Ezio Auditoré da Firenze – it’s a name that veterans of the Assassin’s Creed series should be familiar with. Revelations will be the third time players have assumed control of the legendary 16th century Italian assassin, and it also looks set to be the last.
Continuing directly on from last year’s Brotherhood, new players may find themselves a little confused at the game’s outset, even after the brief cut-scene recapping past events. Having suffered a mental breakdown at the end of the last game, present-day assassin Desmond Miles is stuck inside the Animus, a machine that lets him re-live the memories of his ancestors. Until he has experienced the final moments of both Ezio and 12th century assassin Altair, he can’t wake up and re-join the real world.
At least you’re stuck somewhere new – having purged Italy of the Borgia, Ezio is now in Renaissance-era Constantinople, racing against the secret Templar society to uncover the keys to Altair’s sealed library. The skyline might be different, but you still spend most of your time stalking your targets, completing side missions and growing your army of assassin followers.
Ezio isn’t quite as athletic as his younger self – now in his mid-fifties, you can’t free-run across rooftops with quite such grace and elegance. Fortunately, he has new tools at his disposal to speed up his journey. A hook has been added to his signature wrist blade, helping him scale buildings faster and use zip-lines to quickly reach the ground again. It can also be used in combat, either as a weapon or to evade attacks. Bombs are another addition to your arsenal – with a huge number of recipes to create different types of explosion, you can create new strategies to distract or kill your enemies. Finally, the X-ray styled Eagle Vision skill now shows you where enemies have been, their most likely path and where they intend to go.
Unsurprisingly, for the most part Revelations feels all too similar to previous games in the series, in spite of the new location and gameplay mechanics. However, there are times where you’re put in control of Desmond, tasked with solving puzzles that reconnect the pieces of his fragmented mind. These are jarringly different from the rest of the game, and aren’t very much fun, so we were soon wishing we could return to the past as Ezio.
Revelations isn’t a short game, but there’s a competitive multiplayer mode for anyone that still wants to put their assassination skills to the test. With new maps and characters, even experienced warriors that mastered Brotherhood will have things to learn, particularly in the two new game types. Deathmatch is an evolution on the Wanted mode, where you are assigned a target to kill without being taken down first by rival assassins. Now, you have no compass to guide you, just your powers of observation to decide which characters are computer controlled and which are your human enemies.
Even with the new combat and exploration elements, Revelations isn’t dramatically different to its predecessors. If you were a big fan of the series and want to know how the book closes on Ezio and Altair, this is practically a must-buy, but for everyone else there’s little here to encourage new players to take up the fight.