The lights are on
Assassin's Creed is coming onto the easily criticized
a-game-a-year development cycle. Though it would be easy to pin Revelations
down as game suffering from 'more of the same' regarding design and gameplay, the latest
installment in the franchise is hardly an unpolished or rough entry.
Revelations may not be the highlight of the Assassin's Creed series, and it
certainly does add some odd and at times frustrating game mechanics, but Ezio's
final chapter is still an absolute must for any fan of franchise.
Much like the two previous entries of Assassin's Creed, the
player is primarily in control of Ezio Auditore. The story picks up quite awhile after
Brotherhood. Ezio is now an older man, and his training and dedication to the
creed have led to him becoming mentor to the assassins, essentially making him
the leader. Ezio has travelled to Constantinople in search of relics left behind
by Altaïr that would reveal the many mysteries behind The Apple of Eden Ezio
encountered during his youth.
Yusuf, to the right of Ezio, is one of the best new characters in Revelations
The interweaving of Ezio's and Altaïr's tales is by far the
strongest narrative element of Revelations. Getting to see where Altaïr left
off from the first Assassin's Creed and how he ended up is presented right
alongside Ezio's journey. These scenes put together make for some of the best
storytelling the series has yet to produce. However, there is a third part of the
narrative that is not quite as tightly constructed as Ezio's and Altaïr's.
Desmond remains an important part of Assassin's Creed, but the
way he is blended into Revelations feels disjointed and strange from a narrative
and gameplay perspective. You won't be hopping in and out of an animus machine
this time around when you take control of Desmond. Instead, your time with
Desmond is spent on a strange animus-themed island that acts as a hub. From
here, you can jump back into Ezio's world, or you can explore the new minigame
designed for Desmond. Desmond's gameplay is a first-person puzzle-like game. It's
slow and the controls feel stiff, yet there are some interesting story arches
to explore if you are willing to get through it.
Desmond's tale, though not nearly as well told as Ezio's, is an essential part of Assassin's Creed
Desmond's side missions are an example of Revelations adding
gameplay that doesn't need to be added. Though Desmond's minigame is less than
impressive, the most notorious added feature to Revelations is definitely the tower
defense mode. Much like Brotherhood, Ezio has the ability to rebuild a city
through purchasing shops and landmarks. Whether or not these shops and
landmarks are available to you is up to who controls the area in which they
reside: the Assassins or the Templars. If the Templars currently hold stake in
the land you want to buy shops in, you'll be tasked with running them away from
that area's Assassin's Den by means of a tower defense game. It's a standard
fair as far as structure and mechanics go; you set up forts for defense and
assassins for offense. As Templars push toward your den, you fight them off.
Poor controls and awkward camera angles drag this minigame to a frustrating and
boring experience though.
Luckily, not every new aspect of Revelations blemishes the over the
over product. The hook blade, introduced to Ezio by the Assassins of Constantinople,
acts as a brilliantly subtle new mechanic. The hook blade, stylish and menacing
in looks, allows Ezio to travel through the game world much more quickly as he
zip-lines from building to building and extends his reach to clear larger gaps.
The hook blade also exhibits some of the most brutal combo kills Ezio has ever
performed. When you see how creative the master assassin can get with a hook
blade, you'll be trying to get the perfect counter-kill every time just for the
Da Vinci may not provide backup this time around, but that
doesn't mean Ezio can't get his hands on some more elaborate tools. How to make
and effectively use bombs is quickly introduced to the player in Revelations.
Ezio can collect tons of different ingredients to make an assortment of unique
bombs. They range from the conventional smoke bomb to the incredibly awesome
blood bomb (it literally sprays blood all over your enemies, blinding them making them
vulnerable to attack.) Easy to create and utilize in combat, bombs serve to
enhance Ezio's combat versatility. The only problem plagued by this mechanic
is the aiming. It's not horrible, but the way you have to hold one button for a
certain amount of time to either manually aim or simply toss a bomb is a bit
clumsy at times.
One of Assassin Creed's strengths has always been the city through
which your character traverses. Italy was masterfully presented in previous
games, and Constantinople gets the same attention to detail you would expect.
The metropolis, which switches from the white and gray color pallets of Italy
to brown and red/green, is beautiful to look at and engaging to explore. There are
impressively huge towers to climb and a bustling society of civilians that gasp
at your every move. Constantinople doesn't feel quite as large as Roma did in
Brotherhood, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The fast-travel sewer system
is once again available; I never once took it, however, as I found it so fun to
climb and jump my way from place to place.
The multiplayer introduced in Brotherhood makes a return in
Revelations. There isn't too much added from the previous installment, but it
is a formula for multiplayer that hasn't grown tired and unwelcomed. Most game
modes task the player with a kind of cat-and-mouse assassination game.
Constantly hunting and being hunted at the same time is an interesting experience, and, as most
critics of the game note, the multiplayer truly sets itself apart from the gun and
explosion fueled offerings of most multiplayer experiences available this
Revelations is a solid entry to a stellar series. It didn't
quite wow me as Assassin's Creed II did, and it didn't seem to have the same
vast amount of engaging content like Brotherhood had. However, Revelations does an
excellent job in concluding the story of one of the best characters in video
games. Though there are some odd minigames and Desmond's plight is still arbitrarily
confusing and convoluted, it's still an absolute blast to see the gameplay and
narrative exploration Ezio and Altaïr.
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