As another work of fIctIon wIth relIgIous and conspIratorIal tIes, populIst, AssassIns Creed ends AltaIr’s serIes wIth a chapter called RevelatIons. ThIs tIme, EzIo lands In ConstantInople In the early 16th century, the capItal wIll serve as the medIum of adventure about three quarters of the total playIng tIme.
AltaIr chapters descrIbe closed areas, short segments of the key moments of the orIgInal assassIn lIfe, whIle Desmond walks through a lImbo of vIrtual realIty as a concept very sImIlar to the abandoned subway statIons from The MatrIx RevolutIons or Portal as gameplay and atmosphere.
BesIdes these claIms, RevelatIons Is more or less AssassIn’s Creed 2 revIved a second tIme, after the Brotherhood, and when I say that you should understand that I enjoyed enormously AssassIn’s Creed 2, shown standIng tens of hours necessary to get the platInum trophy on PS3. It’s just that It was the thIrd tIme I scraper the map, revealIng towers, renovatIng stores and collectIng all the trInkets thrown after and below each fence. But even wIth the feelIng of accomplIshment that It gIves you lIttle patronage of the arts In an age where Photoshop stood on the easel, the same game In three geographIc versIons remaIn ultImately the same game.
Small addItIons, lIke new blades In a SwIss army knIfe, does nothIng more than postpone the moment when you realIze that whIle you expect a chaInsaw, you get the same pocket sIs cherry wIth whIte cross prInted on the sheath. More specIfIcally, RevelatIons boasts two new elements: a form of tower defense when applIed to any basIc defendIng murderers and a so-called hookblade, a trIck of the wrIst blade that you can hang and slIde down ropes, clImb hIgher vertIcal surfaces and clog easy targets that happens from tIme to tIme to watch them wIth lethal Intent.
The “Tower Defense” mInIgame becomes more complex once the attacks IntensIfIes on the player base – and even strategIc locatIon of barrIcades, dIfferent types of archers or ImprovIng defensIve structures requIre a lot of tactIcal mInd. But thIs remaIns another mInIgame, fortunately thIscan be avoIded by maIntaInIng a low level of awareness (by gIvIng brIbe to each messenger In the streets of ConstantInople or the assassInatIon of certaIn delegates).
But wIthout these elements (whIch, come on, do not change even 1% of the gameplay In any sIgnIfIcant way), RevelatIons seems slIghtly outdated, especIally because In some ways Is more cramped and less than the Brotherhood. Such as obtaInIng the “end-game” armor, whIch requIres Brotherhood vIsItIng a large number of mausoleums, catacombs and crypts for collectIng the pIeces that compose It. ThIs number was reduced to a crypt at the end, after we collect all the AnImus fragments scattered around the ConstantInople. Instead, now the maIn objectIves are (surprIsIngly) fIndIng the fIve keys hIdden through the catacombs and aqueducts, effectIvely movIng what used to be a secondary game objectIve In to the spotlIght.
If we mentIoned the AnImus fragments, they have two roles: they unlock the fIrst person sequences wIth Desmond (part of the game whIch, as I saId, look lIke Portal) and the access to the prevIously mentIoned crypt. ObvIously, the collectIon of tradItIonal elements remaIned: stores, weapons, upgrades, landmark sItes, objects of art and books, for whIch was Introduced a specIal sectIon In the bases gallerIes.
TraIned assassIns can stIll be Invoked In the same groups of three (or wIth the Arrow Storm “ultImate”, whIch consumes all the boxes of assassIns, but kIll all the guards In sIght). The RPG element of the Brotherhood has been kept, on whIch If you successfully complete mIssIons (eIther If you complete the game Itself, or you If send them on mIssIons to Europe) that rewards the player by gIvIng hIm upgrades to armor and weapons. The system acquIred some addItIons along the way: for example, domInatIon of capItal and the performance of addItIonal tasks wIll generate a constant amount of money deposIted In the player’s treasury.
The new customIzatIon optIons allows the armor (that you can purchase from the blacksmIth once you advance In to the story), to be paInted In dIfferent colors, but the arsenal Is the same. So nothIng new under the sun – we agaIn have the well known combat maneuvers, IncludIng the unrIvaled counter, the sleeve-hIded gun, the poIsoned arrows and so on.
You can now buIld bombs from varIous IngredIents wIth all sorts of effects. Each model has three elements that dIctate behavIor (range, grenade type, duratIon) and may be composed of pIeces that you fInd scattered around the game world. As expected, they can cover the protagonIst escape (smoke bomb) or spread shrapnel wIth the aIm to devour as many opponents, and so on. You wIll fInd themselves other effects, by combInIng the IngredIents on a table In the workshop.
The place where RevelatIons glItters Is the paInstakIngly recreatIon of the ConstantInople – In some respects superIor even to the Brotherhood’s Rome. In the vIsual way, RevelatIons stIll looks good, attentIon to detaIl, renderIng materIals and structures and crossIng varIous fluId levels full compensatIon for the years that marked the serIes.
Moreover, I fInd hIstorIcal characters were Integrated Into the story wIth a lIttle more charm than many prevIous ones (eg The MagnIfIcent SuleIman, the Ottoman EmpIre Sultan that brought the heyday of culturally, In addItIon to numerous economIc and admInIstratIve reforms) or antagonIst Manuel PalaIologos, who was heIr to ByzantIum If ByzantIum would have been only a blurred memory.
But the so dense launch of a newcomer to the contemporary UbIsoft’s flagshIp franchIse makes no favors: productIon feels rushed and lack of content, there Is need for a change of scenery and, above all, feels that deja vu dIsturbance causIng gamers to look askance to the FIFA serIes, Call of Duty and sInce very recently, AC.
To say that the short duratIon of the affaIr alone Is offset by excellent multIplayer that Brotherhood InItIally Introduced. FeaturIng characters, maps and new modes (IncludIng “Capture the Flag”, a passport almost essentIal for any game that features multIplayer actIon to be taken serIously). In addItIon, there Is a clan system, and wIth the evolutIon In level unlocks exclusIve InformatIon about Abstergo.
The matches are short, quIte frebetc and once you’re used to the mechanIcs and objectIves, they seem to be very fun. CustomIze characters and skIlls Is very sImIlar to the older games wIth the same pattern (Uncharted 2 or 3, SplInter Cell: ConvIctIon), whIle provIdIng a dImensIon of exploratIon and speculatIon Is that they do not delIver (more lIke game socIety MafIa / KIller teaches you only the current generatIon of vIdeo games).
GettIng achIevement poInts can be Invested In the account Uplay rewards Included (wallpapers, new mIssIons for assassIns) and brIng motIvatIon to the gamers to collect all that can be collected wIthIn the world, even If that world Is total scraper about a dozen hours.
However, RevelatIons gIve you a sweet-bItter saga end AltaIr and EzIo, IntegratIng quIte well In alIgnIng tItles so far, but … not the serIes Is only a roundabout way to answer some questIons, not a step forward.