A Few Big ‘Revelations’

“Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” marks the end of Ezio’s and Altair’s era by giving the series its strongest title to date.

Ubisoft’s decision to follow three main characters in “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” is ambitious, but in the end proves to be a success. The story follows not only Ezio’s quest to discover the secrets of the Templar order, but also his romantic entanglements in a delicate political situation. Add on optional outings into Desmond’s mind in the Animus, as well as flashbacks to key moments in Altair’s life, and you get a plot filled to the limit. Somehow, Ubisoft was able to bring all these characters together and make it work.

The most captivating material involves Ezio, as his quest to discover more information about Altair relates to the social and political turmoil in Constantinople. There, Ezio meets Sophia, who becomes a romantic interest in spite of Ezio’s constant stabbing of the guards. Ubisoft did a fantastic job in making us believe that these characters are slowly falling for another despite the chaos around them.

The most thrilling parts of the game come when Ezio discovers clues about the keys to Altair’s library. This is when the series’ “dungeon” sequences come into play. Much like the Lairs of Romulus or the Assassin’s Tombs in the previous installments, these excavations take the player on a thrilling ride through waterfalls and alongside rivers. These segments are incredible and are the highlights of the entire game.

The chapters featuring Altair are another great part of the game. Each major part of the game features Ubisoft’s original assassin, allowing players to relive specific moments of his life. Some of these missions feel similar to Ezio’s, but others feel completely different. Changing characters gives the game a sense of freshness. The fact that these missions are story-driven adds meaning and weight to what Ezio is doing. By the time you finish “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations,” you’ll see differences and similarities between the two assassins.

Desmond’s sequences are completely optional. His moments are intriguing and serve as a fun break from Ezio’s and Altair’s constant killings and intense missions, as the player is allowed to stop and think outside the box.

“Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” functions much like the previous games in the series. You will still be playing in third-person, accepting various side missions that task you with chasing, stalking or killing certain targets. These side missions are fun for a while, but in the end they fail to relate to the larger story.

As for the combat system, Ubisoft made a number of additions to the game. The most critical change is in the button layout. Players will now have the option to carry secondary weapons (throwing knives, bombs and a concealed gun) in addition to the primary one (blade, sword or axe). This gives the player a significant number of options and allows quick reactions during battle sequences.

Bombs are a new addition to the “Assassin’s Creed” series. Throughout Ezio’s time in Constantinople, he’ll find a wide range of ingredients that can be mixed together to create bombs. You can make smoke bombs for quick getaways, ones that shoot out coins to lure peasants or ones that simply dispatch foes. That being said, assassinating and countering moves are still the most effective way to kill. However, the game’s combat system overall feels similar to previous installments.

The storytelling in “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” reaches new heights. The cinematic sequences are realistic and fully develop characters in strongly scripted scenes. The game’s visual aspects have also improved; the expressions on the character’s faces are better than ever. The same can be said about the game’s voice acting; the character’s emotions can be felt in the actors’ voices. All of these improvements, combined with a huge open environment in Constantinople, add to the great narrative experience.

Another new feature to the series is “Den Defense,” but it doesn’t add to the experience. Instead, it takes away from it: Ezio stands on a rooftop near his headquarters and orders assassins to take out various amounts of enemy troops. The process is irritating and “Den Defense” should be revised, if not be removed, from future games.

The multiplayer has been improved as well, with new modes, a huge amount of customization and even a story mode. “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” is mostly a single-player experience, but Ubisoft has created a great experience in its multiplayer. “Wanted” and “Deathmatch” recreate the idea of stalking prey and performing assassination. “Artifact Assault” is chaotic, though, as it requires players on either team to run at each other to get an artifact.

To celebrate the launch of “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations,” Ubisoft organized a launch party at UC Irvine last Friday night in Donald Bren Hall 1100. Around 200 Anteaters were able to try out the game, win prizes and enjoy delicious pizza. Five screens were available for students and others enjoyed the first hour of the game projected on a screen. The lucky raffle winners received “Assassin’s Creed” shirts and cards.