Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Xbox 360 Review

January 18, 2012 by Chris Wigham  
Filed under Features, Reviews, Xbox 360

Publisher – Ubisoft – Developer – Ubisoft Montreal – Genre – Action/Stealth – Players – 1-8 – Age Rating – 15+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3

Following 2010’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was going to be no easy task for Ubisoft. Brotherhood brought some significant new stuff to the historical and science fiction hybrid that is the Assassin’s Creed series. To many it was more than a mere expansion to Assassin’s Creed 2.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is the latest annual release for Ubisoft’s best selling series, which intends to tie up many of the loose ends left by any of the previous games. Not only do Desmond and Ezio return, but Altair, hero of the original game, also makes his comeback. Obviously, being that each of the characters are placed centuries apart in the story and that Desmond exists in the modern day, it’s the Animus (a machine that allows Desmond access to his ancestors memories) that allows you to take control of Ezio, while keys allow Ezio to look into the past of Altair.

The story, then, is obviously once again a mixture of state of the art science fiction as well as more primitive times. Events are tied closely to those of Brotherhood, in which Desmond is in a coma and is trapped in the Animus. Ezio is meanwhile seeking five keys to unlock secrets left behind by fellow assassin Altair, in which you’ll learn about across the course of the game. Each of the three stories come together neatly, and the story finishes on a cliff-hanger which makes the wait for the next game in the series all the more unbearable. After three games, Ezio will certainly be missed.

Events of the story takes Ezio to Masyaf, although it’s the city of Constantinople (or Instanbul, as it’s known today) where you will be spending most of your time. Like previous locations in the series, Constantinople is a place bustling with people, as well as things to do. You’ll be running, jumping and climbing around it, which is once again a true joy thanks to the boundless energy of the character and the stress free mechanics. You certainly wouldn’t think that Ezio was in his 50s.

Speaking of navigation, the hookblade is introduced in the early stages of the game, and you’ll soon find out that it speeds up Ezio considerably. If you think that you may not quite have the reach to make a jump, the hookblade allows you to extend your reach slightly, thus clinging on and saving yourself from a potential drop. The hookblade can also be used to slide down ziplines, making it a good all-round addition.

Other additions include bomb crafting, in which you can create bombs by combining materials. This gives you more options if you want them, although it hardly entirely changes the series and, whether during combat or stealth situations, bombs aren’t really that necessary to be honest. The series was perfectly fine without them, although if you like things that explode with varying effects, well you now have them if you want them.

Returning but refined is the taking over of districts. This time around each of the districts have their own assassin dens, in which you’ll be eventually able to assign a levelled up assassin to. The Templar’s can now attack your dens, although only if their awareness level is high enough. When they do attack, you’ll have to make use of the new tower defence-esque game in order to keep them back. Tower Defence and Assassin’s Creed is a bad idea in this reviewer’s book, and there’s nothing standout or fun about this feature, meaning for the majority of the time I made sure to keep the awareness level low, assuring that my dens were never attacked.

When it comes to the missions, for a game with assassin’s in the title there’s a dissappointing lack of assassinating. What’s worse is that the majority of the side missions have been completely done away with, leaving Revelations to feel more like a hollow shell than the Assassin’s Creed of past. There are random events that can be stumbled across, although these aren’t very good at all, rarely showing up in my experience and not being as good or as varied as Red Dead Redemption’s equivalent.

Ezio isn’t the only assassin that you’ll be taking control of in Revelations. Altair, the lead of the original game, makes a return. His sections aren’t as good as Ezio’s, although they do the job in terms of progressing the back-story, with him advancing in years in each segment. Desmond, the modern day descendant of both Ezio and Altair, also has some rather strange playable portions inside of the Animus. These optional levels are played from the first person view and also push the story along, and while they look rather nice with their floating shapes, they’re hardly what could be considered as fantastic. These levels are about puzzle solving as opposed to action, and they just feel a little bland, but I certainly felt the need to play them to learn more of Desmond’s story.

That’s the thing with this latest game in the popular series; it doesn’t really have any new stuff that is significant or necessary. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is the very definition of a safe sequel, and the yearly development cycle really shows itself here. Brotherhood turned out to be something that was surprisingly special, although Revelations feels more like the very stopgap that was expected from the 2010 game.

Even the multiplayer hasn’t changed that much, although it of course feels a lot fresher, be it that it only debuted in Brotherhood. The returning  Wanted Mode is nicely complimented by the new Deathmatch mode, which is similar in the sense that you are given a target to kill but without a compass to guide you to their position, and lookalikes are also non-existent on the map in this mode. Steal the Artifact has you grabbing the said artifact and keeping hold of it as long as possible, and in a neat twist you’ll get more points for staying cool than you do if you run around with it. Multiplayer is definitely a highlight, and adds more longevity on top of the 15+ hours single player portion.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations isn’t as good as Brotherhood – it just doesn’t bring as much substantial content to the series as the previous one, although it’s still a very playable game. It just feels as if Ubisoft are stuck in their ways with the series and that the yearly development cycles are a little too much to ask from the developer. I hope to see a bigger change with the next game in the franchise. Just one thing left to say, then: Goodbye Ezio, it was well worth getting to know you and you will definitely be missed, although it’s time for something new and someone fresh.

7/10

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