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Assassin's Creed Revelations review

AT A GLANCE
  • Hauling ass across rooftops is more fun than ever
  • Master Assassin missions are a cool addition
  • Multiplayer remains amazing
  • Underdeveloped, disappointing storyline
  • There's less to do than in Brotherhood
  • Short on actual revelations about the series' plot

Search and destroy

There’s one area in which Revelations doesn’t disappoint even a little, and that’s multiplayer. The stealth-based, somewhat solitary hunt-or-be-hunted action from Brotherhood is back, and this time it’s brought a slew of new refinements, modes, maps and customization options. It also brings a bunch of social features, including customizable profiles and automated challenge ladders for your friends, as well as an in-game store that sells new perks, abilities and modifications for your avatars.

At its heart, though, it’s still the same hunt-and-be-hunted gameplay that won us over in Brotherhood, as you and a handful of other players – whether on your own or in teams – are set loose in smallish villages, cities and palaces (populated by a bunch of wandering lookalikes and random characters) to stealthily murder each other. Success largely means relying on environmental hiding spots, your ability to blend in with the crowds and assorted Templar tricks to get the drop on your target, while not attracting the attention of the players out to kill you.

Revelations’ multiplayer is crammed full of little improvements, but the biggest ones are the new modes, including Deathmatch (which is a lot like the lonely Manhunt mode, but does away with both the radar and any player-character lookalikes in the crowd), Corruption (essentially a zombie mode in which one team tries to kill and convert the other) and Escort (which tasks one team with defending a VIP and the other team with killing them).

There’s also Artifact Assault, which turns classic capture-the-flag into a game of sneaky misdirection. Here, you’ll be tasked with stealing the enemy team’s flag and escaping before any of them chase you down, immobilize you with traps or otherwise stab you to death. Tearing ass through enemy territory (in which you’re vulnerable to attack) with two or three opponents on your heels can be a genuinely pulse-pounding experience, and it makes safely reaching your home base with the enemy flag extremely satisfying.

As fun as playing multiplayer is, however, the real incentive to playing through and leveling up your character is that doing so unlocks chunks of a parallel, multiplayer-only storyline that reveals tidbits about Templar history. As you rise through the ranks of Abstergo, you’ll be treated to occasional videos and (more frequently) text/image files that offer a glimpse of the AC universe from the bad guys’ point of view. It’s here that the series’ conspiracy fans can get their fix, although getting to level 50 and seeing everything requires a considerably bigger time investment than simply running through single-player.

Is it better than…?

Assassin’s Creed II? Depends. If we’re talking purely from a gameplay standpoint, then that's a yes, but Assassin’s Creed isn’t a franchise that can be judged purely from a gameplay standpoint. Its story and characters were too important to the overall experience. Taking them into account, ACII stands as the best game in the series thus far. Revelations may have amazing multiplayer, and it may have added and refined a few game mechanics, but as a whole experience, ACII still stands above it.

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood? No. Well, its multiplayer is definitely better (although it’s really just refining something that was already great), but Revelations feels as though it just adds a handful of bells and whistles to Brotherhood’s formula. And where Brotherhood’s story seemed weak and flabby compared to ACII, it feels epic next to Revelations’ meandering, treasure-hunting plot. Also, while Revelations arguably tries to make its side missions more meaningful, there are noticeably fewer than there were in Brotherhood, and none of them involve piloting Leonardo Da Vinci’s bizarre inventions – or anything more awesome than a horse-drawn carriage, for that matter.

Batman: Arkham City? No. Arkham City is prettier than Revelations, its side quests are more compelling, its city is more fun to explore and its villains (however many of them there are) are better defined and more fun to take down. True, Revelations’ Constantinople feels like an actual, living city, while Arkham feels like a hostile, thug-infested prison camp, and climbing buildings as Ezio is neck-and-neck with Batman’s grappling hook as a fun way to get around. In the end, though, Rocksteady’s superhero sim wins out as the better overall experience.


For those who skipped straight to the end

While it brings some undeniable improvements to the series, Revelations feels like one step forward, two steps back. Its gameplay and multiplayer are still fantastic, but they come at the expense of a lackluster storyline and a shorter overall experience. Instead of being the exclamation point at the end of Ezio’s story, Revelations feels more like an ellipsis.

More Info

Release date: Nov 15 2011 - PS3
Nov 29 2011 - PC
Nov 15 2011 - Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Adventure
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Montreal
Franchise: Assassin's Creed
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Language, Violence, Mild Sexual Themes
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

51 comments

  • Agent36496 - April 19, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    This was the first AC game that I ever played. Gotta say, I loved the game. You can make many combinations with weapons, history is incorporated, and even the gameplay gives the realistic feeling. It was just epic for the first M-rated game I played in my life.
  • shirazsheikh - January 18, 2012 6:46 p.m.

    Need to add some friend on Assassin Creed anyone wanna add me ironmanver20 please doo
  • assassin_17 - December 25, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    needs a kill anyone cheat
  • DeathstrikeS12 - November 23, 2011 1:50 p.m.

    I agree with the bottom comment. I was disappointed at Brotherhood storyline. http://amazongiftsource.blogspot.com/
  • JBizFoShiz - November 17, 2011 12:38 a.m.

    I knew the story would disappoint, but if ACB's story > ACR's story, I think I can wait for a price drop. Because Brotherhood's story sucked out loud. However, if they fixed the maddening multiplayer bugs from last year, that could redeem itself! Until then, there's so many other good games to tide me over.
  • kingsmikefan - November 17, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    Black Friday...
  • dpowers - November 16, 2011 5:38 p.m.

    i agree with a lot of what has been said...and i'm playing it right now. There are somethings left to be wanted, and i'm slowly agreeing with the whole its ACB+. Either way i have been a huge fan of the AC games and still am. I think ACR is a great game so far. I'm not a big AC multiplayer though, but the modes now have me more enticed, especially the ctf and no lookalike ones. i really hope that games don't all eventually drift towards multiplayer. I'm a big fan of single player only games, as normally they have great stories...the way almost all games used to be. Some games multiplayer is awesome, some don't need it
  • GrandmaSlayer - November 16, 2011 2:46 p.m.

    I prefer IGN's review...
  • taterboob - November 16, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    By the gods, why did this have to come out a measly four days after Skyrim, the same week as a ton of other high profile games, and less than a week before Skyward Sword? I love Assassin's Creed, but they really should have pushed this back to March or something. I'll never understand why Ubisoft insists on releasing their games during the busiest time of year, when it will serve to do nothing but hurt their sales. Or why they decided to release their other big game (Rayman) the exact same week. Have they learned nothing from Sands of Time/Beyond Good and Evil? Protip to publishers: I like playing games during the summer too, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one.
  • inconceivable - November 16, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    It sounds like this game might be a bit of a disappointment for me even though it got an eight. I really liked Brotherhood, but it still made me wish for AC3. It sounds like that feeling will be even stronger playing Revelations. I'll probably still pick it up though. But now I want AC to take a break, and then come back with an amazing game that blows AC2 away.
  • VigotheCarpathian - November 16, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    Played AC2, thought it was meh, didn't bother completing it. Never really understood the hype around these games.
  • cguti91 - November 15, 2011 11:43 p.m.

    I feared that would happen, Ubisoft went for the multiplayer in order to make sales and the story suffered... well nothing to do now, are games with really compelling stories bound to slowly disappear as online game takes over and producer get more greedy?? hopefully not but it sure seems that way
  • Limbo - November 15, 2011 2:58 p.m.

    I really enjoyed the first two, and Brotherhood was also pretty good, but I've lost Ubisoft's respect for whoring this out as an annual release series. The story has obviously suffered from it. Also, if the multiplayer is the only real improvement, I'll definitely pass; Brotherhood's multiplayer disappointed me.
  • Cleanser247 - November 15, 2011 12:24 p.m.

    I probably won't be buying this right away, since I still got TONS to finish on my backlogged game list. Also, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim just came out, and I'll be very, very busy with that for a long time. Sorry AC: Revelations, but you're going to have to wait. :D
  • joemama - November 15, 2011 10:21 a.m.

    Thats disapointing I'm not a fan for AC multiplayer
  • Clovin64 - November 15, 2011 4:42 a.m.

    Hmmm... it kinda just sounds like Brotherhood, but with a few bells and whistles. Think I'll just wait till next year to give this a shot, since Ass Creed fatigue is beginning to settle in for me...
  • MeanwhileGuy - November 15, 2011 4:22 a.m.

    Have to say I'm quite disappointed by this review. All the other ones I've read, and it must be at least around a dozen, have mentioned how good the story is, and how it sends Ezio's trilogy off in style. As such, I'm going to treat this as a personal opinion that is simply at odds with the rest of the pack, as in my experience, every AC game has been better than the last, and from what I've read of the game and seen my flatmate play, Revelations is no different.
  • inkyspot - November 15, 2011 3:47 a.m.

    Next year i will get all 3 that I missed, from the second the this one. Also need to get Gears of War. Right now, between COD, Skyrim, and Saints Row 3, I am tapped out. Skyrim is as good as everyone says,so absorbing
  • CitizenWolfie - November 15, 2011 12:50 a.m.

    "Especially since they replace the brilliant Glyph and Cluster puzzles, which provided a measure of subversive social commentary that’s completely absent here." NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I used to LOVE that about ACII and AC:B! Even though they're side missions they used to make me really care for the overall story and feel like you're playing a part in something bigger than just Desmond's fate. Especially in Brotherhood as it was like finding glitches in the Animus; like we're doing something we're not supposed to be doing. With those gone I'm not sure collecting all the other fluff has that much appeal for me. There seems to be a lot of negative elements creeping in to the franchise. From the tone of the review I was actually expecting a bit less than an 8.
  • quincytheodore - November 14, 2011 10:20 p.m.

    Thanks for the "For those who skipped to the end" section, I didn't read the whole thing, because I'm about to finish ACB right today. Kinda disappointed, AC 2 was my Game of the year then. But as I play ACB, it doesn't have the same impact. I expect this to be at least equivalent to Arkham City. It has to be Skyrim then...

Showing 1-20 of 51 comments

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