Now here’s the kicker. Assassin’s Creed 3’s co-op mode is actually quite good. Four online players can team up to participate in Wolf Pack mode. You and your team will be tasked with eliminating targets in a set amount of time. I played several matches, both privately with friends and in open matches with random online players. You’re going to want to play with friends here, unless you like begging, threatening, and screaming at random people.
The gameplay mechanics that are such a hindrance in the single player game seem to be more streamlined in Wolf Pack. The contained arenas are cleaner, so that helps with movement. This mode focuses on stealth, free running, and assassinations. That’s it. It’s amazing how great the core game is when all the fluff is cut away. There are abilities you can unlock for your character, but only a few are any good for cooperative play. Most are focused on the versus matches.
In friendly matches we would silently stalk our prey. We would tail them through alleys or blend into the surrounding crowd. If time permitted we would scale a nearby building for a devastating air attack. On-screen indicators would signal when everyone was in position, but we found it more efficient to communicate with each other directly, vying for better position to earn maximum points for the kill. All the while the clock is counting down. Each kill is worth so many points. We needed to earn enough points to unlock the next set of targets and add more time to the counter. Communication, coordination, and cooperation are key. Eventually, skilled players will unlock a Sync-Kill sequence. When done correctly, the game initiates a mini cut scene as all four players kill their targets with beautiful precision.
I should also note that targets scale to the player count. You can play the mode solo and engage one target at a time, two players will face two targets, etc. In later sequences the game will throw multiple targets at you. This mode is pretty tough, solo. You’ll earn more points and XP with more friends.
Public matches are a different animal. The gameplay is something more akin to a prison gang shanking than a carefully planned out assassination. Almost every public match I’ve played in begins with one idiot running up to a group of targets, killing one of them, and scattering two or three to the wind, forcing his or her teammates to chase them down. This is easy to deal with in the early levels, but eventually targets start fighting back and using their own abilities. The time quickly winds down, and the match ends in frustration.
The Wolf Pack mode is a nice addition to the franchise. The overall multiplayer portion of the game is pretty sharp, allowing for players to customize and upgrade their characters. While the single player game feels overextended and sloppy, the multiplayer, both co-op and versus, is a pleasant, streamlined experience. It’s not without its faults, but this is where the real AC3 gameplay takes place.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Up to four online players can take down NPC targets together in the Wolf Pack mode.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.