Buon giorno, Ezio.
Ah, Mr. Ezio Auditore da Firenze. It’s good to see you again. Why it feels as if it was only yesterday that we accompanied each other through the cultured streets of Rome, murdering and pillaging those Templar scoundrels along the way. I fondly recall the time when we scaled countless magnificent monuments, recklessly swan diving to an almost certain demise, only to land playfully in a coincidentally placed cart of hay.
Yeah, we sure had some good times re-enacting those countless memories during the renaissance era, didn’t we? But what’s this? You want to do it all over again for the fourth time? But didn’t we do that last November, not to mention the preceding November months which have encompassed the last 4 years? Well, I can appreciate that you need to conclude one of the most long-winded, convoluted stories in video game history but seriously, so soon? Aren’t you getting too old for this? Jesus Christ, calm down. Alright, we’ll solve this riddle together, even if I end up taking my own life in the process.
The Never Ending Story
Explain to me where we are again? Right, we’re stuck in Desmond Miles’ fragmented mind, trapped in the Animus. The Animus is that machine which allows Desmond to tap into his ancestors’ memories, isn’ it? Yeah, I remember now.
OK, so we’re supposed to solve more memories in a bid to discover what happened. To whom, I’m not sure… you see you’ve been spinning me this yarn for quite some time, Ezio, and it’s hard to keep up with this drivel. Right, so if we synchronise some more memories then this will consequently save Desmond from being trapped in limbo for the rest of eternity. Before we set off, Ezio, would it be fair to assume that we’re on the hunt for some more Templars, perhaps some ancient artefacts that will hopefully pierce this shrouded veil of pedantic lunacy? Ah, the Masayf keys – sounds ominous enough. These keys contain the memories of Altair, don’t they? Who’s he again? Oh, the guy from the first game which hardly anyone could stomach. Gotcha.
So, which city is it this time, Ezio? Istanbul, hey. That makes a nice change I suppose. I have to admit, the city looks pretty damn spectacular, winding alleys, bustling streets and lavish detail throughout. I’m impressed – you’re holding up well. There are a lot of beautiful buildings here that’s for sure… oh, hold on a second, we’re going to climb them aren’t we? Then we can sync our surroundings and catapult off the edge like an acrobatic badass. Wee! There’s the hay to catch us again, perfect. Hope that precious commodity never goes out of business or we may have to rethink our daredevil lifestyle.
Are there any new people we can befriend? As I recall you’re a rather popular man, Mr. Auditore. Oh hello, Yusuf Tazim, will you be one of the many cast to guide us towards nothing we care about? Sorry, Ezio I had to say it. What? What was that guy’s name again? Musaf Kazeem? Sorry, I’ve forgotten who you are. I hate to be impolite, but you’re about as forgettable as all the other characters from this series, which I cannot name unless they’re actually recognisable through their illustrious real-life historical counterparts. No bother, I appreciate your voice acting work if that counts for much, pretty solid, just don’t expect me to say I remember you in Assassin’s Creed: Creedy Buggers XI. And for the record, I find it rather rude that most of you drop in and out of your native tongue, I mean without subtitles enabled, you say important things without me knowing, and it doesn’t really make it any more convincing, I understand that you are foreign, you have an accent. If I wanted a language lesson I’d buy Rosetta Stone.
What else isn’t new my Italian mirage of a man? Tell me about the combat system. Works exactly like last time you say? Oh, OK, you have a few new tricks up your sleeve. Well that’s reassuring, at least it would be if combat didn’t consist of patiently waiting as a circle of hapless guards take it in turns to approach, only to be swiftly countered and skewered like a shish kebab. Suppose we could attack and watch as our sword pings off their bodies, supposedly doing damage but that’s no fun is it. Please, Ezio, it may be exciting to you but I’m the guy who literally just presses one button here. I guess we can rely on our trusty wrist blade, though. That was awesome four years ago, yet surprisingly it loses its impact after the eight-hundredth assassination.
What’s that, Ezio? You can use bombs now? Explain yourself. Oh, that’s relatively interesting: you can now craft your own bombs through ingredients you find, assembling over 300 different combinations, applicable for different situations. But I don’t actually need to use them, do I? there’s plenty of quicker and less time consuming ways of getting the job done. Yeah, I thought so, sorry for raining on your parade and all that. What else you got?
Now that’s more like it! A hook blade! So let me get this straight. You’re telling me this nifty hook at the end of your wrist blade lets you climb buildings quicker, make more daring leaps than you ever could before and dramatically roll over NPC’s who stand in your way. Excuse me? No, it’s not ground breaking, no. It’s just another gadget, Ezio. You know, like the bombs and the new weapons etc. Hey, there’s no need to shout at me, I’m sure it’s a worthy addition, OK? Keep your hood on.
Now, how do we go about reclaiming this city, Ezio? I see, capture Templar territories and seize them as our own, while making sure we halt any attempts that they make to reclaim their lost districts. Ok, we’ll do this through a hilariously awkward mini-tower defence game. It’s a fresh idea so I tip my hat to thee, sir. Although you have to admit, it’s a rather stark contrast from the rest of the game and jarringly out of place.
Everything’s better with friends. But come on, Ezio, was Assassin’s Creed multiplayer ever demanded by anyone? I suppose it’s here to stay and at least there’s a variety of modes, customisation options and all the usual glitz and glam which usually accompanies a supposed triple-A title. Yes, Ezio. I agree. Removing the strict, go there do this, of your campaign is a refreshing change, but forgive me if that still isn’t much of a compelling proposition.
Look, Ezio, I’m tired man. I’ve done this, been there, slain him and found that. The constant break in immersion caused by the sporadic, deliberate interruptions known as ‘syncing’ successfully ruins what could potentially be an exciting expedition. What I’m trying to say, mate, is that if you didn’t have all that excess baggage, which constantly reminds me I’m playing snippets of some loser’s memories then maybe, just maybe there’s a future for us down the road. But you come here, with your promises of an engaging experience, yet you’re really just an afterthought now; a pawn in the grand scheme of disappointment. Please, Ezio, don’t cry, I guess we’ve just fallen out of sync with one another.
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was reviewed on Xbox 360.
Requiescat In Pace
If you’re sick to death of Ezio, then you won’t find anything here to rekindle your passion for assassins. However, if somehow you crave more of the same (bar a different city) and want to subject yourself to a continuation of one of the most awful stories penned in recent recollection, than you’ll no doubt blindly enjoy this fourth iteration of Ubisoft’s modern day rendition of flogging a dead horse. Everything remains intact from the actually enjoyable Assassins Creed II along with Brotherhood’s less significant additions, but similarity and the excruciation premise which holds it all together ensures that absolutely nothing excites. Unsurprisingly, a fifth installment has already been announced… joy.