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The newest installment of Assassins Creed Revelations is still the same open and sprawling world that fans have come to know and love. Ubisoft Montreal has managed to produce yet another exciting and excellently crafted foray into the worlds of Assassin’s Creed. Sadly, it will also depress fans to know that Ezio’s story has come to its final chapter.
The overall feeling is that the game, like the highpoint of a feature film, should wrap up any unanswered questions regarding Ezio. As is tradition by now, the cities are beautifully rendered works of art that you happen to be able to climb all over. Constantinople itself is a vast city that features buildings of different heights and angles, a maze that can lead new players astray at first.
Historically accurate, these works of art disguised as set pieces are the play ground for the war between the Assassins and the Templar Order. The Brotherhood element makes a return as well, with wider ranges in character design and a wider variety of training mission’s right out of the gate.
The recruitment missions for brotherhood assassins are also more in depth, requiring a greater amount of work to cultivate a new member of the Assassin Order. The much larger character possibilities for the recruits adds a very natural feel to the game.
If you’ve played through most of the preceding games you’ll find familiarity in the combat system, but find a welcome addition of a secondary weapon wheel which splits the weapon selection interface into two wheels. This is a great improvement from previous games where changing between weapons and tools under pressure could be awkward and frustrating.
You’ll still be able to set weapons and tools for quick use on the D pad, but there are many options to choose from. Surely to the joy of players, the addition of the hook blade is a fantastically tactile weapon that draws you even further into the mayhem. Its use in combat seems just as brutal as the initial introduction of the second hidden blade in the left arm from previous games.
The hook blade also has its advantages in traveling across the city, its tactical advantage is quite clear for roof top assassinations around Constantinople. You’ll need all the help you can get, Archers from past games are gone, replaced with Long Distance Riflemen.
Items found in the natural environment similar to money chests can now create bombs and grenades of sorts that have a much larger affect than in previous games. Not a strong mainline weapon by nature, the use of explosives in the game has always been something of a secondary, not often used feature.
In this iteration however, the Assassins will have their hands full setting these weapons on unsuspecting enemies all across the city in both the single player campaign and the multi-player. Also new is the Den Defense feature, basically a side quest to defend Assassin Den’s from waves of Templar’s.
It isn’t a bad tower defense style gaming extra but it does create noticeable frustration for the player at first when trying to figure out the controls, which only offer brief explanations while playing. This feature has potential to be very addicting but sadly remains unrefined and future versions will require a great deal more polish.
The Eagle Vision feature has also been given a generous upgrade with target path prediction now a standard feature. Ubisoft has given you the ability to know ahead of time, the standard patrol route of any target that you so choose.
Veteran players can breath easier because using the rooftops is a choice rather than a chore, especially since Revelations replaces Archers with Long Distance Riflemen. Additionally, in certain situations, Eagle Vision will ferret out false doors for you as well. The online multi-player brings an entirely new and literal meaning to the phrase ‘know thine enemy well’ as you play the role of a fledgling Templar in Abstergo.
As you play you’ll gain major insight into the inner workings of Abstergo. Right off the bat you’ll have customization options and be able to strategize in game with tons of new game-play modes and rewards. New players will adjust to the learning curve and even veteran players will need to get back into the swing of things.
As a Templar this time around, you’ll still have fun playing this newer more streamlined multi-player. Speaking of new appearances, if you’ve paid attention to the glyphs that Ezio has come across in the last few Assassins’ games you’ll know about Subject 16 and the brief vision that Desmond has of him.
From early on in the first Assassin Creed games we learn that Desmond has been given a message from Subject 16. All is not well at Abstergo Industries, as subjects are kept under lock and key, sometimes for good reason. Desmond’s part in the game is much more engaging than in the past, but still seems to be only an appetizer, rather than a full meal itself.
Also making his presence felt from previous games is Altair, the Assassin from the first Assassins Creed game with the city of Masyaf. His memories are integral to the progression of the game, as they delve into parts of his history not seen in the first Assassins Creed game.
Glimpses into Altair’s life have been featured after the release of the first Assassin’s title but here you’ll have a more fully fledged playing experience as Altair again. At the heart of Assassin’s Creed is still the same game-play that fans will know and love. There are a few changes here and there in the already excellently established game-play elements to keep things fresh.
Ultimately the driving force behind this excellent series has always been its characters, with us experiencing their thoughts and feelings as well as witnessing their actions as we journey through their lives. A gamer may just play the game, but a true fan of the series is emotionally invested in the health of the entire series.
Only time will tell what else can happen in our battle between the Assassins and the Templar’s.