by Chris Davis
reviewed on X360
Nothing Is True
Ubisoft surprised us all in 2007 when they fought back 'sequelitis' and rolled the dice with Assassin’s Creed. The time-bending title drew fans into the fray stronger than most would have imagined due to a brilliantly secretive marketing campaign and remarkably unusual storyline. Ultimately a flawed title, it was two years before we saw a sequel to Creed, but with it came massive improvements and the series’ woven story, like a knitter that doesn’t know when to stop, turned from a blanket into a tapestry of conflict and revenge. Its third iteration released just last year, Brotherhood, took protagonist Ezio Auditore da Fierenze to Rome to battle the infamous Borgia clan. Ubisoft didn’t think that Ezio’s story was quite done however, and as such we have Assassin’s Creed Revelations, the final chapter in his life.
Everything Is Permitted
Shortly after Desmond Miles and company discovered and retrieved the Apple of Eden he fell into a coma after being forced to end the life of his mentor and partner Lucy Stillman. Desmond awakens trapped in the Animus, stuck on a construct island designed to test the system’s ability to recreate the world of the past. On the shores of this computative consciousness he finds out that the machine is having trouble differentiating his memories from both Ezio Auditore and Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. Until he can defragment himself from their memories, Desmond will not be able to awaken in the real world. Seeing no alternative, he dives right in.
Unlike Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood there is a lot less focus on revealing the truth about the secret war that has spanned over a thousand years. Instead what we have here is a far more personal story that tells of Ezio Auditore’s final days as an assassin as well as what happened to Altaïr after the death of Al Mualim. Although the now aged Ezio has a personable tale, it is the shunned tales of Altaïr that most Assassin’s Creed fans are most anticipating. Luckily our original hero gets his just dues in Revelations. Throughout the story of Revelations you will be revealed a part of Altaïr’s story, each one chronologically showing the various events in his life that both could and could not be shown through the traditional use of the Animus. These vignettes, though short, are actually quite sweet in content and tell you quite a bit about the man who nearly ended the Third Crusade. For a franchise fan, it is great to step back into Altair's boots after such a long and unfair absence.
Revelations also attends to other fan desires by detailing the backstory of Desmond. By collecting Animus data fragments scattered throughout Ezio’s world you can unlock memory segments from the base construct world. Played as first person puzzles, these levels give you more information about Desmond’s upbringing and lead up to his capture by Abstergo before the beginning of the first game. These levels get increasingly harder as you go along but there is no cost to attempting them and you might find them quite informative. If anything they are a refreshing break from the grind of climbing, exploring and killing.
The Apple and the Eagles
Ezio may no longer be the young man he was when he sought revenge for the death of his father and brothers but he still has what he needs where it counts. In fact, it is fair to suggest that he is an even more capable warrior than when he was starting out thanks to a motley of new weapons, items and enhancements. Revelations’ combat system, building on what was used in Brotherhood, keeps the killstreak ability while adding the ability to steal from the enemy in the middle of a counter move. Ezio can also move and use his Eagle Vision at the same time now which is something the series has long since needed.
The biggest newcomer to Ezio’s arsenal apart from the various constructible bombs, comes in the form of his new hidden blade: the hook blade. Functioning exactly like a traditional hidden blade, this new version allows for both combat and movement enhancements. For example, one can use it as a tripping tool when charging at an enemy, effective when attempting to knock down, but not kill, a fleeing enemy. It also serves as an aid while climbing and jumping between ledges which make for faster free running. Throughout Constantinople you will also find ziplines that you can use your hook blade on which is especially handy.
The conclusion to two major character’s stories, improved multiplayer
Completely urban-focused environment