Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

7 Overall Score
Innovation: 6/10
Story: 7/10
Art Style: 8/10

Dynamic characters and historical plots make for an interesting story

Like Ezio, the franchise is burnt out and this game proves it.

Written by on December 1, 2011 in [, , , ]

This holiday season it’s hard for a video game to stand out among the crowd. Releasing earlier this November was Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, the hurried sequel and hopefully last time we will see Desmond and his ancestors. Revelations is the fourth installment in the Assassin’s Creed series and the final conclusion of the Desmond/Altair/Ezio saga. All the work you have put into previous games pays off in this game as you continue to hone your skills as an assassin using skills you can only dream of in real life. The game begins with Desmon in the Animus where he is miraculously being kept alive. The Animus acts as the hub in Revelations and gives a good look at the inside of the Animus. There are several smaller gateways which are unlockable by collecting data fragments in game, but the majority of the game will take place in the larger gateway, granting you access to your ancestors’ memories.

As the game begins Desmond’s interest turns toward a familiar location which you might recognize from the first Assassin’s Creed. We rejoin Ezio, who has aged into an old man, worn down by many battles throughout his lifetime. Ezio seeks five keys that will open a door locked centuries earlier by Altair. Ezio is also seeking the help of Ottoman assassins to repel the ever-growing Templar influence in Constantinople. Still though, the emphasis is placed on finding the keys and unlocking the mystery of the Apple of Eden and Altair’s ties to Ezio. If there is one thing I’ve grown exhausted of with Assassin’s Creed is the mindless collecting. There are no longer flags or feathers to collect, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be spending hours looking for meaningless trinkets. Ezio’s quest to discover more information about Altair takes him all over Constantinople, even netting him a love interest, Sophia.

As you collect keys you will also be able to access memories of Altair, a character who we haven’t seen since the first game, controlling him from different parts of his life. The first memory you access takes place before the first game in the franchise and has you saving your fellow assassins, along with your Mentor, from execution. These missions help differentiate Altair from Ezio, while still showing the ties that both characters share in their passion to help others. Altair’s missions are very story-driven and by the end of the game you will view both men in a whole new light.

Previous Assassin’s Creed games had you collecting flags and feathers, but in Revelations Ezio will be collecting data fragments, resembling the game’s save icon, which unlock special Desmond levels that give you a better look into his past. The levels play out in first person and revolve around traversing levels by way of spawning blocks, similar to Tetris. The game tries to make it more difficult by causing your cubes to disintegrate or move on their own, but the levels don’t pose much of a challenge.

In place of tombs, you will now be exploring damp caves and mountain paths. Am I playing as an assassin or Drake from Uncharted? I loved these sections and was glad to get away from the dungeon crawling of the past games. This is where the beauty of the game really comes out and gives you the chance to test your acrobat skills. You will also notice that the more repetitive “chase and sneak” missions have been retooled into random occurrences. These appear as black dots on the minimap and range anywhere from a good ol’ fist fight, to helping a guy on a dock carry heavy boxes to his boat.

As with every Assassin’s Creed game you will be receiving new equipment and tools of the Assassin trade. A welcome addition is the hookblade which is an extension of your hidden blade, allowing you to climb faster, use ziplines, and cling onto buildings easier. This is very helpful when you are jumping from one building to another and can’t quite reach the top. By holding down “B”, Ezio will extend his hookblade allowing him to grab that ledge and latch on. Climbing is made easier as this increases his reach as well. Bombs have also made their way into Ezio’s hands, allowing him to place traps and throw them like medieval grenades. To make bombs you will need to collect materials like lamb’s blood, caltrops, shrapnel, sulfur, and much more. Combining these materials each makes a different type of bomb, each with their own purpose. Bomb making is rather complex and you never quite know what the result will be until you try it, but it is fun to see all the variations. Want to scare guards away? Add some skunk scent to your bombs and watch as people flee in disgust. Want to set a trap for guards on patrol? Set up a trip wire and watch the helpless guards fall into your trap. Need a distraction? Put some coins in your bomb and watch all the lowly peasants go crazy.

Eagle Vision has also been revamped as well. You now have to press the left thumbstick to activate Eagle Vision, an odd change from holding down “Y”. The good part about the upgrade though is that you can now see the path of guards and get a better analysis of Templar territories. It’s helpful knowing which alleys you can take to avoid guard patrols, especially in missions where the objective is to stay undetected. In addition, if you hold down the right bumper two equipment wheels will come up allowing you to select your equipment with either the left or right thumbsticks. Players can now use a secondary weapon like a throwing knife or bombs, in addition to a primary weapon like a sword or axe. This give players more options, allowing for lightning fast reactions during combat.

In Brotherhood you could take over districts by killing Templar leaders. In Revelations the process remains the same, but if your notoriety gets too high the Templars may fight to gain their land back. This transforms the game into a Tower Defense minigame in which you stand on a roof and command riflemen, assassins, and archers as they fight off waves of Templars and enemy guards. As you accumulate kills you can buy barriers and upgrades, allowing for better protection of your den. You even get to control a cannon which can thin the ranks of the enemy, but sadly none of this feels true to the franchise. It would be better if you could actually get into the action yourself instead of commanding others to do your dirty work. Why Ubisoft? Why? This mode doesn’t fit at all and feels like a desperate attempt at trying to change things up.

Multiplayer is back in Revelations and not much has changed since Brotherhood introduced us to gametypes like Wanted and Manhunt. Multiplayer is still very stressful, roaming the streets hoping that you are not being tailed by someone. The mechanics remain the same with very little changes made to the layouts. Either hunt or hide from your enemy and earn points, unlocking gear and perks along the way. The art style of the multiplayer seems a little more cartoony than in Brotherhood and the introduction of Team Deathmatch and player voting has made it harder for newcomers to the franchise to get a good feel of multiplayer before being slaughtered online. “Steal the Artifact” is the newest hit gametype online and challenges you to hold onto an artifact while accumulating points. Holding the artifact nets you points until another player assassinates you and takes the artifact for themselves. The trick is knowing when to remain calm and when to run away. You will earn more points for keeping your composure and blending into crowds. Even if you run away though you will still earn points, so don’t be afraid to hightail it away if you are in danger.

Joining up with friends has proved to be a difficult task. You can create a custom team, inviting your friends into a party, but searching for other players comes up with little to no results. I ended up having to join a random game hoping that there would be room for my friends to join in. A small story is intertwined into multiplayer, elaborating off of the multiplayer intro trailer from Brotherhood in which you play as a Templar joining the ranks of Abstergo. As you progress in multiplayer you will unlock videos detailing your progress. It’s unique, but doesn’t do much for the “Find enemy, stab enemy, run away” multiplayer. Multiplayer still seems like an afterthought and not a full-out developed entity.

Multiplayer customization has been doubled in Revelations, allowing you to customize your title, character traits, and class types. With over nine new characters to choose from, Revelations offers fans who are tired of FPS games a vacation. You can compare yourself to your friends, even sending out a “dare” to a friend to see if they can best your score in a particular gametype. This can be fun, but the novelty wears off as the high score continues to climb to unreachable heights.

Overall, the Assassin’s Creed franchise is tired and burnt out. With all the hype after the first game about where the sequels would take us, it has been disappointing being stuck in Italy and the surrounding areas playing as the same character. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations does a decent job of wrapping up the story though, even if there are several questions left unanswered. This is why I give Revelations seven hidden blades out of 10. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is rated “M for Mature” and is out now on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.

A copy of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was provided to TMG for the purpose of evaluation and review.


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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

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