the other is the hunted, and in the second round those teams are switched. Before playing, I spoke with the Ubisoft's Damien Moret, the game director of the multiplayer experience, about some of the differences in gameplay.
"Our objective is to keep everything that worked and improve everything that didn't work that much." Moret described how a player on the defense can initiate what he called a "contested death, or dishonorable death" by pressing the stun button right as the hunter is about to strike. This gives the target that just got killed as many points as the player who killed him. "Even though he is dead, the prey earns as many points as the assassin and the assassin is left stunned for a few seconds. This way we tried to bring a new balance to the game."
Moret also described some new abilities and how they can be used. "We have a tripwire now that players can use as a landmine, and it can also be thrown. We can now throw all abilities a distance so you can throw the firecrackers, you can throw the smoke bombs and that's really changing up all of the tactics."
One of the more welcome changes to the game was the way they changed the approach to kill animations. In Brotherhood, all kills equally received a very flashy animation. Whether you were running or sneaking up stealthily on your target, your kill would trigger a long animation which would make your position obvious to whoever was stalking you. This has been refined in AC: Revelations. According to Moret: "If you do a stealth kill it will be very quick and very discreet and no one will notice, and if you do a running kill [the animation] is very badass but it takes a lot of time. So, if you're careful and you behave yourself, the chain kills that we had in AC:B will not happen anymore. This way, we give the player more control over his kills."
I played through the multiplayer demo quite a few times (and pulled first place in my team every time, btw.) I can say that from a technical standpoint, the game is a lot smoother. The controls feel like they were tightened up a bit and movement in general felt a lot easier than it did in AC:B. Being able to throw your abilities adds a whole new dimension to the game, as do the discreet kill animations. At one point during the demo I was able to toss a smoke bomb into a crowd and incapacitate the entire opposing team, which left me able to walk around and stealth kill all four of them before the smoke wore off and without being noticed. It was pretty sweet, to say the least. It goes without saying that I can't wait for the November 15th release date for this game.