Assassin's Creeds' two top assassins bookend the final chapter in Ezio's long running war between the Assassin's and the Templar army.
'Assassin's Creed: Revelations' is the fourth installment in the 'Assassin's Creed' series, therefor some prior knowledge is recommended before you leap into this mind-bender of dissonant factions. If you're inspecting "Assassin's" for the first time, we suggest you go back to the original 'Assassin's Creed.' Although if you're truly pressed for time 'Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood' will suffice,' though "Revelations" is more like a fan-service for all those who have been walking with assassin's since day one. So if you haven't been following the series you might get lost. Heck, even those who have finished all the games are still lost. "Assassin's" is a real doosey, a highbrow action game whose clever crafting has blended a continues story over four games. Filled with unexpected twists, "Revelations" has the biggest reveal of them all. So, veteran assassins let's jump into another back-stabbing adventure.
In the Black Room
Leading off from the cliffhanger ending in 'Brotherhood,' we're back in the shoes of our host; Desmond Miles. Desmonds' mind is disjointed; mush from all the voices in his head. Needing to escape the vary machine that is keeping him alive, Desmond searches out all the knowledge from his kinship, Ezio Auditore di Firenze and Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad to a lesser, yet more important extent. Conducting from a dream-like HUB, you will finally clear a path to the truth, as Ezio and Altier's time with the Creed comes to an end.
This is the end, my friend
In Ezio's world you are tasked with collecting five ancient seals that hold encoded messages from the past. Revisiting the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople, the Templars remain the common threat to unlocking each seal. As expected this is wrapped up in a city full of troubles and an unforeseen romance. Although Ezio is an older, he is still a lethal killing machine. The action is basically more of the same, however, when a game is packed as "Revelations," more of the same is not that bad.
The criticisms that you might have been hearing about "Revelations" coming out “too soon” has some merit, however after a few hours in Ezio's world, this feeling starts to disperse. Sure a constant “been-there-done-that” feeling is lurking, but since this episode answers some bold queries, it feels worth it. Putting the bookend on the Renaissance era, the future looks bright for "Assassin's" to come back better-than-ever. Additionally, it was really nice that Altair's efforts get some closure after the series focused on the life of Ezio. Fans of Altair, the "what happened to Altair" question can be a laid to rest.
Focus Assassin's, Focus!
Consequently "Revelations" tries to infect the series with unneeded action chains, and while it pleasant to see some diversions, "Assassin's" works best in the quiet moments when it is focused on the kill. Big explosions and stagecoach races are simply not needed. For the most part "Revelations" sticks to its tried-and-true algorithm, but when it strays, it feels out of touch. "Assassin's" is about stealth, intrigue and the rush of a quiet kill more than explosions and forced set pieces. When focused on these “quieter” aspects, the blood starts flowing and the unique tension of hunting for the kill can't be matched.
As you can probably tell "Revelations" has its share of high's and low's, and that's not because we are wearied from yearly installments, it more because other games are starting to beat "Assassin's" at its own game; 'Batman: Arkham City' would be the best example of this. Navigation doesn't feel as fluid, and the button-pressed combat system that was once an interesting chess game of counters and attacks feels dull. This puts a lot of pressure on the other aspects within "Revelations," and thankfully most of it falls on the narrative. Although with Ezio in a strange land the connection between his family and the colourful allies in "Brotherhood" are sadly missing. This puts all the emotional weight on Altairs' shoulder, which he proudly carries, but compared to previous games the air-of-mystery and exploration is greatly diminished.
Hook em' High
For new additions to the gameplay, no time is wasted embedding the new "hook blade." A creditable acquisition this blade allows you a little extra reach when traversing rooftops. A parachute has also been added, so you can glide down on your foes, along with the aptitude to execute zip-line assassinations. Extra ways to kill are always appreciated even if you never expect to use them. This goes for the other addition, bombs. Not just smoke bombs, this time Ezio will get to craft his own balls of destruction. Bombs provide various helpers to aid you in your ventures, though they are not essential, they can add some diversity. Anxious to make this feature succeed, bomb stations are hiding all over the world. Its one thing to have them in the city, but to have them in every corner of a catacomb dispels the immersion. Hook blade - 1, bombs - 0.
Must We? Defend the Den
Breaking away from the customary death-by-stabbing is an odd tower defense mini-game. Inserted into the normal action you will be prompted to save your "Assassin Den." To save the Den you will place your troops on a small map from a top down perspective. Using moral as the currency, you have to stop the oncoming forces in a series of rounds. Afterwards you will be graded for the shots fired, assassins lost, and so on. While its tolerable if we only had to do it a couple of times, but its much more frequent and becomes a burden to run back and forth to stop attacks. Until you can train a Assassin to look after the Den expect locked into this nonsensical tower defense game to continue. This one is a mystery to me, and judging from the online feedback, we won't have to dabble with this feature in future alliterations.
The Delegating Mentor
Speaking of assassin recruiting, this feature returns with a bit of polish. This optional delegation of your assassins is more interesting and well rounded then in 'Brotherhood.' Although it's not compulsory to partake in sending your team around the world, you will likely find enjoyment dabbling in mentoring. Aside from recruiting new members through quick side-missions, you can sending them out on missions, upgrading their skills, or have them run a Den (like stated above.)
Animus "Frustration" Island
Lastly for the single player campaign, you can interact with Desmond via portals on the Animus Island. Entitled "Desmond's Journey," these cerebral journeys into the core of the Animus teaches us about the history about our mysterious lead. Represented as raw data you will travel in the first-person building blocks as you cross the digital chasms. The gameplay here is creative, but more than creative it is highly frustrating. It's an odd switch from the typical 3rd person action, and not only doesn't it fit, it doesn't work. Sadly this interaction isn't fun. Innovation doesn't always pay off.
The multiplayer component returns and has been tweaked and expanded. This hush-hush "you can't see me" multiplayer is highly entertaining and still claims top spot on one of the more unique multiplayer experiences you can find. While its not for everyone, those who enjoyed the Animus simulation match-ups before will be happy to jump back in. To recap all online modes 5 variations are available of Wanted (standard kill targets and avoid pursuers) Deathmatch (Harder version of Wanted with Templars and no compass) Assassinate (Kill targets and avoid Templars) Steal The Artifact (Steal the artifact and hold onto it) and lastly Corruption (Corrupt targets by killing, or survive if not corrupted.)
'Assassin's Creed: Revelations' might not be the apex of the Creed, but its not a forgetable one either. If you want answers, want verification for your hours spend in the boots of Ezio and Altair, 'Revelations' has them. While it might take a while to sink in, "Revelations" is a must have for those who enjoyed the series in the past.
Similar Games: Assassin's Creed III (8.4) | AC: Brotherhood (8.8) | Assassin's Creed (9.5) | Assassin's Creed II (9.8)