Assassin’s Creed Revelations: review

  • Format: 360 (version reviewed), PS3, PC
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Players: 1 (4-8 online multiplayer)
  • Site:

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has remained consistently decent since the original game back in 2007, but once again rather than release a numbered sequel it has gone down the subtitle route with Revelations, following on from Brotherhood which in turn followed on from Assassin’s Creed 2.

Once again players take on the role of Desmond Miles, who himself takes on the role of ancestors who were prominent assassins during significant moments in history via the who-needs-laws-of-science Animus machine. Without going into too much detail regarding the ending to Brotherhood, Desmond was exposed to the machine too much and his mind began fragmenting, causing him to confuse himself with his ancestors; and this, coupled with some emotional events, resulted in him being stuck in a coma within the Animus. Revelations picks up with Desmond still trapped in the machine, his mind scheduled for deletion, with his only chance of escape being to sort through the last of his ancestors’ memories.

Where the first game only centred on Altair ibn La-Ahad during the Crusades, and the sequel and Brotherhood on Ezio Auditore de Firenze during the Renaissance, Revelations actually jumps between both ancestors to round off both stories (as well as interlocking plot points between them). Given the title of the game it might also be obvious that this tries to tie everything up, though actually all it really does is confirm logical conclusions reached after seeing Brotherhood’s ending.

The feeling of ‘been there, done that’ is hard to avoid this many games down the line when so little has changed. This doesn’t just apply to the plot (which, while decent enough, will leave you wishing that the bigger picture would be dealt with) but also to the most essential gameplay mechanics and even the returning multiplayer.

Ezio’s journey takes him to Constantinople in search of keys to unlock Altair’s library, as well as to assist the assassins there against Templars seeding descent in the Ottoman rule. Like previous games Ubisoft have taken just enough real historical events and twisted them ever so slightly to fit in their plot in an entirely believable way. While the change of setting from around Europe is nice, the game plays out exactly like the previous two, with Ezio’s missions rarely being anything you haven’t seen before. That isn’t to say they are bad, just not to be expecting anything as different as using Leonardo’s flying machine.

New to Ezio’s arsenal is the hook blade which lets him glide down convenient zip lines and also get a few more inches of reach for those especially long jumps. Also new is bomb crafting which promises dozens of different combinations – though we just stuck to the basic kinds and only used them when the mission dictated. This was down to a problem which has existed since the latter half of the second game – Ezio is just too powerful.

The chain-kill mechanic from Brotherhood returns where upon killing one guard, you can then continue to link instant kill attacks to any others around you as long as you take no damage. Even if you do take damage you can carry far too many medicines and they are far too easily replenished for free by searching dead guards. Couple this with the returning meta-game of finding and training new assassin recruits who you can call to aid you, and it removes a lot of the challenge. The only time we failed a mission was due to slightly vague instructions and boundaries, save perhaps restarting if you want to go for the optional 100% sync objective.

The final addition to singleplayer combat is another new meta-game which can be described as tower defence mixed with RTS elements. If you claim an area of the city and establish an assassin den it may be attacked by Templars. During these events you spend points which regenerate over time to place units of various classes to fight off waves of enemies. Generally these are also pretty easy, until the final enemy which will nearly always be a huge siege machine which takes about twice as long to die as it should.

Multiplayer returns and this time with a plot showing what the modern day Templars are up to while Desmond finishes his journey; playing as one while quickly climbing the ranks by using Animus collected data, to train to become just as potent a killer as an assassin. There are a handful of new maps but most are just borrowed from Brotherhood and most changes made to the abilities and mechanics by and large have made things worse. The biggest problem is an unfair advantage granted to people of a higher level than you and matchmaking is still painfully slow if you are part of a group. The only thing that will keep people playing is the story cutscenes unlocked at various levels.

The strongest feeling we had after finishing Revelations was that the series really needed to start doing something different. It’s a good game, but it’s the same thing for the third time in a row and it’s now showing its age and lack of creativity. The disappointment will only grow if, when Assassin’s Creed 3 is inevitably revealed, yet another excuse is found to go into the past of yet another ancestor when really the only thing that matters is the bigger picture in the modern day. If you are a long standing fan of the games by all means see how Altair and Ezio’s story ends; just don’t be expecting a fresh experience.


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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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