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The End: Three hours with Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Tuesday, 11 October 2011 17:20 GMT By Stace Harman

Stace Harman becomes an object of envy, going hands-on with Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and schmoozing series writer Darby McDevitt.

ASSASSIN’S CREED: REVELATIONS

Concludes a trilogy begun with Assassin’s Creed II in 2009.

Ties up the story of Ezio Auditore as well as revealing more about original protagonist Altair and meta-protagonist Desmond.

Paves the way for the next core, numbered title in the series.

Releases on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in mid November.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations marks the third title in the Assassin’s Creed 2 canon since 2009. Three titles: each with a lengthy single-player campaign, copious amounts of optional narrative exposition, side quests, a non-mandatory economic element and a well realised and popular multiplayer component. Is Ubisoft milking a cash cow or am I a curmudgeon staring into the gaping maw of a bemused gift horse?

Whilst the game-play-per-pound value for money that the Assassin’s Creed franchise represents cannot be quibbled with, those inclined towards narrative cognizance, but that may have missed any or all of the previous instalments since 2009’s Assassin’s Creed 2, are left facing something of a quandary over how to approach this latest instalment or whether to approach it at all.

Those without such concerns for the deeper machinations of the multi-faceted plot will likely have no problem jumping aboard, correctly assuming it to be the most feature rich of the three games and, undoubtedly, the game play mechanics are entertaining enough in themselves to reward such an approach.

However, those that want to indulge in the narrative details, soak up the historical context and unravel the conspiracy-laden tri-timeline plot might be curious as to how Ubisoft can hope to conclude a trilogy in such a way so as to reward those dutifully handing over their cash for a third time in two years without alienating those buying into the series for the first time.

“The first thing we try to do is keep the overarching present-day story involving Desmond fairly simple, moving the plot forward just slightly with each new game and then treating each of the ancestor stories as a self-contained narrative,” explains Assassin’s Creed Revelations lead writer, Darby McDevitt. “Then, when we come to do a new game we can do a ‘previously on Assassin’s Creed’ video that hopefully wraps up the basics of the story.

“As complex as the story might become, it’s always our aim that the player will know what they should be doing next – so if they’ve run around taking on lots of side-quests or have come back to the game after some time away, they at least know what the very next thing is they should be doing and where they need to go to do it.

“[The story] can get convoluted sometimes, but never so much that you become uninterested or lose the basic path.”

McDevitt, it seems, is confident that these tricks of the trade will serve to welcome old, new and plain forgetful players to the fold.

A swag of new tricks.

Old dog, new tricks
The hands-on consists of several hours spent with an aged and – bizarrely – simian-looking Ezio along with a flashback sequence with Altair. Split over the game’s opening half a dozen story sequences, whats on show introduces a number of new elements, both to keep things fresh and to prove that, despite now being at the top of his game as a master assassin and mentor, Ezio still has room to progress.

“Ezio’s progression starts with his introduction to new equipment,” says McDevitt. “The hook blade and bomb crafting are good examples of this – also, he has no armour because he left [at the end of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood] thinking he was going to be on vacation, so there’s room for him to acquire that and suit up from scratch.

“Primarily though, because he’s a mentor character, a lot of his progression happens outside of himself – so he can help recruit new assassins for the Ottoman Brotherhood, train them up to Master Assassin level and then go on missions with them … as well as renovating parts of Constantinople. So, Ezio’s progression comes from these advancements because we very much want you to feel that you’re a master assassin when you start the game.”

The multi-purpose hook blade allows for cinematic – and speedy – traversal of the game’s huge cities, with the added benefit that Ezio can land an instant assassination as he dismounts from the zip-line. This quickening of getting from A to B makes the decision to include an instant fast-travel option between set points within a single city a curious one: fluid movement has been a ubiquitous joy of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and one of the principal columns on which the entire series is predicated; fast-travel seems to contradict that. The fact that it’s optional does little to ease the feeling that Ubisoft are concerned that its audience might be tiring of all this pesky parkour.

Bomb-crafting allows for the creation of three distinct flavours of bomb: lethal, tactical and diversionary and a new element of play revealed an interesting concept: strategic tower defence sections.

The hook-blade also comes into effect when scaling walls, effectively extending Ezio’s reach, and lastly it adds a handful of extra combat moves. Bomb-crafting allows for the creation of three distinct flavours of bomb: lethal, tactical and diversionary and a new element of play revealed an interesting concept: strategic tower defence sections.

During these new sections, Ezio remains at a fixed point overlooking an environment – in this case a city street lined with two-storey buildings – and you spend money to deploy assassin leaders on the roofs to which troops of varying types can be assigned, such as archers and, in time, riflemen. In the street below, barricades can be instantly constructed provided that you have the coin to pay for them and support fire from cannons can be called upon for a set fee.

Waves of attacking troops throw themselves against your defences, trying to reach your stronghold and their broken bodies can be looted to fund more troops against tougher waves of soldiers. It’s an unexpected but not unwelcome addition and adds yet another element to economic and building-management elements of the preceding two games.

Ciao, for now
As well as further developing Ezio’s character throughout the Revelations storyline, the added game play elements illustrate how Ubisoft is endeavouring to promote variety between Ezio and Altair’s sections.

“One of the key things was to give each of them different mission types, so we have some things that one does but not the other,” McDevitt explains. “Also, Altair only has the equipment that he had in Assassin’s Creed 1 so he just has the single blade for example because we’re staying true to who Altair is from the first game.”

This is The End for Ezio and Altair.

“[Revelations] is primarily Ezio’s story with the Altair moments providing counter points to what’s going on with Ezio. So, he’s ruminating on his life in comparison to the huge swathe of Altair’s life – which ranges from him as a young man of 23 to an old man in his 90s. Ezio sees Altair go through these moments in his life and how they affect and change him – in doing so he wonders how much of Altair has had to endure is mirrored in his own life.

“I’ve tried not to be too didactic about these things, though, and I hope people will draw their own parallels and think about how it affects the story.

“The mandate for this game was to give Ezio and Altair an awesome send-off, and I think we’ve done that.”

The individual game play and narrative elements appear to be in place to provide it but a number of minor bugs, frozen animations and some isolated but fairly serious cases of pop-in present in the build I was given access to will need to be rectified before the game is buffed to its release-day sheen.

Though I wasn’t playing the final version, a couple of these irritants proved to be more than just aesthetic irregularities, affecting the game play quite significantly: having scoped out a path across a courtyard it was jarring to drop off the wall on which I was perched only for half a dozen guards to pop-in to view and immediately give chase.

With Ezio and Altair’s story concluding with Revelations, it’s all-but-confirmed that another instalment next year will tie up Desmond’s story. Perhaps after that, Ubisoft will take a step back from the series to consider everything it has accomplished in such a short space of time and to allow anticipation for future entries to build beyond a scant few months. That would be something of a revelation in itself; yet such churlishness seems once again to provoke the faint whinnying of a chastised gift horse.

For now though, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to master assassin and to raise a glass to his hard-earned retirement: cin-cin, Ezio.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations launches on November 15 worldwide for PS3 and 360. The PC version has been delayed until later this year.

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11 Comments

  1. Hunam

    Seeing the state AC2 and Brotherhood shipped in, broken animation, graphical bugs and falling through the map are as part of the AC experience as the parkour these days. Polished games they are not.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    They are polished products despite Brotherhood which is just a DLC with one big map that should be in the second game from the beggining.

    Broken animation…. thats because of Unreal Engine 2.5. It has nothing to do with the game.
    I finished the game and never fall through the map. (Played PC version) which is just a port compared to 360 version. Same goes with graphical glitches. Never experienced them.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Moonwalker1982

    How were the graphics? Judging by these screenshots it’s almost as if they have used a different engine. The look seems very different, almost like art perhaps? The lighting could really be different too…looks amazing on those shots.

    So AC III next year and then probably over?

    #3 4 years ago
  4. YoungZer0

    @3: Photoshop. Only judge a game from trailers or gameplay, never from screenshots. It looks exactly like the previous games.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Erthazus

    @Moonwalker, it’s a photoshop. Don’t be so blind.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Gekidami

    Yeah, those are obviously bullshots, in fact its been quite some time since i’ve seen any as blatant as that.

    The game looks exactly like BrotherHood, maybe a bit more detailed, but in the end they’re still using the same engine, with a lot of the same assets.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Maximum Payne

    @2 Unreal engine 2.5 ?
    It runs on its own engine called Anvil which was also power Prince of Persia and Shaun White Snowboarding.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Moonwalker1982

    I wasn’t nessecarily talking about the screenshots as if they are ingame or not, i have of course already seen the E3 footage and there too i thought it looked way different. I think it has to do with the lighting,making it look different.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Erthazus

    @7, which is a proprietary engine that is based on U.E. 2.5

    @8, “E3 footage and there too i thought it looked way different.”

    sorry, but you are damn blind. It’s the same thing like Brotherhood. The difference between them in pallete and setting.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Maximum Payne

    @9 I first heard about it.
    Any proof ? :P

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Hunam

    @Erth

    You’re thinking of the Conviction engine, which is a different engine to the Scimitar/Anvil engine.

    If you didn’t notice any bugs in either AC2 or ACB you must be blind IMO.

    Doesn’t help that I am a games tester so all this stuff is right in my face. But they’ve always been like that.

    #11 4 years ago

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  • Competitive matchmaking support is coming to Team Fortress 2

    Team Fortress 2 will soon feature support for competitive matchmaking, which Valve says is a “high priority” project for it at the moment. According to a report from TeamFortress.tv, which visited Valve headquarters recently, Valve is looking into the possibility of 6v6 or 9v9 matches 9v9, a possible quick play option and it is also […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch fixes garage, Job crashes – full notes here

    Rockstar has pushed out a 353 MB patch for GTA 5 on PC The patch fixes a number of annoying bugs related to vehicles and garages, some deathmatch issues and purchase errors. It should also fix various freezing and crashing bugs, as well as a little issue with Steam. Time will tell if the patch […]

  • Fire Emblem If will come in White Kingdom and Black Kingdom versions with amiibo support

    We’ve finally got some juicy details on the next Fire Emblem game, but the most interesting aspect is that there will be two versions of the game. According to Siliconera, who translated an interview between Intelligent Systems and 4Gamer, there will a White Kingdom and a Black Kingdom version that offer different aspects of the […]

  • Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess heads west with “Golden Toilet” pre-order bonus

    Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess will debut on western PlayStation 4 systems this summer, Koei Tecmo has announced. It is also coming to PS3 and Vita. The game was produced by Keisuke Kikuchi of Fatal Frame fame and takes up where Deception 4: Blood Ties left off allowing players to relive Laegrinna’s pursuit to free […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario demo, Paper Mario, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition, Paper Mario on Virtual Console, and amiibo Tap. The full update is below. eShop update amiibo Tap – free – Wii U Star Wars Pinball DLC – Wii U Paper Mario – Wii U […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PC port handed off to Nixxes

    The PC port of the new Deus Ex has been handed over to Netherlands based studio, Nixxes software. After the initial reveal trailer at the beginning of April, we’ve only had a few morsels in the way of additional news. The most intriguing tidbit to date has got to be the fact that you’ll be […]

  • First-ever PC Gaming Show to take place at E3 2015 in June

    PC gaming will finally have its very own E3 press conference this year, thanks to PC Gamer and AMD. The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 16 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles and it will be livestreamed on Twitch. PC Gamer said speakers at the presentation will include representatives from Blizzard, […]

  • Majora’s Mask light available now on Club Nintendo for 6000 stars

    Club Nintendo shuts up shop on September 30 and members are being encouraged to spend accumulated stars before then. And what better to spend them on, than this adorable Majora’s Mask light? If you’re a member based in Europe you can nab it for 6000 stars. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, it’ll only […]

  • Unity support announced for HoloLens, will work with Windows universal apps

    Microsoft is partnering with game engine developers Unity in order to make HoloLens compatible with apps and games which use the cross-platform engine. The partnership was announced yesterday during its Build Developer Conference. Universal apps for Windows 10 systems will also be available on Xbox One later this year, suggesting possible HoloLens functionality with the […]

  • Splatoon Nintendo Direct airs Thursday, May 7

    A Nintendo Direct focused on Splatoon, the Wii U multiplayer title, on May 7. It will kick off at 7am PDT/10am EDT/3pm UK and it can be watched via the Nintendo Direct website. You can also have a look at the game through Nintendo’s Twitch channel. The last game-specific presentation took place last week and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: clean up the streets as a member of the San Andreas PD with this new mod

    Remember the awesome mods for GTA 4 and San Andreas that let you run amok online as a member of the po-po? Well, dust off your taser and load up your gun, because it’s coming to GTA 5. The new mod for GTA 5 is currently in alpha and can be downloaded at palmbeachgames.com. You […]

  • Indie shoot ‘em up Project Root comes to Xbox One, PS4 and PSVita

    Project Root is a self-proclaimed rejig of the shoot ‘em up genre that was released on PC last year, and it’s finally coming to consoles. Combining free-roaming elements with the usual business of shooting things, Project Root was released this week for Xbox One, PS4 and the PSVita.

  • You can now bet on eSports online, starting with League of Legends

    If you’re getting bored with sticking a pony on the races, you can expand your gambling horizons at Unikrn where you can watch esports streams and get a little action on the side. The new platform was set up by Rahul Sood – previously the general manager of Microsoft Ventures. At the moment, customers are […]

  • Has Watch Dogs 2 been leaked?

    Ubisoft employee, Julien Risse, may have inadvertently confirmed Watch Dogs 2, thanks to his online CV over at LinkedIn. Videogamer.com spotted the slip up, in which Risse lists Watch Dogs, the DLC Bad Blood, and Watch Dogs 2 on his profile. Creative Director Jonathan Morin has already talked about his ideas for improvements for the […]

  • GTA 5′s Trevor makes his Jackass debut, complete with leopard-print knickers

    YouTuber Abstract Mode has shared his vision of what Trevor Philips’ life might have been like, had he not been completely batshit crazy. Watch Trevor get mauled, run over, and hit by a train, before taking a majestic swan-dive into someone else’s pool at the climax. Thanks, Kotaku.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 season pass will cost you £35

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 isn’t released until November 6, but you can already hand over your cash for the Season Pass. The Season Pass is available for pre-purchase on Steam for £34.99, and will cover four DLC packs – although the details we have on the content are limited to ‘exciting’ at this […]

  • GTA Online’s cheating assholes are no match for this player’s vengeance

    Think you’re smart for using invisibility and infinite ammo glitches? You need to be taught a lesson, sucker. You can have all the hacks you want but if your GTA Online game is weak, you’ll still get your ass handed to you. As this fool discovered when attempting to hassle another player. There’s a fair […]

  • PS4 sales help Sony’s games division swing to profit

    Sony’s PlayStation business has made an operating profit of 48.1 billion yen ($404m / £261.5m) in the past 12 months. That’s thanks to stellar sales of the PlayStation 4 and PS Plus, even as sales of the PS3 have stalled and the company wrote off costs for the PSTV and PS Vita. The profit puts […]

  • New patch for Dirt Rally gives co-driver’s attitude a tune-up

    Dirt Rally gets a new patch three days after release on Steam. On Monday, we reported that the newest Dirt game has popped up on Steam’s Early Access and is available to pick up for £24.99, as well as giving you an eyeful of tasty screenshots. The patch – released yesterday – fixes some issues […]

  • New The Witcher 3 screenshots show combat, exploration and general carousing

    New screenshots released on the official facebook page for The Witcher 3 show Geralt annihilating a winged beast, out and about in the world exploring, and living the life of Reily amidst a bustling feast. We were already treated to some glorious screenshots a few days ago, but these new ones are in-game and give […]

  • Destiny: 14 things you might have missed during House of Wolves intel drops

    Destiny: House of Wolves does a great deal more than just slap some new content on the existing game structure. House of Wolves changes Destiny in a lot of interesting and very welcome ways. Bungie showed off many of these changes in its livestream, and let both me and Arekkz come and have a look […]

  • Scratch that cyberpunk itch with Technobabylon on May 21 – new trailer

    Technobabylon more like Wrecked-yo-babbling with my smooth flow about how good Wadjet Eye games are. I don’t know y’all, it’s clock off time and everything feels like a reach. Wadjet Eye makes pretty good adventure games – award winning, in fact. The latest project to spring forth from the benevolent, sheltering hand of the label […]

  • Skullgirls 2nd Encore brings exclusive new features to PS4, Vita in northern summer

    Skullgirls, the little indie fighter that could, is getting another crack at it. Skullgirls 2nd Encore is the second re-release of the one-time troubled 2D versus fighter from lab Zero Games. Having survived the shut down of its developer and collapse of its publishing contrast, Skullgirls re-emerged as Skullgirls: Encore, adding in a ton of […]

  • Danganronpa series generates “impressive” sales for Vita exclusive

    Danganronpa is selling quite nicely, thank you, says NIS America. Danganronpa is a series of murder mystery visual novel puzzlers in a similar vein to games like 999. Two of these have been released for Vita in the west – Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair. Speaking to MCV, NIS America CEO and president Takuro […]

  • I have no idea what is going on in J-Stars Victory VS+ but I kind of like it

    In this J-Stars Victory VS+ trailer, we see – uhh. Well. We certainly see some things. Look y’all, I was a massive weaboo in high school, but that was back in the dark ages when we had to take out Manga Entertainment VHS tapes from dingy little specialist rental joints that were literally underground, and […]

  • Please just watch this terrific trailer for Toren

    Toren is the kind of game I dream about when I drift off to sleep at night. This indie puzzle adventure strikes a spark in my little soul in the same way as Ico and Tequila Works’ Rime do. Mysterious, almost ethereal fantasy setting – check. Chance to actually walk around in that setting – […]

  • Play classic MS-DOS games on your own tweets

    In today’s episode of “what will they think of next”, someone’s figured out how to post playable versions of classic games in tweets. For some time now, Twitter has allowed you to embed various forms of media in tweets, most noticeably YouTube videos, simply by pasting a URL into the compose field. Turns out this […]

  • VR: Unreal Engine to add HTC Vive support

    The biggest digital PC game distributor and the most popular game development engine have both backed VR. It’s going to happen. An upcoming Unreal Engine 4 update will expand the development suite’s support to the HTC Vive, Valve’s VR headset. In this glorious new future where work on one of the most important engines in […]

  • WWE 2K15 PC supports modding

    WWE 2K15 may be the series’ PC debut, but it’s already getting into the spirit of the platform. WWE 2K15 does indeed support mods on PC, 2K’s Marcus Stephenson has confirmed. @ElementGamesTV you can. Now buy. — Marcus Stephenson (@stephensonmc) April 28, 2015 As Destructoid points out, this opens the door to all sorts of […]

  • Overkill’s The Walking Dead coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2016

    Overkill’s The Walking Dead is one step closer to your grasping little paws. Overkill’s The Walking Dead will be published by 505 Games, Overkill parent Starbreeze has announced. 505 also published Payday 2, Overkill’s previous title, so the two companies have established a working relationship. In a press release, the publisher said the co-op title […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 pre-orders net Advanced Warfare DLC

    Buy Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for later, enjoy bonus Advanced Warfare content now. Blacks Ops 3 is being supported by a rather cunning pre-order incentive even more likely to get you to lay your cash down sooner than you might otherwise. Gamespot reports a Black Ops 3 pre-order will receive a couple of […]

  • Steam Game Ban system lets developers determine who to block

    Steam users can now be blocked from individual games by their developers. Steam has always supported multiplayer bans for disruptive users, but a newly-implemented system allows developers to ban users from individual games using their own anti-cheat systems. Game Bans are enforced by Valve, but are enacted at the developer’s request and discretion. This change […]

  • Far Cry 4 devs matching Red Cross donations up to $100K to aid Nepal earthquake victims

    Far Cry 4 developer Ubisoft Montreal will match any pledges made to The Red Cross up to $100,000 to aid Nepal after the 7.8 earthquake struck the area in and around Kathmandu in Nepal. According to Ubisoft: “Having spent the last few years working on Far Cry 4, a game heavily inspired by Nepal and […]

  • Tales of Zestiria retail listing notes September release date, PS4 version

    Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, and while it’s confirmed as a PlayStation 3 release, a Dutch retailer has it listed as coming to PS4 as well. Of course, listing it for PS4 could also be a typo, not that I would personally know about that sort of thing, really. However, according […]

  • Official mod tools for Total War: Attila are now available

    Official mod tools for Total War: Attila are now available and you can grab the new Assembly Kit as a beta through the tools menu via your Steam library. The Creative Assembly said the tools will be “immediately familiar” to modders of Rome 2 and Shogun 2, but the new version is the most “extensive” […]

  • How to get level 34 Ascended Raid gear in Destiny: House of Wolves

    Watch: two videos showing you how to get level 34 raid gear and a shopping list of what you need. One of the big changes that House of Wolves is bringing to Destiny is the chance to upgrade your weapons and gear to level 34. In these videos Arekkz Gaming shows you how to use […]