So, it may come as no surprise that I am not a multiplayer-oriented person. In fact, there are several situations featuring scorpions and glass that hold more appeal to me than interacting with other people. That being said, and this being my job, I find myself in the position of reviewing Murderous Pursuits; a “multiplayer only” experience. I generally don’t mess around with multiplayer only games, unless my friends and I play them together, but I have quite a few thoughts on this one. So buckle in buckaroos, this could get messy.
Murderous Pursuits is a multiplayer-only assassination competition, set on a train. The objective is to kill a specific target and stay alive yourself, which is always the best approach to socializing on a train. Let’s start with the game’s good qualities, shall we? I really like the sound design. The music fits the theme; additionally, the narrator congratulating you on kills, with the general ambient noise, do wonders at keeping you immersed in the action. I also enjoy the art style. There is just something about that Dishonored-style art that really gets to me, smooth but not enough to be cell-shaded. All the characters are immediately distinguishable, which is vital for a game like this, and their designs are interesting. The point system is well-designed, with a score being attached to every weapon, and immediately being set to one again once the weapon has been used successfully. That forces you to actually move around the world, ducking in and out of the hiding places littered around, to find the higher level weapons. All the levels were clearly designed with a purpose, the weapons and hiding spot placement are a testament to that. The abilities are all pretty simple and easy to use, which is also fairly vital in a game that can go from quite slowly paced to very fast paced in an instant. All in all, the game features work well, and it’s perfectly functional. It can even be fun to get around a guard and pull off a kill right under their nose, then slink back into the shadows.
The bad aspects mostly come down to a single point. I can see the appeal of playing this, getting better at it, and having a fun time. I cannot, however, see this game having much in the way of longevity. Currently, there is no point or incentive to get better at it. This will most likely be interesting to you and your friends on the night you buy it, maybe even a bit after that. Once the fun of murdering each other in all five ways the weapons allow is done, however, this game will be swiftly forgotten. While all the mechanics work well, they are a static part of the experience. They will always serve a single purpose, meaning that very little strategy is involved in any given match. A game like DOTA, another multiplayer only game would, for instance, have you create strategies on the spot using the newest update information to keep you coming back for a different experience each time. Counter-Strike does this by providing a very simple control scheme that you can practice and improve with, forcing you to try different things, and create a new experience with every match. I can’t see much variety at all in the play style for this game. There just isn’t anything special here at the moment. The horrible thing about reviewing a multiplayer-only game is that in a month from now, they could have overhauled the entire game and made a more versatile play style or a strategic-based one. So really, time will tell here.
Another point that many who have played Murderous Pursuits will notice is that it is very similar to the old Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Multiplayer. However, I think the AC: B multiplayer is much better, in the sense that it is more dynamic. It suffers from the same problem as MP, not really giving me a reason to come back, but the control scheme allows for assassinations that require skill. So, we come to the crux of why Murderous Pursuits is bad, there are no skills to master. A good method of attracting new players and ensnaring old ones is using an “Easy to learn, Hard to master” approach to your game. This comes back to the point I made about Counter-Strike earlier, that it has a skill set that you can practice and master while you play. The AC: B multiplayer made use of the variety of killing options available in AC: B, while MP has a very single-input style. You go over to one of the five weapons, pick one up, kill someone or get killed, and hide. The abilities don’t add enough variety to anything, which can be a good thing as I’ve said before, but more fun powers wouldn’t have gone amiss either.
The review is a bit shorter this time around, which will always be the case with a multiplayer-only experience because there aren’t any story elements for me to rag on. That being said, Murderous Pursuits is a decently functional, if somewhat quick-drying addition to the multiplayer only stable, so feel free to pick it up but I probably wouldn’t put a lot of faith in it retaining its interesting qualities. Pursue this venture at your leisure, because you’ll probably be doing it without me.
A PC review copy of Murderous Pursuits was provided by Blazing Griffin for the purpose of this review.
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