Assassin’s Creed Revelations Review – PS3

In the wake of Assassin’s Creed 3, I finished Revelations.  Assassin’s Creed Revelations (ACR) is a game that really isn’t needed, void of personalty, but does have the occasional enjoyable sequence or good idea.  I realize when I write these things I need to take my audience into consideration so I’m expecting that you are familiar with the franchise as I will spoil some parts of the story of previous games.

I remember how amazed I was at the subtlety of introducing Ezio all those years ago in Assassin’s Creed 2 (AC2).  From moving his arm as a baby, to a big teenage brawl, to racing his brother on the rooftops, to seeing his family hung in front of his eyes.  Given how intelligent the mechanics and the story are presented in AC2 I’m often surprised at how many people tout Brotherhood as the better game, story and all.  Mechanically, sure.  Story?  AC2 wins in my book every time.

But that’s not to diminish Brotherhood.  While I found the story fairly underwhelming, exploring Rome, climbing the Colosseum, creating a band of assassins, and then watching them take the oath for the first time was breathtaking.

Not to mention the personality Jesper Kyd’s soundtrack gives each individual city.  Florence and Tuscany had such different feels from each other, not to mention Rome. His soundtracks echoed Ezio’s age more often than naught, with Florence giving a more care free wondering melody and later in Rome with a more directed tune.

The Desmund segments amped up throughout the games, creating this giant sci fi mystical mystery: The First Civilation and how Desmund is tied to it.  Playing Desmund at the end of Brotherhood was wonderful.  While I’m very excited to continue playing AC3, it doesn’t change that I wish we had a game that was all Desmund in modern day.  Can you take a leap of faith off of a skyscraper and survive?

I bring all these points up because while ACR is still an arguably good game, in light of the quality of the rest of the series it fails on all the aforementioned points where the previous games succeeded.

Constantinople starts out seeming like it will have a pretty big personality with the game pointing out viewing the different continents the city resides on.  But it quickly shows that’s about all it has.  The music isn’t reminiscent of the area at all, sounding more like rehashed themes from the previous games.  The accents come off as Italian.  If I hadn’t played Quest for Glory 2 I would have assumed “effendi” was an Italian word.  The people, aside from their hats, look fairly European.  There is nothing foreign about Constantinople.  And there are no quests pointing out the interesting database reads on buildings like in previous games.  This was Ubisoft’s chance to teach me about the history and beauty and individuality of Constantinople and they failed.

AC2 had the symbols to locate on very famous landmarks and buildings to unlock very interesting conspiracy theory segments.  Same with Brotherhood.  While the puzzles I found often times too hard to be fun, the exciting part was unlocking a new piece of mystery   And diving through the database to find out which buildings had these markings, thereby reading the entries, was part of what added to the excitement.  Part of the joy of playing a game that proposes to solve the mysteries of the universe is the part with infinite possibility.  Nothing is true.  Everything is permitted.  Except in Revelations.

The epic story of Ezio’s quest to avenge his family in AC2, the undertaking of defeated the Borgia in Brotherhood, ACR doesn’t have that.  Ezio is really just curious about Altair through most of the game and then it turns into a save the damsel quest.  There’s no deeper meaning or accomplishment.  Altair  receives some wonderful and well needed character development through some brief sequences, as well as Desmund.  Unfortunately for Desmund, his sequences are in first person and fairly bland to play.  The game does give the player a little new taste of First Civilization CGI at the end though.

One area of improvement was the assassin recruits.  Many of them have their own intro stories and every assassin that makes it to the master rank receives a unique mission based on the den they are assigned to.  I found the recruitment quests the most fun.  Out steal one recruit to win their allegiance.  My favorite was the fighter as it starts as a fight to win some cash.  The fighter gets up time and time again only to have Ezio beat him down again.  If only the rest of the game could have been this well executed.

The enemies of ACR are also pretty frustrating.  Especially the enemy type that you can’t counter and whose block you can’t break.  The combat in AC2 and Brotherhood were empowering.  Subtle to master, but with big results.  In ACR it was plain frustrating.  Not to mention all those times I accidentally hopped on a half wall only to have the nearby thieves murmur “amazing”.

There is a thin line of illusion the franchise runs with.  All these amazing things happening on the screen while only pushing forward with the right trigger held down and occasionally holding down the jump button.  Everything is automatic.  This is never more apparent than chasing after a boat in a memory sequence in ACR, since that’s almost all the game asks the player to do.  Push forward, hold R1, sometimes X.  The game repeats these sequences several times.  Its good Assassin’s Creed Revelations is the last game in this engine since the veil of illusion is gone.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations wouldn’t be such a disappointment if the rest of the series wasn’t so good.  Sure it plays better than the first entry but the game makes for a terrible sequel.  There’s no real development for Ezio other than a romance made trivial by Ezio’s love interests from previous games.  There’s a lot of potential in Revelations and nearly all of it is squandered.  A game about Ezio’s new recruits could have been amazing but instead Ezio comes to a city with its own guild in place that has better tools than he is used to using.


About MusiM
Musician, writer, Gundam model hobbyist, video game lover, host of The Carousel Podcast, and all with a day job.

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