E3 2011: Assassin's Creed: Revelations hands-on preview

The ending of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood wasn't quite as mind-meltingly bizarre as that of predecessor Assassin's Creed II, but it still set up some significant twists for the next chapter – and the recent news that Assassin's Creed: Revelations would both conclude hero Ezio Auditore's tale and also revive original series protagonist Altair was surprising news indeed.

We got our first look at the game at E3 2011 via a brief single-player presentation and a quick hands-on with the enhanced multiplayer portion. Considering the blare and bustle of the show floor, Ubisoft wisely kept notable story details to a minimum during the campaign demo, instead showcasing the series' familiar action and the noticeable additions that Revelations brings to the table.

How exactly Revelations will balance the action between Ezio and Altair – and Desmond, the modern-day descendent of both who anchors each scenario – remains unclear based on the E3 demo, which focused strictly on the exploits of sir Auditore. Revelations is primarily set in Constantinople (also Cappadocia) in 1511, and a couple details popped out to us as Ezio strolled through the city streets and interacted with NPCs: he's notably older-looking than in Brotherhood, sporting grizzled grey facial hair in contrast to his stylish black-heavy garb, and the new city pops with intricate detail despite a familiar feel to the surroundings.


The brief demo we viewed sees Ezio attempting to clear a giant barricade-forming chain strung from the Tower of Galata across the harbor, and he'll be doing so with an immensely powerful bomb handed off by an NPC named Yusuf. Bombs are one of the enhanced elements appearing in the game, as you'll be able to customize and use them for varying purposes, and we quickly see Ezio dispatch a pair of guards with a quick toss of a much smaller one. As Ezio approaches the tower, we then see a smoke bomb tossed and then witness his newly enhanced Eagle Sense ability, which lets him pick out and get the jump on guards in battle within smoke screens and such.

It's then that things get a little hectic. Ezio detonates the bomb at the base of the chain, sending the tower crumbling down and into the harbor, and prompting him to utilize his new hookblade device to ride a zipline through the ensuing blaze and onto a ship.


The situation only intensifies when Ezio runs up to the Greek Fire turret – essentially a mounted, long-range flamethrower on the ship (and surprisingly historically accurate, at least to some extent) – and ignites the other nearby ships. As the demo ends, we see him running upon floating wreckage to another ship and performing a speedy kill after dropping from a zipline. The most striking thing about the demo, aside from the immense destruction and potentially exciting new gameplay enhancements, is really the cinematic feel of the in-game action. It's clear that Ubisoft is working to present some of the more rousing moments of the campaign in an increasingly elaborate manner, which should better convey the intense moments being prepared for the game.

After seeing that rousing demo, playing a quick round of the familiar four-on-four team-based Wanted multiplayer mode was admittedly a little underwhelming; not due to the mode or multiplayer approach itself, which was very stellar in Brotherhood and should be the same here, but because the promised enhancements weren't quite as clear as those seen in the campaign demo. New maps and modes are coming, as well as player customization (a big one), but Ubisoft's keeping a lot of that close to the vest until the November 15 release date draws nearer.


Finally, we caught a brief video trailer of some of the other campaign bits expected in the game, notably Desmond's newfound ability to manipulate the Animus and access Black Room missions that should offer new details behind the technology and the series' overarching narrative. A scene of Desmond approaching a glowing white portal in an outdoor setting gave us a spooky little chill, as the series' more mysterious elements – especially that still-unclear alien mumbo-jumbo that popped up at the end of Assassin's Creed II – really help keep us motivated to pump through these massive annual adventures. And after the solidly impressive E3 demo, we're gearing up to do the same for what looks to be the most thrilling and diverse entry to date.

Jun 10, 2011



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  • spektreumek - July 11, 2011 4:21 a.m.

    Good old Ezio. I'm gonna miss that boy. We've been through a lot together.:)
  • andrew117 - June 19, 2011 5:31 p.m.

    idk what i will buy first this or elder scrolls V
  • bob_merriman - June 19, 2011 3:30 a.m.

    This game is going to be amazing. Completely destroyed Assassin's Creed II, and Brotherhood was fantastic. Have yet to play the first one, but I'll be sure to get it done prior to getting Revelations.
  • DanielAfro - June 13, 2011 4:21 a.m.

    Well Ii loved the game play and then I got to the end and thought really WTF aliens sigh and it was going so well
  • CitizenWolfie - June 12, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    November 15th? Uncharted 3 comes out on the 4th! Modern Warfare 3 on the 8th! Ubisoft are being brave releasing it in that window. I'm still sad that it's not an all new assassin and timeline but I bet this will still end up being a must-play. Hopefully they will streamline the "collect shit" part of AC:B as it felt like an endless treasure hunt after the story missions were complete.
  • Corvon - June 12, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    Its smart its , now , annualized its fun. and keeps coming with enough new stuff per title. idc if its an annual release it keeps a good balance of fan service and new new stuff while keeping true to itself. greatest game series in a loooooooong while
  • Openwound - June 12, 2011 1:57 a.m.

    Still agree: Assassin's Creed 2: 3
  • DoctorCrazy - June 12, 2011 1:35 a.m.

    Ah, glad to see Yusuf Amirs in there. Still making 'Arab Money' I bet.
  • lawman2593733 - June 11, 2011 10:43 p.m.

    Gosh I think the way Ezio looks now (grizzled and white haired, bearded anyway) looks pretty bad-ass, really makes the player feel like we have gone with Ezio through some tough shit. But anyway, I still have to get Brotherhood before I get this, that is if I ever get my PS3 fixed. Can't wait for Revelations!!
  • falcon4196 - June 11, 2011 9:05 p.m.

    That demo was pretty. The hook blade looks like it will add some nice functionality to the game and I am curious about the bomb crafting. With this and Skyrim launching around the same time I'm gonna have make a tough choice. I'm leaning towards this because frankly Skyrim looks like its going to be an all consuming game and I really want to see the end of Ezio's story.
  • tonythemighty - June 11, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    i found Ezio far more interesting than Altair. he was more charming and had more personality. i wonder how they're gonna make Altair as cool as Ezio if the series will shift its focus to him. i would also look forward to playing as desmond. could be pretty cool.
  • menchaca528 - June 11, 2011 6:51 p.m.

    ive liked all of the AC games so far, and personally i think the end to brotherhood was insane and i really want to see where they go with it. i think desmonds role in the whole thing is becoming the most intersting part of the whole story! and im making the prediction now: AC 3 will be all desmond! and constantinople was not in AC 1
  • Yeager1122 - June 11, 2011 4:19 p.m.

    I love Assasins Creed but i was disintrested in Brotherhood but am very intrested in Revelations.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - June 11, 2011 3:12 p.m.

    I hated Constantinople in the first AC, but it looks much better now.
  • NoiseAsylum - June 11, 2011 2:04 p.m.

    I just pre-ordered my copy!
  • sgloomy - June 11, 2011 5:02 a.m.

    The gameplay demo looks really good, there is a certain detail about the way the city is that just makes it that much more impressive, not that the previous games were bad, but this seems to feel a bit more natural (from what i saw in the demo shown at the conference). and the way Ezio finds his way through the fire and the ship wrecks just seems very fluid. and the CGI trailer, holy crap, that is just such a perfect song!! (its called Iron by woodkid if anyone is interested)
  • Z-man427 - June 11, 2011 2 a.m.

    For as much as I didn't care for Brotherhood, Revelations looks to be great.
  • Slayer11496 - June 11, 2011 1 a.m.

    I agree with lol... iJizzLots, people can't stop bitching about the series losing it's grip even though each game has been better than the last. Revelations will be no exception, in fact it will likely be the most impacting game in the series. I love these games, gameplay is great, but the story's where it really shines, all the political and moral subtext = awesome.
  • iJizzLots - June 11, 2011 12:03 a.m.

    I know some will complain that this is just another annualized series, but I don't really care because it's so damn fun. Can't wait for Revelations