Ubisoft wants to make sure that Assassin's Creed's debut on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 goes off without a hitch. Along with a robust single player campaign that we'll preview later this month, Assassin's Creed Unity also comes jam-packed with co-op opportunities, as you team up with a friend for a quick two-player mission, or tackle a heist with up to three others online.
This four-player mode shares similarities with the previous co-op session we broke down last month. There's a certain area you have to reach to acquire the treasure, and must carefully take down soldiers so you don't dwindle away too much money. With the four-player heist, however, you have a better chance at executing the plan, with teammates working together to clear the way, either above or below, as well as finding the right item you hope to steal.
Case in point: during our hands-on time with Heist Mode, we entered a rather large mansion with multiple floors, along with different points of entry. If you're feeling brave enough, you can sneak your way to the front door and stab the guards, or better yet, fire a Berzerk dart at one of them, which forces him to go mad and attack his friends. The goal here is to avoid detection, finding cover behind nearby objects or having a teammate cause a distraction so you can move closer.
From there, another challenge that must be overcome is the location of the item you're stealing. In this case, a rare painting that was supposed to be a museum’s – only to be kept by the greedy mansion owners. The trick, however, involves finding the right one, as your online ally will point out a number of possibilities, only for the first few to end up being fakes. That will force you to scramble through the house to the next location while dealing with the many guards that get in the way.
To assure replayability for when you and your friends return to Heist Mode, Ubisoft Montreal included a neat tactic where the location of the treasure, along with some patrolling guards, change each time you play. Fortunately, this allows your team to explore the terrain a bit better, as well as find points of entry away from the guards.
It doesn't hurt for your team to form a strategy. You don't have to go in the same way, after all, as you can easily have a couple of guys work the rooftops while the other two take care of soldiers on the ground. Whatever tactic you decide to use, though, you'll find that Unity's four-player co-op is engaging and a lot of fun.
Perhaps the highlight of this particular Heist came with running into a large group of guards in the main ballroom. With two Assassins working the entryways on either side, this caused a distraction, with guns being fired continuously. This allows the remaining two assassins to perform a death from above technique, diving down and stabbing the guards so the hiding Assassins come in and help clean house.
The online play for this particular test was seamless. Having players jump into a mission and then sync up with one another on an adjacent rooftop before entering the grounds worked just right, and you can even take a moment or two to try and formulate a plan before kicking off the mission. If you prefer to be lethal, however, feel free to charge the gates, but make sure you take out the gunmen first. Otherwise, your heist will be short-lived.
A variety of missions will be available in four-player co-op, with additional ones likely added via DLC. For now, Heist Mode is just one of many parts of Assassin's Creed Unity that should have no problem drawing in both current fans and newcomers when it arrives on November 11th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.