If “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations” does anything right, it’s storytelling.
The fourth installment in the third-person historical action series continues the compelling Creed lore that began in 2007. And this time, developer Ubisoft pulled no punches by delivering a solid character-driven narrative that will be satisfying for followers of the series while setting up the next chapter.
Revelations begins where last year’s “Brotherhood” ends: with lead character Desmond Miles’ mind in a sort of limbo inside the “Animus” machine that allows him to relive the memories of his assassin ancestors. The game allows you to warp between Desmond as he tries to free his mind through a series of not-so-fun mini-games that involve solving puzzles using geometric building blocks, and past characters Altair and Ezio.
If you have not played the previous Creed titles, expect to be a little lost from the opening scene. Although it’s possible to enjoy the game coming into the franchise fresh, there is a lot of backstory tied to Revelations that only makes the experience richer.
The crash course is this: Desmond is actually in 2012 and connected to the Animus. Through his ancestors, we learn about the battles between the ancient assassins’ order and the evil Knights Templar, which is attempting in both the ancient and modern-day worlds to collect “pieces of Eden” that can change the fate of mankind and possibly – shocker – destroy the world.
Gameplay in the beautifully rendered Constantinople will be familiar to fans of the franchise. Mostly, you fight off anonymous guards by mashing a few buttons. In truth, the game does much of this work for you. Directions on different control schemes are displayed at the top of the screen at any given time, and there’s even a friendly ghost that shows you exactly where to run, jump and stealthily slay guards on the edge of a windy cliff-side castle.
Some of this work can be repetitive and boring, which is something the previous titles also suffered from. The missions to stalk and assassinate targets along the way sometimes feel like a distraction from the broader story, but hey, that’s the premise of the game, right?
To break up some of this monotony, Revelations includes a new scenario called den defense, in which Ezio commands troops in an effort to destroy an onslaught of bad guys who want to break down the wall. If that sounds a lot like your standard castle defense game, that’s because it is.
The final, ahem, revelations in the game nicely set up the next installment in the Creed franchise. The cinematic ending alone is worth playing to the end, as it both answers questions and raises a few new ones about where the game will go from here.
Overall, Revelations is a solid title. The story is engaging and the video sequences are gorgeous. But the gameplay suffers by simply being too easy at times and repeating most of the same actions again and again. But if third-person adventure is your bag, Revelations will probably slay you.
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