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UPDATE:Please be aware that the comments section of this review contains spoilers. Any new posts must include a spoiler tag if required, otherwise it will be deleted.
Ladies and gentleman, it is a glorious moment. After months of discussions, planning and waiting, we can finally present to you the first official Assassin's Creed Wiki game review; and to start things of, we're gonna hit you with one you'll all be wanting to know about: Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
So, without further ado, let us begin.
The series has come a long way since it entered the public eye, way back in 2007. The story followed Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, the white-clad Syrian Assassin as he fought to regain his title and rid the Holy Land of its Templar plague. Fastforward two years, and we were introduced to the charming, confident and slightly flamboyant Italian ladies-man, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, whose quest for vengeance against the men who killed his family helped save all of Italy from a brutal Templar rule.
Now, with Italy safe and Ezio getting on in his years, the time has come for il Mentore to relax a little, and peacefully investigate the origins of his Order; at least, that was the plan. It's a thrilling story, but is Revelations up to the task when to telling it?
Fans of the series will doubtless find that Ubisoft has kept to a winning formula here. Very little, if anything, has been detracted from the game, and that which has disappeared served little use in the first place. However, other changes, some may find, well, not so fitting.
The game starts with an epic introductory trailer depicting Ezio's arrival in Masyaf, the final stop on his journey to locate the mysterious library of Altaïr, and the ensuing battle that occurs when the castle's Templar garrison make their presence known. Escaping certain death, the player is thrown into the middle of Ezio's ascent to the top of Masyaf's fortress, slowly easing the player back into the role of an aged, but still capable, Assassin Grand Master.
As mentioned above, Ubisoft have added a lot to the series this time around, and whilst some may not find all the new features particularly thrilling or entirely well placed, others will appreciate the attempt to expand on Ezio's repertoire. Foremost among the new features, and probably the only one you truely cannot complete the game without, is the Hookblade.
Introduced as a tool in use by the Constantinople Assassins Guild for decades before his arrival, Ezio's first experience with the hookblade has him racing to the top of Galata Tower against the local Guild lead, Yusuf Tazim. A breif introductory mission details the new features offered by the hookbade, which includes extended jumps and climbing (replacing the Metal Cestus in this regard), and the ability to "hook and run" over guards. Soon after finishing his lesson however, word reaches the Assassins' that their Den in the Galata District is under attack from Byzantine Templars. This brings us to the next major feature to be introduced to the series, Den defence.
Effectively a point-and-click affair, den defence is simple enough once you get the hang of it, with the tutorial mission easing you into the stride of things. After that however, the pace quickly ramps up; the next time I had to defend on of my dens, I was confronted by what seemed like thousands of Byzantine soldiers, and with little in the way to defend my Den with, it fell in short order.
All of this of course, takes second place in Ezio mind; his sole mission is to obtain the Masyaf keys and open the dor to the library. In this, Ezio is aided by the beautiful and booksmart Venetian, Sofia Sartor, who in exchange for several rare and valuable books, offers to decode the location of each key in the city. Ubisoft handled the developmet of what would eventually become Ezio's married relationship well; in these missions, Ezio shows that, despite his age, his boyish charms and flare for impressing the ladies still shines through. It's when Ezio gets his hands on the Masyaf keys that things really get interesting.
It's here that fans of the series truely get rewarded for their hard work over the past few years, with the return of the first Assassin we ever met: Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. Accessing each seal allows Ezio to view a memory recorded on it by Altaïr. The majority of these memories, much like the Cristina memories in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, re-tell a story that's already been told, this time in the form of Niccolò Polo's journal entitled The Secret Crusade; however a couple depict new, unseen parts of the Syrian Assassin's life.
Each of these memories depicts Altaïr in all his glory, giving him access to the full speed and skill possessed by his spiritual successor, Ezio, years later; faster climbing and combat streaks serve to make Altaïr seem even more awesome that he ever has before. These memories also serve to put a face to many of the characters mentioned in The Secret Crusade, such as Darim Ibn-La'Ahad and Niccolò and Maffeo Polo, where Darim's resemblance to another of the series new faces is made apparent.
Unfortunately, for all the good the game does, somethings just haven't worked out as well as Ubisoft hoped for. First and foremost among these is one of the new features that had been highly publicised by Ubisoft during it's marketing campaigns; the bombs. Whilst the game certainly gives you plenty of oppertunity to use these new-fangled weapons, even presenting you with a few dedicated missions, their practical use throughout the game is limited. Very few missions require you to actually use these devices, with some series fans likely finding alternative methods of completing their mission before the thought of using the bombs ever entered their mind. A grand idea on paper, but one that should likely have been fleshed out and exploited more by Ubisoft.
Side-missions are also distinctly lacking in this latest entry to the series. For reasons which will become apparent to those who play, the "Truth" puzzles of the last two games are no longer present, and nothing has been brought in to replace them. Also missing are the secret locations and Lairs of Romulus of previous games; instead, fans are offered the mission of obtaining "Animus fragments", which open up the possibilty of playing several dedicated Desmond missions which, despite their interesting, puzzle based premise, fail to fully capitalise on the fans' desires to "play" as their modern-day protagonist.
Things in the modern day "real world" setting seem somewhat lacking all in all, with the only really interesting developments coming in the form of the now customary character voice-overs. The presence of Desmond's only real companion in these sections could also have been exploited further, but the game certainly does the job in this regard, and it does it well.
All in all, Assassin's Creed: Revelations is a well put-together piece of kit; offering fans of the series things they have been craving for close to five years now. The game does stumble at times, with the story falling flat at some points, but making up for it in others. Things start to get a little complicated towards the very end, however, fans will doubtless be left with the mouths agape at the revelations thrown onto them at the end of it all.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations offers a fitting end to both Ezio Auditore and Altaïr's stories, though things don't quite finish there. The story of Ezio final years are covered in Assassin's Creed: Embers, a must for anyone when they have completed the game. Certainly, Revelations is one of the best games in the series, if not the best, and it will be interesting to see where Ubisoft take the story next.
*Graphics: *Gameplay: *Story: *Replayabilty: *Multiplayer: *Innovation: *Final score:
8/10 7/10 7/10 9/10 7/10 9/10 9/10
Without a doubt, the best moment in-game is the final cinematic, which serves to provide the player with even more backstory, this time in an explosively awesome fashion.