“Nothing is true; everything is permitted,” the guiding creed of the assassin order, is back in the newest installment of the Assassin’s Creed series, Revelations. The game starts where its predecessor left off, with Desmond in a state of shock, his mind reeling from the events that have just transpired; he is thrown back into the animus to once again assume the body of his ancestor Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Four years have passed since the events of Brotherhood and Ezio is on a journey to discover the secrets left by his ancestor, Altair. His journey takes him to Ottoman-era Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) to the birthplace of his ancestor in search of the library of the assassins, hidden below the fortress of Masyaf.
Constantinople is artfully designed with a creative mesh of European and Middle Eastern architecture. The layout is arranged to maximize scalable walls, rooftops, and watch towers, giving players a seamless flow of movement when exploring the city. Revelations also introduces a new mode for traversing buildings using the hook blade, giving one the ability to zip line through the city and granting greater mobility when scaling walls and maneuvering around obstacles. The placement of buildings is more spacious than previous installments, giving the streets below greater width. Tunnels are still around for quick trips to other parts of the city. The town is still a center for investment, similar to Brotherhood, where one can buy shops and refurbish landmarks to increase revenues. Guards still line the rooftops as they did in Brotherhood, but this time they are armed with a deadlier arsenal of weapons, ranging from highly accurate rifles to the classic crossbow.
The inhabitants of the city have also gotten a makeover. Clad in the latest Ottoman fashion, women are all wear colorful Burkas leaving only the eyes exposed. The men wear pointy shoes and round hats. Gone are the scantily clad prostitutes who were critical in distracting foes and creating diversionary tactics. They have been replaced by gypsies who now perform those same basic functions in the game.
A new cast of characters joins our familiar hero. The first is the leader of the Ottoman assassins, Yusuf Tazim, who plays the role of guide to Ezio during his stay in the city. The next is a Venetian woman by the name of Sofia Sartor, a bibliophile who becomes Ezio’s new love interest. These new additions have their own unique quirks and mannerisms that make them a very lively and colorful bunch. The dialogue is smooth and the voice acting is superb, like usual. From fast-paced and emotional cut scenes to flirty and humorous love sequences, the story keeps pace with the quality of its predecessors to keep the audience engaged and invested in the story.
The combat in Revelations is essentially the same as Brotherhood, but with a few nuances thrown in. The first thing you notice is the vastly improved eagle vision, which now employs a target sight and allows you to track the movements of your target from where he or she is going compared to where they have already been.
The introduction of primary and secondary weapon slots allows for deadly combinations for each hand and quick slots add a greater level of versatility to make those throat-piercing assassinations that much sweeter. Unique to Revelations is the addition of the bomb-crafting system, which allows players a variety of different customizable deadly creations that add a depth of strategic planning before embarking on missions. Combat sequences are also much tougher and focus more heavily on guns and rifles. The combat also requires better maneuvering than previous installments. The hook blade also adds for some hilarious combos and the new execution sequences are much more gruesome. As for the assassin recruitment system, it’s the same, but with a higher-level cap, making them much deadlier in combat.
A new system, the Templar awareness gauge, has replaced the anonymity meter. When the meter turns red a den sequence, a version of territorial defense, begins were the Templars attack a part of the city under your control. These missions can be tedious at times, and after repeated attempts I have found it much simpler to lose the den missions and just reclaim the dens later by killing all Templars. That method is also a much more rewarding task for one’s inner assassin.
Revelations still suffers from the same issues as Brotherhood with lag and positional problems. Certain cutscenes trigger freezes and glitches that still occur here and there. Luckily, the frequency of these problems is far less and don’t seriously hinder game play in any way.
This chapter in the Assassin’s Creed series is heavily story-based and intertwines the lives of all three of the heroes. Certain missions throw you into a sequence in Altair’s past and follow events from before the first Assassin’s Creed, while others detail events that took place after the events of the first game; referred to as Altair’s golden years as a revolutionary assassin. Playing these missions will invoke intense feelings of nostalgia for players who have stuck with the series in its entirety.
Revelations also spends a great deal of time fully hashing out the overall story arc and answering many of the previous games’ questions concerning our multiple heroes’ pasts. Side missions called “Desmond’s Journey” also give us a glimpse of Desmond’s life before he joined the Assassin’s Order. Avid fans of the series who want to immerse themselves in the very story-driven world of Assassin’s Creed will be very satisfied with what Ubisoft has created this time around.
For those ready to dawn the white hood and take a leap of faith, they will find a world full of spectacular sights and dark mysteries that will unravel everything they thought they knew about the Assassin’s Creed series, all as a soft voice whispers the now familiar phrase, “Requiescat en pace.”