Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood proved that it was possible to build an exciting free-for-all multiplayer game around the concept of stealth. As you may recall, it threw you in the middle a bustling city and asked you to assassinate a designated player, with little more to go on than a portrait of their mush and a rough guide to their current location.
What complicated matters was that you had a hunter of your own on your back; thus to minimise your chances of being detected the idea was to mimmick the movements of the AI crowd and travel through the city silently, slowly and deliberately.
In the right company, it's legitimately one of the finest and most psychologically pulsating multiplayer games of this generation. Sadly, you are unlikely to find the right company on Xbox Live or PSN. An endless succession of jump-happy, roof-running game-ruining idiots suggests there is still a lot of resistance amongst mainstream gamers to play online at anything less than full pelt.
Assassin's Creed 3's all-new four-on-four Domination mode hits upon a nice compromise of sneaking and stabbing.There's still a huge emphasis on remaining undetected and looking innocent in the face of a map-wide manhunt, but it's interspersed with pockets of action that help keep the pace lively.
The map we played was set in a snow-bitten naval camp; it's as flat as a pancake compared to traditional Assassin's Creed landscapes, but it's been intelligently composed to ensure each of the three map points you're fighting for control over have multiple different entry points; from low-lying rooftops to over-hanging branches to craggy back passageways. Sometimes however the best course of action is to just waltz in through the front door.
As long as you behave normally, entering or exiting a control point area is the only way you can be detected, since you're not given any visual indicator on the whereabouts of the other team, and the map is packed to capacity with AI dopplegangers of both teams.They'll know when someone strolls into a control point though, and well-organised teams will place someone on guard duties to watch the flow of traffic going in and out of the area.
Before attempting to capture a point then, it pays to spend a little time sureveying the lay of the land - watching for characters with the other team's skin acting abnormally or breaking out into telltale runs or jumps. Spend too long loitering around the edge of the control point though and you'll quickly be rumbled - it's a common tactic and experienced players will anticipate it.
To make your life easier, there are three inventory slots which you can fill with various special abilities that will either heighten your deception or allow you to make a quick getaway if things go tits-up.