28 September 2012

Assassin's Creed Week: Dissecting The Creed: Assassin's Creed Revelations (2011)

(Note: This feature was written as part of Assassin's Creed Week, previous entries on Assassin's Creed, Assassin's Creed 2 and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood are also available on the blog.) 

Assassin's Creed Revelations featured an older Ezio, now in his fifties the master assassin was in search - not of revenge - but of answers. And while age may not have tired him Revelations nonetheless felt tired. It's not a bad game by any means but it felt like a minor upgrade compared to the sweeping improvements between Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed 2.

Even Brotherhood had seemed more a jump forward for the series. Revelations brought two primary new elements to the series. Firstly the zip-line. Istanbul was at least as large as Brotherhood's Rome and more urbanised with the option of riding through the city removed players needed a new way to navigate the Gateway to the East. 

The zip-line was the solution, by replacing the right hidden blade with a hook Ezio was able to traverse the rooftops of the city almost a third faster than had previously been possible. 

The second addition was an extension of the Borgia tower dynamic introduced in Brotherhood. This time Byzantines (who replaced the infamous Italian family) could fight back and wrest control of an area you had previously captured. While not a bad idea on paper in practice gamers were forced to defend their towers in poorly implemented tower defence style mini-game.    

After the initial (compulsory) tutorial mission in this mode they became significantly harder (or at least I found them too). As soon as your tower fell, which it often did, you could simply recapture it again using the franchises traditional gameplay methods. 

The only way to permanently protect an Assassin's Den was to train a recruit to level 15 and station them permanently in a den. It was a rather clunky and time consuming endeavor which was quite out of touch with the rest of the game, and the series.

Another notable feature of Revelations was Ezio's ability to access the memories of Altair. Yet these sections were sadly underused as was the underground city of Cappadocia. 
Revelations had two legendary assassins.
Altair's memories, accessed through the Keys scattered throughout Constantinople and needed to access the Assassin's Vault in Masyaf. 

Yet the Medieval killer's memories were woefully neglected and could have had far greater scope or at the very least have lasted somewhat longer. Though this time around Altair had a more appropriate accent than the American twang he utilised throughout the first Assassin's Creed.  

Ultimately Revelations was about resolution and perhaps that would have been a more fitting title. It was the conclusion of Ezio and Altair's stories. It was story of Ezio finally finding love and settling down (though he temporarily returned to the fray in Assassin's Creed Embers, an animated short). 

While Desmond's story told through his collapsing mind in the Animus White Rooms were a commendable tribute to fans as we discovered more about both Subject 16 and Subject 17. The art style of this section of the game - modern and monolithic - was a notable standout and while the gameplay in these sections may have felt clunky at times Ubisoft told Desmond's tale in a way few games have tried before. 

And any game that tries to push the boundaries of storytelling in this medium are to be commended, even if they don't quite achieve what they set out to.  

Both the initial carriage race and the concluding one, as well as Ezio's very long tumble off a cliff seemed unnecessarily dramatic and unrealistic (even for a series where hay will save you from a height of any jump). But that's besides the point, there are two parts to Revelations: the story and the gameplay.

And while the latter has to take precedence the former did all that it set out to do - pave the way for a new era and a new assassin.

No comments:

Post a Comment