Being assigned a target in Revelations is kind of what I imagine an arranged marriage is like. You get nothing more than a picture and a name, and you know that eventually you two will meet and it will be kind of awkward and hopefully there will be penetration. If things go wrong maybe your target will bop you on the head and run away.
After the jump: Uh, moving right along…
It’s not easy to get to that moment, however. There are always a lot of obstacles between you and your target. The levels are huge and complex, with plenty of crannies to hide in. In most modes, the map will be flooded with NPCs that look exactly like your target, making it very hard to pick the right one. Fortunately, the game doesn’t expect you to do all the work yourself. See that halo thing at the bottom of the screenshot? That’s your compass. Think of it as your matchmaker. It helpfully guides you in the general direction of your target. It won’t point out who it is when you get close, but it will always keep you oriented. You’ll come to rely on the compass. You’ll appreciate how it notifies you when a target is above or below you, and you’ll count on the fact that it lights up when you have a direct line of sight. You won’t be able to imagine playing without it.
Then you’ll play deathmatch and they’ll take it away.
Deathmatch is a funky game mode. It’s kind of the speed-dating of Revelations. In keeping with the name, it makes it harder to hide, which forces more frequent confrontations. Compared to the expanses of the other modes, the maps are as intimate as twin beds, and, crucially, each player has a unique persona not copied by the NPCs. Once I see the portrait of my target, I know exactly who I’m looking for. To level the playing field, I don’t get my compass, just an indicator when I’m close to my target or have line-of-sight. This means I have to pick my target out with my actual eye holes, which means I’m looking at the environment and characters and not a chunk of UI at the bottom of the screen. That’s something I appreciate.
Deathmatch confuses some players. Maybe it’s the name, or maybe it’s the fact they can find their target quickly, but sometimes I’ll be hiding amongst some NPCs (even though we don’t look the same, the visual noise helps), when someone will go running across the plaza. Running is a bad idea in Revelations. It decreases your approach meter, and if your meter goes low enough the game highlights your position to your target or pursuer. This is like if John Wilkes Booth stood up at the beginning of Our American Cousin and started shouting that he was going to shoot the president. It’s poor technique, and it’s just plain bad manners. Even more importantly, the lower your approach meter, the lower your score.
Naturally, the aim of Revelations is to end the match with the most points. In deathmatch, you get points based on the quality of your assassinations. The higher you can get your approach meter (by keeping line of sight with your target), the more points you get. If you can stand close to your target for a few seconds you get an additional focus bonus, which means more points. There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing some player at the bottom of the rankings with sixteen noisy 100 point kills while I sit at the top with seven 500 point ones. Even though deathmatch can be fast, it’s just as important to play stealthily and smart.
Up next: Sitting on a bench… to victory!
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Giaddon has been a fan of Assassin’s Creed since the very first trailer. While everyone was cheering the Assassin’s Creed 3 E3 video that showed Ratonhnhake:ton blow up an entire British fort to kill one guy, he was scouring Youtube for floor videos of people playing the multiplayer.