Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Review

Instead of putting guards on notice when you commit illegal acts, in Revelations, your actions make it easier for the templars to find where the assassins are active and attack them. Killing civilians and getting into trouble increased templar “awareness,” and the only way to reduce it is to bribe heralds and murder officials. Higher awareness can cause the templars to send assassins after you (in a delicious bit of irony), and they’ll sneak right up and backstab you if you’re not careful. High awareness also can lead to templars attacking your captured districts and attempting to wrest them back from you. This triggers a tower defense-style minigame in which you deploy forces and barricades to kill templar attackers.

While they’re cool at first, the trouble with all these city-controlling systems is that they feel undercooked in terms of game development. You don’t need to take control of the city back from the templars, you just can. It’s perfectly reasonable to play most (or perhaps all) of the game without ever dealing with the districts. The tower defense-style battle can be skipped entirely except for the mandatory tutorial, and even if a headquarters is supposedly under templar attack, it doesn’t have a real effect on you until you wander back over there and deal with it. Otherwise, the headquarters just continues to blink quietly on your minimap, forever.

Revelations also really harps on your using bombs, and provides you a ton of ways to do so. Bombs are the new consumable tool in your inventory, and you get a variety of types and the means to craft your own on the fly, pretty much all the time. Sometimes you’ll be required to make use of bombs to complete an objective, but for the most part, they too feel like an underutilized and under-realized aspect of the game. Keep in mind, you’re returning to Revelations with everything you got in AC2 and Brotherhood — including throwing knives, two hidden blades, parachutes, a hidden gun and poison darts. Add sticky bombs, cherry bombs, tripwire bombs and caltrops bombs to that list and you’ll see why you’ll likely never use most of the capabilities at your disposal. Bombs are nice, but do you need them? Not really.

And in fact, this is the trouble with Revelations in general: You don’t need it. You don’t need another iteration of the same game from a year ago that lacks Uncle Mario and Leonardo da Vinci. You don’t need to try blowing up idiot guards largely unfamiliar with explosives when you have 10 other equally viable dispatch methods at your disposal. While the underlying game is solid, Revelations isn’t nearly enough of a departure from Brotherhood to warrant another full game purchase, at least as far as the single-player experience is concerned.

Multiplayer might be a different matter. It takes the surprisingly fun gameplay of Brotherhood, in which players have to try to pretend to be AI-generated characters and sneak up and kill one another, and expands it greatly. More unlockables, more game modes, more characters and more maps are on offer here, taking the relatively small but interesting offering from the last game and making it a rather large, meaty multiplayer experience. If you liked Brotherhood’s multiplayer, Revelations will more than satisfy with its greater emphasis on team play and just more to do in general.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say that a stronger multiplayer mode, a weak story and several good but somewhat minimal tweaks to the game that was released a year ago make up a worthwhile, full purchase. Make no mistakes, Revelations is good, but it also is built directly on top of everything we saw in 2010. Much of this feels like Brotherhood reskinned.

For Assassin’s Creed nuts, Revelations is a foregone conclusion. For the rest of us who aren’t married to the story or the multiplayer mode, call this one a pass if you already have a copy of Brotherhood (and likewise, skip Brotherhood if you’re interested in Revelations). While it’s more than competent, there’s just not a ton of reasons to revisit the world inside the Animus this time out.

Pros:

  • All the great gameplay that was introduced in Brotherhood returns
  • Further tweaks and refines the gameplay to make Assassin’s Creed better
  • Solid environmental puzzles and good missions
  • Altair missions mix things up sufficiently and collectibles go toward unlocking Desmond’s backstory
  • Great additions to the already admirable multiplayer offering introduced in Brotherhood
  • Old Ezio and Old Altair are awesomely bad-ass

Cons:

  • Basically the same as Brotherhood and not really worth another purchase
  • Gameplay additions are pretty minimal
  • Story lacks real stakes, strong characters
  • Does away with some gameplay elements from Brotherhood, like virtual reality training, for the worse
  • Final Score: 70/100

    Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3

    Follow Hornshaw on Twitter: @philhornshaw.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

8 Comments on Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Review

Heru

On November 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm

And this is exactly why i’m gonna wait on the price drop before getting it.

Lucas

On November 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Great review. Told me everything I needed to know before not purchasing the new revelations. At least for this time around. I can’t wait to see what they do with the “modern” Ezio.

Luke

On November 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm

A completely subjective review submitted by someone who has no idea what he/she is talking about. You didnt like the game, thats great. Nobody actually cares about whether you liked the game.. You missed both the highlights and the bummers of the series in this “review”.
Congrats.

Phil Hornshaw

On November 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm

@Luke

All reviews are completely subjective. A review is an opinion. My experience with the game is what I’m writing about. That’s the whole point. Why read reviews if you’re just going to about them?

Kurt

On November 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm

This review is overly critical and denounces a fantastic game. The story was believable enough and wasn’t at all lacking in strong characters. Additionally this game is in NO WAY like Brotherhood. Yes you recruit and train your assassin’s in similar ways, but that does not make the games exactly alike. Additions to your recruits training and the defense of dens is a new innovations and completely different from Brotherhood, where your recruits use was very minimal. Additionally the bomb innovation is one of the best innovations added to the series.

Yes the gameplay changes are minimal but none of the AC’s have that much different and all follow a very similar light.

As for the storyline, it was fantastic and compelling, and if you are an Assassin’s Creed fan in anyway you will love this game I highly recommend if one intends to keep with the series’s story to buy this game.

AC is played for the storyline and this game is vital to the story of the series.

Phil Hornshaw

On November 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm

@Kurt

Wait, so the game is in no way like Brotherhood and yet gameplay changes are minimal? That doesn’t make sense. In addition, Brotherhood’s assassin recruiting is almost the same as Revelations, except that Revelations’ is somewhat more involved.

Sounds to me like you’re a big Assassin’s Creed fan who really likes the series. That’s fine; enjoy it. But to say that it’s very different from the last game is just disingenuous or delusional. To say that the story is “fantastic and compelling” is also delusional. It’s just not true. The story in just about every other AC game is better, and the stories in the AC series are pretty weak overall.

Roberts

On November 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I think these series are great, because all games ar similar,with few changes.Only storyline is going on. If the games would be different it wouldnt be the same and it wouldnt be interesting. Now these games have feeling that they are one big game and in my opinion its great!

Molly

On December 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I just read this review and, honestly, I wish that I had found it earlier. I consider myself a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, yet I find myself agreeing with pretty much everything written here.

I didn’t find myself connecting or caring about the characters or story as much as I had in previous titles. I also wish that Ubisoft had expanded and encouraged exploration in areas besides Constantinople. It would have been nice to run through Masyaf again.

The little changes thrown in here and there were nice, but not enough to keep me interested. Sadly enough, when playing through this game I was, for the most part, bored and at the end left wholly unsatisfied and wanting for something more.

I really enjoyed reading this review. It’s always nice to find something well written and informative with some of the writer’s personality thrown in to keep it interesting. Good job and thank you!