The newest tenant in the Creed may be similar to the last one, but a fantastic story and interesting city set it apart.
The story continues to follow Desmond's ancestor Ezio. Ezio, now an aged Master Assassin, travels to Masyaf; the home of the Assassin Order from the first game, in order to enter Altair's library and learn it's secrets. When he reaches the castle, he is greeted by Templars and is forced to fight his way out of the city, but not before finding out the library is locked by special keys. He then tracks the keys to Altair's Library to the city of Constantinople; a city on the boarders of Asia and Europe and in terrible disrepair in Templar hands.
He meets the leader of the Assassins in the city, Yusuf, and learns their ways before moving on to deal with the Templars. Ezio's story here is better than it was in Brotherhood, his search for the keys brings and interesting tale full of twists, interesting characters and great dialogue, but it's the keys themselves that make this story worth experiencing.
Every time Ezio collects a Masyaf key, his mind is shown a memory from Altair. The first is before the first Assassin's Creed while the others take place after. The events after the first game are incredibly interesting and witnessing Altair transition from the Assassin we knew him as to an old, wise and mysterious man is engaging and makes you wish the game was all about his story. I found myself playing to witness what happened next in his life and how Ezio and how the library all factored into it and it was well worth it. There couldn't have been a better end to Ezio's story.
The gameplay is basically the same as it was in Brotherhood. You run around the city of Constantinople and climb, fight and assassinate to complete missions in order to progress the story. Combat hasn't really been refined here and the Assassin minigame returns unchanged but the climbing has been vastly improved with the addition on the hookblade. The hookblade offers Ezio more reach when climbing and jumping allowing him to climb faster and make bigger jumps.
Horses have been removed and the economy system is the same as in Brotherhood, but it still remains very fun. The multiplayer from Brotherhood has returned and, while it hasn't received any big changes, it has been balanced and it still great fun while it lasts. It's basically more Assassin's Creed and nothing is wrong with that.
The music is still what you'd expect from an Assassin's Creed game by now, calm music while exploring and rousing music while in combat. This time around, the main theme steals the show by far. If you thought the track "Ezio's Family" from Assassin's Creed II was great, wait until you hear the main theme from Revelations.
On the voice work front, Roger Craig Smith still does a great job as Ezio and the supporting cast does a great job as well. Nolan North is still doing a great job as Desmond, but it's weird to say that Altair's voice was changed. His new voice fits his locale more and seems more natural, but many will miss his cold voice from the original game.
The visuals are still as lovely as ever, even if they are beginning to show some kinks. The character models look better, especially Ezio, but the city is starting to look similar. Even though you are not in Italy anymore the building look incredibly similar to the ones in Rome. The combat still looks brutal and seeing the entire city stretched out before you is still a wonder. The animation is still top-notch and, once again, brings the city to life. Just like Ezio himself, the Assassin's Creed II visual engine is starting to tire and run out of tricks.
- Fantastic three-way story
- Likable characters
- Well-written dialogue
- Brutal combat
- Climbing is still great and enhanced by the Hookblade
- Constantinople is a beautiful setting
- Fantastic voice work and main theme
- Great animation
- Altair segments are show stealers
- Same as last year in too many ways
- Third game with Ezio as lead
- Not many advances in gameplay
- Combat is still simple
- Visuals are in dire need of an overhaul
Overall, Assassin's Creed: Revelations is a good stop-gap while we wait for the true Assassin's Creed III. It has a fantastic story that ends off Ezio's story nicely and it still has that captivating Assassin's Creed gameplay. While it may be showing the signs of a yearly series, those who follow the Creed shouldn't miss it.