zor's Assassin's Creed: Revelations (PlayStation 3) review

Very little gets revealed in Revelations

Let's get this out of the way at the start, Assassin's Creed: Revelations is filler, nothing significant happens in it that a fan of the series needs to see. However, that isn't to say that the game is bad, but it is below average. Despite the title, very little gets revealed during this game. Mostly it just repeats the already known main points of the series' story line. The game controls about the same as it did in the last title in the series, which is to say that it works correctly about 70 percent of the time. Another point against it is that the additions to the game doesn't change enough to make the experience feel new. On a positive note, the game still looks good, and is one of the few titles that actually makes a city feel like a city by having a lot of people in it. If you have played Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, then there little reason for you to play this one, if you haven't, then you might want to play that one instead of Assassin's Creed: Revelations.

I need to mention that this game has a multiplayer element to it, which I did not use. It wasn't because I didn't have an interest in it, but because the game uses an online pass system. And since I rented the game, I did not have this pass (nor did I buy one).

Sadly this picture is one of the more memorable things about this game.

The degree to which a story matters for a game differs from series to series, as well as from title to title in a series. Recently the Assassin's Creed series has gone the way of a yearly installment scheme, so the story it gives is now more important then ever since it should be one of the biggest differences between the titles. However, the story in Assassin's Creed: Revelations does little to advance the overall plot of the series, which makes the title feel shallow and pointless. The problem is that the main story for the game takes the user on a long trip to reveal what was already shown in the last title. A few new faces and places are introduced, but most of them are not relevant to the overall story. And the one that are, gets very little screen time, so their impact on the story in minimal. The only meaningful information that comes out of Revelations is some background information on Desmond, which happens during five optional locked side missions. Thinking back on it, if I had skipped this title, I would still know all that I needed to know about the series to play the next one without missing a beat.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations tries to add or change a few elements in the series, but these attempts don't amount to much. The first change element you'll notice is the hub world, in previous Assassin's Creed games the hub, central location, was a building where you could interact with other people though conversations or email. This time around the hub is a bland island that just has a portal to the main game and smaller ones to locked side missions. Certain story events happen in the hub, but they are handled poorly which makes them insignificant in the end. The hub island also gives a isolated feeling which in turns makes it feel like the game's story doesn't connect to the overall story for the series, and therefore doesn't matter.

Taking down 2 enemies at the same time is still awesome

Territory control, taking over locations on the map to expand the user influence, has been changed since the last game to include more dynamic elements to it. Now when you take over a tower you have to defend it by playing a tower defense mini-game when the Templers, the series main villain group, attacks it, or you'll lose it and have to retake it. These attacks happen when you raise your notoriety high enough by fighting or buying locations. Overall the tower defense mini-game is rather boring, it has a simple design of buying towers and blockers, and feel like a chore since you have to stop what you were doing so that you can go fight your way to the mini-game to play it. The other addition to territory control happens in the mission interface menu for your assassins, where you send your recruited assassins off on quests to earn experience and money. This time you have to maintain control over cities by doing the missions for them or you will eventually lose them. If you control a city then you'll earn items, money, and experience for garrison assassins at that location. However, this mode suffers from the required maintain problem, which in turn makes it feel like a chore and not a fun mini-game.

As far as game play mechanics are concern there are two major additions to the formula. The first is the hook blade, which replaces the second hidden blade, that adds a few new abilities to speed things up. It is now easier to grab onto ledges, or scale up a wall by jumping. It also allows to quick movement over a enemy if you are trying to run past them, by allowing you to roll over them. The other new item are bombs, which are a projectile device that can be used to destroy, distract, or impair enemies. You can make bombs that simply explode, to kill enemies, ones that release smoke, to blind them, or even ones that make noise, to lure enemies to a location. There are many different types of bombs and for the most part they are useful and fun. These two new items alter the game play slightly, but they don't alter it enough to make the experience feel fresh.

You can now use zip lines to quickly get across roof tops.

The controls in Assassin's Creed: Revelations sometimes work amazingly, but other times they can be horribly unresponsive. Combat for the most part usually works well enough by allowing the user to attack, counter attack, dodge, grab, and throw projectiles at enemies. But where it has problems is in its targeting mechanics and path finding. All too often you'll find yourself targeting the wrong enemy or unable to target one that is above you, which usually results with you getting stabbed in the back by your intended target. Or you'll be chasing someone across roof tops only find yourself jumping off in a random direction to your death, or not jumping at all when you get to an edge. Making these worst is the fact that these issues have been around for the last few games and still haven't been fixed. It isn't that there aren't solutions for these control issues, the Batman Arkham series has amazing controls with similar mechanics, but more of the fact that it doesn't appear that they believes this is a problem worth fixing.

The technically aspect for the game are generally adequate, the visual are great, the music and sound effects are average, and the game runs at an acceptable speed. The visual details on units and locations are decent, but where it really shines is in the number of units that get displayed on screen. One of the things that the Assassin's Creed series has going for it is its ability to put a lot of NPCs on screen. In most other games when you enter a city you will see about 8 characters standing about, in Assassin's Creed you'll see dozens of characters walking around. And it is this illusion of population that makes the environment feel alive. Next the game's music, sound effects, and audio conversations are average which makes them unremarkable and quickly forgettable. There are no sweeping musical scores or hilarious banter in the game. It is like the audio department decided to do its job, but not try to do anything beyond that. Lastly the game is stable and only has a few bugs or other issues. One of the few issues it does have technically are the slows downs that happen while accessing menus. It only takes a few seconds to access them, but since you have to use them often like the map, those few seconds add up.

Hay farmers must get a lot of love from the Assassins.

Overall Assassin's Creed: Revelations has a minor impact on the series by adding and changing a few things, however, it does not go far enough with this effort. It is this lack of significant change that causes the game to feel shallow and unimportant. It isn't a bad game, but it also isn't a good game either. And because of all of this I cannot recommend this game.

Posted by CJduke

This is a good review. I love the series, and Revelations is $30 on Amazon right now so I have been tempted to get it. Your review is another reason that will prevent me from buying this game any time soon, if I ever do buy it.

Posted by Konstantinov

Not to get in a quarrel, but there was a lot revealed in Revelations. While I don't want to argue a lot of your review, for the simple fact that although I disagree with some points, you did a good job pointing out things and summarizing. However, I will have to vehemently disagree with your statement that nothing is revealed in this game.

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