Historical adventure at its best
ASSASSIN’S CREED: REVELATIONS
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 Available on: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
Rated: M for Mature
With the latest instalment of the Assassin’s Creed series, Ubisoft has cemented the franchise as one of gaming’s greatest masterpieces.
In Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (the fourth title in the series), gamers are rocketed forward in time to find an aged and weary Ezio Auditore da Firenze. When the character was introduced in the second instalment of the series, he was young and foolhardy. He watched as his father was framed and murdered by the evil Knights Templar, a corrupt group that had seemingly infiltrated every level of government and business. He was trained as an assassin to exact revenge. His efforts effected so much change in the social and political climate of Renaissance Italy that others joined his cause, forming assassin “brotherhoods” aimed at destabilizing the hold that the Templars had on Italian society. Ezio’s quest took him throughout Italy, with stops in Florence, Venice and Rome. When Assassin’s Creed: Rev
elations begins, gamers are reacquainted with Ezio, who has aged and sports a full beard. He has left the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Italy and is on a quest high in the country’s mountains, looking for a long-lost library that was hidden by one of his ancestors. The library is “a sanctum full of invaluable wisdom” and has been rumoured to hold a weapon that could end the war between the Templars and the assassins.
However, the Templars also know of the library.
After fighting his way to the locked library door, Ezio discovers it has been sealed. It can be opened if all of the door’s keys can be found. The keys have been hidden in the city of Constantinople — another fact that the Templars are well aware of. Ezio travels to Constantinople to retrieve the keys and expand the reach of his assassin brotherhood, while working to stop the Templars from taking over the city.
Layered on top of Ezio’s epic quest are the struggles of Desmond Miles, one of Ezio’s descendants who lives in modern times. While Assassin’s Creed is essentially about Ezio’s life, it is seen through Desmond’s eyes. He uses a machine called the Animus to tap into the memories of his ancestors. The strange connection be- tween Ezio and Desmond is confusing and often breaks up the momentum and emotion built while playing through Ezio’s adventures. Luckily, Desmond’s involvement in the game is minimal.
This is really Ezio’s show. He is a wonder. Even in his old age (he repeatedly reminds players of his aches and pains), the now elderly assassin can still climb walls like Spider-man, triumph over enemies and disappear almost instantly into a crowd.
Equally important to the game’s appeal is the attention to detail that its designers have put into re-creating Renaissance Europe. Designers travelled to Istanbul and worked with historians to re-create what was once a major European centre of trade. Bright red sashes adorned with gold hang from vendor’s stands in the Grand Bazaar and the spires of the Hagia Sophia rise high into the sky above the city. Travelling through the city is visually stunning and ultimately adds to the game’s appeal.
The title is a masterpiece and is easily one of the best games of 2011. It deserves to be at the top of a lot of Christmas wish lists.