Graphics:
9.0
Gameplay:
8.2
Sound:
8.8
Control:
8.4
Replay Value:
8.9
Online Gameplay:
8.0
Overall Rating:
8.5
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Developer:
Ubisoft Montreal
Number Of Players:
1-8
Genre:
Action/Adventure


Behind Uncharted , Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed is my favorite new franchise of the generation. The beautiful combination of expansive open-world environments, general freedom, and the flowing free-running mechanic that works extremely well has always kept me in my chair. And while the latest entry is just as addictive, just as technically accomplished, and just as fulfilling, there are some odd drawbacks. And they bug me.

The graphics are a high point again, as the developers give us a gorgeously depicted 15th-century Constantinople. The coloring is better than it has been in recent installments and once again, that incomparable atmosphere (tons of active, realistic civilians, breathtaking architecture, etc.) is a huge highlight. Animations remain fluid and appealing and while the cut-scenes still aren’t supremely appointed or orchestrated, the gameplay visuals excel. There are a few small hitches but that’s okay.

We receive great audio, too, although I remain partial to the Italian accents from Brotherhood . Also, I have to say that while past iterations featured large, capable casts of actors, I wasn’t overly thrilled with a few of the performances in Revelations . Even so, that sweeping orchestral soundtrack is excellent and augments the on-screen action, and the effects – while a tad muddled in some especially hectic situations – add life and metaphorical color to both combat and platforming.

Let’s start with the story because this is Ezio’s third and final(?) story, and we can’t forget about Desmond, the actual behind-the-scenes protagonist who has now become a full-fledged assassin. Desmond is a prisoner inside the Animus this time around and he is guided by a relatively faceless Subject 16. The team from Brotherhood is gone and although they played minor roles, I found myself missing them. And as for exploring Desmond’s entrenched memories, well…

It’s a new mechanic Ubisoft has introduced, and we should appreciate the feature because a lot of people have said, “oh, Revelations is just a rehash.” Well, not really. There are actually quite a few new features. The only problem is that not all of them work as well as the core gameplay. For instance, in Desmond’s memories, you enter a first-person view and solve mini-puzzles by creating pathways. It’s not only a little boring, it’s also irritating when environmental factors mess with your solution.

Of course, running around with Desmond was never a big part of the series, and it isn’t here, either. It’s a little more prevalent (which I find unfortunate due to the aforementioned issues), but at least we spend the majority of our play time with Ezio and his ancestor, Altair. If you recall, Altair was the main character in the original Assassin’s Creed . The progression of the story link between Ezio and Altair is satisfying and even surprising at times, but I can’t give high marks to the overall story arc.

In truth, I never really did. It’s all about the gameplay and atmosphere in AC; it always has been. As I said concerning the graphics, this is yet another amazing environment that is endlessly entertaining and engrossing. The best part is that exploring this immersive landscape is just awesome: not only has the free-running platforming mechanic returned, but now Ezio has access to a hook, which he uses to slide along ziplines. He can even use the multi-purpose hook as a weapon, and it will stop you from falling if you’re quick. The parachute is another great safety device.

Platforming, combat, and exploration are all the best they’ve been in the series. That’s saying something. And in fact, if they had simply left well enough alone, I would’ve been more inclined to give Revelations the coveted 9+ score. It’s rare that I will actually dock a game for trying something new, but it seems like most anything new in this game is either mediocre or just plain bland. One of the most annoying new features is the tower defense, which reminds me of past Saints Row titles.

Like in Brotherhood , you can gain control over an area by eliminating the enemy influence (in last year’s game, it was the oppressive Borgia). In the new entry, it’s the Templars and at first, it’s similar: if you take down the commander of that section of the map, it frees up and you can open shops and stuff. But this time, the Templars can actually take back their lost territory. If you’re not super vigilant and assassinating certain people or bribing heralds, they’re comin’ back, which interrupts your adventure. See, when they come back, you have to do a tower defense battle.

This strategy element puts you almost out of the action; you use Morale like money and place blockades and groups of assassins in beneficial positions. All you can do is shoot from above and watch as the combat unfolds. The view doesn’t change, any victory seems a little hollow, and in general, it’s just a silly addition in my eyes. This is an example of a feature that could’ve added a lot to the overall presentation, but ends up being a vexing distraction. Thankfully, though, the rest of the game is the epitome of assassin goodness.

I still love how the combat works, the counterkills have never been more satisfying, and the missions are nicely paced and there’s plenty of variety. There appears to be more brutality involved, too, which adds flair to every battle. Ezio has most of the bad-ass maneuvers and he also does most of the exploring. Altair’s sections aren’t as big and they often don’t ask too much from him; such scenarios mostly exist for the sake of the narrative, which is fine. This actually offers an appreciated change of pace and fleshes out the story.

You can once again recruit assassins and send them out to handle contracts but Ubisoft has added a few embellishments. This time, completing a contract actually has a positive impact on assassin influence in the city in which he does his job. Instead of just sending your cronies out on random excursions, it feels like you’re doing something. That contract has a purpose . And as before, assassins become more skilled over time and you can rely on them to complete challenging tasks.

As for the multiplayer, it isn’t much different from Brotherhood . There are new characters and maps and a few new modes, along with the mainstays like Deathmatch. One of the new modes, Artifact Assault, is a lot like Capture the Flag so it’s not exactly innovative, although I’m sure multiplayer fans will enjoy the new option. In general, this remains a single-player experience at heart and for the most part, it delivers. You can create a ton of different bombs (which I didn’t use that much, but there’s nothing wrong with the crafting process), and enemies seem more challenging at times.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is a great game. It just stumbles when it tries to implement strangely conceived new features that don’t quite work. This includes Desmond’s memory traversal (‘snore’) and tower defense, which is just unnecessary. Even the bombs felt unnecessary to me. But beneath it all lies the same stellar foundation that has allowed past installments to become beloved adventures in the eyes of millions. The world is amazingly designed and beautiful to behold, the animations are superb, and the combat and platforming is just grand.

Sometimes, though, new doesn’t always mean “good.” Especially if the “new” isn’t fully realized.

The Good: Wonderful, immersive new world. Great soundtrack. All action elements remain supremely well implemented. Brotherhood enhancement is an added feature that works. Dedicated fans will appreciate the story completion. Still addictive.

The Bad: New elements don’t strike the right chord. Just don’t care about Desmond. Could’ve done more with Altair. Multiplayer hasn’t changed much.

The Ugly: “Nice try, but that new gameplay piece isn’t cutting the mustard.”

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Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

I was hoping for better. I'll give this game a go at some point, as I enjoyed the first 3 a lot. But I think this pretty much confirms the sacrifices that a team must make on an annual commitment when trying to innovate instead of refine. Reviews have consistently attacked most everything "new" the game does. This being the game's low points, suggesting half-baked concepts that needed more time to flesh out and enhance. Oh well, an 8.5 is nothing to be sad about, but the developer has been known for better.

TheAgingHipster
TheAgingHipster
10 years ago

Am I the only person who truly wants to see what the crap is going on with Desmond?? Seriously, they could easily make a whole game about Desmond, running around in the modern world, taking down Templar corporate headquarters Agent 47-meets-Ezio style. Sort of like playing a stealthy Jensen in DX:HR. I see real potential there!


Last edited by TheAgingHipster on 11/17/2011 4:54:34 PM

Deano34249
Deano34249
10 years ago

I believe Desmond will be the main focus in the next game of the series, but yeah learning about his past is intriguing. Also unlocking secrets about the templar order while you level up online is a welcomed edition.

SvenMD
SvenMD
10 years ago

I think the thing that everyone actually misses is that Assassins Creed is ABOUT Desmond. Without him in the present world – there is no Animus and there is no Ezio or Altair…

At some point they HAVE to finish the story in the modern world – otherwise the entire franchise will not make sense.

This is why I haven't played Brotherhood yet, and wont get Revelations until much later when I see where they are going with these stories to see if they are actually going to close the circle completely. (Also, I just dont have enough time for an Assassins Creed game every year)

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
10 years ago

i'm totally into desmonds story have been from AC1. his section in the middle of AC2 was one of my favorite moments of the game. and sneaking around the lab in AC1 reading the email i just found it very intriguing.

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
10 years ago

Great review Ben! I was this close to buying this but chose SR3 and I am glad I did. Love Assassins Creed and will be picking this up later as I am almost done with AC1.

Mr Bubbles IGR
Mr Bubbles IGR
10 years ago

made the same decision as you, picked up SR3 and decided to wait for a price drop on AC:R

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I commend the both of you.

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

And so do I.

I jump between SR3 and Skyrim these days, and together they have given me one of the best gaming weeks ever since I got the ps3.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/18/2011 4:00:35 AM

Lairfan
Lairfan
10 years ago

I don't commend any of you. Its a great game. Sure, its no Elder Scrolls, but its certainly better than that crap they call Saints Row.

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
10 years ago

indeed lair this is much better that that overrated pile of you know what they call saints row 3. that game just bored the daylights out of me.

GuyverLT
GuyverLT
10 years ago

I they're great good games but I do not like the idea of an annual Assassin's Creed franchise I probably won't get anymore after Assassin's Creed 3


Last edited by GuyverLT on 11/17/2011 6:25:10 PM

Miggy
Miggy
10 years ago

I decided to give up on the series after playing brotherhood. The story of all the games never really appealed to me but I only played it for the game play anyways. But something about brotherhood just turned me off from the series. I'll probably end up getting it later though in the bargain bin. Right now I'd rather get Saints Row 3 and Skyrim.

Oxvial
Oxvial
10 years ago

I give up at 30 min of the first game xD

BigBoss4ever
BigBoss4ever
10 years ago

i have to say this, frequent installment one after another lead only to an inevitable result — going downhill and became boring — as this is the natural psychological process of mind too. some kind of break in between is needed or a new IP is even better, that is just my personal suggestion.

Remember how great and fascinating the first Prince of Persia sand of time was on PS2, but then one after another, lead to this inevitable end, boring down, as good as the recent POP is on PS3, it just does not bring much excitement any more, i think same logic apply to AC series too soon after.


Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 11/17/2011 8:03:48 PM

Teddie9
Teddie9
10 years ago

I'm a huge fan of the series so I'll still get it some time soon….but I'm really not too crazy about "tower defense" I wonder how Vigilant you'd have to be to prevent it…..

Atleast the main elements are still great because that's what I love.

Twistedfloyd
Twistedfloyd
10 years ago

Interesting. I've always loved AC for the stories they tell which was why Brotherhood (while awesome from a gameplay standpoint) let me down. Different strokes I suppose. While I love the gameplay in AC, the story has always been the most interesting aspect of it to me. The ancestor's stories for the most part. Desmond's is ok, but Ezio is one of my favorite characters of this generation. I'm more interested in this game for the conclusion of Ezio's story. Sounds like the combat is still great as is the platforming and level design.

That tower defense mode sounds so, so stupid. I'll probably wait on this for the price to go down to 30 bones or so. Still will get it new to support developers.

Good review as always Ben. Can we hurry up and have Playstation UK magazine come out with the Hideo interview? GAHHHH!!!!

79transam
79transam
10 years ago

For me the best part of AC is the story so I am sad to hear that the story is not up to par with this one. Would of preceded had they made no gameplay additions and just focused on the story.

godsman
godsman
10 years ago

Does all Revelation games include the original assassin's creed?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

You liked the super mario-poor Italian accents Ben?

Anyway, great review. I expect the series to slip a few tenths of a point every year.

Underdog15
Underdog15
10 years ago

In Brotherhood, most of the Italian accents are superb.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

fair enough, i assumed they were the same as in ACII

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

No, there were a lot more characters, for one thing. And they were all excellent in Brotherhood.

Underdog15
Underdog15
10 years ago

AC2 main characters weren't bad. But the no-bodies that object to everything you do were… questionable at times. lol

Gordo
Gordo
10 years ago

Looks good but I don't have the money unfortunately to buy games that come out every year.

Give me a nice meaty 2 year development cycle and I feel like I've had my moneys worth!

AshT
AshT
10 years ago

Great review Ben, i expected more from Revelations

___________
___________
10 years ago

absolutely loving this so far!
what they have added is brilliant, the problem is what they have removed.
no glyphs, the best part of the series!
no horses.
🙁
dual blade gets destroyed early on.
come on, everything that made the franchise so good is gone!
whats with developers this year and doing that?
first KZ3, then uncharted 3 and now this.
add brilliant new things to the game, but remove everything the franchise is famous for!
insomniac sure are spread thin this year!
😉
no wonder R3 was such a good game……..

Beamboom
Beamboom
10 years ago

No horses? How do you move from town to town then? And no hidden glyphs to search for? What is that replaced with? Man this sounds like suckage indeed.


Last edited by Beamboom on 11/18/2011 4:03:30 AM

___________
___________
10 years ago

no villages really, Constantinople feels like a massive rome.
just one really big city, but its separated by a mass body of water so you can take ships in between.
thats the only thing thats disappointed me, theres so many things that made AC2 and brotherhood so great that are removed here.
it feels like the developers have had to remove so much to get the game done in time.
remember ACB was actually made by a different team within ubisoft montreal, then they went on to this.
the guys who did AC2 have been working on 3 ever since 2 released, so hopefully AC3 will have the generation jump feel that 1 to 2 did.
ACB was so good because it was in development for a few years, ACR only a year or so and thats why it feels so bare bones.
not a bad game, some of the low scores really piss me off this totally does not deserve a 6!
just feels a bit stripped out thats all.

79transam
79transam
10 years ago

Holy crap no glyphs that just made this game a 7 for me

Underdog15
Underdog15
10 years ago

For most of your complaints, you just gotta play a little more. If you remember, in Brotherhood, your dual blades get destroyed early on as well… you can get them again later.

___________
___________
10 years ago

you can?
ive finished it, and i never got them back.
i only got the last 2 missions for desmond to do and thats it.
where do you get them back?
i thought you lost them permanently because of the hook blade.

Spanky
Spanky
10 years ago

No Horses, No Band of Assassins? BOO! Hiss

raptassassin
raptassassin
10 years ago

Nice review Ben. Although it doesn't matter to me. I'm buying Assassins Crred Revelations next week i'm a fan of the series so i will be buying it no matter what.

I'll be waiting till the price goes down on saints row 3 i don't see the hype on this game the saints row series hasn't been the same for me since the first saints row. saints row 2 was boring to me and right now SR 3 looks like pure overrated twich feast. i'll be picking up SR3 when it hits under thirty-twenty used.

ace_boon_coon
ace_boon_coon
10 years ago

assassins creed has quick price drops, so I'll grab this sometime next year. I thing ubisoft should give ac3 a two year development cycle, so it can feel as fresh as ac2.

79transam
79transam
10 years ago

Very disapointed about what I am hearing about this game. AC for me always had the best story of any game I have played so I am sad to hear the story is lacking and that they got rid of the glyphys and your team. Ugh very disapointed right now

Underdog15
Underdog15
10 years ago

8.5 is still a sick score. But I think the sub 9+ scoring of a game that has the potential to be over a 9 is reflective of the 1 year development cycle.

Tower Defense is incredible looking for those that like tower defense games. It's like an HD version of a puzzle tower defense game.

But for me… I don't like it. And it isn't something most AC fans will like either.

Now… if instead of shooting like I'm a camping sniper in a TPS… I was actually in the fray of the battle on the battle field… with the ability to pause battle to set up barricades, etc., this portion of the game would be a complete win. It's too bad you have to sort of sit back in a franchise you would normally sneak past the front lines…

Desmond's stuff is boring. And I do miss the modern day assassin's and their banter. I actually liked how Brotherhood involved them more and allowed you to learn more about the assassins in history in general.

Honestly, the game is still fantastic, and anyone who liked the other AC games will still adore this. But I do think the 1 year cycle has negatively impacted the game. I would have been willing to wait another year while they hashed out the tower defense better, made Desmonds role more inclusive, allowed a broader story arc, and included Altair more.

In the end… excellent game. But it could have been more. Ubisoft Montreal has underachieved, unfortunately.

I still love it though. Just disappointed knowing it could have been more.

Robochic
Robochic
10 years ago

Great review I have this on my list to purchase for my best friend he's going to love it he's the biggest Assasin creed Fan I know. Now to get the new Zelda tomorrow for his wife.

Lairfan
Lairfan
10 years ago

Hmmm…not much love for Tower Defense then. I thought it was pretty good to be honest. Mixes up the gameplay and keeps it interesting, plus its got some pretty large battles.

And the Desmond sequences reveal more about Desmond's story to you. I thought that made up for some of its "boredom."

Personally, I think this is the best one yet. Just IMO, but its the most refined so far, and the new things, whilst not perfect, add something new. Unlike that other annual franchise we will not speak of. Plus, I think all these scores are being skewed cause of the whole "1 year dev cycle thing." If they gave us this very same game with 2 years of dev time behind it, people would still cite the issues, but give it 9 and up scores.

And what's up with this dislike of all modern game stories Ben? I haven't seen you like a game story since Heavy Rain (I don't count Uncharted 3 because we haven't gotten your review of it yet and because you only thought Uncharted 2's story was decent). And Heavy Rain has some pretty massive plot holes, despite everything else it does right. Sorry to say, but whenever you say you don't like the story arc of something, I've come to take that to mean, "Its really good, but I'm just not saying so." Sorry, but that's what it seems like nowadays.

VampDeLeon
VampDeLeon
10 years ago

Ben, did you play much of Brotherhood's multiplayer? They did quite a few changes with this one in particular on how to find your target.

I was a little worried to see how this game would be before starting it since I decided to purchase UC3 before this. At first everything was pretty slow but after a while things really started to pick up and all these missions are so much fun. I like the tower defense, and it felt refreshing to see all the recruits take on a higher role while Ezio oversees everything. Only thing I wish was they actually mentioned certain characters that were in the previous games, save one prominent one.

OPHIDIAN
OPHIDIAN
10 years ago

This is like Tenchu, but somehow cooler.

Real enjoying it, just don't want to see it end!

PAKINIPS
PAKINIPS
10 years ago

Short, empty, repetitive, not a lot of fun dialogue, one city, tower defense.
Worst of the series IMO.
Got all of the 100 collectible but got nothing but a trophy. No secret video.
Seems to have less of everything.
Trophies seem focused more on multiplayer.

Won't be buying asscreed new again that's for sure.

Going to keep playing brotherhood. Much better and no online pass

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
10 years ago

leaving this kind`a late but i just finally got around to finishing this and thought i`d share my thoughts theres alot i like but some flaws aswell i like how the story ended.it really feels finised. an amazing final hour. and i really liked those Desmond sections and hearing his story from his chiledhood. but like Pakinips up there said its very short. it feels really rushed the tower defense is totally out of place in AC.no gylpes this time bummer i loved those.and no secret videos or anything like that. overall i still like it but not nearly as much as AC2 which is still this franchise`s defining moment IMO. anyway looking forward to a new setting and a much needed new cast. this has been one hell of a jounery with ezio Desmond and altair but time to move on.

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
10 years ago

xD sorry for not paragraphing that but i'm using a new keyboard still getting used to it haha

delvin
delvin
10 years ago

its like jello