Assassin's Creed: Revelations Review
Not a Revelation in gaming, but definitely a good time anyway
The conclusion of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood left players with many questions after a sudden and shocking ending. Without revealing any spoilers, Assassin's Creed Revelations picks up immediately after the last one left off, providing revelations for all three of the series main protagonists, Desmond, Middle Eastern Crusades assassin Altair, and everyone's favourite renaissance parkour expert, Ezio.
Revelations commences with Desmond waking up on an island. This island isn't some ocean side paradise, but rather a construct of the Animus program, trying to keep Desmond's memories from being lost and killing him in the process. You quickly discover that you aren't alone and that Subject 16 (a character from the first Assassin's Creed) is also stranded on the island. Subject 16 informs you that the only way you can save yourself and come out of your coma alive is to find all the memories of Ezio Auditore and create a completed memory sync.
Once you step through the portal on the island in an attempt to recover these memories and save your life, you again take the role of Ezio, the young Assassin from the previous two games. This time though when you step into Ezio's shoes, he's no longer a young man. Many years have passed and now Ezio is an old, greying man who has risen up to become a mentor to the young and the leader of the Assassins.
Ezio's journey begins by stepping off a boat onto the shores of Constantinople, far from his Italian homeland. You've come to the great city of Constantinople because Ezio has discovered a plot by the Templars to uncover hidden relics scatter throughout the sprawling city. Ezio must find the clues and beat the Templars to these relics or else he and the Assassins may face their doom. The entirety of this game sees you moving across mainly Constantinople in search of these relics while helping the local Assassins battle the Templar who exist within the city walls.
Revelations' storyline is not extremely deep, but helps move the game along as you uncover clues to discover the hidden relics, meet new allies and battle unexpected enemies. There is an attempt at a love story, but it's not very compelling and seems to occur rather quickly. A bright spot though is when you are able to play as Altair ibn-La'Ahad, which will be a treat for fans of the first game. These segments allow you to discover what happened to Altair after the events of the first game and are an interesting way of telling his story. Further to Altair , the cast of new characters is refreshing, and an older, more experienced Ezio brings about a more interesting and deep character. Although the story is by no means bad, it would be difficult to say it is Revelations' strongest point.
Rather what Revelations does do well, like each other title in the series, is provide you with some of the most enjoyable platforming and combat you can find in any modern franchise. Once again the team at Ubisoft has done a wonderful job of creating a city that is richly detailed and almost entirely scalable. From running across the rooftops of homes and buildings to scaling tall pillars or climbing up walls and swinging from posts, the platforming is fluid and animations are great, making for a seamless and enjoyable experience. A new addition to the platforming is a hook you receive early in the game. This hook that takes the place of one of your hidden blades allows you to make longer jumps and use zip lines found atop many of the roofs throughout the city. These new additions don't dramatically change the tried and tested formula, but do add some new spice to the platforming the many will find enjoyable.
Along with the platforming, the combat as well has been improved. New animations have been included that make it so taking out your enemies doesn't result in the same few kill sequences every time. Also, Revelations seems to be the goriest in the series yet, as stabbing your sword through an enemy results in graphic spurts of blood. The combat in Assassin's Creed has always been solid, and Revelations continues to improve upon the dynamic sword play. One new addition, which may be seen as a challenge to some and frustration to other is the more common use of pistols and rifles. Guns have been seen before in the series, but Revelations has an abundance of enemies carrying sidearms, which can interrupt the fluidity of the action if you aren't quick enough to dodge one of the many musket balls that will be fired at you.
Also new to combat is the addition of bombs. These bombs can be offensive, such as trip mines or grenades filled with deadly pellets, or alternatively defensive, providing you with a smoke screen to run away, or used as a diversion to distract guards. These bombs aren't strictly required to be successful in the game, but they do allow for some new strategies to be employed, which will be a welcome addition to the combat of the series.
As with every title in the series, aside from the main storyline, there are numerous sidequests and additional content that can extent your play time in Constantinople by several hours. One interesting side quest is 100 data shards that can be found and then used to unlock missions where you play as Desmond. These sequences allow you to play in a first person view and help discover more information about Desmond's past and what lead to him being found by the Templars. It's interesting to note that doing this is completely optional, so those of you who do not explore and collect all these pieces will be missing out on additional content, play time and back story.
Ubisoft has attempted to make Revelations as fresh as possible, with inclusions such as a tower defence game wherein you try and protect Assassin dens from the attacking Templars. These additions along with previous elements such as sending Assassins on missions across the continent add some diversity, but fail to reinvigorate the series and do not focus on the strengths of what make Assassin's Creed great.
With that being said Revelations is still another excellent addition to the series, but it feels a bit too familiar. The types of tasks and missions you receive have all been done before, and aside from a new city and the additions of some new features, there's little in the way of new elements to keep the game feeling new and diverse. Although this doesn't detract from Revelations being a enjoyable game, it is a bit disappointing that nothing new was attempted and that in the end it almost feels like Revelations is something of an expansion to Brotherhood as oppose to a standalone game.
In addition to feeling far too similar to past games, the city of Constantinople is far less diverse, and arguably, interesting then Rome. In Brotherhood as you traverse Rome, you can't help but notice the significant landmarks all over the city that help bring a certain awe factor. In Constantinople there are far less, if any of these noticeable landmarks, and even though there is a river separating two areas of the city, it seems smaller in scale and less diverse in environments than previous games.
To help make up for lack of new additions to the single player experience, Ubisoft has once again incorporated a multiplayer component, building on the experience they introduced in Brotherhood. The multiplayer in Revelations is arguably deeper than that of Brotherhood and boasts more customization, new maps as well as new game modes. You will be able to customize appearances, your load out, and to help make a richer experience, as you rank up, new information will be unlocked. New modes include are an Assassin's Creed take on capture the flag and a revamped deathmatch mode that was introduced in Brotherhood. Reception for the introduction of multiplayer in the series was surprisingly popular, so these new additions will be welcome and Revelations will boost a deeper and more entertaining multiplayer experience that will keep fans coming back for more.
Revelations also boost a strong technical side that is as solid as past entries. The large city views are outstanding and the character models and animations are all impressive to watch. Revelations does not seem to have any significant upgrades over the past entries in the series, but running across rooftops and the animations of battling ten enemy soldiers still looks great, even if the engine is getting a bit old.
Assassin's Creed Revelations is a must buy for any fan of the series. Not only does it provide many more hours of addictive gameplay, it progresses the story further and sets up the series for the epic conclusion that will be Assassin's Creed 3. The outstanding platforming, enjoyable combat, deeper multiplayer experience and extraordinary level of quality and detail make Revelations another solid entry into the Assassin's Creed Universe. When a series reaches the point of consistency that Assassin's Creed has, there is no question, if you make the choice to purchase this game, you will not be disappointed.