Murderous Pursuits has been on my radar for quite some time, with its focus on multiplayer assassination-action sounding like it’ll scratch an itch I’ve had ever since Ubisoft stopped including the brilliant multiplayer modes in their Assassin’s Creed games. I mean, who doesn’t want to assassinate real life players whilst avoiding getting killed themselves during tense showdowns?
In a nutshell, Murderous Pursuits puts you in the role of an assassin who wants the earn the respect of an elusive character known only as Mr. X. How do you do this? By competing with other assassins to kill targets (and evade murder yourself) on a Victorian time-travelling airship. It’s a unique idea and one that has a whole lot of potential to be absolutely brilliant, and at times it really can be.
When in a game, you’ll be given a target that you need to find and kill, with more creative kills with random weapons typically earning you more favour with Mr. X. It’s not just as simple as finding someone and killing them though, since you’ve got to work out who exactly they are first. Luckily, you have a tracker that tells you if you’re on the same floor as your target, if you’re facing them, or if you’re just in their general vicinity, so you do have a rough idea – you still have to carefully observe everyone’s behaviour though, otherwise you might find yourself killing the wrong target.
Of course, you’re also a potential target for other assassins, so you’ve got to try and hide in plain sight. This reminded me a little of Assassin’s Creed, with specific points on maps often allowing you to blend in a bit better – it might be a case of joining a small group of NPCs in a spot of conversation or dancing, casually having a drink, or even just sitting around. Either way, simply acting normal is a good way to disguise yourself. However, acting normal when hunting a target of your own isn’t easy, so you’ve got to balance everything out to find success.
It makes for a really fun experience and one that’s constantly ramping up in tension. I found myself trying to ‘walk like an NPC’ at times (you know… robotically) or simply standing around doing nothing just not to stand out at times, which would typically be boring in a traditional game but is all the more exciting when you think you’ve spotted another assassin on the prowl. It’s something that’s even better when playing with friends, especially when you watch them kill the wrong target and get scolded by the airship’s guards (which also makes them an easy target).
Besides blending in and picking your target, you’ll also be able to use powers to help you out. In honesty, these are a bit of a mixed bag – things like ‘counter’ saved me from death a few times and ‘reveal’ helped mark targets for me, but I never found myself really using things like the ‘disguise’ power since it was typically your actions that revealed your presence to other players anyway. Their use will come down to the situation the player finds themselves in, but it would’ve been nice to see a few more fleshed out powers to use.
Whilst Murderous Pursuits is fun to play, you’ve only got the one game mode right now. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – after all, the sneaky-murdering covers all bases and never grows old with a good group of players to join in with. However, after extended play it can feel a little bit predictable. There are plenty of different maps to play across (although they can feel a little familiar aesthetically) whilst the unpredictably of other players can spice things up, but I just wish that there was an extra mode or two that added a bit of variety to the overall experience.
Unfortunately, you’re not always guaranteed to find human players to play with either. Murderous Pursuits doesn’t have a booming online community right now, and I only managed to find a game filled with the max capacity a handful of times. It isn’t a huge problem since the game features AI bots that’ll fill up empty places, but at the same time a lot of its appeal comes with the human element that’s attached to the game. Hopefully, it can gather a few more players in the coming months…
Generally speaking, Murderous Pursuits feels good to play, though I did come across a few random issues. For one, the controls can be a little iffy at times. You can travel around easily enough and even perform actions without a hitch most of the time, but there were times where I’d accidentally target the wrong character because they were in a tight group with others, or where my presence would be made obvious because my character would glitch out a little in the environment. There’s also a lack of progression in the game, with leveling up not really reaping any worthwhile rewards. These are small issues in the grand scheme of things, but noticeable ones nonetheless.
I had a lot of fun playing Murderous Pursuits and taking on other players in tense, action-packed assassination showdowns. Seriously, carefully monitoring everyone around you to see if they’re a target (or foe) is addictive, whilst those moments where you manage to pick someone off unexpectedly is mightily satisfying.
Unfortunately though, the game is a little lacking in variety and players right now. There’s only one game mode on offer and I rarely found myself in a match with a full set of human players – it’s not great for a game that’s multiplayer-focused and has only recently been released.
Still, the potential is there and the Murderous Pursuits developers have promised additional content for the game over the next few months including new abilities, levels, characters and modes – most of which will be free. I’m excited to see how the game can improve over time and I can really see the additional content helping it build into an even better game than it already is. For now though, it’s a fun game that doesn’t quite reach it’s potential… yet.
Developer: Blazing Griffin
Publisher: Blazing Griffin
Release Date: Out Now