Ubisoft is convinced they can churn out a full Assasssin’s Creed (AC) franchise game year after year, and keep up the quality and the interest in their product. I’ve had some time with the game – a good long time, actually, as I have committed to completing most quests and have been following this series closely since its inception. I’m not interested in spoiling for you, so I’ll endeavor to keep the plotline revelations to a minimum. That being said, the story is the most compelling part of this game – I will briefly discuss the beginning.
The science fiction that supports the world of AC interests me, and I look forward to the twists and turns. The previous games have been very reluctant to reveal too much about the present-day Desmond Miles, and while his story segments have been the most interesting in terms of overall progression, frankly the controls have always felt shallow and very limited. This hasn’t changed much, but this time you don’t control him as you did in AC, AC2 or even AC:Brotherhood. While on the island in his mind, you can enter into shadows of his own memories with climbing puzzles that reminded me, more than a little, of Portal (sans the portal guns, and instead using floating blocks to traverse the 3D puzzle environments). I rather enjoyed the puzzle game coupled with the narrative. It is a well executed series of segments that reveals a little about who Desmond really is, and while some of the puzzles and controls are a little clunky, it’s serviceable enough to get what you need.
The only real challenge I experienced was restraining my frustration at the frequent game crashes. The lockups seemed to stem from overloading the game on the “Risk”-like mini-game offered through managing your Assassin clan. In a nutshell, you can assign one or more assassins to missions all over the Mediterranean. You can even move your assassins from Constantinople (where you are), to the varying regions, thus being able to recruit more than just the first twelve. As you move up to 5 assassins per city, and not only can you complete missions there, you can also take over.
I had just finished up DNA sequence five of nine, and pretty much ruled the streets of every city with a full complement of assassins (both abroad and locally). I was about to head off to follow a storyline mission, so I queued everyone up to be doing something while I was gone. Not all the mission times were the same length, but I’m guessing that as several missions came back (all successful) it was too much and locked up my 360. Over, and over, and over again. The missions were clearing out with each lockup (as the autosave was being updated) so after a dozen lockups, I finally was able to play again. You can bet my stranglehold on Europe waned as I let my guild fall into disrepair.
All in all, Revelations could have been two DNA sequences in Assassin’s Creed 3, and left it at that. Yes, I got another 30 hours of Assassin’s Creed only one year later, but I’d rather have something that felt substantial – more than just buying and playing the same game I had last year. I enjoyed some of the characters, and I’d recommend a playthrough for those following the AC storyline. If someone were to ask me to recommend a good Assassin’s Creed game to start with, Revelations will be fighting for the back of the line.
As it stands Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is worth playing, but not as a premium title. The content is thin, the game isn’t as interesting, and Ubisoft shouldn’t have diluted the game to make a yearly cycle. In a glut of other games to buy during the holiday season, it just doesn’t stand out as a must-have.