Wot I Think – Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

By Alec Meer on December 2nd, 2011 at 11:40 am.

About as a revelatory as margarine

The fourth Assassin’s Creed game is out on PC now, for once merely weeks rather than months behind the console version. I’ve been dragging old man Ezio across its rooftops and into its underground lairs of conspiracy for the last few days, and as such… well, you know how this goes.

Experimentation, calibration, celebration and now stagnation: that’s been the course Assassin’s Creed games have taken, and until Revelations it’s been a course of sustained improvement. In some ways, and when looked at alone, Revelations is the best of the bunch, but it’s also the most unnecessary. Especially on PC, where delays meant we only saw the last game, Brotherhood, a piffling eight months ago. After a half-decade of tinkering, AssCreed has settled on its formula and Revelations presents an impasse – stay the course, do the COD-style franchise thing and hope the fanbase is loyal enough to stump up for iterative updates, or return to the reinvention it once embraced.

On the other hand, I can understand why the series’ original plan – to see a new historical setting and protagonist every time – ended up being abandoned in favour of keeping Ass Creed 2′s past-hero Ezio around for what’s now become three games. Ezio, you see, is a total dude. AssCreed’s other player characters to date, 12th Century assassin Altair and his and Ezio’s modern-day descendant Desmond, are a bore and a whiner respectively. Ezio? Dude. To throw out a likeable character in favour of starting afresh again must have seemed like a terrible waste.

Ezio’s at his most charming yet in AssRev, as we join him during the onset of old age. Grey-bearded, distinguished, no longer hot-headed or quite so led by the desires for vengeance and naughty cuddles with ladies, fatherly when the so-so, exposition-crazed script remembers to paint him as such… He’s an unusual videogame hero, and refreshingly posture-free as action protagonists go. It’s sad the game’s free-running, flow-fighting mechanics, being broadly a repeat of AssCreed 2 and Brotherhoods’, more or less don’t address his fading strength and speed, bar having a reason to once again reset his health to bare minimum and have the player incrementally pick up upgrades.

But rather than a tale of Ezio facing up to his own encroaching mortality, AssRev is, depressingly, another tale of digging up increasingly oblique titbits of mystic information ultimately aimed at minutely moving on the tiresome tale of Desmond in the present day. If you haven’t played the series to date, AssRev will almost immediately be nonsensical to you; I have played it all, and I only just grasp what it’s wittering about, but can’t begin to care.

Even the original sci-fi twist – that Altair and Ezio’s adventures are Desmond reliving his noble assassin ancestors’ memories via a clever computer wired up to his brain – has been lost to increasingly absurd mysticism. As the game begins, Desmond is lost in his own mind due to having apparently offed his special lady friend by mistake at the end of the last game, and must explore his way back to consciousness via – you guessed it – reliving yet more of Ezio’s roof-running and man-stabbing, occasionally interspersed with abstract, Portal-for-dummies first-person puzzle-platforming sequences in which Desmond recalls bits of his own childhood and more of the overarching babble-prophecy. I DON’T CARE SEND ME BACK TO THE PAST.

Actor Nolan North does his level best to make Des’ sustained WHAT WHERE HOW WHO WHY confusion and complaint likeable, but there’s no escaping that modern-boy still doesn’t do much of note even after four games. Why are we expected to care about someone whose primarily role is waiting, whining and listening? It was always mystifying that AssCreed went down the sci-fi and prophecy route when it had a perfectly serviceable setting and plot already, but doubly so that it’s still failed to do anything meaningful (let alone meaningfully interactive) with that aspect of the game except drown it in ever-more demented exposition.

As has always been the case, the ultimate outcome of this latest AssCreed is essentially a crude statement of “yes there will be another game and you’d better buy if you want to find out what happens.” Revelations? Don’t take the piss. AssRev does, at least, seem to mark the last we’ll see of both Ezio and Altair. I’ll miss the good-natured Italian geezer, but the promise of a new protagonist and time period is far more appealing than another chance to wear his manky old hood.

Ezio’s swansong takes him to Constantinople, which in some respects – probably due to the engine and reused assets – doesn’t look or feel a million miles away from Rome and other Italian cities he’s dragged us around previously. Areas of it offer new variety though – civilians in rich, coloured silks, a ramshackle wooden poor district, hulking, ornate mosques and a division by waterways into islands. It’s a pleasant, pretty place to be, as AssCreed cities have always been, but it does feel all-too-familiar. That’s mostly because this old dog hasn’t learned many new tricks, so Ezio’s up to pretty much what he was up to in Brotherhood. The major new additions are a mini-grappling hook built into his sleeve that means he can jump about a foot higher and perform a couple of new moves that you won’t use unless a navigation puzzle specifically demands it, and bombs.

Bombs can be thrown, and bombs can be built from parts you collect in your travels, but once again it’s just needless feature creep, one more optional tactic on top of what’s almost too many. The sheer complexity of AssCreed game’s controls means by this point, once again, the first few hours of the game are basically one long tutorial. It was necessary though – having recently been playing Arkham Asylum, I experienced real discombobulation about how to climb onto rooftops and drop onto men’s spines from afar, hands reaching for different controls and frequently hurling Ezio off the side of a hundred-foot tower to his messy doom. Ezio could really do with a batrope, I have to say.

Also new is an infrequent tower defence mini-game wherein you’re defending your territory from invading Templars by placing an assortment of archers, riflemen, leapy death-guys, barricades and all sorts on either side of a road. ‘Morale’ is generated from kills, and then spent on more units. It’s very silly, especially because it’s hard to not think ‘if Ezio would only get down in the street himself he could sort out all these lads single-handed’, but it adds more context to the game’s territory-seizing meta-game. It doesn’t need to be there, but the game isn’t hurt for it being so.

AssCreed 1′s Altair also gets a look-in, with Ezio occasionally reliving hitherto unchronicled parts of his predecessor’s life. So that’s Desmond reliving Ezio reliving Altair, just to be clear. Oh, and the whole thing’s being puppeteered by some quasi-goldlike race that preceded humanity, right. Sigh. Altair’s sequences aren’t anything to shout about, as to control he’s just Ezio with less toys, but I suppose it’s nice to nod back to the series’ roots.

So, AssRev is just a retread with a few unnecessary new growths stuck to the side, but I don’t mean that it’s a bad game. It’s a very good game if taken on its own merits rather than those of its series. Not to mention that it’s a lovely-looking, huge and generous game-world. Constantinople is packed with content and relative freedoms and things to collect and mini-games (restoring the cities’ businesses in order to make money; recruiting and upgrading apprentices to aid you in battle) that offers hours and hours and hours of distraction and kleptomania if you elect to indulge yourself rather than carve through the main missions.

It’s a wonderful time-sink, it really is. It’s just that it’s almost totally redundant if you already own Brotherhood – but sadly it makes little to no sense if you don’t. As such, I’d recommend Brotherhood as the AssCreed to get if you’re going in cold – it’s a confident expansion of what the previous game got right, without suffering the slow entropy and outright repetition that Revelations does.

Its hours of play, its elaborate city, its many side-quests and money-making opportunities are ultimately only there to delay the arrival of a pseudoscience-mired final cutscene that sets up the next game. It’s fallen into the Lost trap, endlessly stringing us along in pursuit of answers that could take forever to arrive. I’m fond enough of the journey so far, but I do need it to make a sudden turn if I’m to remain interested.

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88 Comments »

  1. Viserion says:

    Never got into these games, don’t know why. I did buy the previous games as part of a Steam sale but played only a few hours before I got bored. So… pass, especially now that Skyrim has taken over my life.

    • Jumwa says:

      Likewise.

      Bought the first game ages ago, could not suffer through it. The controls did not impress, which was undoubtedly a big part of it for me.

      Though it’s kind of a relief that I don’t find myself liking any Ubisoft games these days, with the horrible things they inflict on PC gamers.

    • Icarus says:

      The first game got really boring, really fast because of how repetitive it was. I had to force myself through the last third. By contrast, the second was much more enjoyable, partially because of the better story and more mission variety, but also because the character I was playing was less of an asshole.

    • V. Profane says:

      I’ve bounced off the first game twice now after about two hours of progress. It’s partly down to the cringe worthy DNA VR bobbins plot.

    • Bishop149 says:

      Yep, me too. . . got about half way through the 1st AssCreed* before getting bored and abandoning it. . . half wonder if I should try again but, Nah, don’t think I’ll bother.

      * BTW I get a very childish glee that this is what the series is now commonly referred to as.

    • TigerMike74 says:

      I’ll point out that AC 2 and B are a very different horse than AC1. While AC1 was “repeat same chapter 9 times,” AC 2 and B are a more fun GTA-esque “go on missions in various parts of the city.” To a new player of the series, I’d recommend skipping AC1 entirely and starting at AC2.

    • djbriandamage says:

      I had a couple of failed attempts to get into the first game but from there it gripped me insatiably and I plowed right through to the end, enjoying it all greatly. I tried the sequel and somehow found that my enthusiasm had waned.

      The splendour of the first game’s setting and the simplicity of its controls, coupled with what I considered to be an engaging story, hooked me completely. I’ve returned to finish the first game a second time, but the sequel languishes alone on my Steam list.

      I guess the game is either for you or it isn’t. It’s got great freedom of movement and lovely scenery so if you can allow that to entice you to spend some time in the game you may find yourself sufficiently charmed to give it another go.

    • Demon Beaver says:

      @Bishop149: Sir, are you then aware of the new games in the series, AssBro and AssRevel?

    • paterah says:

      The first game wasn’t that good, the others were significantly good. Even if I were to start playing them now thought I would start with the first one. One of the best franchises imo.

    • alilsneaky says:

      Probably because the game is a shallow equivalent of a grocery list.

      You just labor along at doing all the menial tasks spread about the game, none of which are interesting or have fun gameplay.

      The controls are super shallow (hold A to autoplatform), the combat is even more shallow than that in batman AA.

      It’s basically a big orgy of unlocks/filling bars/checking boxes.

      Played to the venice night part of ACII before I couldn’t take the boredom anymore (I had nothing to do that night, so I turned on the telly , which had nothing on it, but it was still better than the menial labor of playing AC)
      My younger brother played through brotherhood while I visited him, every time I looked at the tv he was doing the same 2-3 ever so shallow things.

      It’s absolutely baffling that anyone can enjoy this game.

      If you enjoy AC, go do the dishes, clean your house, do some grocery shopping and call your grandmother/mother.
      You will get the same level of ‘enjoyment’ (people seem to confuse feeling of accomplishment with enjoyment) and the benifits of a nice smelling house and happy parents.

    • strikerRD says:

      I always thought Desmond was supposed to be us, the player character. A bit of a joke about how we’re controlling people through computers I guess. I figured he was whiny because we, as gamers, are whiny. When you complained about Desmond in the review it was preceded by some whiny criticisms. So I guess the comparison is pretty accurate, haha.

      Also, thanks for ruining the ending of Brotherhood, with no warning. I’m in the middle of playing that one now and I feel pretty irritated with you about it. It’d be nice if next time you’d give a little warning before spoiling a major plot point. It’s not very cool how you just casually threw it out there. You may be burnt out and not know what’s going on in the Assasin’s Creed games… but I do know and i’m not burned out and in one careless second you ruined the end of the third game for me. Thanks. :(

    • silentbotanist says:

      In defense of the AssBro spoiler, honestly… if you’ve heard it, you’ve seen it, and you know it. It was a sudden WTF with no reason for happening and I can save you some trouble by spoiling that there is NO movement on it in Revelations. Even one game later, it’s just something completely random. It’s not a spoiler on the level of “the villain is actually…” or “the big secret is…” kind of spoilers.

    • chrissinclair says:

      I remember playing the original when it first came out and it was amazing then. Trying to play it again now is painful. It is just too repetitive, while I just finished another run of AC2 a couple of months back. Brotherhood is the best out of the ones I’ve played, but haven’t got to dive into revelations yet so will have to see. Great series, shame to see lots of people saying they’ve not done as well with this one :(

  2. povu says:

    It’s a strange situation. The game itself is good on its own, but if you haven’t played any of the previous games it’s going to be confusing as hell. So people will recommend trying Brotherhood or AC2 first.

    But if you play those, then Revelation’s gameplay offers so little new things that there’s almost no use playing it for anything other than the story.

    • Aemony says:

      You speak the truth. I’ve put down 47 hours into Brotherhood to find and unlock every single stuff (only have 4 measly flags left) and I can’t think of doing the same thing all over again in Revelations. If I’m ever playing it, it would be for the story and the story alone.

      It doesn’t really help that they have added yet more unnecessary stuff on top of the already mostly unnecessary stuff. In Brotherhood I mostly only used three weapons, sometimes a fourth. The only times I ever used all those other stuff was when a certain faction required it.

    • glocks4interns says:

      That *might* be why this review doesn’t exactly encourage you to run out and buy this.

    • Agnol117 says:

      There’s an unfortunate reason why Revelations doesn’t add much.

      Remember Assassin’s Creed: Lost Legacy for the 3DS? If you don’t, or simply never heard of it, it’s the game that was canceled and retooled into Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

  3. Schadenfreude says:

    I’ve got more than enough to keep me going with Skyrim and Arkham City. I’ll inevitably pick this up on some Steam sale and play it during the annual Summer drought.

  4. thekeats1999 says:

    I enjoyed what little i played of asscreed 2 and enjoyed it but never completed it and sold he PS3 on. I wouldn’t mind giving them a try on the PC but the only other problem is what iteration of DRM they are using on each game.

    Might give it a go if there is a ubi sale on over christmas.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      I believe this one only has a one-time activation, from thereon you can play offline.

  5. JohnnyK says:

    I’ve not touched the SP yet (only played a few rounds of MP), but that is a bit disappointing. And stuff like this tower-defense-style minigame does nothing for me, I was already annoyed enough with the investment stuff in AssBro.

    Still, I am pretty sure I will get my money’s worth out of the game, just like I have with the predecessors.

    Stabby stabby!

  6. ubisoft_rep says:

    “After a half-decade of tinkering”

    …Shit.

  7. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    I did not find Brotherhood to be especially inventive, and liked AssCreed2′s changing scenarios more engaging than Rome with its huge hills where nothing happens and everything is some collectible which you can’t reach yet because you haven’t bought and rebuilt everything in this particular settlement.

    AssCreed 1 was shit, and number two was a great step forward, but to me every other Ezio game was feature creep, not just revelations.

    • d00d3n says:

      Feature creep is what made Brotherhood the great game that it is. The important new features (free form assassinations, synchronization and assassin helpers) were all integrated with core gameplay (free-running, stealth, combat).

  8. Bluerps says:

    I always wondered. If “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” is “AssBro” and “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” is “AssRev” – shouldn’t the first two games not be “Ass” and “Ass 2″?

    • jezcentral says:

      You need to insert a Cree up each Ass.

      What? Too much?

    • stahlwerk says:

      Quoth Wikipedia:

      5 Other games
      5.1 Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles
      5.2 Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines
      5.3 Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery
      5.4 Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy

      must resist…

    • Urthman says:

      …can’t…resist…

      So that would be AssChron, AssBlood, AssDisc, and AssLeg.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      @Urthman

      I believe that last one should be AssPro.

  9. stahlwerk says:

    “It’s fallen into the Lost trap”

    Calling it now: Desmond is already dead, and the real protagonist has been a future descendant in meta-animus for all the series. Also all the glowing objects in the game are just strongly magnetic.

    • Sesskie says:

      I’ll do you one further – th REAL protagonist, the one re-living Desmond’s life and through Desmond, ezio’s and Altair’s, is actually Desmond and Lucy’s child, on a apth to avenge his or her parent’s death at the hand of the Templars. Or assassins, who knows maybe the Templars are the good guys.

      OH WHAT A TWIST!

    • Balm says:

      No, the real protagonist is YOU! Yes YOU, sitting in front of the monitor legs crossed, left hand touching your face!

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Jokes aside, after a little bit of reflection I realize this is probably true. Someone is reliving Desmonds life reliving his ancestors.

      We need to go deeper.

      AssCeption?

    • ffordesoon says:

      I love me some Lost (yes, even the ending), but I understand what Alec’s saying.

      I’d argue that even if you didn’t like where it went, though, at least Lost was interesting at one point or another. The Desmond bits of AC have never been interesting.

      *SPOILARZ*

      The annoying thing to me, however, is that even despite all the mysticism and pseudoscientific twaddle, the overarching plot could be incredibly cool and interesting. I mean, a war as old as time itself between the Hashishin of Hassan i Sabbah and the Knights Templar for man’s free will? The garden of Eden recast as an escape scenario, with the fruit of the Tree Of Knowledge being humanity’s salvation rather than its undoing? The ultimate villain of the series being – more or less explicitly – God? The fact that the heroes of the game are literally murderers, hackers, and thieves, fighting for the right of other people to choose to become murderers, hackers, and thieves? The moral ambiguity implied therein?

      I mean, you can’t argue that those concepts aren’t at least vaguely interesting foddder for a neat video game.

      *END SPOILARZ*

      But they make the classic mistake of telling, not showing, and so AC’s modern-day bits are essentially about this dumb, dull guy you don’t care about sitting in a chair while Veronica Mars who’s been repeatedly stung in the face by bees yells bits of exposition at you about how you’re not allowed to fight in the interesting-sounding war yet, because first you need to sit in this magic chair and play some video games she made that will give you special powers, like a personality. The modern bits of AC are essentially simulations of what it is like to get yourself a drink, turn off the lights in your game room, and sit in a chair waiting for the video game you bought to load while your girlfriend tells you about her day, except that the games have the utter temerity to attempt to lie to you and act like you’re doing something Exciting and Important when you sit down in your magic video game chair. And because you’ve presumably already sat down in the chair you like to sit in when you play video games and gotten a drink and turned off the lights and listened to your girlfriend talk about her day, it’s incredibly annoying to have to sit through the same exact process again before you’re allowed to play the game that you saw in the ads.

      And the worst thing is, the stuff that Veronica Mars is telling you about sounds like it would be a lot of fun to play, but instead you have to sit around in the doctor’s office or her garage or wherever waiting to be sent out to fight in this war that sounds pretty cool, and you never actually are allowed to fight in the war.

      By contrast, in the past, you play as a guy that stabs dudes and wears a badass outfit and hops around in pretty playground-cities with giant awesome towers he can clamber up effortlessly and fights the Pope. You do stuff in the past.

      Why Ubisoft seemingly haven’t figured out in four games that Chair-Sitting Simulator is pretty much always going to be inherently less appealing than Stabby-Man In Renaissance Times is a bit of a mystery to me. Or maybe they have, and they just don’t care, because they have an Artistic Vision, and their Artistic Vision is more important than people being able to immediately enjoy the sixty-dollar game they purchased with their money. I would hope they’re not that arrogant, but their actions as a company for the entirety of this generation would seem to support the latter theory. Shame.

      @stahlwerk:

      I think you’re absolutely right, depressingly enough.

  10. Walsh says:

    Complaint about the controls? Assassins Creed has the easiest control scheme ever on the consolepad. The diamond layout of the buttons represent head, arms, legs actions. They don’t replicate this layout on the PC?

    • Apples says:

      That never felt easy to me. Conceptually it makes sense and is an interesting idea, but intuitively the controls felt slightly off and didn’t have the strong mental link between button and action that, say, Y to jump and RT to attack do, so sometimes I’d find myself fumbling in a way that is very unhelpful during a fight. Also holding down a button to free-run for 90% of the game was tiring on my finger and should have been a toggle!

    • djbriandamage says:

      The controls took me some getting used to, but I really found my groove with my 5-button mouse. The original Asscreed was one of those rare games where there were just enough buttons for each hand that I could perform every action effortlessly without moving my hands from the mouse and homerow.

    • ffordesoon says:

      The control scheme sounds brilliant on paper, and it’s certainly interesting, but it doesn’t work nearly as well as they think it does. Every great control scheme, IMHO, gives you the means to perform complex actions quickly and easily, eventually rendering them effortless and making the controller (or mouse and keyboard) seem to disappear. That doesn’t mean you can perform complex actions on the first try, but it does mean that you should be able to replicate a given action every time once mastered. The example I like to use is Mario’s trpile jump: it’s tricky to get the timing right at first, but once you know how to do it, it’s easiliy replicable and feels effortless and natural. You always feel as though you are in control of Mario.

      AC’s control scheme, by contrast, is overly context-sensitive. It’s really unreasonably tough to do a wall jump correctly, for example, and it’s almost impossible to replicate that action consistently. In my experience, anyway.

      And yes, I’m talking about the console control scheme.

  11. Milky1985 says:

    “AssRev is, depressingly, another tale of digging up increasingly oblique titbits of mystic information ultimately aimed at minutely moving on the tiresome tale of Desmond in the present day.”

    Thats the thing, everyone hates the desmond bits but they are meant to be the interesting bits, but since they havn’t moved the sodding modern day story forward AT ALL since creed 2 , since they seem to want to extend the francise for as logn as possible in the “we promise to finish it with this one” way, he seems annoying, in both brotherhood and the videos i saw of revelations (I called it after playing brotherhood, that revelations that is meant to finish the trilogy would not do it just a “spoiler” here , and by spoiler i mean a spoiler for anyone who can’t spot patterns)

  12. airtekh says:

    I like Assassin’s Creed but I won’t be getting this anytime soon, as I still haven’t bought and played Brotherhood.

    Hope they give the series a bit of a break now, for a while at least.

  13. Coccyx says:

    What about the multiplayer?

  14. olemars says:

    AssRev was a bit routine. I actually kind of liked the Desmond interludes in the other games, so I was disappointed with how little there was of it this time. The storyline itself was ok, but didn’t really move anything anywhere. You find some old CD’s and retire. The bombs felt unnecessary, I used them mainly when objectives dictated it.

    What it did have was some good spelunking missions, like the caves under galata tower and the maiden tower.

    I also came right from Batman: AC, took a while to unlearn the batclaw reflex.

  15. rapier17 says:

    I wish they’d hurry up and change the setting. Whilst I do love the Italian Renaissance, one of my favourite periods of history, it is getting a little tiresome. Whenever I think of AssCreed I can’t help but think how great it would be if they did one set during the French Revolution of 1798-1799, for example, or during the c17. Plenty of wonderful backgrounds for an AssCreed game, so lets hope they move on & pick a decent one.

    Admittedly I have enjoyed the previous AssCreed games and will most likely by AssRev. However, as I did with the other AssCreed games, I’ll wait until it’s cheap.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think WWI would be a good setting, as would the Spanish Civil War.

    • Brun says:

      As I said below: Feudal Japan. Ninjas vs. Samurai. They wouldn’t even need to change the combat mechanics (as they would for the French Revolution or WWI due to the introduction of Firearms). Although it would be interesting to see how the Assassins changed their ways as technology progressed.

  16. Kandon Arc says:

    The direction I’d like the AssCreed games to go is back to the start to be honest. Not thematically – the crusades were fun but a new setting would be preferable – but gameplay wise, i.e. Assassins Creed done right.

    The core gameplay idea of the first was great – infiltrate a city, gather intel on your target and take him out. If Ubisoft had stuck with that idea and improved it, we could be looking at a medieval Hitman right now. Instead we have a medieval GTA; not that that’s necessarily bad, but I can’t say that I’m not disappointed that the promise of the first game remains unfulfilled.

    • bill says:

      I haven’t played any of these games, so I can’t really comment. But to me the idea of the first game (open world PoP assassin) sounds much more interesting than gaining territory, running businesses and tower defense sections. Infact that all sounds rather dull.

    • ynamite says:

      ^ So much this.

      When AssCreed was first revealed I loved the idea of a medieval Hitman game. I remember watching the first CG trailer and being blown away by it. It looked exactly like the kind of game I wanted to play (at least that’s what the trailer made it out to be).

      I’m also a huge Sci-Fi nerd, so when I heard that there was more to the story than medieval assassins stabbing people and that something Matrix like was also involved I was totally hooked.

      When I finally played the game I loved it, at least at first, but it did get very repetitive after a while. From a gameplay perspective, I kept wishing they had done more with the whole assassination/infiltration scenario, there were so many possibilities to extend this but instead, they decided to make AssCreed 2: San Andreas, instead of AssCreed: Bloodmoney.

      I do feel that the games somewhat lost their soul after the first entry into the series, but especially after the second. AssRev, to use the latest example, feels so cramped with all these different things you can do, it just doesn’t feel right anymore. The tower defence mini game is nothing short of atrocious imo… Anyway, I just don’t feel like the lone badass assassin from the first game anymore. Remember the impression the very first trailer gave, that’s how I want to feel when I play and this was how I felt often during the first game. There’s your target, it needs to get dead, now find a way of sticking something pointy in it, even if half the world is watching you or standing in your way. Sure, the first game did get boring fast from a gameplay perspective, but instead of improving that gameplay, they resorted to add new other things to do, dilluting the core aspect of the game.

      Sure, after having assassinated 3 major targets, the opposing forces should’ve easily recognize the dude with the impressive weaponry wearing an iconic white cowl and red sash.

      Concerning the plot, I for one am still really loving it. Sure, they have to be very careful to avoid the Lost trap, but I believe they have most of the story figured out. There are actually quite a few signs that most of the plot was set in stone since AC1. There’s already mention of the first Civ and many other things in that game.

      Also, what’s peoples problem with Altair and Desmond? Sure, Altair was an ass in the first game, but that was part of the story, he wasn’t supposed to be very likeable. Am I the only one who thinks these characters are just fine and that the idea of building up Desmond over a few games is actually quite cool and suspenseful?

      I enjoy a good conspiracy story and mixing contemporary, well researched historical and fictional events with some Sci-Fi is, for the lack of a better word, simply the bomb (my opinion) and is exactly what makes the games universe so rich and interesting. It would still be cool if it was based soley on past events, but I find it a lot cooler with teh Sci-Fis. It’s like a much extended Dan Brown novel and I love me some Dan Brown, to each their own I s’pose.

      The whole Ancient Astronaut Theory, while mostly discredited by the scientific community (without any real evidence to disprove it), is pretty damn interesting and I don’t understand why many have such a huge problem with it. Even if it’s complete fantasy, hasn’t it got all the stuff to be a good and suspenseful Sci-Fi story?

      The fellows of RPS in general have mentioned previously that they’d prefer AssCreed to drop the whole Sci-Fi conspiracy angle and that it should just stick to the historical settings and plot. That’s fair enough, but does it really make sense to pick on the plot every single time you guys mention the game? What’s the point if you know from the get go that you dislike it? It won’t change you know. And if it does, because of you, I’d be upset :)

      Alec’s write up is great, but he is suggesting that the story is convoluted and messy, about too many things at once. I’d argue that that’s exactly what makes it so interesting, that in order to understand what it’s about, one has to realize that everthing it throws at the player is ultimately connected and bears significance (also remember: “Nothing is True, Everything is permitted” AssRev makes that pretty clear at the end).

      This is one of the best write ups I’ve read of the game, but it does irk me a bit that Alec doesn’t seem to enjoy the overarching plot. He never has, so I’m not sure if it makes sense for him to write the Wot I Think for it, especially since this plot is an integral part of the AssCreed experience. I wouldn’t bother with the game any longer if it wasn’t for the plot.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I’m with you. I still prefer the first Assassin’s Creed to Assassin’s Creed II (the only ones I’ve played) for this reason, even if the intel-gathering missions were bunk.

      I also liked travelling on horseback between cities; it was a shame that went out after the first game.

  17. woodsey says:

    Sigh.

    Brotherhood was a divergence that they got away with (although even then I did find myself excusing the rather dead-end plots on both sides of the timeline), but I had a feeling one more like that would show the cracks.

    Why they didn’t just create the trilogy as originally intended, and then use the brand and Animus to do whatever the hell they wanted AFTERWARDS is beyond me.

    I’ll pick it up in a Steam sale, but other stuff will be getting priority.

  18. The Tupper says:

    I’d always assumed that the (tedious) simultaneous past/present setting was an unsubtle attempt to create a franchise that could be hawked around film studios.

  19. bill says:

    I haven’t tried any of these, but i have this image of them as an open world Prince of Persia. Is that correct?

    If not, we really need an open world Prince of Persia!

    • Sesskie says:

      It pretty much is open world Prince of Persia. Its a better Prince of Persia than any of the Prince of Persia games.

      Except Sands of Time, that game was awesome.

    • Outright Villainy says:

      Almost, yes, there’s quite a few similarities. Platforming is pretty streamlined though (more like zelda with the auto jump and auto climb), you basically press 2 buttons to hit full speed and you’ll jump everything automatically and climb everything automatically. It’s not as bothersome as it sounds, but it’s not quite as involved as PoP.

    • Apples says:

      PoP was all about the platforming and pressing the right button at the right time to actually execute your moves, as well as scoping out a room to determine a viable path. AssCreed games do ‘platforming’ by making you hold down one button and push forward, and your character will automatically jump/move to the next safe place with little player effort involved. To me they’re not the same at all in terms of gameplay except that they both involve freerunning.

    • woodsey says:

      PoP was puzzle platform (find the right route), AssCreed is navigational platforming (find the best route).

  20. Symbul says:

    I didn’t know anyone liked Ezio. I stopped playing AC2 (and it and Brotherhood are still just sitting in my Steam folder) in large part due to how annoying I thought Ezio was. Well, Ezio and the series’ useless Desmond sections.

  21. Blackcompany says:

    If only Bethesda would just do a Dark Brotherhood game and get it over with. Sure it likely would not be open world. More likely it would take you through numerous sandbox cities within Tamriel. Each scenario/chapter would be a different sandbox city. Side missions, collectibles and even parkour-style movement could easily be a part of the game.
    .
    I truly think that, if Bethesda were to do this, it would sell like mad. I also think it would provide Ubisoft and the AssCreed some much-needed competition and therefore, some much needed inspiration for innovation in their constant quest for assassination in every nation.
    .
    Just an idea. With a whole lot of -ation.

    • Apples says:

      Can’t imagine Beth doing this, since plotting, city design, large numbers of people as in AC games, and fluidly animated movement are big weak spots in their games. Sounds like a Hitman-style game with free-running though which would be a nice thing to play! Might be good if they let another studio do it….

    • kud13 says:

      Last I checked, there was a Dark Brotherhood mod in progress for Oblivion.

      the team may probably move on to Skyrim now, though.

    • Tyrone Slothrop. says:

      You gentlemen (or ladies), realise that Thief IV will very well be like this, only in one city with slightly less parkour and more rope arrows?

      I personally cannot wait as Eidos-Montreal are basically my favourite studio since their work on Deus Ex: HR and with an even larger studio and more resources, it’ll almost certainly be something special.

  22. merc-ai says:

    Well, I’m confident I will not be buying any new Assassin’s Creed games. Fuck this franchise milking.
    Also got to congratulate them on ruining what was a great story at first, with all the unanswered questions and additional Ezio-ing around.

    • TigerMike74 says:

      Or you could just buy it in a few months when it’s at a significant discount. Your choices are not limited to “support developer and buy game at full price” or “protest developer and never buy game.”

  23. Suits says:

    A hookblade, zip lines and parachute isn’t enough to get you involved in this.

    Also crafting bombs is a hassle, you can only carry three of each time Letal,Tactical,Diversionary. But also just one type in each category.. Why can’t I carry caltrops and smoke bombs at the same time?

  24. Judy says:

    I’m personally a huge fan of Desmond. I thought Brotherhood was leading up to him finding his balls, and I hoped that Revelations would be the final step in Desmond becoming a superhero. About to play this game, please let it be true.

  25. Magus44 says:

    So glad to know that I’m not the only one who hated the fact that the story went from. “Oh there’s a cool sci-fi object thingy that can do some magic (ala Indiana Jones etc)” to “Yeah.. theres some race that was there before humans and there was a civil war.. or something.. We don’t really know. Our writers are just making this up. We didn’t expect this series to come this far.”
    I loved the idea of some of the stuff in the original. Historical dates, and important buildings a shadowy organization controlling men through time etc. But its all so nonsensical. Ugh.

  26. Binho says:

    “It was always mystifying that AssCreed went down the sci-fi and prophecy route when it had a perfectly serviceable setting and plot already, but doubly so that it’s still failed to do anything meaningful (let alone meaningfully interactive) with that aspect of the game except drown it in ever-more demented exposition.”

    ^This^ So much this. I think Ubi really missed a trick when they did this. The actual history and historical settings are enough of a mystery to your Average Joe, I wish they would have actually put in the effort to explore them properly.

    Instead we get an over the top Sci-fi conspiracy theory in a pseudo-historical fantasy setting.

  27. Chaz says:

    I’ve played and really enjoyed the first 2 games, but played a bit of Brotherhood on a mates PC and it just felt too much like more of the same. AC1 I really enjoyed because it was something new, different and original. AC2 I really enjoyed because it was a new character and a new age to play in with new features. However just doing more of the same stuff again with the same guy in the same setting, in Brotherhood, just didn’t excite me. It felt too soon after AC2 and without enough change.

  28. Alextended says:

    Meh, I wasn’t following this game closely and I just played a bit of it last night, they’ve gotten their story a bit too real-world-yet-twisted this time… Killing Templars is one thing, having Templars be leftovers of the Byzantine Empire, swearing by the last late emperor, all speaking Greek, and helping these poor Turks in a recently taken over by the Ottomans Constantinople is another matter. It’s the first time their disclaimer about having the game made by a multi-cultural team etc seems like a needed excuse I guess. I read that they also humiliate certain historical people… Oh well… Also, I’m not sure I like some new elements like the bomb crafting and tower defense, I hope I don’t have to do the latter much… The hook blade is too weird too. They’ve made the actual city pretty sweet though, and the story seems to have better production values than 2 & Brotherhood. Ezio’s (ugh, not again!) story that is, Desmond’s parts so far are all bleh, with Sixteen or whatever that guy who probably betrays you before too long is… Also, way too many cut scene interruptions all over the place, hopefully they take a back seat as you progress in the game.

  29. DOLBYdigital says:

    Just wondering, does the fighting still consist of a bunch of guys sitting around sipping tea, waiting their turn to die or do you actually have to fight multiple people at the same time?

    I just couldn’t stand the bland/boring fighting in the game when I played it. No challenge, just 1 on 1 battles with all the other enemies waiting around.

  30. Shooop says:

    I can’t help but keep thinking how much better these games would have been without the insipid “You’re a guy from the future looking back at your ancestors” gimmick. All that effort could have been used instead to make a much more interesting sandbox to roam and stab people in.

  31. CaspianRoach says:

    This game is much smaller compared to AC2 or AssBro. I didn’t believe it when I finished it in two sittings. They’ve used to be much bigger!

  32. Brun says:

    I really don’t get why they didn’t stick with a new protagonist/setting for each game. The formula really can lend itself to so many cultural and geographical settings, and it’s a shame that the series has now spiraled into the COD-esque volume production model.

    Before it came out I really expected AssCreed 2 to be set in Feudal Japan with Ninjas vs. Samurai instead of Assassins vs. Templars. Even with similar combat mechanics and minigames the new setting would have been refreshing. But it wouldn’t have worked with their crappy sci-fi plot so it didn’t happen.

  33. Pointless Puppies says:

    Played Assassin’s Creed 1 and enjoyed it for what it was, a tech demo that was more of a proof of concept than a real, full-fledged game. Then I played Assassin’s Creed 2 and most definitely enjoyed it. I did end up liking AC1′s setting better and they most definitely GTA’fied the second game, but it did far more right than it did wrong and ended up being an absolutely great game.

    Then I got Brotherhood through OnLive’s $1-for-any-game sale, played for about an hour and shut it off. When I booted up the game I first thought “just treat it as if it were an expansion pack” and that got me through the first hour just fine, but then I realized there was about 25 more hours of this PLUS the fact that AssRev was coming out soon, meaning there goes another expansion pack sequel.

    At this point I’m not playing AssCreed until a legit sequel is released. Not because I don’t like the series, but because if I keep playing this yearly milking of the franchise I know for a fact that I’ll burn myself out by the time the real sequel comes out and will stop caring. I lament the fact that I’m going to miss big chunks in the story but at this point who cares? From what I’ve heard Brotherhood doesn’t advance it all that much and AssRev does even less. I can definitely stand to just read what happens on Wikipedia (I’d probably understand it much better that way, actually), and just play AssCreed III after a few years of not dabbing with that formula.

    I just don’t get why Ubisoft wants to milk this franchise as a yearly one. Are the games really THAT profitable to run a franchise to the ground with yearly iterations that are just recycled material? I don’t understand. Even making the games 2 years apart would make me happy. I know making all-new assets for each new era with a new protagonist sounds like a daunting task, but honestly, with all the effort they’ve put into AssBro and AssRev they could’ve already made a new setting with a new era and protagonist the following year. The devs don’t kill themselves making a yearly game, they get to actually be creative and inspired with different settings, the story gets to go on without useless padding for the sake of making yet another game, and the players aren’t burnt out on recycled material and needless feature creep.

    I read from a head honcho at Ubi that they’re planning to do another one next year (yes. another. one.), where they finish Desmond’s story while introducing a new protagonist, then after THAT they’ll finally stop doing a yearly release. That makes me hopeful, even if I’m a little peeved that they should’ve “taken a break” after the ACII and that the two expansion pack sequels just cheapens their brand. But hey, it’s their brand. If they want to cheapen it they can go ahead.

  34. JoeX111 says:

    See, I always just assumed the sci-fi future plot was a narrative trap door to explain any anachronisms in the game. There’s a part in the first Assassin’s Creed where Desmond asks why everyone speaks english and he’s basically told, “Yeah, dude, anything that doesn’t make historical sense is just, like, the computer interpreting it for you.” Bam! Instant excuse for every inaccuracy.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Also a very easy way to change protagonists/locales as much as they possibly want without making ridiculously convoluted plotlines. Just “Hey! Piece of Eden might be in ancient Egypt! Let’s go there nao!” Bam. New setting.

      It’s actually quite genius how flexible the IP is. Too bad Ubisoft has resigned itself to churn yearly identical sequels for some strange reason. You can’t exactly put CoD into Feudal Japan, but you can certainly do it in AssCreed without anyone batting an eyelash. Why they’re not taking advantage of that is completely beyond my comprehension.

    • Brun says:

      Art assets are expensive and they can maximize profitability and increase production rate by keeping the setting the same.

      As others have said – Call of Duty franchise model. Release basically the same game 3 and 4 times in a row and generate sales based on brand loyalty, people wanting to see the rest of the plot, and console players being morons and thinking these things are actually what good games are.

  35. Renton says:

    I’ve always liked the AC games, there is a certain feel to the atmosphere that always keeps me hooked. I notice that Ezio has pretty much become a medieval (and murderous) Batman, now especially with the whole parachute thing. Also, man, these guys speak some wonky Turkish. They use nice idioms and colloquialisms but they’re all used in the wrong places. I wonder if that’s how it was with Italian.

    • Eukatheude says:

      I played Ass2 a while ago, and i don’t remember feeling anything really off or bizarre. Or maybe i just figured out most games do that, or maybe i just played it in italian right away. Come to think of it, i’m pretty sure that’s what i did. Is AssBro still set in italy? I still have to play that one.

  36. Dhatz says:

    thinks you might not notice at first: bomb components are sellable to Piri Reis, you can have many assassins once you assign them to cities, stalkers can be found before they attack, it has more glithces than brohood. There is chance your desmond’s Journey won’t wok, this is harly a problem, just view it on Youtube.

  37. Eukatheude says:

    Since AssCreed had (or still has?) that infamous DRM thing, ou might want to hear about Serious Sam 3. They managed to crack it only the other day, and yet it’s not working: game crashes every 5 minutes or so, and immediatly after you get the first gun an invincible superfast arachnoid is spawned. Just check the comments on the skid row blog – i don’t think i should link it here.

  38. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Yep. That spoiler is actually pretty uncool.

  39. The Reviewist says:

    Having cleared about 50% of Revelations I agree with what’s said above. It’s just MORE MORE MORE of the same but with no real change.

    The biggest issue I had with it is the fact that the Ezio story has absolutely no impetus. I know that not every chapter of a story must be underlined with blatant heroism but after the Vengeance story in 2 & the Borgias in Brotherhood it’s a weird disconnecting feeling to play Revelations and have no villain to rail against. It’s just Ezio trying to get his hands on some artifacts before the bad guys Nathan Drake stylee.

    The Desmond/Subject 16 sections should have been just as much part of the story, hell I’d have settled for a smaller Ezio tale with a bigger and better designed Desmond puzzle-game and some really good Altair missions for extra flavour.

    It’s certainly not a bad game, it’s a damn fine polished AC experience but just not a particularly engaging or innovative one.

  40. n3burgener says:

    I’m not surprised that Revelations is getting the “meh” verdict. I mean, the first Assassin’s Creed was pretty much the worst game ever on account of its horrendous repetition and all kinds of obnoxious design choices. Basically everything about that game pissed me off, but I really liked the premise: gathering intelligence on a target and then sneaking in and taking out your target. The actual assassinations were always fun, hiding in plain sight and slinking along the rooftops.

    Assassin’s Creed 2 fixed nearly every blatant problem with the first game, but by the end I started to feel it was still deceptively bland. At first, the money system and new weapons and, basically everything, was exciting and interesting, but by the halfway mark I realized most of it was just superfluous junk thrown in to pad the content. I ended up feeling almost as bored as I did with the first game, except AssCreed2 took much, much longer to reach the ending than the first game. Even the assassinations lost their thrill, because instead of being an involved infiltration process that required cunning effort, most of the time it’s just a matter of walking across town and shanking some guy in the street. Big whoop.

    When I’d heard about “Revelations” (coming out so soon after Brotherhood) I kind of realized they were just milking the franchise. And after putting out 4 games in the last 5 years while still sticking to the same core formula (3 of which use the same main character, Ezio) …. there’s only so much you can do to make each game feel truly new and exciting.