Assassin's Creed: Revelations Updated Hands-On Preview

We make time our plaything, take the scenic view of the city, and go all detective to uncover the past in our latest hands-on.

Get ready to do the time warp with Assassin's Creed: Revelations. While the game may appear to be more of the same rooftop acrobatics, hidden blade stabbery, and subterfuge that has made the series a hit three times over, things are going to become even more Inception-inspired, as this time Desmond, controlling Ezio, spends his time locating the five keys to unlock Altair's Library of Masyaf. Successfully tracking down these remnants allows Ezio to travel through time and relive pivotal moments in Altair's life from age 26 all the way past 60 years. Warning: this preview contains some potential storyline spoilers.

Our previous peeks at the game have showcased some of the new item creation that is possible, such as bombcrafting, which lets you turn three rudimentary found items into (among others) proximity mines, smoke grenades, or bombs filled with gold coins to create impromptu diversions. We've also been given a taste of the new tower defence mode that will crop up at intervals during the narrative, providing you with the chance to hang up your wall-climbing boots for a while and sit for a spell. As you play as the general, you will place archers, gunners, and Brotherhood leaders on rooftops, build upgradable barricades, and call in mortar-style cannon attacks to demolish aggressors.

In our most recent hands-on time with the game, we took both Ezio and Altair for a jog.

After successfully locating and securing one of the five keys used to find the lost library of Altair Ibn La'Ahad, we were transported back to the Crusades to wrap up some unfinished business. Twenty-six-year-old Altair had just slain Al Mualim, Grand Master of the Syrian Assassin Brotherhood, for his betrayal, corrupted by the apple at the centre of the original game. Abbas was the only onlooker to express concern with what had occurred, but made no attempt to stop us as we picked up and cradled the leader's body, carrying it down a grassy slope towards a prepared funeral pyre. As the flames licked at the sky, Abbas returned, pushing us off the raised area towards the crowd below. Because crowd surfing wouldn't be invented for another 600-odd years (thanks, Benjamin Franklin!), we hit the ground and watched as our attacker took possession of the apple, fleeing with it to a nearby tower.

As power is known to do, it quickly did its magic on Abbas, putting a vicelike grip on him and radiating energy that knocked us backwards, loosening our handholds as we attempted to climb scaffolding to retrieve the artefact. Once we were successfully at the top, we found him begging for forgiveness with outstretched hands. We retook control without delay.

Back in the Ezio timeline, Tarik, leader of the Janissaries, had been wheeling and dealing. With no faith in Prince Suleiman, heir to the throne, he bided his time, preparing an army to attack Constantinople. Our job was to infiltrate the arsenal area located in the Forum of Ox with a hope of finding out exactly what sort of forces were being amassed. The amount of armour and training provided to the Janissary guards made them tough targets to take on solo at the best of times. For this reason, we opted for a slightly more deceptive approach, colluding with and bribing leaders in the marketplace to stir up a dash of civilian unrest. With guards' backs turned to us as rioters trashed the place, we were able to choose our moment to strike, plunging swords and wrist blades into them from behind to take them down more easily. Granted, it wasn't all that honourable, but it was effective. While the crowd managed to hold its own reasonably well against the better-equipped forces, you won't be able to sit idly by and let them do all the work. Sacrificing too many civilian lives will cause you to fail the event.

With slain guards swimming in pools of their own blood, we slipped through the gates of the arsenal. Inside, we used Ezio's upgraded eagle sense ability to locate and stalk Manuel's slimy ethereal trail, which had been left painted to the cobblestones underfoot. Finally inside the building, we opened up large wooden crates where muskets were being stored. Unfortunately, even pro assassins aren't always as stealthy as they think they are, and we were spotted in the act, forcing us to run rather than stay and fight. Ezio's free running had us leaping over gaps between suspended wooden slats, scaling the edges of a ship and using the game's many conveniently placed ziplines and the beneficial forces of gravity to zoom to safety, ditching our less-nimble pursuers in the process.

With a clean set of heels, we found and entered an underground cavern filled with a maze of damaged walkways and perilous falls. As we snaked our way through the finger-tip-sized grabs using the prowess of a spider monkey, we came across a group of armed guards loading barrels of gunpowder into a boat. A free run and some gymnastics later, we got a look at the sequence's multiple available paths. Rather than failing you and requiring a restart for mistiming a jump or for grabbing instead of maintaining momentum to swing, the action stayed fast and frenetic, pushing us down other avenues. Feet barely touched the small pillars of wood poking out of dark, swirling water before we were off again. The scene ended with a zipline execution, as we zoomed above our targets before plunging blades into skulls as we landed with a thud. The boat was destroyed in the action, but we made it to dry land and came across another of the pieces of Altair's memories.

Now much older, his face wearing the creases of a life hard fought, Altair sought an explanation for the death of one of his sons. His wife, Maria, pleaded for him not to seek a violent resolution, and as we approached a looming tower, we were stopped by old pal Abass and one of his cronies. Abass explained with a venom-tipped tongue that he was the one who had called for the murder, and before you could say "peaceful adult discussion," blades were unsheathed, and Maria was stabbed and killed in the conflict.

With no time to mourn, we needed to locate and protect Altair's living son. As we hurried out of the city on the escort quest, blades swished with attackers, dashes were made down hills, and the two of us leapt from building to building with ease. Capable of defending himself against multiple simultaneous attackers, he was clearly his father's son.

Everyone has a few skeletons in the closet, and with three concurrent timelines intersecting to cover The Crusades, late 15th-century Renaissance, and present day, expect this to be a significant adventure of discovery. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Assassin's Creed: Revelations will launch globally on November 15, while the PC release is planned for December this year. Stay tuned for our full review soon.

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Discussion

62 comments
isshiah
isshiah

l wonder if they'll continue the series after the next game in 2012. it's kinda like making terminator films after 2020. by then, it'd be set in the past instead of the future.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

@Chippa7 Thanks a lot bro your the reply.

lockdownv6
lockdownv6

so we're playing as desmond who using a machine to relive the genetic memories of ezio who in turn is using a magical doo-hickey (or ancient alien thing-a-ma-bob) to relieve the memories of altiar? way to keep it simple guys.

xboxgameman
xboxgameman

They hide the spoilers after they publish the full article with all exposed. FAIL.

Fowsed
Fowsed

@ElFlechero dude i have nothing against more organic gameplay! I dont like how they dont pay atention to the Creed's rules as they did before! Remember how your were losing 4 sync blocks when assassinating civilians?? Take a look back at the epic sountracks palying when you entered Damascus! and compare whith the electro songs playing now on ACRevelations trailers! WTF?? and trailers are all about killing... when in AC1 the focus was on greater good.. just dont like these changes... miss the old days

esurette
esurette

When I first skimmed through this article, I was looking for gameplay impressions--not what happens during the last Altair sequence. Hiding the spoilers only recently (as opposed to when this preview was first published) was too little, too late. Thanks a lot, dick.

ElFlechero
ElFlechero

@Fowsed Yeah, the original Assassin's Creed was my favorite game at the time, I didn't find it boring like most people did. But though the content of the story was better, it was told in such a stilted way. You actually enjoyed riding back to Masyaf after every mission? Yikes, I thought getting rid of that structure was the best change they made. The way ACB unfolds is so much more organic and engaging. So I don't think the story is something that would suffer because of multiplayer development--that's just up to the writer, who wouldn't have anything to do with the multiplayer anyway. Everything else was improved, making a better single player experience, while also giving something to the people who like experiencing the world of Assassin's Creed with other people.

ElFlechero
ElFlechero

@Shadroth888 I was mainly talking about the idea that adding multiplayer takes away from single player; I don't think it does. Games like Assassin's Creed or Uncharted 3 or Mass Effect 3 still ARE old fashioned single player games, the addition of a multiplayer mode doesn't take anything away the epic single player experience. If they went in and made Assassin's Creed 3 an MMO, there'd be a reason to complain, but not when the modes are completely separated. I talked about ACB and Uncharted 2 because they seem to support the idea that the single player can keep getting better even when a developer takes the time to add multiplayer for the people who enjoy that. Both games added significant improvements to their series.

Gladiator_Sofi
Gladiator_Sofi

companies should stop focusing on MP so much and go back to giving the SP the priority ,MP is nice and all ,but not many people get to enjoy it ,and many people don't like it,so the significance of the game has to be dedicated to the single player campaign

alfisti156
alfisti156

Companies add MP so they get extra money from second hand sales with the use of online passes.

Shadroth888
Shadroth888

@ElFlechero Hang on a moment. Is the over-repeated under-supported opinion about ACB's story or the multiplayer apsect? I agree with Grimkillah (though he put across a strong opinion) that some devalopers are spending too much time on multiplayer. Certain games should be left as a single-player campaign. However, I really enjoyed ACB"s multiplayer. Having only spent little time connecting with xbox live through my games, ACB stands out for me. i found it immensly enjoyable and suprisingly dynamic. The point you made about devalopers extending the overall experience of there games by adding and/or improving multiplayer stands firm but, (going back to the origional point) I believe there is still a market out there for people like myself who either dont use online multiplayer or just enjoy old fashioned single player games however niche that market is there days ;) I repect the opinion of my peers here @ Gamespot so id like to know what other people are thinking about this matter. Looking forward to Elder Scrolls V. Bring on 11.11.11

Fowsed
Fowsed

@ElFlechero, Gameplay...yeah the gameplay is better.. But the story! Dude.. i cant even fu*king remember what was that name of the first guy you assassinate....Storyline is sh*t. Remember when you killed Tamir (see i remembered his name) in the first AC, and you had to go back in masyaf for further orders... Remember whe you have realised that Almo Alim was a traitor... That was the game dude! Thats the epic story and atmosphere of an true AC game!

Chippa7
Chippa7 moderator

@Gamer_4_Fun It's tough to gauge frame rate from development builds since they're often only pieces of the full game, may not yet have been been optimised, and frequently don't run from a disc like the final game will. That said, the demo we saw was running nice and smoothly.

Diegorch
Diegorch

Ezio Auditore is like the very first Indiana Jones...He still rockin despite the age

ElFlechero
ElFlechero

@Grimkillah @Fowsed I strongly disagree with that over-repeated, under-supported opinion. Brotherhood's single player was by far the best so far, maybe not the story, but definitely the gameplay variety, riding horses in the city, and it's awesome setting. Assassin't creed could ALWAYS be played like a non-stealth action game if that was your style, Brotherhood actually encouraged more stealthy play with the 100% sync system, and with enemies that were more aggressive in large groups. Apparently multiplayer development didn't take away anything from the single player experience after all. All multiplayer can do is add to the single player experience. A great example is Uncharted 2 and 3, their single player has just been getting better and better, at the same time as they've added and massively expanded their multiplayer. And if you prefer AI to real humans, you don't even have to play that mode! Just because you don't like it, let them develop a game for the rest of us.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

What about the technical advancements in the game @Chippa7, does this game look better and smoother frame rate than Brotherhood? Thanks

Fowsed
Fowsed

@Grimkillah, damn straight! Since multiplayer Assassins Creed single player turned into Crap! I hate how the game turned from a hardcore stealth, play by the rulles creed gameplay, into an unleashed Walking Sh*T Killing Everyting! THIS ISNT THE TRUE AC! WAKE UP UBISOFT!

civwiz
civwiz

MP is fun for the first time. but gets pretty boring after 30min. I prefer the SP game.

agitatedchimp
agitatedchimp

Instead of having a multiplayer in which you compete against each other, i think it would be good if they added some co-operative online missions.

tom_cat_01
tom_cat_01

These new 'Spoiler: click to reveal' boxes are a really, REALLY great feature.

Rocker6
Rocker6

@DarthVeng_basic Yep,SP gaming FTW.Glad I will get many good SP games in November,cant wait for Arkham City(PC version).Tackling on MP really sucks,it simply doesnt belong in some games,AC being one of them.The case that worries me more is ME3,since we are dealing with EA there campaing could suffer because of it.

fifazalata123
fifazalata123

hope after this part..ubisoft montreal give themselves a rest to develope an EPIC AC3

Grimkillah
Grimkillah

Gaming industries need to focus more on the campaign and less on unnecessary multiplayer. For Halo, Gears, CoD and Battlefield, sure it is the bread and butter, but do we need MP in story driven games like BioShock, Dead Space, Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect? Get rid of MP and stop watering down the Campaign I say.

DarthVeng_basic
DarthVeng_basic

@albatraum : I disagree. The MP in Brotherhood was a pointless addition the was enjoyable for about 10 min flat. So, yes, I did play it and found it un-enjoyable after a short time. I only played it to try and get some of the achievements as well. They added MP Achievements forcing you to play the MP in order to get 100% completion. Forcing you to play part of a game that you don't want to and should not be there. Something I find upsetting and annoying. @Rocker6 : It is jumping on a trendy MP bandwagon, adding MP to a game they should remain SP only. Some of us actually enjoy SP games. I frankly miss the days when MP was the "minority" and not tacked on to fit a trend. This is part of why I am enjoying Batman Arkham City so much.

attentaeter85
attentaeter85

They aren't really spoilers if you've seen all the videos and read the book "The Secret Crusade"

Rocker6
Rocker6

@DarthVeng_basic Yeah,its unnecessary,but as long as it doesnt damage the quallity of SP campaing,I dont care,I just ignore it.

albatraum
albatraum

@DarthVeng_basic I KNOW!!! I HATE IT WHEN THEY ADD MORE FEATURES TO AN ALREADY GREAT GAME!!!! But seriously, have you even played the multiplayer in Brotherhood? It was pretty freaking fun, and they're adding more into it this time around, it's actually the selling point for me because of the replay value.

Mon6ana
Mon6ana

I know its a bad wondering, but I still dont know what is the relationship between Ezio and Altaire

1valiantknight
1valiantknight

This sounds like a fantastic conclusion to one of the best historical sci-fi stories ever! I can't wait to get my hands on this gem of a game and see what happens. All the new features sound totally amazing and getting to play as Altiar again, substantially, is a real treat. Even with all the great games coming out right now this is a day one purchase. Oh and for anyone who likes this kind of historical sci-fi you might want to check out Michael Chrichtons Time Line. Great book, not a great movie though.

Armyboy5
Armyboy5

LOL i opened and closed the spoiler bar, I feel so naughty!!

Elite39
Elite39

Awesome, the graphics look great!

Crash_WL
Crash_WL

At first I thought "they're making the game tiring, 3 games about Ezio?", but I pre-ordered my Collector's as soon as I saw more stuff about the game, and with this? I'm glad I did. P.S. *thumbs up. If you're going to be a thumbs whore, do it right.

Rocker6
Rocker6

@EE061003 This is not Youtube...

EE061003
EE061003

THUMPS UP IF U DIDNT REVEAL THE SPOILER TAGS

SHERNEE
SHERNEE

OMG I totally clicked the spoiler tags, read 5 words then closed it back up again. I just can't do it even though I want to know soo baddd!

GamerYnoX
GamerYnoX

Great job on those spoiler tags!

Rocker6
Rocker6

Nice,spoiler tags.Thats helpful,Great job,Gamespot :) As for the game,Im very excited,I love AC franchise,too bad I have to wait untill December.But at least I will be occupied with many great games in November.

Lexaeus775
Lexaeus775

ugh why would they tease me like that? literally staring at the spoiler tab,weighing all of life's important decisions lol

abompro
abompro

I have successfully stopped myself from opening the spoilers. Must...keep...arrow...from...going...back...

Evilbunz
Evilbunz

i have been bug testing the hell out of this game and its the best in the series but aside for doing the story there is not much else to do. I always wanted them to create a world like mass effect, where you could talk too tons of people with tons of appealing side quests and a proper "assassin base" be it a small house or a castle. I guess after playing ac1 i just wanted a fully immersive world but either way this game will kick ass...

kik4444
kik4444

It's like ACR's waiting time is like a drug I'm addicted to, but just barely resisting it

maddog123
maddog123

assassin's creed will always be my favorite. spoilers were awesome. I'm a spoiler whore. I love em. can't wait to play this game NEED IT NOW NOW NOW!!!

LiLNeaYo
LiLNeaYo

And the hype just keeps building.. Bring it on already

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

@Chippa7 Spoiler tags much appreciated.