November has got to be the biggest month in games this year. This could be caused by mild short-term memory, but man, there are a ton of heavy hitters out there just coming out one week after another. One of these big titles is UbiSoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. In this installment, the series returns and wraps up the Assassin’s Creed Trilogy.
In case you have a little catching up to do, I suggest you watch this short video, as it certainly helped me.
You start the game as Desmond on some tropical island. The vacation is cut short when you realize you are still in the Animus and unconscious. Once all this sets in, you enter a portal which allows you to relive the later memories of Ezio. As a grizzled old assassin still filled with skill you venture into Constantinople. There, you meet up with Yusef, leader of the Ottoman Assassins. He shows you the ropes in the city and teaches you things you may have forgotten as well as introduces you to new weapons and game mechanics. Ezio is basically following a trail that will hopefully allow him to uncover some past details of Altair. He ultimately finds a door that the Templars wish to unlock. Of course it is missing five keys to open it. Guess who’s job it is to find these keys? No, not Super Mario! That’s right, Ezio.
It'sa Me! Ezio!
I enjoyed the gameplay for the most part. One of the new additions to the game is the hook-blade. With the hook-blade, you can leap across roof tops, and it extends to give you a little extra reach to grab the sides of buildings. It also allows you to zip-line down cables for some great assassination chances. The hook-blade is also good for grabbing enemies and pulling them closer to you for combo attacks. The other thing they added is bomb crafting. Throughout the game you will find all sorts of ingredients to build three types of bombs: Lethal, Tactical, and Diversion. When crafting a bomb, you decide the type of casing. The casings usually determine when the explosion occurs. There are the kind that explode on contact, ones that have a timer, ones that have to tripped, and of course ones that stick to people. Then you put the corresponding type of gun powder in the bomb. The gun powder determines the radius as to which the bomb explodes. Lastly, you put in the good stuff. For the Lethal ones, this can be shrapnel or poisonous gas. The Tactical ones often give off a flash bang type effect, caltrops to slow targets, smoke, or my favorite, lamb’s blood. Lamb’s blood you say? How is this effective? Well I am glad you asked. Imagine taking a bomb and filling it with lamb’s blood, then tossing it at one of those wacky Mario hating PETA members. Upon exploding it would cover the kook in bright red blood. How does this help in the game? Well the premise is that after the explosion, being covered in blood, your first instinct is that you are badly wounded thus very confused. As for the diversion bombs, they are the obvious noise makers and such. One interesting bomb is the one that explodes with fake money. That one is a real winner for causing a commotion.
Someone set us up the bomb.
While we are talking about bombs, I find it strange that Assassins are by nature supposed to be quiet and sneaky. Well, aren’t bombs loud? Not just angry mother loud, but LOUD! It seems like lurking around in the shadows and zoning in on your prey, lobbing a bomb would be the opposite of what you’d want to do. Granted, bombs are probably more situational, but heck man, I am a dude. Dudes like to sit on the couch with their shirts off and blow stuff up. By golly, that’s what I’m gonna do then. Oh, and thanks for giving me a gun! Do you know how many people I’ve shot in the face on a rooftop? No matter how many I kill, no one says “Hey, what’s that loud banging noise up there? Should we check it out?” Nope. Ignorance is bliss I guess, and it works for me. While it takes away from the whole “stealthy assassin” mythos, it adds to the “I’m a frakkin badass ready to blow stuff up” mythos.
Let’s get back to the game itself. While it is very possible to just follow the main quest, I advise against it. Sure, you get to experience more of the story, but you are missing the real MEAT to the game. The real fun is lurking about on rooftops looking for Templars to kill. There are also areas of Constantinople that are under Templar control. These areas are where you would want to sneak in and find the lead Templar and execute him. After that, you climb their center tower and light a signal flare, causing them to leave. Suddenly you now have an Assassin Den. From here you can craft bombs and get access to recruiting new assassins. This is my favorite part particularly. Once you are able to, you will be able recruit people into your fold. Doing so may be as simple as saving them from guards, or perhaps they challenge you to foot race. Now that you have all these assassins recruited, what do you do with them? Well, exploit them of course. After you have so many, you get a little meter under your health which is for giving the “Assassin Signal.” This Signal allows you to target someone and just call one of your assassins to kill someone. Often times they just come out of nowhere, kill the target and they’re off. Do be careful though, If there are too many guards around they will have to fight and sometimes they get killed. I know, I’ve sent many assassins unknowingly to their deaths. Don’t feel too bad about it, you can just get more right? There are other things to do with them, which is really neat. In your Assassin Den, you can order your recruits to different parts of the Mediterranean to do all sorts of quests. These range in difficulty and often times need more than one to finish a tougher mission. Doing these missions as well as calling them to kill targets gives them experience points. Leveling up gives them skill points which you use to increase their combat abilities and armor. Very handy later on for sure. Once they rank up to Master Assassin, you can put them in charge of an Assassin Den.
Aside from recruiting assassins and sending them on missions, there are other things in Constantinople to do. Ezio must have a hobby in city growth and development. As you roam around you will find abandoned buildings which you can purchase to re-open a Blacksmith, a Tailor, or a Bank for the most part. The more of these the city has the more money the city makes, and ultimately the more money you make. Somehow a portion of what the city makes goes to the bank, which you can withdraw and use at the Tailor or Blacksmith as well as Black Market dealers which sell expensive bombs and bomb parts. Blacksmiths can craft you better weapons and armor as well as upgrade your current equipment. Tailors can change the color of your clothes, make you larger pouches, and make parachutes. They apparently make a large enough pouch so that Ezio can hide a large two-handed axe in it. This baffles me. How can anyone leap from rooftop to rooftop with a huge freaking battle axe hidden in their trousers, much less being stealthy while doing it?
There's an axe in my pocket.
The gameplay itself is mostly solid. At times the game seems kind of slow with all the lurking about and climbing. When you’re actually in the moment, you hardly notice. Sometimes the controls don’t quite understand what you want to do. I hate to make comparisons, but being that I’ve been playing a lot of games that require climbing on everything, I feel compared to Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed’s climb/jumping responsiveness on the control is a bit off. You get used to it after a while, but at times it seems a little limited. Constantinople is HUGE and you can pretty much go whereever you want, but as far as cities go, it just doesn’t reach out and grab you. Overall, the visuals are good, it’s just that the city has no real POP to it. It lives and breaths like you’d expect from an Assassin’s Creed game, just looks boring. The soundtrack is nice as well. It has that great sound from the era and picks up in all the right places. The voice acting is also fairly decent, except for the fact that much of the time it seems like the lip syncing isn’t working. It’s not TOO hard to look at, but you will notice. Also, every time Ezio speaks, I believe he is the most interesting man and I sit in waiting for him to give someone a Dos Equis. Stay thirsty my friend.
The Multiplayer returns and is better than ever. Many more characters to play as this time around as well as a story that unfolds as you play. While the multiplayer is really fun to play, I think the overall enjoyment comes with who you are playing against. A good group of people are those that try not to be obvious. You see a group of people walking by and notice one guy in that group sort of lean towards you. You brace yourself for the kill, but he wasn’t the killer. Each corner you turn you have this anticipation of finding your prey or hopefully not becoming someone’s prey. Strategy and a keen eye will make the game more fun. Then you get the idiot squad, which is just people running around the entire time killing each other. I will say that sometimes that can be fun, but its far less rewarding than playing how its meant to be played.
[review title=”Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” pros=”Great graphics. Bomb crafting! Assassinations look great as ever! Recruiting assassins is fun. Multiplayer is a blast.” cons=”Bad lip synching. Constantinople seems boring. The climbing/jumping controls don’t feel as fluid as other games with similar styles.” verdict=”Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is a great addition to the series, but I have to think that it has bad timing. With the release of Uncharted 3 and Skyrim just before this title’s release, many gamers already have a lot on their plate. Coming soon a New Zelda game enters the fray. Sure, Assassin’s Creed fans will no doubt be looking into this, but as for other gamers, they might wait until its on sale. I’d say if this game were released in January, it might have a better chance. If you aren’t interested in those other three games though and are a big Assassin’s Creed fan, this game will make you very happy. ” score=90]