Genre: Action Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Publisher: Ubisoft Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 15th Nov 2011 Platforms:
Average of 4 Ratings
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Assassinís Creed: Revelations is the fourth game in the Assassinís Creed series, and according to Ubisoft, the final game to follow the exploits of Ezio Auditore. Continuing after the end of Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood, Revelations expects you to have played the previous games in the series - and you are doing yourself a disservice if you donít at least play Brotherhood first.
While newcomers will be confused by the abrupt nature of your insertion into Desmondís story, itís actually a bit of a relief to someone who has played the previous games. Ubisoft has always done a good job with their method of exposition in the Assassinís Creed series and Revelations is no different - you have a quick trailer length clip summarising some of the previous events and then bam - Desmond wakes up in the Animus.
The final events of Brotherhood left Desmondís mind fractured and while his Assassin cohorts outside have managed to get him somewhere safe, itís up to him to go about fixing his mind so he can go back to the land of the living. Waking up on a beach, there are broken grey columns floating in mid-air and jutting out of the ground at unnatural angles. If the background music featured a BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Iíd be looking for the spinning top.
As a real person Desmond traveled back to whatever place and time which was programmed by his associates, but inside the Animus he has more freedom. This is explained to him by Subject 16 - a previous Animus subject whose clues helped Desmond uncover the truth about everything going on - now trapped in the animus without a body to return to. Desmond needs to find a particular memory to synchronise his brain and so without further ado he walks through a doorway, becoming Ezio Auditore - a much older and greyer Ezio Auditore than we last saw in Brotherhood.
Writing down the intro, I tried twenty different ways to explain it so it wouldnít sound ridiculous, but I never succeeded. Itís a testament to Ubisoftís constantly improving story-telling techniques that I never questioned any of it while playing - at least until the end, but weíll get to that later.
Your first moments with Ezio are spent evading Templars in Masyaf - the original home of AltaÔr and the Assassins. Escaping capture only after the noose is placed around his neck, Ezio is stripped of most of his tools and gadgets - once again, a necessary evil and once again it makes sense contextually. As you make your way to Constantinople, youíll notice something different about Ezio - and not just the grey in his beard.
Ezio has been through a lot in his lifetime and Ubisoft did an outstanding job portraying how it weighs down on him throughout Revelations. He is still a ladiesí man and at times his confidence crosses the threshold to arrogance, but on the whole his actions are more considered than they used to be. He seems more realistic throughout, which heightens the emotional impact of the story.
Of course, it apparently wouldnít be an Assassinís Creed game if the story didnít spin into the some of the most ridiculous nonsense to grace a television screen. Revelations tones down some aspects while ramping up others - but on the whole the story comes off better than the two previous titles.
Revelations takes place in Constantinople, with Ezio and his Assassins attempting to thwart a large scale power grab by the throng of Templars in the city. Constantinople makes for an outstanding city to explore, bristling with life and full of variety. In Ubisoftís quest to add life to Constantinople, you now happen upon certain side quests at random and quest givers wonít stand in one static place. It does a great job of adding depth to the game and the city, although it can be frustrating to miss out on a random encounter because you were busy - and then struggle to find it again.
While the nature of quests has changed, fans will be happy to hear that gameplay mechanics have largely remained the same.There are several new additions to change things up though - and the hookblade used by the Constantinople Assassins is one of the biggest.
The hookblade gets to the core of one of Assassinís Creedís primary appeals - looking awesome as you fluidly run about, scaling buildings and jumping across rooftops. With the hookblade Ezio can zipline across wires, jump higher and move faster about buildings. The hookblade can also be used in battle - although seasoned Assassinís Creed veterans will see it very rarely.
Fights remain as easy as ever - push counter to win. There are plenty of opportunities to mix things up however - especially in the bomb department. You can craft bombs from items you find and pick up off deceased enemies, with a variety of different effects - from standard smoke bombs to incendiary to flashbangs. They arenít called flashbangs, naturally, but thatís what they are.
Unfortunately, just because you can mix things up doesnít mean you should. While it can be a fun diversion to mix bombs and shoot enemies in the face, if you can beat most of the game without it then why bother? Unfortunately this has been a problem since the first Assassinís Creed game, leading most to believe combat simply isnít the point of the series.
While itís a valid argument, it has always been a barrier of entry for people who primarily enjoy gaming because of the challenge and itís strange Ubisoft havenít even done something simple like add an optional layer of difficulty - wherein a counter is only possible once youíve successfully lowered your targets health to a certain point, or after a number of successful attacks and parries.
Challenging fights would no doubt lower the appeal of Assassinís Creed to its fans however, as fighting is not the point. Assassinís Creed is about aesthetics - movement, cut-scenes, surrounding environments and the blending of the Animus and memories - everything looks astounding throughout the game. Revelations uses the same engine as Brotherhood, but the outfit designs, city structure and lip synching has been improved significantly since Ezioís time in Rome.
Assassinís Creed: Revelations is a fantastic game and while it will be good to move onto a new person and a new story in the next game, fans of the series will feel at least a twinge of regret at their last encounter with Ezio. Itís good to see him go out at his best however - and Revelations is definitely the best Assassinís Creed yet.