Developers: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows 7, OnLive
Release Date: Out Now
The most recent of Ubisoft’s annual instalments in the Assassin’s Creed franchise is certain to provoke mixed reactions. Hardcore fans will love Revelations, however those less enamoured with the series will be unable to overlook the game’s shortcomings.
Revelations once again places you in control of Desmond Miles as he explores the memories of his ancestors Altair ibn-La’Ahad and Ezio Auditore, charting the conflict across centuries between the Assassins and the Templars. Following the character’s popularity in Assassin’s Creed 2 and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Ezio Auditore returns to take centre stage in Revelations. Ezio’s adventure takes him through Renaissance Constantinople as he becomes embroiled in intrigues between the Ottomans and the Byzantines, and meets historical celebrities, such as Suleiman the Magnificent.
Revelations brings to a conclusion the story arcs of both Ezio and Altair – presumably to make way for a new protagonist when Assassin’s Creed 3 is released at the end of this year.
Before addressing the niggling aspects of the game, it is only fair to emphasise that, despite its flaws, Revelations is a very good game and is quite impressive in some respects. Clearly, great attention has been paid to the game’s visuals; cut scenes are highly detailed, and the environments are gorgeous whether in the wilderness
of the Iranian mountains or among the bazaars and minarets of Constantinople. The game’s combat system is also praiseworthy. Combat is fluid, elegant and acrobatic, with aerial and zip-line takedowns being particularly satisfying. Ezio has an extensive armoury at his disposal and is able to despatch foes with concealed blades, poison darts, and many other weapons.
Despite impressive combat and visuals, Revelations has a twofold problem: it doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself from its predecessors, and the new features that are included don’t work particularly well. The hook-blade is a useful addition (though hardly revolutionary), and while the ability to craft 150 different varieties of bombs is a good concept, you won’t find yourself using them too often. The tactical den defence sections also don’t gel with the rest of the game at all, as stealth action is replaced by clunky real-time strategy. Furthermore, the game’s plot is essentially rather basic – Ezio has to find five keys to open a giant door.
Revelations certainly isn’t a bad game – the sections that work well, work very well – however, the sections that are bad are simply irritating. The game feels as if its development has suffered in favour of its forthcoming sequel, so it’s probably worth waiting until the end of the year for a more polished Assassin’s Creed title.