Our favourite knife-throwing, life-taking, hay-jumping Italian assassino is back for his third outing in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Does he disappoint? Nope. Revelations is an excellent game that continues to build on the story arc that carries through each game in the series as well as refine elements from the previous game. The end result is possibly the best Assassin’s Creed game yet, or close to it at least.
This is my first time talking about Assassin’s Creed and I have to say – I hated the first game. Hated it. It was repetitive, boring, irritating and a drag to play through. I vowed never to touch any further entrants in the series. However, ever since the release of AC2, I have had nothing but sheer adoration for the series. The change from the first game to the second was quite remarkable. Now, back to the present. Ever since 2009, we have had yearly releases in the Assassin’s Creed series. Both Brotherhood and Revelations don’t carry that heavy ‘3’ at the end of their title, but they are fully fledged games regardless. They also carry the story forward significantly from AC2 which makes them worth playing to keep up with the narrative flow. I adored Brotherhood last year and I think I am on the brink of liking Revelations even more.
Revelations does not stray too far from the tried and tested AC formula; You play in exactly the same way, killing the same types of people and not much, if anything, has changed. Normally this would irritate me, but the AC style of play is so well-tuned and fun to play that I welcome a return to it. Jumping across rooftops, stabbing guards in the back, climbing buildings and even swimming all control fantastically. I wouldn’t say they are perfect, due to the number of times I’ve climbed a wall when I haven’t meant to, but it’s pretty darned close.
Revelations reintroduces several new concepts that were brought in with Brotherhood, such as recruiting assassins and renovating the cityscape, but it also brings in several new features of its own. These include bomb crafting and a ‘den defense’ mode, whereby you defend your den against waves of enemies by commanding shooters to sit on rooftops and building blockades to slow their progress. It doesn’t play well, each session drags on immensely and it’s incredibly out of place in the franchise. Since when has Assassin’s Creed been about issuing commands from a rooftop and playing in a turn-based style? It hasn’t, and I hope it won’t be again. Bomb crafting, however, is a welcomed addition although, in my opinion, not that interesting.
I don’t know when we are ever going to see an official ‘Assassin’s Creed 3’ but until then, these yearly releases are more than welcome to appear in my gaming collection when they like. There is, however, the very strong danger that having new entrants release on such a frequent basis will turn the excellent gameplay formula stale and dry. You only have to look at the Call of Duty franchise to understand what I mean; Millions still buy the games and enjoy them for what they are, but the ‘wow’ sensation that was initially garnered from playing them has all but diminished completely. Assassin’s Creed is such a strong, well written and interesting franchise that it would be incredibly sad to see it begin to wilt due to over-exposure. Brotherhood and Revelations have been more than enough to bridge the gap between AC2 and 3. I don’t think we need another release in 2012 to continue that ‘bridge’, although I think one has already been announced which I will buy and play, but it also saddens me a little knowing that it’s going to contribute to the very same point I have just talked about.
Back on point now. Brotherhood was the first Assassin’s Creed title to introduce a multiplayer mode. The naysayers came out in droves to lambast it for being un-necessary and pointless. In some ways, they were correct. However, the actual product was not half bad at all; It played rather well and it had an interesting concept that was fun and challenging at the same time. They took elements from the single player and interlocked them with a multiplayer environment. It was by no means perfect, but it was a surprise to see how well it actually fit in with the AC universe. Revelations brings back the multiplayer portion but improves on it so much that whilst it feels like the exact same thing as before, at the same time, it feels like the ‘proper’ AC multiplayer experience. Brotherhood was the puppy – Revelations is the canine.
The multiplayer portion of Revelations is an extremely fun and rewarding experience. You aren’t congratulated for sprinting around everywhere like you’re training for the Olympics. You’ll get the kills, but you won’t get the points. What Revelations wants you to do is play tactically, stealthily and to stick to the shadows as much as possible. Like an assassin would. It’s not always easy to do that but when you get it right, Revelations does its best to shower you with XP and high points for getting that difficult kill. You may spend the entire match getting stabbed and poisoned around every corner, but in the end, getting that one kill that nets you hundreds of points makes it feel like the previous mishaps never happened. Brotherhood did the same thing but Revelations does it better.
The multiplayer can take a while to get the hang of. It’s quite different to other games out there and it has a steeper learning curve in comparison, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked. The selection of game modes is more varied than in Brotherhood, as is the selection of ‘perks’ and abilities to unlock, and the character customization on offer. I said it before but Brotherhood felt like it was testing the waters to see how a multiplayer offering would go down with the fanbase. Revelations feels like it has taken that testing and created the ‘final product’, if you will. I never expected Assassin’s Creed to have a multiplayer that was worth playing or even good, but here it is.
In conclusion – Assassin’s Creed Revelations is a fabulous game that builds on the previous experiences in both the single player and the multiplayer. The core gameplay mechanics are all the same but it has not yet reached saturation point, thankfully. The story is lengthy and fans of the previous games will enjoy getting more of it, and the reintroduction of the interesting and unique multiplayer mode serves to increase the longevity of the game. Revelations is more than worthy of your money, whether you’re familiar with the franchise or entering for the first time.