I adore the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Even though I look back on the first entry in to the series and remember the problems I had with it, there was something special there that kept me interested enough to check the sequel. AC2 addressed the biggest flaw that the first had, and that was the boredom that permeated the game, and then Brotherhood came out and much to the surprise of a lot of people included not only one of the better single player sections of the series, but added a ridiculously entertaining multiplayer mode. Cut to the third title in the sequence of games featuring Ezio Auditore – and Ubisoft really needed to wrap things up with this character while pushing the true star of the series further, that of course being Desmond.
Some spoilers to the series up to this point are contained in the next paragraph, skip forward if you’re still not fully up to speed on what happened in Brotherhood. Revelations picks up immediately after the ending of Brotherhood, Desmond has been placed in the Animus to keep him alive, the Assassin’s he’s lined up with are on the run from the templars, and somehow Subject 16 and Desmond are able to communicate in a strange Animus limbo environment. The time spent with Desmond in this title, even through cutscenes is quite limited. There are some optional Desmond sequences, which have him enter strange first person view puzzle segments, and here we learn a little more about his background and upbringing. Even though it’s entirely optional, I highly suggest you do these five brief interludes as it further solidifies that Desmond is the true main character of this series of games, and to be honest the story of this series is what keeps me coming back.
As we all know, this is Ezio’s last hurrah. He must fight his way through Istanbul(Constantinople) on a dual story trek. One which has him fighting against the fighting for a young student who has rights to the Ottoman Empire, and the other which has him collecting keys left by Altair which allow him to see what happened to Altair once the first Assassin’s Creed game was finished. The story drives to a very nice finale with both past assassin’s stories coming to a very well tied up end, and opened up the future for Desmond. Personally, I play these games for the storyline – seeing as the gameplay itself is never really changed from title to title, save for small enhancements such as the introduction of the hookblade in this title. The story here is once again the star yet I was severely disappointed by one major aspect of the story mode, that being an almost complete omission of any high conspiracy talk. One of my favorite parts of Brotherhood was solving the puzzles that were found throughout Rome which featured modern day components, like political figures and companies. This overarching piece of the game was stripped down to nothing, with only a slight twinge of conspiracy talk between some loading screens or during the optional (but highly recommended) Desmond’s Journey segments. I really hope this high conspiracy stuff comes back full circle in next years installment of the series.
The gameplay is exactly what you expect, roam the city completing tasks, tailing would be targets and eliminating them as you see fit with Teflon slick animations. The city rebuilding is back again with a slight tweak that doesn’t really fit too well into the game – that being the Den Defense segments which are akin to tower defense titles. If you become to known to the Templars they attempt to take down one of your Assassin Dens, and the only way to stop these attempts is to go through the tedious defense minigames. It was an interesting thought, but hopefully this experiment in adding to the game is scaled back in future titles.
Multiplayer was introduced with Brotherhood – and if you enjoyed it then you are sure to enjoy it even more this time around. A tweak to Deathmatch mode was added, removing the guide which lets you know where your target is making the game even more of a Turing test forcing you to rely more on your own observation skills. I’ve spent far too many hours in multiplayer mode already, which is part of the reason for the delayed review – I just wanted to keep playing it, it’s that good.
What more can be said about this series you don’t already know. It’s like Starbucks – consistent everywhere in the world you go, with a local flourish. Constantinople and it’s landmarks make for some beautiful scenery, a compelling storyline and an ending that will only make you salivate for next Thanksgiving (if annual timing is any indication) so you can take the next logical step in the story of Desmond Miles, our Assassin.
Score: 9.0 Who are you kidding, you know exactly what you’re going to get with an Assassin’s Creed title. If it wasn’t for the disappointing Den Defense mode that gets forced on you and the lack of some deep conspiracy storytelling, this title would compete with Brotherhood as top in the series.
Platform reviewed: Xbox 360