Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Assassin's Creed: Revelations - Requiescat in Pace

Score: 8.5 / 10

Assassin's Creed: Revelations
PC - Xbox 360 - PS3
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: November 15th, 2011

  • Hook Blade is a nice upgrade to combat and platforming
  • Slow-mo finishers are much more intense
  • Bomb crafting is diverse and a nice addition
  • Voice performances and soundtrack are top notch
  • Capture of the time period feels spot on
  • Enemy AI is still a pushover
  • After four years, the general gameplay is wearing thin
  • The new tower defense game feels out of place
  • Assigning Assassins to tasks becomes tedious

Assassin's Creed has made its mark as a franchise on this generation of consoles, and improved with each installment. The infinite satisfaction of roaming an open city and stalking and assassinating a target has kept the series alive, coupled with a perfect capture of the time period. Revelations looks to put a close on the Ezio/Desmond/Altair saga and answer the many questions the previous games left in the open. While the typical formula has not changed drastically, there are plenty of surprises and incredible moments in Revelations to make it a fine close to the saga.

Nothing is True

Words cannot describe the unanswered questions following Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. With one of the bigger cliffhangers of last year, the story picks up with Desmond in a coma that he must awaken from, now accompanied by the infamous Subject 16. The bulk of the story follows Ezio's last adventures as he seeks to uncover more of the truths left behind by Altair. There is also small segments of Altair's exploits with each artifact found by Ezio, divulging into his life as well. It's an inception inspired story within a story within a story, that is intriguing enough to provide closure. While a few questions remain unanswered, it's enough to provide some stirring emotions with the conclusion of Ezio and Altair's exploits.

The city of Constantinople acts as the hub world in which you establish your headquarters this time around. Much like previous games, the capture of the time period is perfect. The busy hustle and bustle of the city streets, the attire of the local pedestrians, and the detail of the famous architecture is astonishing. That special feeling of simply roaming around the city is not lost here, as the small details and atmosphere are truly incredible to behold.

Backed by a stellar voice cast with original dialogue, the game also features one of the most enjoyable original soundtracks of the series. Gripping ballads guide you as you leap across buildings, and a thunder of drums back every swing of your blade in combat. The presentation for Assassin Creed games have always been stellar, and even after four years it remains a big high point for the game.

Memoirs of Ezio

Gameplay for Assassin's Creed has not changed very much, and an annual release since the first installment has left the approach anticipated. You are plopped into the city and steadily guided to each main mission, with plenty of side content to distract you from the intended path. The missions this time around still contain a few tailing and crowd movement missions, but there are some true gems in the assassin tombs.

Platforming is key in getting around the city fast, and thanks to the new Hook Blade, it's easier than ever. You climb faster, can drop enemies faster, and even make use of the handy new ziplines to really get around town. The parkour is at its best on the various missions in the hidden tombs, offering some truly memorable set pieces and chases that dwindle all too soon.

Combat remains the same in timing your strikes and gaining kill streaks to quickly dispose of enemies. Though Ezio is well versed in combat by now, the game can become incredibly easy once you get a kill streak going. Though you have much at your disposal at this point, the core way to fight is to counter once attacked for an instant kill and chain your attacks from there. It's a familiar aspect of the game that did not get the attention it deserved.

You are still able to recruit your own crew of assassins, much like in Brotherhood. These useful new assassins will pop in to take out targets swiftly or rain down arrows onto a number of baddies. You can also send them out on various missions to purge the Templar threat across the globe, gaining currency and items from taken vistas. Unfortunately, they can take it back this time, meaning you must continually visit these hub stations to get your crew out in full force and tide the Templar invasions. It becomes much like feeding your SIM...tedious after the first few dozen times.

Everything is Permitted

The typical gameplay is all here, but three big additions stand out the most:

After clearing an area of Templar influence, you must also defend the area if you gain too much attention. This initiates a sort of tower defense game, in which you place certain classes in varying areas to hold back waves of troops; utilizing barricades, crossbows, and assassinations. It's an interesting addition, but feels incredibly out of place in this game. The constant fear of having to repeat the event made for continual bribes to speakers to keep my reputation down. 

Bomb crafting adds more to Ezio's ridiculously large arsenal. With a slew of recipes at your disposal, you can create deadly poison bombs, tripwire bombs filled with lambs blood to stun enemies, and cherry bombs to distract guards and allowing you to sneak by. With hundreds of varying combinations, it is the most interesting and useful addition to the game that opens up new possibilities in approaching each situation. With the sheer number of troops in each mission, their use becomes very apparent after the first few missions.

Collecting Animus fragments around the city unlocks Desmond's Journey, a first person puzzle platformer. Almost akin to Portal, you traverse varying segments of a blocky world with only the ability to spawn geometry to get from point A to point B. Though the gameplay itself is pretty straightforward, the overall presentation of looking back on Desmond's life before the Abstergo incident of the first game is a treat and love letter to the fans.

Stab or be Stabbed

The multiplayer for Assassins Creed makes a return. The classic Wanted mode is back, offering contracts to players to hunt down and assassinate their target before being assassinated. It still evolves into a domino effect of stabs, but is just as mindlessly fun as the previous installment. Higher levels have a slight advantage over the new players, with much more at their disposal than a typical player.

Some new modes make an appearance. Capture the Flag has been added to mix up the typical Wanted modes, but Deathmatch proved the most intriguing. There is no compass pointing toward your target, but instead there is a box in the top right of the screen where your current target is displayed, which glows blue when you enter the line of sight of your target. There is also Simple Deathmatch, which also removes the abilities and perks from the players.

It's still an enjoyable mode often involving into hilarity as the stab train occurs over your corpse, but it still is not enough to make you drop the bigger multiplayer titles.


As far as a final installment in Ezio's journey, Revelations left me wanting a little more than what was offered. Fans of the series will feel right at home and the presentation of the game is just as stellar as its always been. It's a nice close to Ezio's journey, and a welcome finish to the series.

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