Thursday, February 2, 2012

Game Review - Assassin's Creed: Revelations

To say that I was waiting with bated breath for Revelations to be released would be a complete understatement.

Since the first AC game, I've always had high expectations and hopes for each succeeding game, and so far I've never been let down. Revelations, though, while many parts are appropriately amazing, there are also a number of parts that don't quite seem to work, that seem awkward, that made me want to skip through them.

In any case, welcome to 16th century Constantinople. As per usual, the scenery and environment and building designs are beautiful beyond words. I have never found fault with the environments in the games, a lot of times I'll stop moving Ezio just to look around at the landscapes. Just like with Brotherhood, you're again limited to one enormous city since this is more Assassin's Creed 2.7, so you can't travel around the country, which I'm sad about but it's expected since it's a smaller installment, and 3 hasn't been released yet. The costumes and designs for the new characters are all beautiful, I'm waiting till I have a little more free floating money so I can try and buy the art book for the game for my own references.

Anyways, moving on. There are some more noticeable changes between Brotherhood and Revelations, and one thing I'm sad about having been removed is being able to ride horses. Maybe I'm just weird but I always found it amusing to dash through the streets on a galloping horse. Revelations sort of makes up for it with bombs, and being able to mix and match materials to make your own. I think one of the better parts of that, and I can't think of many games that do it, is that even after you make a bomb, you can still disassemble it and reuse the parts in another bomb, as long as it hasn't been used(Go figure.) Definitely unique, and an awesome idea I think. Another awesome addition was the hook blade, which substituted the weird sort of jump-climb that was used in Assassin's Creed 2 to bridge slightly longer distances when climbing a building. With the hook blade, you can go SO much further, provided there are things around to grab onto, but with Ezio, of course there are always things to grab onto. If there aren't, hell, he MAKES things to grab on to. Whoever thought up using a flower pot to swing around building corners is a genius and a serious MacGyver. A smaller detail between Brotherhood and Revelations, too(And I may be misremembering or imagining this?) is with the hidden gun. If I remember correctly, in Brotherhood it took the tiniest bit longer to fire, because Ezio had to pull some sort of trigger on his arm, but in Revelations he can fire just by pointing, like a flinch-trigger type of pull. Quicker shots, which means you can use it more often in actual combat and not necessarily have to aim, but the chances of actually hitting a target even at that close of range are still slim.

Part of the game play that was particularly frustrating was the den defense sequences. The whole idea was awesome, I really did like it, but as the game advanced they got more difficult faster then I could adjust and learn to keep up. The idea of it is to defend the assassin den's by building barricades in the streets, putting fighters on the roofs, and fighting off advancing enemies. It seems simple, it was fun when there weren't as many enemies. Later in the game though, it was as if the enemies swarmed the street, and you couldn't get the morale up nearly fast enough to really defend against them. It seemed just fine the first two or three times of the defense sequence, but while my skill with it stayed the same(There wasn't a lot of time to learn on it, sometimes I'm quick learner but it was so different from what I'm used to with AC that I felt like a fish out of water), the enemies became tougher and more numerous. I wound up losing most of the defense times, and I wound up just getting the den back afterwards by killing the enemy captain and taking the area tower back. Much simpler.

In terms of the story, it got a little bit confusing, what with Subject 16 phasing in and out at random times, and attempting to interpret what he was saying. Admittedly, Assassin's Creed has gotten pretty damned good so far at the mumbo jumbo cryptic words that don't necessarily make sense immediately, and often are made understandable in whatever game comes next. Desmond is stuck within the Animus throughout the game, though if you want to you can take a break from the life of an elderly Ezio and explore older memory sequences of Desmond's(Provided you've found the required data fragments from around Constantinople). Not memory sequences like what has been in the other games. Ubisoft took a different turn with these, giving the player a new(And ridiculously frustrating) taste of a different sort of platforming puzzle. Throughout the sequences, you run around levels I could only describe as weird mazes and giant buildings, hearing Desmond talking to himself about his past and growing up with the assassins, then running away to be a bartender, etc, basically giving you his backstory.

Certain parts about the Desmond sequences were tricky, others seemed damned near impossible. The main one I remember in particular may have been in the third or fourth sequence, but it is when Desmond was reminiscing about when he ran away, and there was a river and a forest I think. Anyways, part of the dynamic for the sequences is you build floating blocks which you can stand on and use to get over or around obstacles in the mazes, and with this sequence you had to float down a river. Now, that might sound easy, yet it was anything but. The blocks you stand on can't be moved by Desmond, they are only pushed by some sort of vents that make them switch directions, and in the case of the river, they go in the same direction as the current. Now with the river, you can't touch the water, or else you go to the last point of solid ground you were on. The start. Avoid the water, stay on the block, pass the level. Seems easy enough. But no, the river changes heights, directions, angles, defying gravity and making you think and move fast to try and get past the rises and falls of the digital water. I think I had to go through this area maybe fourteen or fifteen times before I managed to beat it, and I was not a happy camper at the end of it. Maybe if the river had been the tiniest bit simpler. Others I spoke to had just as much trouble with it as I did.

[In progress]

I can and probably will go on, at a later date when a painting isn't calling my name.

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