-Kris “Kaz” Sturm
For those of us who have been following long with the Assassin’s Creed series, we can safely say that it’s been an... interesting ride over the past few years. We stepped into the shoes of Desmond Miles and his relatives from the distant past to uncover a political conspiracy between the Assassins and the Templars. At this point in the game’s timeline, we find Desmond trapped inside the annals of the Animus system as he meets up with the mysterious Subject 16; whose soul seems to be integrated into the computer, much like Desmond now.
Looking around Animus Island, we see that there are two primary sections to its structure; a “Desmond” section and an “Ezio” section. The former, composed of a series of gates allows the player to gain a greater understanding of our main character as he explains what happened over the course of his life up from when he grew up on the “farm” during his assassin’s training through the point in which he was taken in by Abstergo Industries in the first installment.
Personally, I loved the “Desmond” section as it periodically rewarded the player for having collected various Animus fragments scattered around the game’s various maps throughout the course of the game. Better yet, it looked as though it was only there for the player’s curiosities; as the whole area was never imposed or any prompt given that it was something that they needed to actually go through it. If the player chooses to just blow through the plot, then by all means; if not, that’s still perfectly fine as well.
In regards to gameplay, the guys at Ubisoft introduced a couple new elements to overall gameplay. The most popularized of the various additions to gameplay was the introduction to the bombs and bomb crafting system. I found the overall design to be pretty versatile, as the player is given the option to work with four different bomb types (explode on contact, timed delay, tripwire and sticky grenades), different types of gunpowder to affect range and a gambit of different explosive effects, based on whether the player is crafting a set of lethal, diversionary and tactical weaponry. A personal favorite of mine primarily consisted of the sticky variant and using various effects such as shrapnel, skunk oil, pyrite coins and lamb’s blood. (Lamb’s blood was a personal favorite; using the widest ranged gunpowder, it’s a blast to watch the guards or random civvies squirm in terror while they were covered in blood, not knowing they had a sticky pouch thrown on them earlier.)
Up next, was the swap out of one of Ezio’s dual blades for a hook blade. Broken in an early conflict, Ezio meets up with another Master Assassin Yusuf Tazim in the Ottoman Empire who then takes him under his wing and teaches him the way of the hook blade; incorporating tactics such as hooking onto an opponent’s armour to roll over their backs, using the eagle-head hook to scale up buildings faster and to be a total douche and trip people in the street. Better yet, it opens up the opportunity to use clotheslines as ziplines, zooming between buildings and even pulling off air assassinations from the lines. To a good degree, the hookblade helped to enhance the overall gaming experience one could enjoy and I found it to be quite the welcome addition.
Going through the game not enough for ya? Well rest assured hardcore gamers as the full synchronization option has returned in this game’s sequel as the challenges have been upped, but thankfully not to infuriating levels like in Brotherhood’s mission where Ezio has to destroy Leonardo’s war machines (tanks) without taking a single point of damage. The challenges presented in overall gameplay were primarily composed of time trials and conditional full synchs, such as getting to a particular destination before another person, do not be detected in the course of the mission, perform ‘x’ amount of silent takedowns, etc. While a bulk of them could be handled fairly easily, they still provided quite the welcome challenge for gamers and do offer an intriguing element in the game’s overall presentation.
Remember when Brotherhood introduced hidden platformer challenges in order to access keys to unlock the armor of Brutus? Thankfully, they make their own their return to the game, although as a mandatory addition as the players are forced to scale their way through these treacherous (and borderline scenery porn) areas and retrieve a set of Masayaf keys… which bring back a fan favourite character Altair Ibn La’ahad.
Altair’s appearance is sadly only set for only a handful of missions as the player gets to get a better idea for what events took place after the events of Assassin’s Creed as Ezio looks through the CD like keys. Altair’s involvement merely serves as a backdrop to further flesh out the events of the game, but to a degree, I did find it to be a welcome addition to see exactly what Altair did with himself the events that followed him killing his former master.
With all of this considered, I considered Assassin’s Creed: Revelations to prove that there are game devs out there that seek to improve on their own work and look to the gamers’ interests. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and thought that the saga of Desmond is coming to a satisfactory end; tugging at the stage’s curtains, prepping itself to drop at the very end of it all. Everything in the game, from scenery, plot, fighting style (largely left unchanged with only a couple things added to an already great system) left me feeling totally satisfied. While part of me demanded more and more of the developers, I felt as though they ended this particular installment on quite a good note and I’m looking forward to see what Ubisoft has planned for their fans, itching at any and all opportunities to see how things draw to a close.
Reviewed by Kris “Kaz” Sturm
Reviewer Rating: 4.75/5