|System: Xbox 360, PC, PS3|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft Annecy|
|Release: November 15, 2011|
|Players: 1, 2-16|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Language, Mild Sexual Themes, Violence|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Assassin's Creed: Revelations is a game I waited for. Assassin's Creed was always my favorite series of this generation due to its heady mix of historical fiction and sci-fi. After the incredible ending of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, I was ready to hop back into the animus and take a trip unlike any I had ever taken before. And to some degree, I got exactly what I wanted. But it definitely wasn't what I expected.
Right from the outset, something about the game feels a bit off. You "wake up" as Desmond on a weird island with some floating structures around, with Subject 16 hanging out and looking like a menace to society. So what exactly is going on? The game is short on real answers that make sense, even by Assassin's Creed's whacked-out technobabble standards. Apparently Desmond has too many Assassin memories in his head, so he's stuck in the Animus' "safe mode" (thanks Microsoft!) and his real-world brain is mush.
So, how do we fix this problem? Subject 16 has some guidance: finish Ezio's memories so that he can reboot and become Desmond again. Yeah, the logic doesn't make sense to me either. Anyway, once we pass through the magic time gate that peers into Ezio's silver years, we see our favorite Italian stallion doing some travelling. Apparently, his final quest is taking him to Constantinople, where he is searching for Altaïr's library. He needs it to gain wisdom, or something.
Realistically, the story is weakest element of this game, and it was where I found myself the most disappointed. Assassin's Creed has always had a compelling narrative, but Revelations just seems lazy. You pop in and out of Desmond's, Ezio's, and Altaïr's consciousness, and events happen with little to no explanation. The only part of the story that makes any sense is Ezio's individual narrative. But overall, the story is the weakest in the Assassin's Creed series to date.
In addition to the story, the gameplay is also a bit underwhelming. The game features the same basic formula. You take on missions, kill baddies, and take out bosses. The game also includes the town upgrade feature that was first introduced in Brotherhood. It's kind of cool, but lacks weight without the threat of Borgia influence.
Like the Assassin's Creed games before it, Revelations introduces a singular new gameplay element into the mix. Yet unlike the team-based missions of Brotherhood and the town features in Assassin's Creed II, Revelations' new element actually slows things down and is a real drag. This new gameplay element turns big battles into RTS-like affairs. You will have to place troops, team leaders, and obstacles on the battlefield, and then you can watch as the enemies fall. You are stuck the whole time as a spectator; you can't intervene at all, as much as you'd like to.
While I would like to applaud the development team for doing something different, the experience is just a little too dissimilar to the rest of the Assassin's Creed universe for me. Assassin's Creed is all about stealthily killing people up close; just kicking back and watching while other troops go out and have all the fun is a bore. The whole experience lacks the depth that you would expect from an Assassin's Creed title.