Playable Perplexities: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Game: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC

Genre: Action/Adventure

Publisher: Ubisoft

Single Player Story and Multiplayer Mode

Rating: M

A preface – I love the Assassin’s Creed series.  It’s my Triple-A BFF.  But I am going to try and give you the most un-biased review I can.  I have a lot of love for this game, but I’m also sad that Ubisoft dropped the ball in a couple of places.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to comment on the multiplayer, as I am seriously afraid of it.  So think of this as more of a review of the single-player experience.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I never actually got very far in Assassin’s Creed (the first one).  I found it clunky and boring and was really disappointed after the hype surrounding the trailer – so I was concerned I was going to be missing a lot coming into Revelations, where he retraces his ancestor, Altair’s (from the first game), footsteps.  I’m happy to say that I didn’t feel like I missed much at all.  The game has a great way of giving enough information about the first few games, for those who haven’t played them, without rehashing too much for the hardcore players of the series.  After a quick explanation of why Desmond must seek out his ancestors memories to the end – the game starts with Ezio breaking into Masayaf keep, the old Assassin headquarters, looking for Altair’s library and the secrets within.  Of course, the Templar have the place completely taken over and shit gets real (the opening cinematic is absolutely gorgeous).  After realizing that he needs to find the 5 keys to the library that were hidden (by Niccolo Polo of all people!) Ezio races to Constantinople to try and collect them before the Templar can find them.

We can blow up all the things!

The game’s story plays out through Ezio’s memory segments.  You’re introduced to the supporting cast of characters pretty quickly as you join in with the Assassin force to help them keep up with the political mess. This involves the Templar’s weaseling their way into the Palace and generally being the annoying dicks they were in the other games.  Always ruining everything.  I bloody love historical fiction.  So exciting!

Gameplay

If you played Brotherhood, this game plays basically the same except for the edition of the Hookblade (which is hella awesome) and Make-It-Yourself Bombs (which are ridiculous and sort of overpowered).  Ezio is charged with recruiting and training little assassins (a la Brotherhood) and there is a new “Den Defense” mode that triggers when you mess up the Templar’s stuff too much and your notoriety goes up too high.  It’s a tower defense game that is very, very hard after the first tutorial, and I highly recommend you upgrade your dens as soon as possible and bribe officials to keep your notoriety down.  It’s tragic that this was not implemented well, because it was a neat addition.  If you lose the tower defense, you can easily reclaim it by murdering the Templar commander after.

Death from Above 1511 AD

You can leave Ezio and go to ‘Animus Island’ but it’s a pretty dull place and the only things there are the monoliths that house Desmond’s repressed childhood memories.  You can unlock them by finding fragments in Ezio’s memories.  Desmond’s memories provide a nice insight into his past and how he wound up where he is, but they are seriously weird.  They are first person, block-spawning platform puzzles and at times I seriously wanted to just give up and throw my controller at the TV.

Recruiting assassins and doing faction missions are the bread and butter to the meat of the story.  There are TONS of missions and side quests to do and I often found myself veering away from the story and getting overwhelmed.  This game is AWFUL for the collector/perfectionist.  There is SO MUCH TO DO, ALWAYS.  It is well worth the $69.99 price tag.  Some of the side missions are annoying, but, you can always go back to the main story and its always fun and rewarding.

Technical Stuff

The controls are fluid and the fighting makes you feel like a total boss.  There are counter kills, awesome assassination animations, and with the Hookblade Ezio can climb much faster than he could in his previous incarnations.  It feels more fluid, and it’s much easier to get to the rooftops (the kills are also quite a bit more gruesome, if that is your thing).

Bloodshed, Exhibit A.

My only ‘technical’ concern seemed to be that they rushed the game out.  It didn’t have quite the same polish all things said and done.  I found, quite frequently, that strange bugs would happen while I was fighting enemies – I would hit one, then glitch up to the roof to hit another enemy, then pirouette back down again.  I also found myself getting caught running up walls that weren’t there.  Regularly.

There are regular checkpoints and autosaves, and there are frequent breaks in the action in which to stop (a must for any game I play, to be honest).  The pacing is excellent, and you can revisit and re-do any segments of the game as you like.

Without doing many of the side missions, I pumped about 30 hours into this game.  A great amount of content.  But again, there is always something else to collect, always something else to do.

The graphics are beautiful, and the cities and locales are lovingly rendered.  No complaints there.   The voice acting is spot on and lets be honest, Ezio is still a sexy beast.  It’s awesome.  Jesper Kyd has put out another phenomenal soundtrack, with an excellent range from ambient to pounding battle music.

Overall

I friggin’ love this game, I don’t care that it’s a sequel of a sequel’s sequel.  It’s still solid, and a good finale for a character that has sort of become a staple in the gaming community (at least to me).

I was, however, left hating den defense, and feeling super let down as a fan, and as a consumer, that I could not get any of the amazing collectors editions that for some demented reason were not brought to North America (no seriously, look up the Animus Edition, it makes me cry sweet tears of rage).  It was a bit of a slap in the face, being unable to even have the option of the other editions.  The game was a bit buggy, but not in any horrendous game breaking way.

Always a hit with the ladies.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how many badass ladies there were.  Now – I’m a feminist, and a gamer, and sometimes this combo can leave me feeling disgusted or betrayed – but it almost felt like this game somehow just, knew.  Out of all the special assassin recruit missions I did, only one of them was a guy.  The rest were all really awesome ladies (the young thief, the cunning older woman).  It was MAGICAL.  It made me feel like the game was pandering to me, and was sensitive to my, well, sensitivities.  Now, I’m sure it was a random selection of missions, but hey, it really made me feel good!  The main female character was a smart-as-hell librarian.  Ubisoft also found a way to make Ezio utterly appealing to female gamers, as well as male gamers – and that’s hard to do (I find) unless there is a male/female option, like in Mass Effect, or Dragon Age.  Normally I don’t really think about playing a male character in a game, but I actively liked Ezio, and that’s not a common occurrence.

This game is good.  But its expected that its going to be good when you fire up a big budget, highly anticipated game.  Call me a fangirl, but there was more heart in it.  I liked a lot of the triple A titles out in 2011, but none really resonated the way this one did.   You’d be crazy not to check it out.

Whoops, this was a pretty glowing review.

Graphics: 9/10

Story: 9/10

Music: 9/10

Money’s Worth: 10/10

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