Assassin’s Creed: Revelations picks up right at after the event Brotherhood ended with, I’ll avoid spoilers of said event but essentially Desmond is now in a coma. He’s in a limbo type world as he’s hooked up to the Animus so most of the game takes place starting from what is dubbed “Animus Island”, where it’s you, in the Animus, oh, and Subject 16 is in there too because he’s crazy like that. The main issue Revelations has is that it’s a game of side stories. Not much progress is made on the main story of the series – Desmond and the Assassins in fighting against the current day Templar’s ‘Abstergo’, given that he’s in a coma. So while you’re in the Animus you have to piece your mind together before it deletes you, and this involves playing some of Ezio’s final memories.
Ezio’s side of Revelations is that after going back to the Assassin’s Headquarters in Masyaf he comes across Altair’s Library with a massive door that takes five keys to open. The Templar’s already have one key so now the hunt is on for the remaining four, which just so happen to be located in Constantinople (and from here on you’ll have They Might Be Giants stuck in your head for a while). This is another aspect where the game feels lacking compared to the grandeur of Assassin’s Creed I and II, since all gameplay just takes place in this one location, so it gets old and lacks the variety of the previous games. Now it just so happens that these keys you’re searching for are more than keys, they’ve recorded memories of Altair for you to play through. So now you’re playing Desmond playing Ezio playing Altair, a nice little bit of Inception logic where you might end up going too deep!
So the memories Altair leaves behind are what happens around the events of the first game. First you play young Altair which sets up the kind of character Altair had. Then it delves into the fallout of right after the events of the first game where he was exiled for a while to his triumphant return to Masyaf to get the Assassins back on the straight and narrow. Finally, his memories show you what Altair did with his very last breath and what is hidden is his library. Then of course, there’s Desmond’s side of the story.
For Desmond, when you play through Ezios story he’ll pick up ‘fragments’ which unlock gates back on Animus Island for you to play through. These are rather strange areas, along the lines of the earlier games where you go outside of the main world. As you make your way through the different areas, Desmond talks to himself supported by different audio flashbacks that add to his story. It goes through most of his back story, what he did as a child, how he has always been an Assassin and ran away from it. A lot of that is just neat to know, but not really crucial to the canon. Which falls into my previous statement that Revelations is a game of side stories. Ezio’s story is mainly to tell Altair’s which over all isn’t that critical to begin with, then Desmond’s isn’t all that relevant either.
So if the story isn’t all that crucial, how’s the gameplay (you might ask)? Well dear reader, it’s an Assassin’s Creed game and it plays like all the rest. Revelations added two new things however, the hook blade and parachutes. Each of these are neat but don’t really change the gameplay that much. The parachute is nice for when Ezio does something stupid like jump off a super high cliff when you had a different action in mind; so instead of falling to his death you can deploy the parachute saving his life. However, the parachute is pretty much tacked on, as in the story there’s only a couple of times where you use it to either get across the map quickly from a high tower or as a human kite. As for the hook blade, it makes climbing easier, you can do a couple of new combos with it and then there are ziplines scattered throughout to make roof travel easier and assassinate unsuspecting guards. All of these are fun at first but lose their luster after a while.
Revelations continues a nice side activity from Brotherhood, I found myself more involved in than the main story at hand, and that’s Mediterranean Defense. This is where you gain Assassins and send them all over Europe to fight the Templar’s, take over cities then maintain control of said cities. This plays out pretty much to a t, the way it did in Brotherhood. Constantinople is broken up into sections, when you kill a Templar captain in a specific section then ignite the tower to send a message, you gain slots to add Assassins. Only in Revelations the Templars can fight back reclaiming the section if you lose defending it. This goes into an almost RTS style mini game where you control troops you set up on rooftops and barricades on the ground while waves of enemies attempt to break through and destroy your ‘den’.
Then there’s the multiplayer, which was first introduced in Brotherhood. there are a few different modes which tie into how Assassin’s Creed plays, so there’s not really a straight deathmatch or capture the flag, each mode allows you to sneak around as an Assassin with different objectives beyond just killing whoever you can. For the most part it felt kind of tacked on and ultimately when it comes to a multiplayer you have to ask yourself; “Am I having fun?”. And I wasn’t, most of the modes are so complicated and convoluted that you find yourself wondering what it is exactly that you’re supposed to do. It’s nice to have a bit of a change from the norm (Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag), but there’s a reason those are the norm, nice and simple game types that you can just jump right into, which Revelations lacks.
Over all Revelations has plenty of things to do and you’ll be spending hours completing all of the different aspects of the game. To complete everything you’re looking at well over 20 hours (and realistically to 100% the game it would be closer to 40 hours). So time wise it can be worth the money, but due to the side story aspect to the game you have to ask if it’s worth your time. There is one revelation at the very end of the game that goes into who are those behind the Apple of Eden and even Altair’s memory keys. But in the grand scheme of Assassin’s Creed games, I and II are worth playing for the over all story, Brotherhood is worth playing as it progresses the over all story, Revelations doesn’t. For the whole game, Desmond is in a coma and at the very end, he opens his eyes, “I know where we need to go”, credits. If you enjoy the previous games, enjoy exploring and running around on rooftops and climbing random towers, there’s plenty to Revelations for you to enjoy. You’ll have plenty of, “Holy crap that was a pretty rowdy way to stab someone in the head” moments, but you can’t help but feel how much of a money grab this installment is.
Played On: Xbox 360
Rating: M (Mature)
Release Date: 11/15/11