A yearly release schedule is a tough notion for any game, let alone one as deep and time-consuming as Assassin’s Creed. We were all pleasantly surprised to get Brotherhood so shortly after Assassin’s Creed 2, but the prospect of Revelations seemed to burn a lot of people out.
Focusing on the later years of Ezio Auditore’s life, the game moves out of Renaissance Italy to Constantinople where Ezio tries to find the keys he needs to get into a secret vault built by Altair, the assassin from the original game. Throwing in new gameplay concepts and an upgraded multiplayer mode, does Revelations deliver or does it fall flat like so many missed Leaps of Faith?
The Ezio story is getting a bit long in the tooth by this point, as we’ve journeyed with our favorite Italian noble for the last three years. We’ve gone underneath the Vatican, found an Apple of Eden, lost it and got it back. What more can we possibly get out of Ezio?
Perhaps it’s not his fault that his story drags a bit in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations; after all he is but a vehicle for modern-day protagonist Desmond Miles to learn about being an assassin and track down lost Pieces of Eden. After the twist ending of Brotherhood, Desmond is locked in a coma inside the Animus where he’s visited by Subject 16, the crazy dude who left all those mind-bending puzzles all over the last two games.
Does the game actually deliver on the promises made by its title? Well, yes and no. We learn a lot more about the previously one-dimensional Altair and Ezio Auditore’s story is wrapped up nicely (he even gets the girl), but what about Desmond? Unfortunately, he spends Revelations spinning his wheels yet again, only to snap out of the coma at the very end and declare that he “knows what he has to do”. As a guy who’s only purpose is to prolong the life of this series, he sure does that well. We’ll see how Assassin’s Creed 3 goes, but for the actual “revelations” in this game, we’ll give it a half-mark.
You can also find out more about Desmond’s past in five first-person platforming sequences, but the less said about those the better.
The Assassin’s Creed gameplay formula remains much the same since Brotherhood but with two new additions: the hook blade (which contains two parts, the hook and the blade) and the ability to craft a variety of grenades. The hook blade is incredibly useful for fast traversal as it enables you to bound up walls and slide across ziplines. This is the fastest that travel has been in an AC game, despite Ezio’s advanced age, and it makes me a little sad to think that the hook blade won’t really have a place in AC3.
The grenades function pretty much how you expect they would, but you can make a selection of lethal and non-lethal types depending on your situation (and you can carry up to three flavors at once). It may take some time adapting your playstyle to suit these news tools but once you get the hang of it you’ll wonder how you got along without them.
The Assassin’s Guild management once again makes an appearance and is addictive as ever, but the new tower defence mode is a strange addition to the game. When Ezio’s notoriety gets high enough, the Templars will make an assault on one of your Assassin Dens and to defend it you will be presented with a minigame where you place assassins on the rooftops as you attempt to stop harder and harder waves of Templars from breaking through your lines. You can build barricades and get access to better types of units, but the mode isn’t that fun and kind of drags when you’re playing it. By installing a Master Assassin in one of your Dens you make it immune to attacks, so it behooves you to dump time into Guild management just to avoid the tower defence game.
Assassin’s Creed’s multiplayer is still a breath of fresh air in our shooter-infested time, offering tense cat-and-mouse matches for people willing to stick out the first few levels to build up some decent perks. New players are put at a disadvantage because while everyone else can do cool things like create decoys and change their appearance, low-level characters don’t have much in the way of tools. In the higher levels things balance out but up until about level 10 its a bit of a slog.
Finding a match can also be a bit tough and matchmaking with friends is a frustrating experience as I found out when trying to play some games with fellow GamerSushi writer Eddy. We ended up getting in the same game by having one of us join a match then the other following them in, hoping that a space was still available. Not exactly an elegant solution.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is a decent way to cap off the Ezio trilogy. It gives us the same gameplay we know and love and lets Ezio retire gracefully from his life as an Assassin. There’s still a lot of time you can dump into this game and the multiplayer will keep you hooked for a while.
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