Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Genre: Action/Adventure Players: One Multiplayer - 4-8 Launch Date: 11th November 2011
Love it or hate it the Assassins Creed games are successful and make money year in and year out after another year comes another game. Assassins Creed Revelations is the game that Ubisoft claims will finally draw a close to all three protagonists from the games over the last few years. The question on everybodyís lips though is, does Assassins Creed: Revelations have what it takes to stand up to the other games in the series? Does this one innovate enough on the last game or is the series slowly dying a painful death due to yearly iterations and lack of new ideas? Read on as we delve into what we think of the game. Gameplay - 9/10
To sum up the gameplay in Assassins Creed would no doubt take quite awhile, the games started off with having lots of things to do and activities to take part in and over the years, they have only had more stuff added into the mix to create an even more immersive experience in the life of an assassin. If you have ever played an Assassins Creed game before then you will no doubt know that the formula hasnít changed over the years and the games still stay true to the series roots. If you havenít played any of the games before then youíre no doubt in for a real treat. So letís start with the basics, youíre an assassin or in this case, youíre two assassins from two different time eras and a person who is stuck inside the animus and trying to escape. When playing as the assassins Ezio and Altair, the world really is your playground as you can scale up buildings and take to the rooftops for some over the top fun parkour antics. If that isnít your style then you have a library it seems of assassination tools at your disposal, from being able to create bombs to buying new and improved weapons to changing your armour, you can literally become the assassin that you want to be. But enough about the items available to you, lets talk about the story and how it is told to you. Obviously trying to interwine three stories and make them somehow come to a conclusion in any game is always going to be a problem. Somehow though the way Ubisoft Montrial has set the story up helps solve the problem almost perfectly.
So where did i leave my ladder?
When you start the game you are met with controlling Desmond the guy that is stuck in the animus and the person who is retelling the stories of Altair and Ezio, after finding out that you need to complete the stories in order to help you break out of the animus you then find yourself controlling Ezio who is your primary character from the rest of the game. As you play through Ezios final story you will be tasked with finding five keys that will open a door, when you find each key you will unlock the ability to fulfil some more of Altairs story and help Ezio realise why they related. An interesting point to make is that further information about these keys and the back story, can be found in the Assassins Creed novel titled The Secret Crusade. This is not all though as if you go around the world looking for the collectibles which come in the shape of Animus Shards you will also be able to unlock more of Desmondís story. Whilst the two additional stories arenít particularly that long, they do help to offer some insight into the story that Ezio is playing out and will no doubt give greater meaning to what the other games have been leading up to. Altairs segments are rather short but offer enough back story to come away satisfied when tasked with taking on Ezio again. The main game play difference as a whole though comes from playing as Desmond, when you are on Animus Island you control Desmond in the third person view, but when taking on parts of his story the view switches to first person. What follows though is a rather dismal attempt at trying to tell Desmondís story under the rules of figuring out very simplistic puzzles from getting to point A to be B. Whilst this was a nice change of pace from the main game it did in fact feel poorly implemented as a whole. The story itself is quite long and will no doubt take some time to progress through; the story also comes with its own set of challenges that can borderline on the quick and fast type to the type where you need to stay stealthy for a whole segment of mission or level. You may ask why this is, and in this case if you do manage to fulfil the requirements you will be granted full synchronisation to the story. The multiplayer aspect of the game is greatly improved upon from that of Brotherhood, the game comes packed to the brim it seems with game modes that will no doubt keep any player happy and content whilst they try to achieve maximum rank. Some of the game modes work really well and are really fun to play whether youíre a fan of Assassins Creed or not. The excitement you feel when watching out carefully for your target whilst trying to be as stealthy as possible to avoid being killed yourself is where the fun lies in the multiplayer. Other game modes themselves though are rather uninspired and not a whole lot of fun to play through, granted many players will enjoy them for what they are but others will also despise of them like I did. In addition to being spoilt with many different modes of play for the multiplayer, youíre also given an in-depth tutorial of how the multiplayer works when you first start to play the game, the tutorials are simple but yet effective and wonít take up that much of your time. Granted they canít teach you all the tricks and tips needed to come out on top of the multiplayer, but they set you on the right track to becoming a master assassin. If that isnít enough for you either then the game features and unlockables system that rivals other games such as Call of Duty, for every game that you take part in you are given experience to spend how you choose, these points can be spent on a many different aspects of the game, from changing parts of the many multiplayer characters available from weapons to clothing. To also unlocking online name badges and abilities that can be used to get the upper hand. So as a whole whilst the single player is still pretty much the same game you have come to love over the years, certain areas have been added in to help the overall story, whilst parts of it work and others donít its still nice to see some fresh ideas being added into the game. As for the multiplayer side of things, it is without a doubt one of the funniest online games I have played in awhile and will continue to play for some time. The game is extremely well balanced and having that rush of finding out who your next contract is whilst hiding in a corner somewhere as never been so exciting before.
Climbing big buildings...Just a day in the life of a master assassin Graphics - 8/10
Revelations uses the same graphics engine since the first game, with minor tweaks to the overall engine though the game games have always looked as fresh and as tidy as ever. With that said the same can be said for this title though, with a few enhancements to how the world looks and feels the world of Constantinople ends up looking fantastic with a huge draw distance to boot. With the game being set hundreds of years back, it is great knowledge to know that all of the buildings and artwork that is littered around the huge world of Constantinople seems to fit and match perfectly to the era that it tries so hard to be. Character models are starting to look a little on the dated side though now, this is mainly down to the facial animations look rather stiff and some characters can look a little rough around the edges at times. Apart from that though they all look good and are all kitted out in the appropriate fashion of clothing that would have been worn in those times. You will be glad to know that with the hundreds of NPCs that can be displayed on screen at once, compared with the amount of buildings in the game, loading times are kept at a bare minimum and with the added bonus of barely are pop in or texture issues. For a game that features the sheer size of this world, itís a massive effort to pull off but the Ubisoft Montreal has managed to do it. The presentation style of the game is pretty well laid out though, with the menus and map system working better then ever before, however the multiplayer menu can seem a little convoluted at times and it isnít until you have spent some time with it that you realise there are multiple levels to the menu system. Itís common knowledge that some games that feature multiplayer modes normally scale down the graphic capability to help support the multiplayer and make it as fluent as possible. Because Revelations only supports eight players this isnít an issue and if anything the worlds end up appearing to be more lively then ever before, not only that but the worlds are still as rich and colourful if not more then what can be seen in the single player game. So overall Assassins Creed: Revelations is a still a graphical spectacle to behold on a system that is nearly as old as the graphics engine. Many fans are asking Ubisoft to take some time out and spend time creating a newer engine which will make the game shine even more, and whilst I have to agree with them, but with that said the engine that is in use now could quite easily continue on for a few more years.
If hes not careful, he's going to have somebodys eye out with that Sound - 8/10
The strongest point in this area is by far the voice acting, with how the developers have tried to wrap up all three individual stories, the way the stories are told is really important for the end product. With that said the developers also needed to make sure they brought back all of the original voice actors to put in stellar performances for what is to be their characters final swan song. No matter whom the character is or was the voice work is indeed spot on, the accents are all captured correctly and you really feel immersed into the trials and tribulations that the characters need to get through in order to reach their end goal. A back up factor to how stellar the voice work is in game though is that, how many games can you honestly say you have played and by passed a NPC only to over hear their conversation? From overhearing it you decide to stay put and listen in to what they have to say followed by the return conversation from the NPC that they was talking to. Well this is the case in Revelations, if you walk the streets you will never feel along as there is always chatter to be heard and footsteps in the distance as well as other noises that make the world feel whole. The music that ties into the background of the game is also pretty decent, and no matter what you are up to in game there is a sound to accompany it. If you are taking a walk along the rooftops or the city streets and are up to no good, you will be met with a contemporized orchestral score to accompany you on your travels. However if you decide that you want to go around slaying everything that moves then be ready for the music to change as you find yourself getting chased across the rooftops that you were just walking so silently across. All of the sounds and sound effects transition over to the multiplayer aspect also, but as said in the gameplay area, in multiplayer you need to sit back and take your time and listen for the odd sounds of your foes or contracts being assassinated to help pinpoint where your target is without giving yourself away. Overall the music and sound that is delivered in game, is spot on to the time zone that the game is set in. There are no out of place sound effects or music and everything just seems to fall right into place. The voice work from both the main cast of actors and the sub-cast of actors help to draw you into the story.
Such a gorgeous site to behold Difficulty - 8/10
Assassins Creed can easily be summed up as one of those games where itís easily about as difficult as you make the game out to be. With no apparent difficulty settings and being left to explore an open world on your own, depending on how you go about tackling your foes will determine how hard the game will be just by finding out if you can handle multiple enemies at once or counter an attack efficiently and effectively. The difficulty does start to ramp up a little bit by the time you get half way through the game and youíre expected to get through areas unseen by other enemies or even take on multiple foes at any given time, but if you have managed to get that far into the game already then with a little practice and perseverance this is nothing too difficult and in your own time whilst exploring you will make steady progress through the game. Doing the challenges may prove tough for some players as like the name says they do offer some challenge by asking the player to complete certain actions in certain circumstances. If youíre not a pro at the series then you may find a few of these hard to do but veterans will easily figure them out. The multiplayer is really where you will find out how difficult the game actually is though, as it is the multiplayer where youíre going to be honing your assassin skills against the worlds elite, and let me tell you if youíre an assassin who likes to run in and tackle people to the ground, then maybe this isnít the correct game for you. Slight mistakes on multiplayer will easily get you noticed and therefore killed making this a tricky game to get used to, watching out for certain actions or suspicious behaviour, they are all skills your going to need to learn in order to improve your multiplayer game and earn those precious points towards levelling up. All in all the single player of the game isnít too tricky, if you spend your time just doing the story you wonít have a problem as long as you think logically and stick with it, finding collectibles may prove to be tough but with a good guide these wonít be a problem. Multiplayer is really where youíre going to need to step your game up though and single player is the perfect place to master the game in order to do so.
Trying so hard to blend in with the crowd Achievements - 8/10
This list will easily prove to be a little like marmite, many gamers will love it and many will dislike it. Depending upon how you play the game will depend on how many achievements you gain on your progress towards becoming a master assassin and completing the game. The list though is comprised of achievements for progressing through the story and getting all of the animus shards that are left scattered around the world. For people who hate collectibles then you will be happy to know that if you do find all of the shards not only will you get an achievement but for each number of shards you collect you unlock a new level in Desmondís story, these also come with added achievements for completing each of them. There are also oddball achievements for poisoning ten enemies in a row whilst they are still dazed and killing five enemies whilst disguised within the smoke of a smoke grenade, some of these sorts of achievements may seem tricky and will no doubt require a certain spot in game that will make them easier to obtain then other areas. Not to forget that the multiplayer portion of the game also comes with its own fair share of achievements, and many will be happy to know that the multiplayer achievements are not too taxing and probably wonít take all that long to achieve if you know how to go about obtaining them. The achievement that may take the longest in this area would be the levelling up to multiplayer level twenty. But with more ranks to go way past twenty you will soon reach your target after a few hours of play. So with the list being compiled of single player and multiplayer achievements as well as two different sets of collectible achievements and a few oddball and weaponry related ones to boot, the list is a fairly decent one and the hardcore fans will no doubt find it to be one of the easier lists in the Assassins Creed franchise. Do not be fooled though as to gain all of them will no doubt take some time on your part. Summary
Overall the series is starting to show its age and maybe just maybe Ubisoft should start to think about giving the franchise a rest for a year so the development studio behind the games can come up with new ideas or even a new engine. Whilst the game is extremely well polished the engine is showing its age and it will only be so long before fans start to complain they want something new added into the mix. With the single player taking you a good amount of time to complete and the also improved multiplayer that is indeed very fun to play, you will no doubt easily get your moneys worth from this package and more. This is one of those games that you will be able to keep coming back to from time to time and exploring more of the world that Assassins Creed Revelations has to offer whilst also finding certain areas you never knew existed. People wonder why Assassins Creed is so successful and this game is easily the best way to show off that, past mistakes are corrected and new ways to play are added to stop it from being the same old game from previous years. But this doesnít take away that the franchise needs to start to reinvent before it gets too late.