You might remember the somewhat short-lived iPhone exclusive, Assassin’s Creed II Multiplayer. If so, you already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Assassin’s Creed Rearmed (Free) by Ubisoft..
Strictly a multiplayer experience via Wi-Fi, 3G or Bluetooth, Rearmed is quite a departure from the more story-driven iOS titles in the series.
Taking a cue from the gameplay established in the online component Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, the game pits you against up to three other players in a crowded city square. One of the other players is your target, and you are someone else’s. The objective is to kill before getting killed yourself.
From a wide top-down perspective, you tap an area of the screen to walk to it and double-tap to run. You are surrounded by a blue line indicating your “interaction zone.” If your target enters this zone, you kill them simply by tapping on them.
First, however, you have to find them. The streets are littered with people who look just like you and the other players. An arrow helps guide you to your target, but fades away as you get closer and eventually disappears. Then it’s up to you to figure out which one is your target.
This is actually fairly easy, though, as the civilians move in a fairly strict pattern. If you run, stop moving, climb onto a roof or attack someone, you will stand out to anyone nearby. This is perhaps the game’s greatest weakness. Once you’ve played a few rounds, it’s no longer all that challenging to identify your target.
Any real difficulty remaining can likely be attributed to the small screen of the iPhone. Quite often, I stunned a civilian instead of killing my target simply because everyone is too small and too close together. This is especially frustrating when your target is also your pursuer, and he or she kills you while your finger mashes the wrong person.
An iPad version is supposedly on the way, and I’m interested to see if the larger screen solves this problem.
Rearmed is a freemium app. It’s completely free to play, but you can spend money to get early access to items or abilities, buy premium items, or unlock exclusive personas. However, you can earn most of the items and abilities simply by playing. New abilities help mix up the gameplay a little, but ultimately don’t give you much of an advantage.
There is fun to be had here, but it doesn’t last all that long. There are a handful of maps, but they all feel more or less the same, and once you figure out the crowd patterns, finding your target is easy.
Still, it’s a unique free game that can be satisfying in short bursts, so you should certainly check it out.
Unfortunately, the frustrations and ultimately stale gameplay keep Assassin’s Creed Rearmed from being what has the potential to be a great mobile multiplayer experience.