Assassin’s Creed: Revelations – Short Review

PRESS L3 to use EAGLE SENSE and LOCATE your target in GOLD

You know those people who harp on about gameplay as if it’s the only thing that determines whether or not a game is any good? Can you hear them in your head right now? Claiming that the graphics don’t matter, it’s the gameplay that counts, story can be great or terrible, but if the gameplay is good, then it can still be a great game? Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is the game these people should be forced to play (that and text adventures), because gameplay is pretty much the only thing it has going for it (well, actually the graphics and score are hardly shabby, but we’ve seen it all before), and is the main reason why this is, unfortunately the worst Assassin’s Creed I’ve played. If you thought Brotherhood was pushing the boundaries of having a light story, then let it be known that Revelations is worse in every respect.

But it does have gameplay.

It has gameplay in abundance.

Hours of it.

PRESS L3 to use EAGLE SENSE and LOCATE your target in GOLD

So what does gameplay without story mean? Well, turns out, it’s an awful lot of really, really tedious makework. Usually to make money for the sake of making money, or making things cheaper. So you can make more money. If only it ended there, but no, they have to retconn stuff from earlier games too. It was bad enough that Ezio Auditore wore a 12th century Holy Land scholar’s outfit in 15th century Italy to blend in, but now he’s an old man …

Wait a minute, an old man, I thought the only reason Desmond has these memories, is because they’re encoded into the DNA of his ancestors. Surely the memories of the parent wouldn’t be recorded onto their children after the child is born? In other words, there should be no more DNA encoded memories passed on after birth, because there is no physical connection any more.

Anyhow, he’s an old man in Constantinople chatting away in Italian to the Ottoman Turks whilst they reply in Turkish. We can understand all this because we have the TARDIS translating for us. Ezio and Suleiman however, do not have the benefit of the translation from the Animus, Suleiman may have spoken five languages, but Italian was not one of them. Really the problem is that Ezio should never have been in this game, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Altaïr is rather mistreated too, we are left with the impression from earlier games that Altaïr led a sort of golden age for The Assassins, but it turns out that involves a twenty year ‘self-imposed’ exile where his wife and youngest son are killed by the Assassins.

PRESS L3 to use EAGLE SENSE and LOCATE your target in GOLD

All that sort of stuff could have fallen to the wayside in the face of awesome plot, but the story is honestly paper-thin. There’s this lady who your character really likes, who helps you get five keys to get into a library. I believe that’s a fair summation of the plot. The rest is unfortunately the pointless task accomplishment I mentioned earlier. There are new mini games of course, there’s a Tower Defence style game for defending your dens. I tried to avoid playing this as much as possible by keeping my notoriety down because it was, well, tedious. There are plenty of new bits and pieces, but they all feel a bit forced. Like they were only adding to the game because it’s expected of them, not to actually improve anything or fill in gaps. That feeling of pointless change goes much further. I thought I knew what Desmond, Altaïr, and Ezio all looked like, but apparently not. All of these characters have been replaced with more generic versions of themselves. For any particular reason? To justify the jobs of the team who made the game, all four thousand of them, I suspect. I’ve heard rumours it’s to make the characters fit into a new animation system, but if there is an improved facial animation system at use in the game, it wasn’t enough of an improvement for me to notice, and that doesn’t really explain why the entire face of a character would change quite dramatically. A lot more drastically than other characters from Assassin’s Creed 2 that you see once at the very end of the game.

Yeah, remember all of the banter with the other characters, outside the Animus as conversations in which Desmond is included, or as commentary to Desmond inside the Animus? Gone. Some people may say this is a good thing because they’ve been saying that all of that stuff outside of the Animus isn’t really needed anyway, but mostly, it just makes it lonely and disconnected.

PRESS L3 to use EAGLE SENSE and LOCATE your target in GOLD

This instalment is also the buggiest, glitching in quite unexpected ways. Generally to rob you of any chance of getting those full synchronisations. Although sometimes it’s a combination of glitchiness combined with lack of information. For example, at one point it said, “find the spy”. That was all, just “find the spy”. So I try using eagle vision to “find the spy”, not sure if the message to do so is the glitch where “PRESS L3 to use EAGLE SENSE and LOCATE your target in GOLD” keeps popping up out of context or not. I saw a ghost of a character, but it didn’t do anything, but you can generally follow the trail of characters, transparent or no. What it didn’t mention was that the ghost was the shape of a character that is nearby, and that you have to scan that character to progress. The thing is, the apparition was a slim female, and there are loads of generic characters that fit that description. Another example is the mission where you are supposed to stay on the rooftops, but then the character I was tracking stopped moving. So I kind of had to go down and check, or restart. Or the time I was Altaïr wandering towards the base, it told me only to kill captains to get Full Sync. So I only killed captains, then it said, if you need help, call assassins with L2, so I did. That counted as me killing things, Full Sync failed.

On the plus side they have finally decided upon Desmond’s past. Earlier games have hinted that he used to be an Assassin, or that he was one, but quit, or that he was never an Assassin and didn’t know about any of this Assassin / Templar / Abstergo nonsense at all. To quote the start of Assassin’s Creed 2:

“I’m a prisoner of war. A war I never knew existed – waged by two groups I never thought were real. Templars and Assassins.” – Desmond.

However, now he was raised by the Assassin cult in the country hidden away and warned about the Templars all his life. They have tried to stick true to previous games in that at least he is a very lapsed assassin and his training has ‘worn off’ over time. To me, that was the biggest Revelation in the game.

PRESS L3 to use EAGLE SENSE and LOCATE your target in GOLD

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood felt like all of the bits that didn’t quite fit into Assassin’s Creed 2 with a little multiplayer tacked on, it was enough to make a game out of. Revelations on the other hand feels like all the stuff that wasn’t good enough to put into Assassin’s Creed 3. It isn’t enough, this would have perhaps worked better as DLC, but even then, Ezio just doesn’t work here.

3 thoughts on “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations – Short Review

  1. Pingback: Assassin’s Creed: (& the complete lack of) Revelations | Studious Octopus

  2. Pingback: Year’s End 2012 | Peter Reviews

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