Thursday, July 19

Sum of parts divided by fun = Assassin's Creed: Revelations

Assassin's Creed: Revelations is a baffling game. I should love it, but every time I start to enjoy myself, frustration interjects. I don't think it's because the developers were against players having fun, rather they didn't have the time to create a game that met the series' usually high standard.

Whether it's the new mechanics, like bomb-making and den (read: tower) defense, or the combat and general parkour that characterise the series, you get the feeling that someone was standing behind the various creative teams with whip in hand. Brotherhood's annoying combo kill system returns and the rhythm of melee encounters is more stilted than ever before. I've mistakenly plunged to my death while traversing across Constantinople more times than I'd care to admit, and the new hookblade and zip lines don't really do much to counter the feeling of déja vu Revelations presents to series' veterans. I've only ever used bombs or thought of making them when the mission design thrusts it into the realm of necessity. As for the den defense, it is, simply put, a crime against gaming.

 I would sooner stick this bomb up my ass, than defend another den!

I don't abhor tower defense games in the slightest. Pixeljunk Monsters and Fieldrunners are just some examples of the genre done right. Revelations' effort is so horrendously unbalanced that I've opted to just let my territory fall to the Templars and reclaim it the old-fashioned (read: more enjoyable, but still unnecessary) way: by killing Templar captains and igniting the base they just took from me. After the tutorial, I have failed to succeed in these sequences; even when I've taken the advice of friends and built numerous barricades and covered rooftops with gunmen. I can't make heads or tails of it, even when my experience with it hasn't required me to cover multiple routes: your enemies have only one route to your den. Throw me a bone!

The story isn't overly compelling either; the only thing driving me forward is a desire to see some loose ends tied up (and there's no guarantee of that happening in this instalment!). I just wish the whole Animus Island thing was done away with. The only thing it's presented so far is some cryptic conversation and the most nauseating first person puzzle sequence that I've ever played through. Thankfully, the majority of the game takes place in the Animus-rendered past, but even Ezio's charms fail to drag the narrative out of mediocrity's territory. Sure, the opportunity to once again walk in Altair's boots is appreciated, but I can't think of a single thing in this game that hasn't been done better in its predecessors. 

Maybe I'm being too hard on this game? Maybe the best is yet to come? I feel I'm about halfway through, and apart from a breathtaking sequence underneath Galata Tower, I couldn't recommend Assassin's Creed: Revelations to anyone but the most ardent of fans.

Has anyone else played through Assassin's Creed: Revelations? What are your thoughts on it?

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