Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

One thing I have always enjoyed as a video gamer is when a legacy concludes in spectacular fashion. Assassin's Creed: Revelations depicts the story of Ezio and Altair’s final journey as their stories intertwine with the most heroic bartender of all time, Desmond. An engaging and fascinating tale holds this very similar Assassin's Creed formula together – so don’t think you’ll be playing a wholly refined experience because familiar mechanics resonate throughout. That being said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, after all why change a game that is loved by millions of gamers? A fitting ending to a fantastic set of characters sets up Assassin's Creed’s future for what has to be an expansion of the game’s core mechanics and gameplay, but for the time being, enjoy the comforting assassinations and effortless bounding across rooftops – enjoy what this series does best.


Revelations follows the story of three protagonists Ezio, Altair and Desmond. A brave decision was made back in production to create and intertwine these characters’ journeys, but for the most part it pays off. Of course Ezio’s quest is at the heart of this adventure with the veteran assassin struggling to find links between himself and Altair while trying to cope with the social and political unrest in Constantinople. Ezio’s journey is entrancing, dangerous and eye opening, you feel the assassins’ story slowly conclude and making that journey with him is a memorable gaming experience.

Alongside Ezio’s tale, Desmond struggles to find a way out of the Animus as he traverses his thoughts in what can only be described as a Tron-like maze – digitized platforms, Matrix-esque back drops all help fill this electronic world. Unfortunately while important for acquiring information about Subject 16, Desmond’s platforming sections do nothing to spur excitement in gameplay. The mysterious inhabitant of the Nexus leads Desmond down an interesting journey, unfortunately his often clumsy and awkward levels will have you wishing you were back on the streets stalking your next victim, instead of organizing Tetris blocks to jump on. Desmond’s historical counterpart Altair on the other hand, is far from unwanted in Revelations. Complimenting Ezio and Desmond, Altair brings the story full circle as Desmond discovers the missing fragments of his mind and fits all the pieces together.


Story aside, the great news is the majority of your time will be spent as Ezio, traversing the streets and eliminating targets. While Ezio has aged, his ability and skills feel effortless as ever. The beautiful Constantinople and other locations simply erupt with life as you move through the streets and watch the world go about its daily business. Assassins’ Creed has always been known for beautiful visuals and aesthetic environment design so it’s no surprise that Revelations continues this trend.

Of course you’d be hoping that most of your sightseeing will take place high on the rooftops and right you are. Revelations improves the movement mechanics by tweaking what ledges and gaps you grab to climb, making already believable parkour even more thrilling to watch. The addition of a new hook allows for cool zip line action and the ability to grab onto ledges that might have been out of reach in previous Assassin's Creed games. You even get access to parachutes should you decide a leap of faith isn’t your preferred travel choice. Ultimately Assassin's Creed prides itself with thrilling movement across various environments and it is here that Revelations continues to shine.

When you’re not running on rooftops, you will be going about various contracts and missions. The goal remains the same in Revelations, find your target and eliminate them. A varied arsenal of weapons really makes you feel like a deadly assassin and the different ways you pull of kills is satisfying. Should you run into a position where the only way out is to fight, larger weapons like swords, axes and even bombs come into play. Assassin's Creed has very rich combat mechanics but they have seen barely any change. Taking on multiple enemies is fun and fighting feels realistic as swords clang against each other as you pull off counter moves, but the real satisfaction comes from swift and silent assassinations, not taking down hordes of enemies.

The idea of avoiding hordes hasn’t seemed to sink in with Ubisoft as Revelations introduces a bizarre and highly unrewarding Tower Defense element to the game. Improving on the factions system from prior games, you are now forced to defend your territory in these mini games where you place assassins in certain areas and watch as they kill waves of enemies attacking you. Simple and pointless gameplay mechanics make this feel like a complete waste of time, doing nothing but diminishing the experience you have with Revelations.

It’s always important for franchises to progress and introducing multiplayer to Assassin's Creed was definitely a smart move. Competitive online action returns as you wade through the crowds trying to find your marked target without giving away your intentions. Assassin's Creed online is a wholly satisfying experience and the inclusion of game modes like Artifact Assault (Capture the Flag) and a variant of Team Deathmatch alongside a plethora of other content to get stuck into, there’s plenty of reason to explore the online components of this game.

There’s really no question that Assassin's Creed: Revelations is the game we have all come to know and love. One final installment in what has now become a predictable series, yet I can’t help but feel content and satisfied with the final product. Change is difficult when your formula is so successful and while fans will be content with Revelations, this has to be the last entry without significant changes and enhancements to the gameplay. That aside, you will find everything you want from an Assassin's Creed game here, exciting single player action and an enticing online multiplayer experience.

8.0 | Gameplay |
Magical movement mechanics hold together an aging game. It’s fun but you’ve experienced it before.

9.0 | Presentation |
Stunning visuals and a beautiful audio soundtrack makes Assassins’ Creed Revelations one of the best looking games we’ve seen.

7.0 | Replay Value |
Online multiplayer is fun but exploring the open world in single player is where the true fun is to be had. No significant content to return to unfortunately.

8.0 | Final Thoughts |
I believe that Assassins’ Creed knows the formula it uses is engaging, hence why there’s been so little change across the games. The argument is why fix what is not broken? The flip side is I’m getting tired of playing what is pretty much the same old game. Assassins’ Creed as a franchise needs to be revamped now and made even more spectacular than it was before. For the time being however, Revelations is engaging, entertaining and another great entrant in the series.

Igor Kharin.










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