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Assassin's Creed Revelations brings the series full circle as the story returns to the middle east and the truth about those who run the world.
For me, the star of any Assassin's Creed title is the historical environments in which the player is free to run, climb, hide and battle militia. The new setting of Constantinople is a rich new tapestry of markets and rooftops, populated by a cosmopolitan range of inhabitants. It truly feels as though the player is inhabiting a living breathing historical city.
This episode brings with it a range of new gadgets for Ezio to employ in his fatal profession. One of these, a zip line, allows the player to travel around the city on wires, speeding up the rate of travel over the ever-increasing distances and providing a quick escape in the event of discovery.
I was excited to discover that this brings with it an increased focused on the range and type of explosives which Ezio can carry, from debilitating stun grenades to demolition charges, shown the in the trailer to bring down a towering lighthouse in the harbour in Constantinople.
If there is a change implied in this instalment of the series, it is in the scale of the set-pieces. A recent game-play demonstration showed Ezio sneaking aboard a ship with a flame cannon in order to destroy all of the craft in the harbour, before escaping the destruction by skipping across the floating debris. It's an impressive set piece that sees the environment seamlessly switch from an idyllic harbour to a flaming inferno of wreckage.
Arabic messages on the game's Facebook page suggest that Altair will be making a return.
Whether or not these big action set pieces are an improvement is a matter of taste. There is some disparity between the open-world exploration and freeform approach traditionally offered by assassination games and the tightly-directed spectacle popularised by big hitters such as Uncharted 2. However, Assassin's Creed has, to date, managed to cater to both of these play styles with considerable success.
Multiplayer is set to make a return, with the promise of story-driven missions. I personally hope that these are a co-operative mission challenge. This should provide some additional diversity as well as build on the strengths of the multiplayer established in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.
Of course it is the single player missions for which this series is famous and no Assassin's Creed game would be complete without a continuance of the story of the Assassins, the Knights Templar, creation, the fall, big corporations and the subtext of human history -- pretty much everything that matters really. By calling itself Assassin's Creed Revelations, this entry promises to deliver some big new developments to all this.
The star of any Assassin's Creed title is the incredible historical environments.
It's difficult to say -- because clearly the strength of this drama is the revelatory moments in the story -- but it appears from artwork and some cryptic Arabic messages on the game's Facebook page that Altair will be making a return.
For the uninitiated Altair was the hero of the first Assassin's Creed game, vaulting around the rooftops of the crusade-era middle-east. The series has since focused on the adventures of the renaissance man, Ezio, and his adventures in 18th-Century Italy. With Assassin's Creed Revelations, we may finally get to experience a multi-character drama which ties up some of the plotlines for Ezio and Altair (as well as Desmond Miles, stuck in a coma in the present day).
Assassin's Creed: Revelations is currently due for release on the XBox 360, PS3 and PC in November 2011 and has additionally been announced for the Wii U.
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