Assassin's Creed: Revelations Preview
Behind Uncharted, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed is my favorite franchise of the generation. It’s the combination of a gorgeous, unparalleled atmosphere and stealth-based freedom that always gets me. I’ve loved every second of the three installments thus far (yes, including the first one) and like many, I look forward to Revelations with bated breath. On the one hand, I think we’re edging too close to straight-up action but on the other, provided I can still play how I wish, I don’t mind if the twitchers have an option for them.
In the new adventure, Ezio is older and leaves Italy to find his ancestor’s secrets in Constantinople. His ancestor is – surprise! – Altair, the protagonist in the original Assassin’s Creed. Ezio sets out to find the five keys of Altair’s Library of Masyaf, each of which is like a miniature Animus, as they let Ezio move through time and experience the memories of his ancient predecessor. Of course, this means you’ll use Altair for part of the adventure, too, so there are three main characters this time around: Ezio, Altair, and the ever-present Desmond; our link to the modern day time period. In other words, we could be looking at a labyrinthine storyline.
Perhaps the biggest addition to the gameplay is bombs and bomb crafting. When you access certain stations set up around the city, you’ll be able to create one of three bomb types: ones for diversion, tactical explosions, and those that are just plain lethal. You combine a shell, type of gunpowder, and an effect material of some kind. You’ll find these materials scattered about in treasure chests, for instance, and Ezio can create everything from trip-mine bombs for patrolling enemies to bombs that scatter deadly shrapnel in all directions.
Another addition is the Hookblade, which lets your character slide along ropes stretched from one roof to another; it’s designed to speed up travel. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with the speed of the game, as running and walking around these beautifully designed cities is a major part of the appeal. I don’t necessarily need it to go whipping by me because my attention span is nil. But I can see how the Hookblade could prove extraordinarily helpful in certain situations, especially when you’re trying to escape pursuers or attempting to chase someone across the rooftops.
There will be a second weapon wheel to compensate for the many different bombs; we’ll choose a primary weapon from the first wheel and a specific bomb from the second. So I assume the simple smoke bombs (which were quite effective) will be moved to the second weapon wheel, right? Lastly, Ezio has upgraded his Eagle Vision, which hasn’t changed much throughout the series. It’ll now be called Eagle Sense, and we’ll be able to track a target’s path, which should be great for tailing. We can even get a glimpse of where the target plans to go.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is a collaborative effort; multiple studios under Ubisoft’s umbrella (including Singapore, Annecy, Quebec, and Bucharest) are responsible for what should be Ezio and Altair’s final quest(s). They’re working to implement a more streamlined type of gameplay where there will be an alteration to the missions. You’ll stumble upon them as you explore; they won’t always be fixed in a certain spot. I haven’t decided if I like that or not yet, but I can tell you one thing: this game is high on my priority list.
9/22/2011 Ben Dutka