The lights are on
[Note: To explain the large delay in my writing of this review, i'd like to state that i was attempting a second playthrough before writing this review in order to form a sure judgement since my opinions after playing through the first time weren't very good. however, due to the slew of games coming out leading up to Assassin's Creed III, it's become clear that i won't have the time to beat this game again and review it before the release of AC3. Therefore, i give you a well-delayed review based of my first playthrough and a bit of a second.]
Assassin's Creed 3 is the 4th full game in the series, and the 3rd and final game for our assassin Ezio Auditore. Ubisoft has adopted an annual release schedule for the series, but in my opinion this is causing the game to loose it's shine.
Revelations looks just like the previous 2 games. great busy city, filled with tons of NPC's and enemies, and free running opportunities. You wont have a hard time making your way from one end of the city to the other wether from the rooftops or the ground bellow.
that being said, the city does have a large flaw to it. much like in Brotherhood, the game remains in one large city rather than several smaller ones. Constantinople. It's a large (very large) city split in 2 by a large river. this rive can be crossed manually by swimming or taking a small boat, or you can "fast travel" over there by talking to a man at the docks on either side. but the problem is created by too many missions beginning on opposite ends of the river. the constant back and forth trek get's tiresome and quickly becomes a chore.
another downfall is that the river seems to be the only landmark that sets this city apart from cities in past games. inside the thick of the cities, you can hardly feel a difference other than the looks of the people within it. you do late in the game visit a second location, and this is a breath of fresh air, but i'm going to avoid any spoilers here.
going back to character designs, this is definitely the most impressive in terms of presentation. Ezio is old now. and he looks the part. if you set him next you the Ezio in ACII, the difference in his face alone is incredible. he looks so different, yet you can still clearly see that's its Ezio. the voice acting works very much the same and it's very impressive. even in the moves Ezio makes during combat reflect his age.
Ezio's previous stories highly revolved around vengeance. it was what kept him going. however, now Ezio is older. He's successfully rebuilt the Assassin's Brotherhood, and now his quest takes him on a hunt for understanding.
his main objective is to find the keys to unlock a vault locked underneath Masyaf, that Altair has apparently hidden valuable information. However, along his journey of doing so, he finds himself tangled in the interest of the Constantinople Assassin's , and even some personal distractions.
The problem is that even though he's racing against the Templars to get the keys, he doesn't have that old fuel that he used to. his purpose is sometimes forgettable, and i sometimes felt that perhaps Ezio himself is becoming distracted.
Desmond on the other hand got left off with quite the cliff-hanger. The event's of the last game leave desmond in some kind of crazy coma. and he's stuck in the animus. his memories of himself, ezio, and altair are all jumbled together and the only way he can sort them out is to finish Ezio's memories.
The story definitely isn't as strongly built as previous titles, and it suffers for it. but it's still enough for fans to see what comes of Ezio.
This is really what ruined this game for me. it's everything you'd expect based off the past 2, but they lack the fun in them. This is mainly due to a lack of new content, and the back and forth runs through the city that i mentioned earlier due to missions popping up on opposite sides of the river consistently. it became more of a chore. I also don't think that my interest in the story was that strong, so i was doing missions to do them, rather than complete an objective.
Now i'm NOT saying that there isn't anything new. there is. but the problem is that the new stuff feel exhausted, overused, or even pointless. let me give some examples:
The hook blade. the new addition to the hidden blade that simply adds a curved hook to the end of the blade. this allows you new alternate forms of traversal which is supposed to benefit you. giving you a boost up a wall, or using a hanging pot to make a large leap forward rather than originally taking you around a corner. But the problem is that it's not to your benefit because you're constantly forced to use the hook blade. it's literally the answer to every tricky free-run situation, and it get's overused. The one good thing that worked successfully was the zip-lines. i liked that a lot, but too many times i found myself on the bottom end of the zipline, rather than the top. but that's just chance.
Another new feature is that of bomb crafting. you use materials found in chest throughout the game world to construct different types of bombs. the bombs are cool on their own with 3 different categories of either kill, distract, or disable styled bombs, and you can customize them. it's a great idea. unfortunately, when it comes to being an assassin, i rarely ever used my bombs. not that there isn't a time for them, but i just never thought to use them.
Another big thing in Revelations is the Assassin's Dens. much like taking out Borgia Towers in Brotherhood, you can do this in revelations, which gives you an assassin's den. the thing is that the Templars will push attacks to take the dens back. These take form in a tower defense style gameplay, that is quite diverse for the assassin's creed series, but also quite foreign. it doesn't fit. also these attacks never end. even after you've captured all the dens. and it's a hassle to stop what youre doing to run across the map to save a den. for me it was easier to just let the den fall into enemy hands and just re-capture it later. but this could go on and on until you can train an assassin to watch the den for you.
As for the rest of the game, it plays great. all the free running and combat is back with subtle improvements, and such, but this deep in the series and i'm just used to it.
Oh there are some puzzle like gameplay for desmond which is pretty simple, somewhat dull too, but does delve into some of Desmonds back story. also, Altair is back in some parts, but these parts are about as short as they are awesome. and they're pretty awesome.
Revelations is the end to Ezio's story, and it does a good job of doing so. It's amazing to see Ezio go from the young Florentine in ACII to the Assassin Mentor in Revelations. However, his story this time doesn't feel like it has a strong enough purpose.
Desmonds story however, doesn't get very far until the very end, and his gameplay will either be love or hate to fans. There's a DLC expansion that focuses purely on Desmond gameplay, and answers a big question that the Revelations itself didn't answer. i highly suggest getting it if you're really into Desmond's story.
Revelations unfortunately fails in bringing something new and fun. there isn't much that differs this game from previous, and what has changed is generally bringing the game down. it's not to say its a bad game, but in comparison and unison with the previous games, Revelations fall behind.
If you enjoy the AC series, i still recommend Revelations, because though the gameplay is not at it's best, it still hold an essential part in both Ezio and Desmond's stories.
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