Assassin’s Creed: Revelations marks the end of Ezio’s gaming trilogy. He has felt betrayal, fought for revenge, seen things no other man has seen, and gotten down with EVERY woman in Italy. Now in his early 50’s and having been a badass Assassin for more than 30 years, Ezio is old, pissed off, and ready for retirement. With Constantinople, the crossroads of the world, as the new Assassin playground, Ubisoft Montreal has outdone itself with a powerful story and the best gameplay the series has yet to see.
- Press Start:
Revelations starts similarly to past Assassin’s Creed games. A standard menu with the awesome logo pops up, but the first thing you will notice is the music. A sorrowful melody that sends waves of regretful tranquility rises up with the menu, and instead of the white upon silver of the original animus, a black upon blue virtual horizon stretches out. You are in the dirty depths of the animus, where not even the sunlight can reach you.
- Story: 5/5
The story of Ezio’s final days as an Assassin is the best the series has ever seen. The story takes some interesting turns along the way, and this time around there are more characters than previous installments, leading to a fuller-feeling world and better dialogue. Constantinople is a versatile place where cultures from across the globe meet and sell things, and the people that Ezio befriends there reflect the city’s diversity.
Revelations is far more cinematic than past titles, with facial animation taking a leap and conversations feeling more refined. The animations are more fluid, but the Assassination scenes after Ezio catches his pray are overall the same. Ezio almost dies a lot more often than usual, and there were even a few heart-pounding moments in Revelations that rivaled those of Modern Warfare. This is how Assassin’s Creed always should have been.
Ezio will also occasionally, for reasons I won’t spoil, take mental trips into the past and revisit the lost days of his ancestor, Altair. These segments are awesome, and tell the tale of Altair’s life before and after the Original Assassin’s Creed takes place. These were some of my favorite cinematic segments of Revelations, and told some very heart-tugging stories.
In case you were wondering, Desmond Miles, who does make an appearance in Revelations, has gotten himself trapped in the depths of the Animus (which makes sense if you have finished Brotherhood) and is fighting for his sanity. Unfortunately, Desmond’s role in the stories of his ancestors grows smaller with every new game, and it’s not hard to see why. Desmond is a flat character, and it’s hard to care about him when you have such individuals as Altair and Ezio hogging the spotlight. Desmond’s gameplay has been reduced to walking around a virtual environment and FPS-like segments in the “raw code” of the Animus that tell the story of his life before he was captured by Abstergo, which are actually very interesting from an artistic standpoint, and surprisingly fun. These levels are unlocked by finding Animus Data Fragments around Constantinople, and are completely optional. I would recommend at least trying them out, however, as they are a nice change of pace from regular gameplay.
After two games of revenge and killing, Ezio’s final tale is filled with the wisdom and regret that his old age has brought him. In every piece of advice, every letter to his sister, Claudia, Ezio talks of wishing to end the bloodshed and of all that his life has cost him. He knows it must be done, but wonders if he has done enough for one life. The story is much better for it, as Ezio’s wisdom is a great change from his past of rash action. Make no mistake, Ezio still has a smart mouth, and still flirts with women. Why? Because he’s Ezio. Despite this, Revelations‘ writing and story is still really good, and as good as the story is, the ending is better. The end of Ezio’s final tale is emotionally powerful and very well done, and without spoiling anything I will say that it is one of the best endings I have seen in a video game.
- Gameplay: 5/5
Revelations’ climbing and combat is more or less the same as Brotherhood, but with a few tweaks. First off, Ezio has a few new tricks up his sleeve. One new trick is the Hookblade, a modification of one of Ezio’s hidden blades that allows him more grappling options in fights, faster traversal around the city, and the option to randomly trip anyone you see. It’s a fantastic addition to the Assassin’s creed formula. As usual for a new Assassin’s Creed game, all the animations from previous titles have been brought over with a few new additions. Ezio may not like to fight, but when he does, he uses a few new kills that are extremely brutal. There are also new RTS-like segments where you have to defend your bases from Templar attacks if you draw too much attention in the city (yes notoriety now has REAL consequences).
The new face of the Templars in Constantinople is the Byzantine government, and you will slaughter countless guards as in past games. However, there is a new addition to the standard heavy soldiers and scouts. The Janissaries, the Sultan’s personal army of unstoppable fighters, pose a new kind of threat. The have guns and swords, block everything, and can take quite a few hits. Trust me, you will hate them.
Aside from the standard array of new kills, weapons, armors, and enemies, the newest trick up Ezio’s sleeve is Revelations‘ bomb system. Remember the smoke bombs from Ezio’s first two games? Constantinople brought them back on steroids. Revelations boasts a full bomb-crafting system, complete with different shells, gun powders, and effects such as lamb’s blood and Caltrops. The bombs can range from sticking to guards’ armor and killing everyone in 5 meters to exploding on contact and sending skunk fumes right up nearby guards’ noses. They are extremely useful, and you find materials to make them all over the city.
Besides the new additions to the game, Revelations plays just like Brotherhood but with some tightened animations and less graphical glitches. You can still hire Bandits, Gypsies (the new Courtesans), and Mercenaries to follow you around, and guards will still occasionally float in midair for a second, but nothing worse than that is common. If you enjoy climbing all over a city and feeling like an unstoppable killing machine with an awesome beard, you will have fun with Revelations.
Multiplayer is also back in Revelations, with some slight alterations from Brotherhood’s attempt. It plays pretty much the same, works pretty much the same, but incorporates some new gameplay aspects from the story mode. A decent multiplayer experience that is easy to have some fun with, especially if you work at it.
- Graphics: 4/5
There is nothing particularly different or special about Revelations’ graphics. It looks slightly better than Brotherhood, and Ezio’s armor still has insane amounts of detail, especially the new hidden armor set. There is less pop-in than past Assassin’s Creed games, and Ezio himself has more detail. Overall a slight graphical increase, but nothing you weren’t expecting if you’ve played Ezio’s past games.
- Music: 5/5
If I could give Revelations’ soundtrack a 6/5, I would. This is not only the best music in an Assassin’s Creed game to date, but one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, and it lends great amounts of power and depth to the cinematic moments found throughout the story. You can feel Ezio’s regret and sorrow, but also how much ass he kicks. Composed by the series veteran Jesper Kyd with some help from seasoned composer Lorne Balfe, the soundtrack is expansive and awesome, covering everything from escaping from an exploding ship to exploring underground cisterns. The ending of Revelations would not have been half as good without the great soundtrack. I cannot say enough how much I loved the music in this game.
- Replayability: 3/5
You can pretty much see everything in Revelations in one go. One more play through for achievements may be necessary, but there is no new game plus or difficulties to unlock. The only real replayability comes from the multiplayer, many things for which you unlock in your playthrough of the story. That being said, Revelations is, as most Assassin’s Creed titles, a pretty good length game. To do everything, Revelations easily hits 20 hours, and that’s if you really know what you are doing.
- Final Grade: 5/5
Despite being a one playthrough adventure and some disappointing Desmond-ness, I still loved Revelations. It is the best Assassin’s Creed game so far, and an amazing cinematic experience that finally brings Ezio’s and Altair’s magnificent tales to a fantastic close. I give Assassin’s Creed: Revelations 5/5 silver Italian beards, and a round of applause. This is how Master Assassins end their stories.