by Chris Davis
reviewed on X360
The Apple and the Eagles (cont)
As a Master Assassin, Ezio is one of the few who are capable of expanding the Assassin Order via territory control and recruitment. Revelations builds on the already great Order creation system this time by allowing you to recruit both random victims of guards as well as specific members who are already skilled such as thieves and the like. Constantinople is divided into a series of districts in the same way that Rome was divided in Brotherhood but unlike the previous game you donít simply burn down the control tower. Instead, you take it over. These Assassin Dens you can get throughout the course of the game allow you to decrease Templar influence in the surrounding area as well as purchase shops and real estate.
You never had to worry about retaining your territory in Brotherhood after you had conquered it but in this new game it can be one of your biggest worries. If you draw too much attention to yourself and donít have a den locked down (which can only be done by levelling up the denís assassin to master level) the Templars may just attack. This triggers what is called Den Defense, a tower defense minigame in which you must hold off waves upon waves of attacking Templar conscripts. During these events you collect morale by killing Templars with assassins from both rooftops and on the ground. You can also set up barriers as well as call in a air strike from a nearby cannon to wipe out large groups of enemies. The result is a fun yet tense mode that, while a small diversion doesnít happen very often to cautious players, is something you will want to keep coming back to play.
The Blood of a Templar
Assassinís Creed Brotherhood introduced us to multiplayer for the first time in the series in a flawed but entertaining experience. Revelations retains much of the same Turing Test multiplayer experience we had last year albeit with strong improvements. No longer does the game encourage conga lines of death: you will find a much more balanced experience here with several new modes that help balance out the hide-and-seek oriented gameplay. Artifact Assault is a take on classic capture the flag in which each time attempts to retrieve the oppositeís First Civilization relic. Treasure Hunt functions much like a traditional domination gametype but probably the most interesting is Deathmatch. Much like how you would have first envisioned Assassinís Creed multiplayer to be, Deathmatch nixes replicated NPC skins in the world as well as your compass. This forces you to rely on your observation skills and the result is quite fun.
There is more to find than just new maps and modes though: the entire experience has been overhauled. Matchmaking seems to work faster and better than it did previously and players will now be rewarded points if they die should they attempt to stun their attacker. You can now unlock and choose different primary and secondary weapons to use in addition to the various perks you could use before. Players can also build clans (called guilds) for organized competitive play. An entire profile can be built now and expanded upon by spending cash earned in-game based on your performance. It is clear that the system is built to last but given the amount of competition the game is facing it is questionable how long it will hold your interest.
Probably the most interesting integration to the multiplayer is its focus on being more narrative driven. Periodically as you increase in rank a cutscene will play before a match begins that sees Warren Vidic, the seriesí main Templar antagonist, talking to you and informing you of the Templarís plans for the world. Some of the characters from the multiplayer actually appear in Ezioís story as well so you can now understand more about how Abstergo is able to train their forces. The more noticeable integration of the multiplayer into the overall experience is certainly a nice touch. Overall the multiplayer seems much more enjoyable than it was with its freshman outing, so for those looking for an alternative to traditional run-and-gun gameplay, this might just keep you coming back.
Victory Lies in Preparation
Assassinís Creed is a series that we are four games into across the span of five years. Several series can lay claim to such a statement but few can still say they are AAA, story-driven experiences. Ubisoft is already hinting that a new game awaits us next year, and while the series doesnít seem to want to be an annual franchise, the past three years have yielded quite a bit of evidence to the contrary. Regardless of this, Revelations serves as a departure for two well known and enjoyed characters, and if the indications in the game's great ending are true, then next yearís title may just be the Assassinís Creed III weíve wanted since 2009. In the mean time however, Revelations is a great singleplayer experience that, while not exactly newcomer friendly, is still a great time to be had for those looking for a good story. It is the best title in the series to date and a must own for series veterans.
The conclusion to two major characterís stories, improved multiplayer
Completely urban-focused environment