- Enjoyable end to Ezio’s trilogy
- Design is still fantastic and authentic
- Multiplayer holds up well enough
- More of the same
- Multiplayer can be daunting for beginners
Although the original Assassin’s Creed was successful in its own way, it wasn’t really until Ezio Auditore came bounding into the picture in 2009, the series became one of gaming’s biggest franchises. 2010 saw what you could call Assassin’s Creed II part 2 with Brotherhood, and now we’re onto the third and final chapter of Ezio’s story in Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Three supposedly huge titles in three consecutive years isn’t the best of signs when you consider how long most other games can take to develop, but Assassin’s Creeed Brotherhood turned out better than Assassin’s Creed II. Can Revelations outshine them both?
Let’s just throw it out there immediately and say that whilst Revelations is undoubtedly a fantastic game, it’s very much a case of “Haven’t we done this before?”. If you’ve played either of the two prior titles, you’ll feel instantly at home with the controls, actions and more. Whilst Ezio has jumped ship and left Italy for the more Middle Eastern tomes of Turkey, it doesn’t feel a great deal different. Like the first games, the “real” world is that of Desmond Miles, a modern day man plugged into The Animus, a sort of Matrix that can be used to revisit ancestors’ times. Taking place directly after Brotherhood ended, Desmond has been captured by the Templars and is stuck in a limbo of sorts between the real world and the world of Ezio Auditore in a place known as Animus Island. When we join Ezio, he narrowly escapes Templar execution and soon discovers that the Templars are trying to get through a door which is locked by a number of Masyaf Keys. A door that was sealed shut by Altaïr ibn-La’Ahad, the protagonist from the original Assassin’s Creed. The Templars have one key, the rest are in Constantinople, and that’s where Ezio bounds off to after the opening sequences.
Like the previous games you’ll play as Ezio for the majority of the time. Action switches between parkour style climbing and running, and combat with enemy soldiers. Not a great deal has changed but Ezio does have a few new tricks up his sleeve including a parachute and a hookblade. The hookblade can be used both in combat and in traversing the massive city of Constantinople. Ezio can roll over enemies backs for a quick getaway with the hookblade or use it to clamber up the sides of buildings faster than ever before. You can also use it to latch onto other environmental features including ziplines and hanging lanterns that make for long jumps.
Revelations also introduces a tower defense mini-game that sees you defending your assassin bases against attacking Templars. Whilst not a bad idea on paper with you deciding which assassin types to employ on the rooftops above the street you’re defending, once you’re actually in battle, you slowly lose all sense of strategy. You frantically spend the Morale Points you get for killing enemies on placing any old units on the battlefield, before the battering ram or worse wrecks your perfect barricades. It’s not a terrible distraction by any means but the slow, laborious and cumbersome nature of it just distracts from the main storyline. There’s nothing worse than making your way towards the next mission icon on your map only to spot a couple of flaming assassin symbols, the indicators that one of your bases is under attack.
Revelations also features a number of sections for Desmond on Animus Island. Unlocked by collecting fragments in Ezio’s Constantinople, these bizarre first-person platforming sections serve as a way of gaining some insight into Desmond’s past. They’re not bad but again just distract from the main story. Sure, the game is technically supposed to be Desmond’s story, but Ezio’s is far more interesting.
What seems to come across from the above additions to me, is the developers’ way of saying “See! It’s not all the same, is it?”. But honestly, it feels for the most part identical to Brotherhood. Now Brotherhood was far from a bad game, but it itself was built on the Assassin’s Creed II framework and whilst it too was similar to II, it had enough new to be enjoyable and was only the first repeat job. Revelations is the third game in this line and whilst still strong, the underlying engine feels cheap. There was even a moment in which I threw money onto the ground to distract some of Turkey’s fine citizens and one of them made a cry of “Florins!”. Excuse me if I’m horribly wrong, but last time I checked, Florins were an Italian currency (cough, Assassin’s Creed II/Brotherhood, cough) and not Turkish. Things like that make you wonder how much else is just copy pasted from older titles.
Multiplayer also makes a return in Revelations and if you enjoyed it in Brotherhood, you’ll enjoy it here. If you didn’t enjoy it then, you probably won’t change your mind as again, it’s for the most part identical to Brotherhood. New maps, unlockables and more make it something lengthy enough if you do enjoy it, but what really disappoints about the multiplayer is how “noob” unfriendly it all is. It’s one of those games where you start with nothing and unlock it as you go. Fine in concept, but when you’re trying to make use of your basic abilities whilst higher levelled players run circles around you, you start to question why you should bother continuing.
Despite my above pickings, Revelations is still a very strong game. Other returning features include city renovation, collectables, viewpoint synching, attacking and taking over Templar strongholds and more. It’s just that the whole Ezio story arc is starting to grow old and thankfully, this is the concluding chapter. No doubt more Assassin’s Creed games will be released, but Ubisoft should take time off and come up with something new rather than thrusting another our way this time next year. Definitely worth picking up to see Ezio’s tale to the end, but don’t expect anything truly revolutionary.