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.
- 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
- 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
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