Review by WhatTheDeuce92
"The beginning of a decline for this series?"
Assassin's Creed: Revelations is the fourth main console game in the Assassin's Creed series, and third and final installment of the "Ezio trilogy," being a direct sequel to the last installment, Brotherhood. I'll just be honest right off the bat...out of the four main Assassin's Creed games here, Revelations was probably my least favorite. If you've played the entries before this one, it just starts to feel tiresome by this point. Even if you're new to the Assassin's Creed series, I'd recommend II or Brotherhood over this one, easily. That's not to say Revelations is a bad game, it just lacks the appeal its predecessors had.
The story in Revelations follows three different protagonists in three different settings: Altair (from the first Assassin's Creed game) in 13th century Masyaf, Ezio Auditore in 16th century Constantinople, and Desmond Miles in 21st century America. None of these characters are new protagonists to the franchise at all, and rather than introducing a new character, the purpose of Revelations is to continue Desmond's story and wrap up the end life of both Altair and Ezio, so that we can finish their stories for good. The main story follows Ezio though, as he travels through Constantinople looking for Masyaf keys so that he can unlock the memories of Altair (that's where his playable moments come in) and find the secrets for the true purpose of the assassins. Weaving in with this is Desmond's present day journey to escape his coma so that he can help stop the Templars present day and prevent the 2012 apocalypse. You can also unlock Desmond memories in this one to give more backstory to Desmond, but they're really not all that interesting. In fact, the story in Revelations in general isn't all that interesting. I was never a big fan of the story in these games though.
As for gameplay, I feel like it's taken both a step forward and a step back. That is, there's good changes and bad changes, so it evens out. In general, Revelations still follows the type of gameplay Assassin's Creed is known for. It has an open world gameplay where players can use parkour style moves to travel around the city, which is Constantinople here. Guards will take notice though, so you have to fight them off occasionally as well. In addition to the traditional gameplay for the series, as mentioned you can unlock Desmond memories. These are radically different, as they're pretty much first person platforming memories where you need to solve puzzles. I thought this kind of thing would be up my alley, but it wasn't all that fun and really just feels too out of place.
Most of the features in the game are returning ones from Brotherhood. You can still do things like recruit assassins to send out on missions and call on during a fight, you can still renovate the city to get a steady income to buy items, and you'll still do simple things like scaling buildings to secure a viewpoint. All of these returning features are just as good (or bad) as they were in previous entries.
As I said, it seems for a good thing they added they also took things out. For example, for some reason they decided to take out horses in Revelations. Horses were a quick, easy way to travel around the city faster. However, in place of horses, now there's a new feature in the form of a hookblade to make navigation easier. You're given a hookblade that lets you climb buildings faster, travel across gaps, and best of all it can be used to travel on ziplines spread throughout the city. This is perhaps the best new feature in Revelations, as simple as it is. The hookblade can also be integrated into combat for new sorts of combos. For the most part, combat isn't much different than it's been, but little new additions here and there make it feel smoother.
Other than that, there's not many new gameplay features. One big new feature is that you can craft bombs now. Depending on what kind of bomb you craft, you can make a variety of different kinds that can be used for either tactical, diversion, or lethal purposes. Using bombs didn't really fit into my play style much, but they're still definitely a new welcome addition if they fit your style. At the very least, they give you more options for how to play. The other new addition is a tower defense mini-game. This happens when you capture territories from the Templars, they'll try and attack back to reclaim their territory, and you have to go through a strategic den defense game to keep it. Talk about out of place, maybe even more than the Desmond sequences. Den defense here, honestly sucked. I didn't like it. It takes too long, it's not that fun, and honestly kind of difficult. Luckily if you train your assassin recruit to a high enough rank, you can position them at your dens so that they can't be attacked again. Once you've done this for all of your dens, you won't have to do den defense again. It's kind of funny how the best part of one of the game's new additions is that you don't have to do it.
Online multiplayer is also back. I'll be honest, I didn't like playing online in Brotherhood. However, I tried out a three day free trial for the online in Revelations (you need an online pass to play it this time unfortunately), and I felt like it was much more improved. I don't remember what I didn't like about it in Brotherhood, but I know I didn't have fun with it, whereas in Revelations I had a blast. There's not as many people playing these days, but if you can get a game going, it's pretty fun. There's 10 modes to play online, most of them being free-for-all, such as Deathmatch (standard find a target and kill them), Wanted (assigned a target to assassinate using a compass while also having someone else looking for you), or Corruption (a "corrupted" player will try to find "uncorrupted" players to corrupt them). However, I enjoyed the team modes more, such as Manhunt (one team hides, while the other teach searches for them to kill them), Artifact Assault (basically capture the flag, Assassin's Creed style), and Chest Capture (one team tries to capture three chests around the map, while the other team defends the chests). If you enjoy the gameplay of Assassin's Creed, you should have fun with its online here too.
Overall, gameplay has its good aspects and bad aspects. But it all balances out and none of it is a deal breaker. If you liked the gameplay in previous entries, you'll like it here. It just won't feel that new, which can be tiresome.
As for other aspects, graphics look pretty great. Some of the cutscenes are rendered really well, especially the final one of the game. Character models look good, environments have all the proper lighting you'd expect, and there's a certain level of detail that looks nice. Constantinople isn't the best looking city the series has had to offer, but what you're given is pretty nice still. Revelations probably has better graphics than its predecessors at least.
The sounds all work as well. The sound effects are clear, concise, and have appropriate noises and volumes. I didn't have a problem with any of the voice actors, all of them seem to fit their respective roles. And the music is pretty great as always. This is one thing I've always liked about the Assassin's Creed series. While it's not like there's any memorable music, it all fits in with the feel of the game so perfectly.
I don't remember how long the first game took me to complete, but I've gotten 100% in all four games now and out of the Ezio trilogy, Revelations took me the shortest time to do it surprisingly. It doesn't have as long of a main story as II did, but to get 100% takes close to the same time. It's nowhere near as long as Brotherhood took me though, which was about 45 hours. Revelations took me slightly over 30. It's probably a good thing that they didn't just keep adding more and more to do, but in comparison it's definitely noticeable that there isn't as much to do in Revelations. Aside from things mentioned earlier, other things to do in this game were collecting stuff, doing guild challenges, book quests, and master assassin missions for your recruits. There's certainly enough to do in this game, and if you're a completionist like me it'll keep you busy for a little while. If you just want to play through the story, you're probably looking around 10 hours or so.
Revelations isn't a bad game. It's just that I can't give it a high recommendation. It has quite a bit going for it, but then other things just hold it back. If you've never played the series before, I suggest going back to play older entries. Revelations isn't a good starting point. If you have played past entries, I think Revelations can be fun, but it was certainly a decline in quality and enjoyment for me in comparison. It felt too rushed out. Hopefully future games in the series can pick it back up again.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 05/06/13, Updated 06/10/13
Game Release: Assassin's Creed: Revelations (US, 11/15/11)
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