Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A revelation of a creed

Happy new year! I'm a little behind on reviewing games I've played in 2011, but I'll get there slowly!

Assassins Creed Revelations

It really isn’t possible to not mention the Assassin's Creed series when talking about this generation in gaming. From the beginning it has shown us what the new generation of consoles and hardware could do. The sheer technical prowess of the Assassins Creed games with its huge cities, incredible detail down to a small scale and the vast size of its environments all amaze the gamer in us. Even now with the release of Assassin's Creed Revelations it will still make mouths open in awe. The rich, colourful and buzzling city of Constantinople (or the more familiar name Istanbul) will have you exploring with eagerness once again like you always have done through the series.

It’s a game of familiarity, perhaps too familiar for some. In a sense it’s a game for the fans, yet what else can you expect from a game that’s really the third part of its second game in the series following the life of Ezio Auditore da Firenze. It hardly takes any consideration if you are new to the series and explains the story following up to Revelations very briefly. As such it maybe is a game best avoided for beginners to the series; a far cleverer place to begin is with the fantastic, and still unrivalled, in the series: Assassin's Creed 2.

In all it's beautiful Renaissance era glory during
the rise of the Ottoman Empire; behold Constantinople!

Ezio meeting Yusuf Tazim, the leader of the assassin's order in the city.
The last game, AC Brotherhood, may have come across as being more like an add-on to AC2, but after a while really grew into a fantastic and very innovative title. It took the series in new directions and added many varied new gameplay elements into the fantastic formula and standard set by AC2. Revelations follows closely to Brotherhood and keeps the new and very welcome ideas, but perhaps adds too few new and unique elements on its own. It does, however, add a deeper element to taking over the city, allowing you to choose special leaders out of your assassin trainees. It even adds a rather entertaining tower defence sort of element into keeping control over sectors of the city. The clever feature from AC2 and Brotherhood of entering famous buildings has been shifted over to some rather exciting and dangerous exploration of more natural environments like crypts and caves beneath Constantinople. It actually reminds a lot about a Tomb Raider game in these sections, which is very welcome and feel great.

They have also added a grappling hook, making climbing easier and introduces some fun gliding on ziplines to get around fast and a rather advanced and detailed bomb making facility for taking out and surprising guards. I found the hook being very useful with the ziplines, but making the climbing a tad too easy. The bomb making, though, I only used a few times and I felt it rather was a little too detailed compared to the fact you hardly needed to use them.

Making your own type of bomb and trying it out on the guards is fun.

Gliding on ziplines and attacking from them
gives a great sense of speed to the gameplay.

The familiarity and small changes is a two edged sword, you can interpret it as a negative and accuse it of being an unoriginal game. You can also however look at the positive side of not changing game elements that are fantastic and work fine, simply giving you more of the fun. Fans (such as myself) will most likely interpret it as the latter and really enjoy the game. One part of the game, though, really can’t be told without giving the game enormous credit it deserves for; the story and the way it’s presented is excellent. In fact it really is one of the best parts of the story in the series so far. It gives a huge depth to the character Ezio; it feels like we have known him for a lifetime. He is old and has changed drastically from his loud-mouthed and cocky personality in his youth and grown into a wise and thoughtful person with much consideration for the people close to him.

The flaskback sequences to Altaïr from AC1 is a very
welcome and nice touch to learning more of his story.

Fighting with swords always ends up looking brutal!

The story also gives depth to how small each of the individual assassins are in the huge picture leading up to the future. The incredible, and in fact rather sad, realisation that each person working for the assassin's only do there small part and cannot fully understand the whole picture and will die without knowing, building only what they have learnt for generations much further on in history. The way the series cleverly weaves this conspiracy story in-between real history and famous characters in history (the in-game database in the game is a little history book of its own) is something I really enjoy and respect the developers for.

The story is summed up perfectly with Ezio changing his intrigued mind into expressing that he doesn't actually need to know the full truth because he has learnt so much in his lifetime and is getting exhausted and old now. This, put together with a similar flashback to AC1 main character Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad dyeing of old age, gives the story a great sense of scale and time. It feels like the whole universe of the games is well thought out and we are ready for moving on in history with an Assassin's Creed 3.

A game for the fans then and a fantastic journey once again into Ezio’s rich life.



PS: The game also features a multiplayer mode, I have only tried this a couple of times and feel I can't give a very good opinion of it. It features a rather detailed and interactive tutorial and seems like a solid game to play for those wanting the feeling of trying to hide from and assassinate real players and not just AI characters.

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