The Discovery mode is Ubisoft’s answer to that particular problem. Essentially a tutorial mode, Discovery takes you through each of the multiplayer maps with just the slightest trace of backstory to set up why you’re in that location and what you’re supposed to do. As you progress through each stage/map, you’re introduced to new elements and challenges that you’ll eventually face in Wolfpack mode.
This includes the new challenges that have been added to Wolfpack: Defend and Infection. With Defend, a number of treasure chests (dependant upon the number of players participating) will appear and its your job to defend them from would be thieves. The more successful you are, the more points you earn and the quick you progress to the next sequence. In Infection, a number of targets are “infected” and have to be avoided until you collect a health packet. Doing so makes the targets vulnerable and susceptible to your preferred method of execution.
That’s it for additions to the whole co-op aspect of Assassin Creed IV’s multiplayer. There are no new perks that make racking up those points easier, no special co-op moves (the sync kill is still around, fortunately), and nothing else that really incentivizes playing Wolfpack. While it does require a good deal of cooperation and communication, and it is a lot of fun with a group of friends, it doesn’t vary much match to match.
After a few rounds, you’re likely to find yourself missing the wind in your hair and the salty spray of the sea in your face. It’s great that the Discovery mode made its way in this go around, but it feels like the kind of thing that should have been present in the last iteration. What’s worse, it’s presence now just serves to highlight the stark lack of anything else new.
Permit me a little aside here. Going back to the idea of a new idea crammed inside of an existing IP, after my second day of playing Assassin’s Creed IV, I wondered why Wolfpack was, essentially, the only co-op mode available. Why wasn’t there a co-op mode where you and a bunch of friends could man the wheel, guns, sails, and decks of a ship, take it around the West Indies pillaging and plundering to your heart’s content, and then pull into port to do some missions similar to what’s in Wolfpack? This would be an entire undertaking unto itself that would require reworking multiplayer as a whole, so by no means do I feel like Ubisoft “dropped the ball” for not doing that. I just hope the mechanics and ideas in place with Assassin’s Creed IV aren’t left by the wayside altogether.
I like Assassin’s Creed IV, I just want to like it more. The parts of the game that are its strongest, i.e., the ship-to-ship combat and sailing, the main character, and his story, are not enough to help it entirely escape from those parts that drag it down, most of which are tied around it being an Assassin’s Creed title. The co-op mode is just as fun as it was in the previous entry, but there’s not much there to really warrant repeat playthroughs. In the end, Assassin’s Creed IV is a game that feels… well, like it’s greatness is waiting.
Editor's Note: The Co-Optimus Co-Op Review of Assassin's Creed IV was based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with up to 3 friends to track down and assassinate your targets as quickly and quietly as possible in order to score points, add time to the clock, and advance to the next sequence
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.