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Jan 08 2012

Assasin’s Creed: Revelations

I received the newest installation in the Assasin’s Creed game franchise for Christmas and it has already stolen a big chunk of my life.

The graphics are the typical broodingly beautiful style of the series. Most of the action takes place in the city of Constantinople (not Istabul..sorry, couldn’t resist!).
The story primarily surrounds a family struggle for the Sultanate of the Empire with Ezio being drawn into the fight between one of the contenders and the son of the other. These characters are particularly well realized and I found my self drawn deeply into the story. This in no means takes away from the Templar/ Assassin conflict but adds another interesting twist to the process.

The Italian Assassin Ezio Auditore is the main hero of the story with occasional forays back into the world of Altair from the original game, although these scenarios are really more like guided cut scenes than actual game play. It is interesting to me from a technical standpoint that Ubisoft has elected to make the younger versions of Altair not as detailed as the versions of the older Ezio and very old Altair. This had the effect of making me root all the harder for the older assassins I was controlling.

There are really multiple games going on within the flow of the game. The core story of the game is marked by a strategic/economic mini game used to upgrade the Assassin’s that work with you. There are some puzzle games associated with the Desmond end of the story line that I found more frustrating than interesting. The main point of these seems to be to collect multi-player badges but it is seldom clear what to do or where to go.

There is a minor weapon extension from adding a hook to your hidden blade that allows you to flip over a charging guard or slide down some strategically placed cable throughout the game.

The main weapons extension comes from the introduction of bombs. These fall into three broad categories and can be used for distraction, or for deadly effect either on an impact basis or on a timed basis.

Setting up a fused bomb on the path of a guard group that you have plotted with the use of your eagle vision is satisfying…very satisfying! While you can buy bombs, you can also craft them so this does add another little wrinkle to the game play.

I think my favorite type of bomb are the sticky bag versions that allow you to tag one on a guard who then walks back into a group and blows them all up! Dirty, messy fun!

Once you rescue your love interest in the game there is also a very cool little wagon challenge that ends up in kind of a parasailing sequence. Quite a nice twist.

The back story of the series continues to trickle out and is interesting as it attempts to tie some more pieces of the story.

At my age I can’t spend an inordinate amount of time gaming, but this game did tempt me.

I finished the game today and I found it to be a little smaller in scale than the previous games. The real play was satisfying but as usual I hate the cliffhanger way they end them. Also, while it is amazing to see how many people are involved in a creation of this scale do I really have to go through the entire credits sequence to be able to go back to game play? Painful.

Conclusions:

Gorgeous and very playable Assasin’s Creed: Revelations is a good follow up to the franchise. Don’t expect to have all of your questions answered just yet.

Currently just short of $44 on Amazon.

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