While at an exclusive party on the Jackdaw, Edward Kenway‘s ship in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, we were treated to a very brief showcase of Ubisoft’s upcoming slate. Included in the showcase were highly anticipated titles like Watch_Dogs and Splinter Cell: Blacklist, but it wouldn’t be a party on a pirate ship without Assassin’s Creed IV.

As such, Ubisoft had a multiplayer demo of the game on hand for six players to try their hand at assassinating each other while, at the same time, not getting assassinated themselves. So, what has changed for Assassin’s Creed IV as far as the multiplayer is concerned? Read our Comic-Con hands-on preview to find out.

For starters, it’s important to explain that the multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed IV feels very much like an extension of the experience introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Much like any annual series, the multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed IV is a subtle evolution more so than a radical reinvention.

Many of the key mechanics of the multiplayer — specifically the two-fold cat-and-mouse game that is played among a group of online players — have been refined, but they are left mostly unchanged. Players will have access to a few new tricks this time around, but I’d suspect that any fan of the Assassin’s Creed multiplayer thus far will have no problem finding success in Assassin’s Creed IV multiplayer.

That said there are a few new tricks at players’ disposal for them to either stay alive longer or better dispatch their opponents, and it starts with the three actions in the bottom left corner of the screen. Depending on context, players can defend themselves, fire their pistol at an opponent, or blend in by taking on the form of a common NPC character.

Each of these three abilities has the requisite recharge time, but can be useful in multiplayer matches. Equally as useful are the various HUD indicators, which tell players when they are near an assassination target or when their assassin is nearing them.

Assassins Creed 4 Multiplayer - Gallows Level

For example, if a player sees that an opponent has targeted them, an icon will pop up revealing that they might not be long for this world. However, if the player activates their shield, and faces it in the correct direction, they will be able to block the bullet and scamper off.

Similarly, if a player feels like an opponent as an eye on them, then they can activate their disguise ability, which turns their visage from unique multiplayer character to generic NPC. Obviously, if an enemy locks on to them the player will lose their disguise, but if they can find a group they might get away unscathed.

Putting all of those mechanics together, while at the same time trying to rack up points taking out their targets, gives players a fairly dynamic multiplayer experience. That isn’t to say that gamers who don’t enjoy Ubisoft‘s brand of multiplayer will find anything particularly revelatory about this latest iteration.

When it comes down to it, if you were looking for a more refined version of Assassin’s Creed‘s multiplayer with a few slight tweaks and some clever additions, this is it. While we can’t speak to the single player elements, which you can learn more about in our E3 2013 Assassin’s Creed IV preview, we can say that the multiplayer was enjoyable for the brief time we spent with it.

Are you looking forward to the multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag? What changes would you like to see Ubisoft introduce for the multiplayer?

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag releases October 29, 2013 for the PC, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U. The title is slated for a PS4 and Xbox One release but no date has been announced.

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