Reliving history through sophisticated technology is apparently still the best way to resolve the dilemmas of the present. Lab rat Desmond is whisked into the past, this time to 16th century Constantinople, where he again fills the shoes of Ezio, star of the previous two Assassin’s Creed titles.
Revelations is best described as a third person adventure game with stealth elements, set to a well written narrative. Ezio is as agile as ever and proves to be more than a match in combat to his enemies. There remains a large focus on overcoming obstacles via climbing and quests often necessitate being stealthy.
Ezio can employ various weapons to fight off enemies. Besides the usual assortment of blades, poisons and primitive projectiles, he also has the means with which to craft bombs. Combat is satisfying without being too challenging and if all else fails, he is agile enough to flee and hide.
His agility and strength is really something to be admired. He has no problem clambering up ridiculously tall towers and leaping off of them. The level of detail in the animation and illustration ensure it is an enthralling experience. Simply put, climbing is fun and rewarding.
The most commendable aspect of Revelations is its architecture. It is hard to ignore the structure and design of the environment as Ezio traverses the cityscape parkour style for some truly picturesque moments. Consider also its appropriately themed soundtrack and Revelations is to be praised for evoking a strong sense of context for the period identifiable as the Renaissance.
The historical references are entertaining (though depictions of real life figures should be taken with a grain of salt) and add an extra touch of spice to the storyline. The game strives to provide context for the issues that plagued the time period. Such efforts do not fall flat (or into a haystack) as it is made clear that Ezio is embroiled in something which threatens not just his brotherhood, but the safety of the world.
The game is large and deeply immersive. It is easy to become lost in the open world Ubisoft Montreal has created. Optional missions offer a tempting (and often lucrative) method of becoming sidetracked. Without the presence of these activities, the game could have devolved into a linear experience with limited replay value.
Of these side tasks, one that is particularly worthy of mention is the management of the Assassin’s Guild. Ezio is able to recruit NPCs to serve in the order who can then be sent on missions for various rewards. There are multiple cities available to target and the ultimate goal is to gain control of each city in the name of the organisation. The recruits can be levelled and customised accordingly and when one reaches the maximum level, additional quests are unlocked. It is gameplay choices like this which serve to enrich and lengthen the open world experience of Revelations.
The standard multiplayer suite of modes, maps and character customisation options are all present. The ability to control a different character makes for a refreshing change, even if it is largely cosmetic. Fighting for the templars rather than the assassins is slightly novel, but it doesn’t alter the gameplay much, if at all. Save for experiencing a few different scenarios, the multiplayer aspect quickly grows stale.
Setting up a match can prove unnecessarily difficult. With long queues and players lining up before quickly dropping out, the system leaves a lot to be desired. Though multiplayer does warrant a play through, it is evident that the single player mode remains the focus. Assassin’s Creed is about the story and toppling an empire, and it is there that the finer points of the game are to be found.
Annoyingly, there are also moments of noticeable lag and weird screen tears, particularly when there is a lot happening on screen. (For the record, the game was reviewed on PlayStation 3). Although bothersome, these issues aren’t game breaking.
Those who find they have little interest in the time period or despise a cut scene driven narrative should probably steer clear of this title. Overall, the open world of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations serves not only as a suitable backdrop to the main story but also provides many optional side tasks to accomplish which enrich the experience. It is incredibly easy to swerve off the course of the main story and become immersed in the excitement of the Renaissance era for an indefinite length of fun times.