Assassin’s Creed: Revelations — Won!

That was quick. I started AC: Revelations on 12/3 and beat it yesterday, 12/16. That’s much better than my normal 6–18 months.

First, the bad. This game was glitchy, at least on PS3. More than once I came across groups of guards that did nothing and could not be killed. You could attack them, they’d go through all the animations, then they’d stand back up and hang out like nothing happened. Also, I never finished all of the “Desmond’s Journey” side stories because the 5th (and last) one crashed my PS3 every time I tried to access it. Every. Single. Time.

I also did not enjoy the strategy mini-game Den Defense. It actually isn’t too hard when you get the hang of it (I even got a “Perfect Defense” PS3 trophy), but I actually got all three den defenses required for a guild challenge out of the way as soon as possible, then made all of my dens assault-proof. The third defense was the hardest, and I lost it twice before finally winning it. But one of the losses was in an area with a Coward Templar Captain, which was very annoying. So I actually made all dens with Cowards assault-proof before attempting the final den defense again. Super annoying.

Near the very end of the game, something weird happened. Minor spoiler follows. Sofia was kidnapped by the main bad guy. To trigger the next memory, I had to go back to Assassin’s HQ. I got there and Sofia was inexplicably there. Ezio showed her all his books and they talked, with Ezio avoiding talking about what exactly he does. Then the scene ends and she’s nowhere to be found. Because she was kidnapped, of course. Then I went and rescued her and continued with the game’s conclusion. Very confusing.

With that out of the way, I thought this was a very good game. The hook-blade was fun, the combat was even better than AC: Brotherhood and the side-quests were fun and addictive without pulling you too far off the main storyline.

Desmond’s interactions with Subject 16 were interesting, if a bit of a letdown. Maybe I missed something, but Subject 16 communicated a lot of cryptic things over the last couple games and now Desmond had the opportunity to have some things clarified, but he didn’t really do that.

In fact, the sort of meta-plot (with Desmond and the contemporary assassins) was probably the weakest part of this game, and that makes sense. The plot itself really concerns Ezio and Alaïr. Ezio has hit middle age and is struggling with how to live his life. Through his investigations he sees how Altaïr spent his twilight years. The short video story “Embers” follows up on this, showing Ezio in a sort of retirement. He wants nothing to do with the Assassins any more (likely feeling that he had already done his part), but is briefly dragged back into the conflict.

I probably had the most fun in a particular segment near the end of the game where Ezio causes all sorts of mayhem, from bringing a tower down to torching a half-dozen ships with Greek Fire. A close second would be an episode even closer to the end where Ezio leads his assassins into the Arsenal. I kind of felt like a Sith Lord in that segment.

Overall it was a fun game, annoying bugs notwithstanding (seriously, Ubisoft — straight-up crashing?). I’m definitely looking forward to AC: III. There are a lot of interesting possibilities with setting it in the American Revolution. And that the protagonist is at least partly Native American (I got the impression somewhere that he’s half Native American, half European) should make for a interesting, possibly complex story.

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