REVIEW: Assassin’s Creed Revelations – Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted
Those are the words by which the assassin’s live by. It is their creed from which the video game series Assassin’s Creed get its name. The phrase means that the future is unpredictable and that each person is independent to live their own life. It’s fairly deep stuff for a video game series that is mostly known for its stealth and historical locations. But it’s this kind of content which sets the Assassin Creed series apart from most games out on the market. particularly those that have yearly releases.
The Assassin’s Creed game series is incredibly unique in its nature that each episode of the game series has its own developing storyline. Rooted from the beginning of the first game and then seeded and growing through each later installment. Whereas most yearly game series are usually all the same. Assassin’s Creed offers the same amount of fun while rewarding the patient game player with a well written storyline. The biggest problem when it comes to the year release games such as Call of Duty, Need for Speed and the endless Fifa game series is that each one is fundamentally the same and very rarely change. The only change most usually comes in the form of a setting. Call of Duty still uses the very same game engine going all the way back to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Need for Speed only recently changed with NFS: The Run and each Fifa game are so much the same that the only difference is the number following Fifa going up by one each year.
Assassin’s Creed is different. Going all the way back to the first game. The game immediately stood out to me when at the time all i knew was that it was going to be about a historical assassin during the crusades. I was surprised when I did start the game to find that it was actually based in the “present day” and that it was based around the concept of genetic memory. That is, locked inside each person is the memories of their genetic ancestor and by accessing it. A person is able to recall the events that occurred centuries ago from the viewpoint of their ancestor. This was such a complete turn around and unexpected development that the game still stands out from other games. The first game Assassin’s Creed was then followed by its sequel Assassin’s Creed 2 and then by Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. With each installment that passes the game viewpoint moves from AC1’s Altair to AC2’s Ezio. What AC does best is it makes each character unique. Altair is the confident assassin. Ezio is the playboy suddenly thrust into the assassin world after the murder of his father and brother.
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations move the storyline even further. Originally I considered Brotherhood and Revelations as being spin-off games that had little effect on the overall storyline. This turns out to be a huge error on my part when it soon became clear that not only did the 2 games progress the storyline further, they also weren’t afraid of making huge ramifications. From the fate of Lucy Stillman (who I doubt we have seen the last of) to the final days of Altair and Ezio, the 2 games proved that they weren’t just there to make money for Ubisoft. Well they are, but they certainly earned that money.
Revelations is the most recent entry and also the one which wraps up certain plot threads. The game is based around the fate of Altair and Ezio. These two Assassin’s fates are incredibly inter-woven and through great storytelling, each ones final days are well produced (Altair’s final moments are featured in AC:R, Ezio’s final moments are featured in a AC:R DLC pack). There is a good reason for this. In October Assassin’s Creed 3 arrives. Since each numbered AC title moves to a different time period (AC1 was set in the crusades, AC2, AC:B & AC:R are all set around the Italian Renaissance) it would have been impossible to bring Altair and Ezio to the games new time zone. So it is in Revelations that we say goodbye to Altair and Ezio.
Running in the background to all of these storylines is the one of Those Who Came Before. An ancient civilization that was wiped out and then hidden. Through Desmond Miles (voiced by the brilliant Nolan North) we gradually learn more and more about this ancient civilization. It is through Desmond that we learn all about this world as it is him who steps into the Animus and re-lives the memories of the Assassin’s in the hopes that he will be able to prevent a global catastrophe.
Each Assassin’s Creed game shows an improvement in game-play, graphic and storyline in each of its entries and also in scope. While Brotherhood and Revelations tend to focus on one specific location, this also allows them to focus more on storyline and character development. Each one shows clear progression and in a market filled with endless yearly releases Assassin’s Creed shows how it can be done. It leaves Need for Speed in its dust, outshines the storylines of Call of Duty and has more replay value than a Fifa release.
There is only one problem with these games. When you reach the end of each installment, you find yourself looking at the calendar each day anticipating the release of the next installment.