That’s a misleading headline. It’d have been more accurate to say Murderous Pursuits has fooled you into thinking it’s not a threat, discarded its AI disguise and stabbed you in the belly with a sabre. It’d be more accurate still to say its a multiplayer assassination game about hunting and being hunted from The Ship: Remasted devs, and that it just came out.
I’ve already told you it’s good. Twice. I’ve since played a few hours of it over the open beta last weekend though – and while I’m still looking forward to tucking into more, I do need to roll back one particular bit of praise. I told you none of the abilities felt overpowered in the way that undermined Ass Creed’s (very similar) multiplayer. That was before I spent the weekend swearing at my screen every time I got flash-bombed.
It feels a bit cruel to pick on one ability in a game that’s otherwise excellent, but I’ll plough on anyway because its impact is disproportionately large.
I love Murderous Pursuits because it’s all about carefully observing and reacting to your opponents. You’ve got to simultaneously guess their identities and what they’re planning, all while acting and plotting in a way that shapes what their plans are. Maybe you’re standing in a crowded room, unaware of your hunter’s identity but painfully aware they’re nearby. Maybe you walk towards and past the door to lure them out, knowing they’ll follow and you can pounce out and stun them before they get a chance to do you in.
Or maybe they just throw down a flashbomb the second they’ve identified you as their quarry, bringing all that scheming to a dazed halt as they not only easily stroll up and dispatch you, but get extra points for doing so. Extra points! For putting less work in, rather than more! It’s true that the cooldown is reasonably long and they’d be giving up the chance to use it defensively, but there’s something about the way it grants one person total control over a situation – and rewards them for it – that really rubs me the wrong way.
But look, every other element of the game has rubbed me the right way so far. When I can squint past the effects of that rage-inducing flashbang, I see a marriage of delightful silliness with cunning tactics that doesn’t deserve to share the fate of other multiplayer only indie games. I can’t speak to its long term appeal just yet, but I can speak to the way I’m itching to jump back in.
Murderous Pursuits is out now on Steam for £17.99/$19.99/€19.99.