By Mike Mahardy
TFW Contributing Writer
Since the launch of the original “Assassin’s Creed” in 2007, Ubisoft has made the franchise one of the top-selling series of the current console generation, with releases that never cease to amaze critics and gamers alike. Stealth, combat and the ubiquitous conspiracy theories were never so appealing, and aside from a few ill-advised additions to the gameplay, “Revelations” is no anomaly.
The game picks up right where “Brotherhood” concluded, with Desmond Mile’s mind self-destructing within the animus. Serving as the heroic vigilante archetype, Ezio Firenze once again emerges as the star of the “Assassin’s Creed” plot. The new game ditches the overused Italian environments (from “Assassin’s Creed 2” and “Brotherhood”) for Constantinople, the crossroads of the world. The new map is larger in scale than the aforementioned Italian cities, setting the stage for the subplot of the narrative.
Ezio is tasked with defending Constantinople and other Mediterranean cities from Templar attacks. Although traveling to these other cities is not possible, Ezio’s role as an Assassin general allows the player to send recruited assassins with assigned tasks to gain control over these hubs.
The main focus of the storyline is Ezio’s quest to unravel the secrets of his ancestor Altair, the leading role of the first game. Through flashback sequences, the player is once again granted control of the caped crusader in the Middle East. These memories prove as entertaining as any of Ezio’s. Following the conspiracy theory storyline, “Revelations” lives up to its name, with mind-bending twists to the storyline that explain several major plot points of the series.
Several new additions to the gameplay mechanics improve combat and navigation. The new hook blade allows Ezio to navigate Constantinople’s rooftops with ease. This new gadget imparts the ability to grab out of reach ledges, use zip lines to traverse large gaps and vault over city guards in order to make a clean getaway. Bomb use is a new aspect that is forced upon the player quite repeatedly, offering hundred of combinations of explosives to distract, surprise and eliminate enemies.
While there are several new modes that surprised me by making it into the final cut of the game, “Revelations” is still an “Assassin’s Creed” title at heart. The storyline is just as jaw dropping as previous titles. Hinging on one-year development cycles, I am excited to see what the next installment has to offer in 2012.