E3 2011 first look: Assassin’s Creed Revelations

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Although it has only been a year since we last saw Ezio Auditore pretty much owning Rome in 1503, the years have not been as kind for the character. The series jumps to 1511, and Ezio is an old man in Revelations, well into his 50s, which for the Renaissance time period was ancient. But before he can relax and die, a new challenge awaits him in Constantinople.

If you liked the previous Assassin’s Creed games, then you will probably enjoy Revelations. If not, there isn’t much new to get behind. But if it ain’t broke, etc., etc.

In Revelations, Ezio heads to Constantinople in search of something Altair hid centuries earlier. You will also spend some time in Masyaf, the headquarters of the Assassin’s Guild from the original game. Both Ezio and Altair will be playable characters, as will Desmond, but the vast majority of the game will be spent in Ezio’s shoes.

The brotherhood also returns, but you will start fresh with new recruits taken from the streets of Constantinople. Ubisoft is promising a new method for leveling up the recruits, as well as all new missions and options for your doe-eyed trainees, but we’ll have to wait to see what they have in store. The brotherhood will still act as a special attack that you can call in to help you clear out sections of enemies.

There will also be a new mechanic that allows you to customize and create your own bombs using items that you will find around the city, and in total there are over 300 possible bomb variations. This isn’t something that you need to do to progress in the campaign, but for those of us that spent way more time than we would like to admit involved in the minutia of the side quests and mini-games in Brotherhood, like the purchasing of buildings in Rome (guilty as charged), it will give us something new to obsess over.

There is also a new hook tool that will help you get around Constantinople and act as a weapon in close-quarters combat. The city of is already home to several assassins, and they have created a series of zip lines that run throughout the city. Using the hook on these zip lines will speed your progress through the four zones of the city.

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The demo shown, which you can watch below, was from about halfway through the game, as Ezio is hunting a member of the Templars. To follow him, he needs the help of an ally with a ship, who has agreed to get him out of the city if Ezio can be there on time. Ezio, however, has somewhat angered the entire Ottoman Empire through the game, and they want him stopped. To achieve this, the harbor has been blocked by a massive iron chain, and a fleet of enemy ships is waiting for him. For another person this may be a problem, but for Ezio it is a minor delay.

Using a custom bomb, the guards fall quickly, allowing Ezio access to a zip line which takes him directly to an enemy ship. A fight breaks out, and the combat appears similar to Brotherhood’s mechanics. Once the guards have sacrificed themselves on the altar of gaming, Ezio discovers a cannon that shoots Greek fire, a historically accurate napalm-like weapon that can burn on water. He then proceeds to annihilate the entire fleet for good measure before escaping through the burning wreckage and jumping on his ally’s departing ship, proving that if anyone could carry Samuel L. Jackson’s wallet from Pulp Fiction, it is Ezio Auditore.

There was also a quick section featuring Desmond, who is not doing well. Following the events of Brotherhood, Desmond is taken to the animus in the vague hopes that it will help him snap out of his coma. There he is trapped in a new construct, which will give us a background on Desmond’s life, as images of his past are recreated before him. There is a mystery here that we will have to wait for until November.

The multiplayer was also on display, and a new team game mode was introduced that places four players as hunters and four as prey. You earn points for each kill as a hunter, while the prey earn points for remaining hidden, then you switch teams. It isn’t a massive change from the previous game, but it is a fun new mode.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations is more of the same, but with a series like AC, that isn’t a bad thing. Ubisoft did confirm in no uncertain terms, that this will be the final game in the trilogy of Ezio, which almost seemed ominous. Most gamers would be all for a new AC setting and character, but Ezio has earned his place in gaming iconography. This seems to be reinforced by the cinematic trailer where Ezio is captured by Templars in Masyaf.

We’ll know the fate of Ezio for certain on November 15, when Assassin’s Creed Revelations is released for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.