Animus Project 2.0 Thoughts

This latest batch of free DLC for Ubisoft’s best selling game, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, promised a very special addition to the multiplayer experience: tactics and team play. Unfortunately I find myself sadly disappointed at Ubi’s latest effort despite the absence of a price tag, maybe that is enough to explain the quality of it. Aside from the new map and the monthly leaderboards, the main hook for this content was the announcement of a “Chest Capture Mode”, which sounded like some kind of uber-cool Creed version of the typical CTF.

There I was, imaging fantastic chases across rooftops, with an enemy flag strapped to my back while I desperately try to scramble and sprint away from a team of angry Doctors (the playable character kind). The idea of it seemed so perfect even if the game type seemed predictable, but the reality is a bit too far off what I had hoped for.

In all fairness the gameplay remains equally as enjoyable as playing any one of the other game modes, but the point was that this mode should be giving a tactical depth not just a carbon copy experience of the other modes on offer. So the game doesn’t get worse, do not fear.

The trouble I’ve got is that, Chest Capture is set up more like a siege mode, where one team must attack a number of enemy bases while the other team tries to prevent them from achieving their goal. Except the ‘attacking’ team can’t actually attack the defending team in Chest Capture, they can only stun opponents in the unlikely event they don’t notice you walking towards the large treasure boxes.

Even worse, the general game rules are very unclear when you first play, with no guidelines as to what you have to do other than “steal the chests”. The game leaves you to figure out the fact these chests have spawns, and the unhelpful icons flashing in different colour shades don’t make things any clearer.

All sense of intelligent application of stealth tactics are utterly crushed when you start playing, within seconds of spawning you’re team will disperse to whichever chest they can get their hands on (normally in the middle of a clearing…), while the defending team will simply chase you around the map till they get you. You’ll find yourself dishing out and taking more kills here than in any other mode on Brotherhood, it feels cheap and badly thought out.

This is partly due to the fact that the defending team simply has to stand next to the chest’s and wait for the other team to rush in (which they will), aside from a very well placed smoke bomb or firecracker, there is very little the attackers can do to trump this.

On the brighter side of things though, this is a free DLC so consider it more of an experiment, and it didn’t all turn sour by the way. One very pleasing and subtle feature was the on screen compass becoming desynchronised when you are in proximity of a chest, in an attempt at least, to create smoke-screen moments. Hopefully Ubisoft will listen to player’s feedback and maybe release another batch of tactical modes that will do the multiplayer justice. They can do better than this, don’t doubt them.

As for the rest of the multiplayer, I am still very fond of it and I urge you to read my first online review of it so you don’t get the wrong impression. This is probably the first real blip on their record, and it isn’t actually that big with all things considered. Keep your eyes peeled for Animus 3.0 (look on the downloads menu that’s all I will say). It seems unfair and silly to actually grade this DLC…so I won’t.