Once again we return to the land known as Desmond’s genetic memory. I don’t know about other Assassin’s Creed fans, but this year has been a year of worry for me. As of July 2010, there was no AC scheduled for release in 2011. Then magically in November 2010, there was suddenly going to be a new AC in 2011. This troubled me because it only gave about a year for the game to be completed; and while I know that Brotherhood came out a year after AC2, it was planned that way. Also, Creative Director Petrice Desilets (who had worked on the first three AC games) had left Ubisoft, leaving me wondering about the future of the storyline and overall quality of the series. Still, I went in with high hopes.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations starts off where Brotherhood left off. Desmond is in a coma, Lucy is (supposedly) dead , and you are now with some of the other assassins that you learned about via e-mail in Brotherhood. While sitting comatose in the Animus, there is an error and you end up in a lost memory space where the only way to get out is to complete the memory of your ancestors so the Animus can tell you apart. Get all that? Good.
As far as Ezio goes, you begin with him escaping death at Masyaf. That AC: Revelations E3 trailer? That’s how the game starts. You’re there to get into Altair’s vault and find out what secret it holds. The problem is you need to get five keys to open the door, and the Templars already have one. Thus begins Ezio’s last journey.
Ezio may be getting up there in age, but with age comes experience; and it’s shown like never before in Revelations. Ezio’s counters and executions are by far the most gruesome, but also the most efficient I’ve seen in the series. Kill streaks are back, and the longer your kill streak, the more brutal the kills become. Once I saw Ezio take his sword and pierce it through the face and down the throat of a kneeling enemy, I knew the kills in this game would be something special.
The hook blade replaces the double blade this time around, and the way Ezio uses it makes enemies turn into rag dolls. Besides making the killer from “I Know What You Did Last Summer” jealous, the hook blade also used to latch on to rooftops and other objects, assist with climbing higher at a faster rate, or hook guards as you run past them. I was skeptical of its use when I first heard of it, but I have confirmed that it is indeed AWESOME!
Another very helpful item introduced in Revelations is bombs. There are three types: Lethal, Tactical, and Diversionary. Lethal bombs will injure or kill enemies. Tactical will disorient, slow down, or hinder enemies. Diversionary will draw attention away or toward the specific area targeted. Each bomb is made out of three parts. The shell determines if the bomb detonates on impact, bounces, has a trip wire, or is timed. The gun powder determines area of effect. Finally the special ingredient determines what type of bomb it actually is. You gather ingredients throughout the city, off of dead enemies, or by buying them from shops. There are many types of bomb recipes that can greatly change the way you approach situations. Once again, great addition to the series.
The increased detail in visuals is very noticeable. There is no drastic change but faces, clothing, weapons, everything is more detailed. This was to a fault, however, since in certain areas of the game the frame rate suffered. It was very noticeable not only in snow-covered Masyaf, but also in the city at times; especially when using explosives. The bulk of AC:R takes place in Ottoman occupied Constantinople; known today as Istanbul. The architecture is a combination of Middle Eastern and European design. While the flow of free running was a focal point in previous AC games, it has definitely improved in Revelations. You can almost seamlessly get from the ground to rooftops and vice versa.
One of the greatest addition to the cityscape is zip lines. They aid in the smooth flow of running from rooftop to rooftop, and provide a way to get the drop on enemies. The city is divided into multiple districts that are noticeably different from each other. I assume they did this to remedy the fact that the bulk of Rome was identical. Which area of the city you are in will determine which faction of guards you will fight. This is the first Assassin’s Creed where you are not in a Templar controlled city and will have multiple factions to fight.
Besides Ottomans, you will also have to contend with Byzantine guards. You can use this to your advantage however. You see, the Byzantine just got finished slurping down a can of GTFO provided by the Ottomans. If you can draw Ottoman and Byzantine guards to the same area, they will begin to fight each other; leaving you free to handle your business. You can usually do this by having some guards chase you into a different area, dropping a dead body or causing an explosion in a central area. Anyway you do it, it’s a sound strategy.