July 17, 2012

Assassin’s Creed Revelations (Day 1)

Being a person of questionable sanity when it comes to the Assassin’s Creed series, trying to view Assassin’s Creed Revelations from an unbiased point will be difficult. I have loved the Assassin’s Creed series from the moment I murdered that civilian in the cave as Altair in the first game. But professional obligations — shut up, I am professional — demand it and so I shall do it. Assassin’s Creed Revelations is a 3rd person, action-adventure sandbox game with stealth elements developed and published by Ubisoft. It is the fourth major installment of the series and is supposed to bring the legendary assassins’, Ezio Auditore and Altaïr ibn La-Ahad, stories to a close. It will also most likely end with yet another massive cliffhanger that will force its captive audience to throw more money at Ubisoft in anticipation of the next game — those clever buggers. The Assassin’s Creed series has yet to put out a game that doesn’t leave on a cliffhanger, and although I have not finished Revelations yet, I am quite certain this game will not break the moneymaking tradition.

In Revelations, you play Ezio Auditore da Firenze — mostly. There are parts where you get to relieve the memories of Altaïr through Ezio, but for the majority, you will play as our dashing Italian protagonist. Ezio, who is getting a bit fed up with no answers about his prophetic life, journeys to Masyaf: the Assassin stronghold from the first game. Looking for answers in Altaïr’s library, he finds the place guarded to the teeth by Templars who welcome him with arrows, blades, and death. Not to be perturbed, Ezio quickly kills them all and continues looking for the fabled library. Unfortunately, he finds it locked behind a door that is apparently harder than steel. But then I thought that if the Templars could mine all the way down to the library without problem, why couldn’t they simply mine around the door? But I guess we abandoned logic when in Assassin’s Creed II, Ubisoft explained that the human race was created by cosmic space aliens who all died in a sun flare. Whatever the matter, the door needs five keys called the Masyaf keys. A conveniently placed nearby worker tells Ezio that a certain Templar captain possesses a journal that helps the Templars hunt down the keys. Ezio quickly goes to find the captain and after a little bit of stalking, killing, a “high-speed” carriage chase, and falling off a cliff, Ezio learns that the Templars have found one key and are closing in on the rest in Constantinople.

Ezio wastes no time in getting to Constantinople and is soon welcomed into the beautiful city by Yusuf Tazim, the leader of the Ottoman Assassins. After a briefing on the current state of Constantinople, Ezio is given a modified version of the hidden blade: the hookblade, which replaces his right hidden blade. And so we end the story for now and talk about the game mechanics.

Combat is basically the same as fighting in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood although the hookblade adds another feature. You no longer have taunt but in its absence, you have the counter-steal. Used in the same way as the counter-attack, you can steal all of the enemy’s money and items, prompting them to attack you in a reckless fashion. The ability seems useless to me as you can just kill them, then loot their stuff. Besides, personally I enjoyed taunting more than this new mechanic because I got to hear all of the insulting, and quite frankly, hilarious quips that Ezio would scream at his enemies. Combat aside, the hookblade also allows you to further your parkour abilities. Climbing has become faster because you can reach higher and farther. You can also use it to fling yourself ridiculous distances off of hanging objects. Most importantly, you can now use it to slide down zip lines, making travel time significantly faster and more fun that falling off rooftops.

However, I am nowhere near the end of the Assassin’s Creed Revelations adventure and while I do love playing the game so far, I feel like it’s a little too easy. I remember the times when massive groups of guards could actually pose a threat. I remember the times when I had to flee while my face was still intact so that I could go turn invisible on a bench. But maybe the difficulty challenge will ramp up later on in the game. The Assassin’s Creed games have always had long stories and at this point, I am not sure if I have even gotten past the tutorial phase. But despite my concern about if the game is too easy or not, it is still fun and so far, whatever disappointments I have had in this game can easily be solved by a lovely slow-motion skull-stab to a guard.

Image Credit: Ubisoft

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