But it’s here!
I thought I’d finally deliver my promise and tackle the single subject that has been bugging me for some time – namely my “review” of Assassin’s Creed Revelations. The past months have been a tad stressful due to personal matters, issues and circumstances and honestly I haven’t felt like writing, truly writing, for a long time. But suddenly that yearning has been reawakened. So here it is – my opinion of Assassin’s Creed Revelations. (Also, in time for the coming of Assassin’s Creed 3)
Putting it shortly – I believe that the game, narrative-wise, is purely for the fans that have played every single installment in so far. We follow the end of both Altair and Ezio, as they near their senior years and the last pages of their books, meaning we pick up were the previous games drops off. With Ezio we follow how he finally comes to find peace amidst turmoil and with Altair we get to see, and play, the last acts of his courageous and crazy life. I’m not going to spoil any further, but I do believe that there are plenty of spoiler videos on YouTube to be seen, if you feel like spoiling the games ending. And that last sentence has way too many spoils in it.
In Revelations, the devil lies in the details. Nods and homages to the previous installments are cleverly hidden in the game in less, and more subtle, discreet ways. The least subtle homage is probably the segment where Ezio and Yusuf infiltrate a garden party in minstrel costumes. Now for those who have played the games are well aware of the irony behind this but to clarify the situation for those less familiar – the minstrels are the most frustrating non-playable characters in the entire series. During this segment one can hear Ezio serenade his reluctant audience with tales of courage, bravery, strife and battles that have followed him throughout his assassin life and career. I have to admit that this was the segment that caused most laughter in myself and in my audience that was watching while I played. I happily wandered around, pressing the action button and listened to Ezio belt out his songs while commanding my small, happy minions to murder some less-innocent party attenders.
Of the most discreet nods to the past games is the music – a perfect blend between what is familiar from Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed 2 and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and what is new for Revelations. I applaud Jesper Kyd once again, but also Lorne Balfe, in creating a perfect concoction of the old and new. Also the inclusion of familiar non-playable characters from earlier installments (such as the beggar ladies from Assassin’s Creed) is another way Ubisoft has succeeded in bringing the old into the new.
Essentially, that may be what Revelation’s is about – a mixture of old and new, the legend of the old, the past, and the coming of the new, of the future. I thoroughly enjoyed Revelation’s except for a few things – mostly the tower defense and the Notoriety system that aggravated me to no end and actually put me off from buying property and reconstructing Constantinople. After a while, however, I got into the run of things and developed a somewhat simple strategy to minimize the risk of having to end up in a Tower Defense situation, much to my own delight and relief. The hook blade was my favorite new feature and the new kill streak animations were the cause of many gleeful “oooh’s”, “aaah’s” and “ouch’s”. And to walk around in the environment bought a greater delight than ever before with the great attention to detail and love for the world that Ubisoft has. Ubi’s developers are clearly aware that players love the series not only because of the story, the blood shed, the violence, the music or anything else but mostly because of the environment, the milieu that one gets to sink into. And sinking into the world of Revelation’s Constantinople was, and is, incredible. My honest reaction was “If this is Revelation’s, what’s Assassin’s Creed 3 going to be like?!”. And well, it’s looking very good for what’s to come.
Rounding off I just want to add that if you want to find out what happens to Ezio after the in-game ending then watch the short, animated film Assassin’s Creed Embers. It sweetly rounds off his life and legacy.
And that’s it.
Revelation’s is a game that, if you’ve been a fan, will fill you with feelings of nostalgia and good memories. If you’re less of a fan – well, Revelation’s will be greatly entertaining and you’ll enjoy all the discreet jokes that are hidden in the game. Oh, and you will be struck by a great urge to play through all the “Ezio Chapter’s” of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and maybe even visit the first Assassin’s Creed.
And now I have one thing less gracing my To-Do Checklist.
In other Assassin’s related things, except my half-assed “review”, written by professional writers and journalists: