Assassin's Creed Revelations Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC
Assassin's Creed Revelations screenshot
Assassin's Creed Revelations screenshot

That's right: Revelations genuinely does feature a tower defence mini-game. It's viewed from a pseudo-third-person perspective as you stand on a roof, sending archers and riflemen onto other buildings and barricading the streets to prevent invaders reaching your den. The viewpoint isn't particularly helpful, as it only gives you a view of a small section of the street, while unit assignment is unintuitive and fiddly. While after the first instance these sequences are essentially optional, you'll be forced into repeated bribes, den captures or assassin missions to avoid them. And until you've got a group of Master Assassins, if you want to expand your property empire around a certain area you're going to have to bite the bullet. Should the Templars take the den, you'll have to repeat the capture process, a process made more annoying by the cowardice of every den leader, as they'll sprint to safety as soon as you're spotted. Given that you need to use Eagle Vision to identify them - at which point you have no way of telling whether other guards have spotted you - this often leads to moments where you're surrounded by six enemies and your quarry has often escaped, forcing you to wait a day before attempting another capture.

Combat is much the same as it was before, although you'll find yourself running into tougher, more heavily-armoured enemies this time. Fortunately, bombs tip the balance back in your favour. Crafting them should be fun - you need to pick the shell, gunpowder type, and the effect they'll have - and you have a range of options at your disposal, from lamb's blood that showers enemies with the red stuff, causing them to briefly panic, to phosphorus light shows designed to distract. Pyrite coin explosions send pedestrians scrambling for fake money (handy when you're trying to create a diversion) and, of course, there are the more destructive kind including - joy of joys - sticky bombs. Trouble is, there's little reason to use anything other than impact bombs. Lob a fuse bomb and you'll need to wait three seconds for the explosion. Similarly, tripwire explosives are a nice idea in theory but take a good few seconds to set up, and it's all too easy to get caught laying them on the route of an enemy patrol.

The bombs also feel a little out of place. In a game where several missions require you to avoid detection - or reward you with full synchronicity for not being spotted - it's odd to be encouraged to lob bombs everywhere, even if a tactically placed smoke bomb can be a simple way to pass by a well-guarded door. Yet it can be something of a lottery whether they'll catch you through the fog. More than once I strolled off nonchalantly while guards were coughing and frantically wafting the air, only to see that telltale red triangle that showed I'd been discovered.

Brotherhood's tombs, meanwhile, have been replaced by linear platforming sections featuring lots of collapsing scenery and last-minute escapes where Ezio clings on for dear life. All we need is the occasional shout of "oh, merda" and we'd have a 16th century Uncharted. Still, as much as these moments owe a debt to Naughty Dog, they're undeniably exciting, presented with a cinematic flair that easily matches their inspiration.

Yet such sequences only serve to highlight the lack of inspiration in the game's other missions. The midsection of the game settles into a strange routine, as you run a series of basic errands (one has you tail a florist then pick tulips), before perching on top of a building and moving a cursor round to highlight glowing markers in order to uncover a secret location. The end justifies the means, but compare Revelations to the previous games' winning mix of scripted sequences and open-ended stealth-action and it comes up wanting. Even at its best, there's nothing here to match the atmospheric delight of Brotherhood's beautiful basilica in Palazzo Laterano.

Nowhere is this lack of inspiration more obvious than in Altair's missions. The five MacGuffins Ezio seeks during his Turkish adventure each corresponds to a playable section with the original game's hero. Yet the tasks are often tedious. In the first mission, you simply run up a hill and kill lots of guards. The second asks you to climb a building while bursts of energy from the Apple of Eden conspire to knock you down. The final memory involves little more than walking from one place to another.

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Tugs's Avatar

Tugs

I pretty much completely agree.

This review is probably the most accurate. I find that GameInformer (who gave it a 9) was really just too "fanboy" ish, or maybe they were paid to rate it high. Anyone who is as dedicated to the series and pays attention to the details as us would see what crap Revelations was. It was seriously lacking, and honestly it's a waste of sixty bucks. However, they make it just enough of a necessity for the story so that fans must buy it. I finished it in a mere two weeks, and I made sure to get 100% on everything right up front so that I wouldn't have to play it again. I won't be playing through it for fun another time, let me just say, but it is key to continuing the Desmond story in AC III.

I actually thoroughly enjoyed AC II. It was almost as long as AC I, but I had missed cutscenes in the original, so the addition in AC II really made me happy. There were a lot more character interactions. The cliffhanger at the end didn't really bother me in Ezio's story. There was no need for Brotherhood, and certainly not Revelations. Altair left us at a cliffhanger, also, and honestly if they really needed to finish someone's story in sub-games, I would have preferred they do it with Altair. Brotherhood and Revelations were just an excuse to throw in game features they hadn't thought up in time for the first two.

Revelations, while the plot is lacking, does actually tie in at the end, but that's literally the only cutscene I find worthwhile in the entire game. The last scene shows you why they even bothered making this game.... and it satisfied me enough that I didn't beat my copy of Revelations with a hammer and then drive over it (despite the strong urge after seeing Des' new face and experiencing way too many glitches and mistakes).

Still... I'm weary of AC III, but at least they say they've been working on it for the last two and a half years, and it seems promising so far... mostly because Ezio isn't a part of it. They beat that dead horse far too long and beat my interest out of the franchise.
Posted 18:28 on 03 March 2012
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ ReadySteadyGo

Good to hear as like I say I actually whole heartedly enjoyed AC2 and was looking forward to continuing the experience. I will take your recommendation and stick with my plans to play Brotherhood still!
(btw I was using CoD as an example of a game I felt sub par please don't think I was even comparing it to AC2 in quality!)
Posted 12:47 on 16 November 2011
ReadySteadyGo's Avatar

ReadySteadyGo@ guyderman

If it helps Guyderman I only played the new one for about two hours and already a third into the main game. Brotherhood is really good and took me about ten hours to do the main game.
It's a better investment than COD by miles because they at least do something different, the main reason this has turned out bad is that they tried to do too much in very little time with 8 studios.
Posted 12:27 on 16 November 2011
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

I'm in a quandry with this series now - I got bored of AC1 quite quickly and never got anywhere near finisging it. I played AC2 and actually really enjoyed it. I haven't played Brotherhood yet and have been waiting for a quiet moment to get it and play it through, now that I hear that this one is not up to scratch I don't know if I can bother to invest the time in Brotherhood with the suspicion that I'm not going to enjoy the follow up! It's not so bad with titles like CoD and Gears where if they don't pan out it's only a 10 hour investment but lets face it these games demand a bit more time than that!
Posted 12:01 on 16 November 2011
ReadySteadyGo's Avatar

ReadySteadyGo

I played it last night and so far agree with the reviews. I am on the 3rd mem section of the game of 9 and it's very flat and I love all the AC games including the first one. The Tower defence is terrible and should haven't gotten past the idea stage nevermind actually putting it in the game, I really hope they scarp that in the next installment as it's totally out of place and is all over the place in it's mechanics. The Desmond section I didn't start last night and might do that towards the end. I only unlocked one Desmond section through collecting Animus flags in the game. The first one unlocked when I got 5 of them I think.

So far already though I think this is the worst AC game so far (and I'm including the first one btw) and if I hadn't played the others or was a game in it's own right would have just turned it off.
Very messey and the first third of the game is explaining how to play the game as well which I hate in games, normally it's the first few missions in this franchise not a third of the game.

Can see the game dropping in price very quickly and is a rental if anything and the 7/10 score's most are giving it including this site is very fair.
Posted 11:33 on 16 November 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

I still see a 7 as a game that is going to be quite good. Anything above is a must play. The problem with scoring it a 7 in context of the franchise is that when you don't know that it just looks like a poor game. Games are much better nowadays, a game has to be really poor for it be below a 7.
Posted 20:45 on 15 November 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ Wido

The problem (that I at least identify) is that the score is reflective that the experience of the title is identified as being inferior to that of previous titles, rather than build upon and improve the series. Context, dear chap, is everything, and that 7 *is* bad when compared to other titles within other entries of the series. Its a good score by itself, but compared to, say Brotherhood, is indicative of several flaws.
Posted 20:24 on 15 November 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

When I first landed in Rome I was amazed, about 10 hours in now and I haven't picked it up in a few months. It was exactly the same with AC2 which took me over a year to complete. A few hours here and there when I felt like it.

Not surprised at the (relatively) low score, but I'll pick it up after I've finished with Brotherhood. Whenever that may be.
Posted 13:28 on 15 November 2011
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

Tower Defence!!??

First game bored the hell out of me. Second game was what the first should have been. Third was more of the same, only with too much property buying/renovation malarkey for my liking.

The franchise is in a rut and needs a spectacular reinvention with Assassin's Creed III.

After 20 odd hours with Brotherhood, I frankly got bored with saving up money and endlessly recruiting other assassins and gave up.

Despite the wonderful setting, the environments reek of copy n' paste. Same buildings stitched together, same groups of people walking around. It lacks the atmosphere and 'lived in' nature of Liberty City.

Don't get me wrong, the first 20 hours I spent with it were enthralling. But the repetition eventually took its toll.

But yeah, back to Assassin's Creed Revelations, I don't think I'll bother. I think I'll wait and see what they do with the 'proper' sequel.
Posted 13:20 on 15 November 2011
Get2DaChoppa's Avatar

Get2DaChoppa

This is a real shame. However, when I saw the Tower Defence segments it boggled my mind as to why Ubi would put it in. Maybe leave a purchase until the next instalment is out.
Posted 10:37 on 15 November 2011
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Still need to play through the other games, but still disappointing to hear that I've got this part to look forward to. Hopefully the next game will be better.
Posted 09:09 on 15 November 2011
TomPearson's Avatar

TomPearson

:(
Posted 09:07 on 15 November 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

7/10 still means a disappointing score I see. 5/10 = absolute garbage? The wonders of review scores which truly don't reflect games in the slightest.

I gave it a quick deco as I'm pushed for time this morning even at 6:39am.... Ubisoft seems to be pleasuring the ol'cash cow on this one. The demo (gameplay footage) does indeed spark some major interest, as it does look fun to play like the others, but I believe they have used Ezio for far too long. Ezio' story was wrapped up pretty well and it's where Brotherhood failed for me personally in the story-telling. Unnecessary continue of the conflict between the Borgia, and very linear activities which were boring to hell.

I still think to this day that Assassins Creed II should of had players playing Altair. It's obvious what Altair has done - creating a more interesting dept than whatever Ezio has accomplished. I would prefer it like that by introducing Ezio later.

I'm starting to wear thin on this franchise if I am honest. The first Assassins Creed game was bloody brilliant and Assassins Creed II was ok. Brotherhood was pretty much add-on but with more added stuff to do in terms of moveability, combat and story. Revelations seems to be another Brotherhood which I won't pick up till it hits the bargain bin and that wouldn't be long. I have noticed the Assassins Creed games as of late hit the bargain bins very, very quickly - say January to February. I'll only be getting Revelations on the terms of story to see Ezio's conclusion, returning back to the old "kingdom" so to speak - ala Masyaf, the birth place of the Creed, and the Altair visions/apparitions? Very interesting indeed in that respect.
Posted 06:52 on 15 November 2011
87Sarah's Avatar

87Sarah

Disappointing score but good read Chris.

I had my fingers crossed that Ubisoft would hit the nail on the head with this one and add another stunning game to the Creed franchise but I had my doubts in the back of my mind that Revelations just might not live up to the standard.

This wasn't a day one purchase for me anyway because I still haven't finished Brotherhood. Now I know I don't have to rush Brotherhood to play Revelations.
Posted 06:32 on 15 November 2011
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

Think this will be a rental knew something would lack on it
Posted 00:58 on 15 November 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Assassin's Creed Revelations
7
Out of 10
Assassin's Creed Revelations
  • Ziplines and linear platforming sequences are terrific
  • Engaging story that answers several questions
  • Largely uninspiring missions
  • Tower-defence sections are bad; Desmond's Journey is even worse
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 15/11/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 688 16
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