Assassin’s Creed returns to consoles this autumn as the stories of Ezio and Altaïr come to a dramatic conclusion. Despite having an annual release date for new titles in the series, the crew behind it have succeeded in bettering themselves, delivering the best instalment of the franchise so far.
Revelations follows the continuation of Ezio’s story as he travels to Constantinople to discover more about the history of the Assassin Order around the world, interspersed with flashbacks to key points in the later life of Altaïr, protagonist from the first game, and flashforwards inside the shattered mind of modern-day assassin Desmond. The jumps between timelines within the main storyline are not difficult to follow, and the elements of Altaïr’s concealed memories provide a welcome go-between amongst the games in the series so far.
Desmond’s comatose episodes involving traversing the deepest darkest parts of his psyche in order to return to consciousness are mind-bending, and not necessarily in a good way. Abstract puzzle-solving skills are needed to succeed in unearthing Desmond’s backstory, and while they are optional they do seem to be a laboured attempt to vary the main single-player action. A few other additions to gameplay refresh the game slightly, but above all Revelations is very similar to its predecessors, and therein lies its main strength and main weakness. It doesn’t get repetitive, however, as a variety of challenges and side missions ensure a substantial replay value, and certain versions of the game include a digital copy of Altaïr’s exploits in the form of the original Assassin’s Creed from 2007.
The multiplayer has been improved and offers a welcome break to all the first-person shooters on the market this season, even adding a story element to the online experience, improving an already addictive format. Classic multiplayer modes add an extra dimension to the game that has cemented itself as a heavy-hitter in its field.
Despite some weak attempts to reinvent and introduce new gameplay elements, Revelations remains the best Assassin’s Creed yet, though not by a great distance. If you have been a fan of the series so far, you owe it to yourself to be part of the concluding adventure to one of the most innovative games of a decade.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011), published by Ubisoft, is available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.