Wednesday, July 25

Assassin's Creed: Revelations Review (PS3 - single player campaign): Define "revelation"

It's silly, you know. I decide that I'm going to refrain from buying games for -- what is ostensibly -- the rest of the year, so the first thing I do is finish off the most recent instalment in a series renowned for historical intrigue. The last thing this addict needs is a cliffhanger, and luckily enough, Assassin's Creed: Revelations fails to live to up to its name. There's nothing akin to a revelation to be found within this unnecessary chapter that follows the exploits of two familiar master assassins, Altair and Ezio Auditore and their descendant, Desmond Miles.

There was one burning question that I had at the end of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. If there was one thing I expected from Revelations, it was some kind of resolution to that. Follow-up of any kind to the final moments of the last instalment was all I wanted. After roughly ten to fifteen hours of awkward stabbery, I have no further clues as to why things went to shit at the end of Brotherhood. The only thing, story-wise, that I got from this game can be discovered simply by watching a trailer for Assassin's Creed III.  That's right, the Revelation is that the Assassin's Creed series is going stateside: GET HYPE!!!

While Assassin's Creed: Revelations doesn't live up to the lofty standards I've set for the series, it is, at the very least, a substantial offering that has several redeeming features. Best of all is the brand new setting of Constantinople, another location teeming with life and packed with imposing structures. The new hookblade -- while not a gamechanger -- does allow for a noticeable increase in climbing speed, making stunning ascents all the more enjoyable. The search for the Masayaf Keys also presents some of the greatest platforming sequences in the series' history, with stunning visuals, feverish pace, and a minimum of fuss (read: combat). There also some likeable characters thrown into the mix: Suleiman, Yusuf and Sofia Sartor prove to be just as compelling as the members of Ezio's Brotherhood from the last two instalments. I did, however, feel that the Altair memories were entirely pointless and the characters contained within added nothing of substance to the series' lore. It is entirely possible that anyone could enjoy this game, but I've seen the best that this series has achieved, and I couldn't suffer much of it without screaming at the screen (or twisting the control til I felt it could break, or my eyes rolling to the back of my head).

Burn your papers, they ain't worth reading.

As for what's wrong with the game, short version: it just feels somewhat unpolished. As per my previous post, new mechanics like bomb-making and tower defense felt best when avoided completely. Unnecessary additions from previous instalments like managing the assassin war, the real estate metagame and the Templar towers that hold it back, all return to provide an artificial length to proceedings. Want to afford that new piece of armour? That's fine, you'll just need to retreat to higher ground, spot the Templar captain with Eagle Sense, kill them, ignite the relevant Templar tower, buy some businesses, wait twenty to forty minutes until monies are deposited in the bank, and withdraw money from the bank... unless you don't own a bank; then you'll need to buy a bank. There's also some woefully-designed missions that revolve around the series' busted stealth mechanics which irked me to no end. Assassin's Creed: Revelations features everything I dislike about the series.

Worst of all, the disjointed combat system from the previous instalment returns with the addition of enemies that can't be damaged by anything but counter hits. While these enemies don't appear until closer to the end of the game, what it means is that combat slows to a crawl. All of those mechanics introduced in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood that had the intent of getting Ezio on the offensive are undone. For the last three hours of the campaign, I actively avoided combat. When I wasn't required to rout the enemy, I got the fuck away from anything with a weapon, let alone a mask. For someone who used to grab a horse and ride towards enemy encampments outside of Acre just to pick a fight in the first game, the slow, frustrating flavour of Revelations' combat stings. If you're thinking of jumping into the series, don't start here. 

Counter that shit.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations isn't a bad game, it's just not a particularly good one. There are some fantastic missions and sequences on offer in this instalment, but these great moments were often bracketed by frustrating and unnecessary gameplay. The title of this instalment is also terribly misleading. I just wanted an answer to one burning question, and all I got was interesting though ultimately pointless exposition.


  1. Talking about Assassin's Creed, I saw the traier for ACIII as a preview for Dark Knight Rises on the weekend. It looks ridiculously good. I am pretty excited about given it a crack!

    1. It does look good. So does the Vita effort, Liberation.

    2. It truly is a game that would lend itself to on the go gaming. Hopefully the stroyline isn't rubbish though.