I started playing Assassin’s Creed Revelations on January 5th and finished it on the 18th. I thought I’d logged over 25 hours on the game, but then realized what I thought was the time played was actually just the time LOL In reality, according to the game’s stats, I played 19 hours and 55 minutes, achieving 73.91% synchronization.
I love that Ubisoft didn’t just wave away Ezio as he aged. As much as we talk about how few women and POC we see in games as main characters, another thing I rarely see is “older” MCs. In Brotherhood, Ezio was 40 at the start and 48 at the end (I presumed 30s when I played it because I can’t math). In Revelations, he’s now 52, is now the Mentor of the Assassins, and is now feeling the nearly three decades of his life as an Assassin.
Of course, he still kicks butt and takes names, jumps around on and from rooftops, and all that. But, you can really tell his age has started to have some effect on him. When “fast swimming”, he doesn’t swim nearly as fast as he did in AC2. He speeds up a little, but it’s not as fast. His fighting moves feel slower, but also more deliberate as if he knows he can’t pull off the moves of yesteryear, so that lack of speed is tempered by experience. When he jumps from any decent height, he audibly “oofs” and is slower to get up, versus him just jumping and running on. Likewise, if he’s knocked down in a fight, he’s slower to get up. And while his eyes are wildly colored versus the rest of the game, for some reason, his face itself shows his tiredness and sorry. It’s also in his voice, especially in his letters home to his sister Claudia.
And I loved it! I loved having to adjust how I fight with Ezio, having to learn to temper my tendency to just run in and bash everything because his body can’t handle it. So I used more crossbow bolts in this game than the other two combined and I made use of the bombs that make a fun addition to the game. I picked fewer fights just to pick them. And when outnumbered, I either ran more often or would readily use the option to call in other assassins or use arrow storm to clear the field. I also used the parachute more versus just jumping and taking damage.
My friend who introduced me to this series gushed so much about Ezio; even though Black Flag is his favorite AC game for gameplay, Ezio was his favorite character. And this is not a person given to gushing usually LOL. Having now played all three Ezio’s games, I can really see why. Ezio is a compelling character, a good man with some natural flaws, but one we literally take from being a baby to teenager to young adult to an older man who is getting near retirement.
I really appreciate how they worked in Ezio reliving Altair’s memories as well, so we can actually fill in the gap from him being a solid, but seemingly controversial Assassin in the first game who had to kill his betraying Mentor to someone who was clearly revered and honored in the AC2 games and even on to his own ending.
I do wish Ubisoft had been as bold in setting up Sofia as Ezio’s new love interest. They took the step of having a 52-year-old MC, did the woman who caught his eye have to be 17 years his junior? Really? Really!? Had to go all Hollywood even though she isn’t an actress? Just couldn’t let her at least be in the 40s at least? 😒 Still, she is at least made an intelligent woman with a good sense of humor whose love of her trade, books, is shown, at least a little. I would have liked more scenes of her being brought books, much like bringing designs to Leonardo, but still, I liked her as a character and I liked that Ezio’s romance with her is slow, drawn-out, unlike young Ezio who’d have been bedding her within two chapters and then she’s gone by games end.
As for the gameplay itself, overall it has the elements that made the other AC games fun. Parkoring all over town, doing the stabby-stabby assassin thing, saving folks, and finding hidden goodies. As with Brotherhood’s rebuild Rome elements, you must defeat various captains to then be able to buy and rehab the various shops of Constantinople. You also now have black market merchants you can buy bomb goodies from. And eventually, you’ll recruit and train a new group of Assassins, with a similar system as Brotherhood, BUT with way more missions to send them on (seemingly unending), including liberating other cities from Templars, and there are Master Assassin missions as you max out their levels and give them control of the dens you open up.
All of that was fun and added to the game, but in the end, it was not as compelling as it was in AC2 or Brotherhood. I actually ended my gameplay time having not purchased all the weapons and books, only rehabbing one cultural site, and having not rehabbed all the shops. It felt like it was much stingier in this game, with significantly lower payouts for completing missions, pickpocketing, and looting bodies. You got way more bomb items than you did money, and as you can’t sell anything the primary source of your income was the renovated areas and, as I eventually realized, the cities you freed from Templar control. But there is also a bug in the game, at least from what I could see, and several times my 20-minute payout hit, the text popped on the screen, and said nothing was put in the bank, even though I was supposed to be earning around 20,000 per time. Many of the missions you sent your Assassin-recruits on also cost money, and I had a few times I had to choose different missions because my wallet was empty.
I also didn’t collect all the animus data memory fragments as, other than unlocking the Desmond’s Journey side-missions, they seemed to have no point. Speaking of those, OMG I hated them! I did three then just stopped. They are entirely optional, of course, and while yes, they give a little insight into Desmond, they were also hideously designed FIRST-PERSON platformers, where you apparently have no physical body and yet have to jump and build bridges to walk on and duck around weird moving blocks?!? Just not my idea of fun, and I generally enjoy platformers.
Oh, there is also have a new tower-defense element in den defense. All the dens are former holds of the captains you take out, and so the Templars will sometimes try to get them back, especially if you have high Templar notoriety. To stop them, you led your Assassins in defending the den by setting them up, along with barriers, to attack the incoming men. You also get cannons and can shoot them, and as you successfully defend the dens, you can unlock more den defense weapons. This seemed like it could be a fun aspect of the game, and I lost my first non-story one because it was decently challenging. The problem is, it rarely happened! I only had it trigger three times for me, and one was while I was “away” on a story mission so by the time I got back to the mainland, it had simply disappeared. My partner hadn’t even had it happen for him outside of the one required one for the story, and he’d played longer than I had.
You can see the lack of draw to complete things in my shorter game time, but still, despite those issues, I quite enjoyed the game and I would certainly say it needs to be played if you have played AC2 and Brotherhood. It’s a great arc story-wise and worth it for that alone. If you do want 100% completion, then aim to get the Assassin-recruits recapturing cities as fast as you can, to help with the income boosting.
Final stats for my playthrough: