Assassin's Creed: Revelations PAX Prime 2011 Preview -- Why Stab When You Can Bomb?By Nikole Zivalich - Posted Aug 27, 2011
Assassin's Creed Revelations, the game I've affectionately dubbed AssRev, was one of my must see games of PAX Prime 2011. To be honest, it's one of my must have games of November. The single-player demo we were shown joins Ezio as he enters the city of Masyaf. There, Ezio must find four keys to enter a hidden fortress before the Templars do. But as you'd expect, it will be bumpy ride.
Speaking of which...As the demo opens, two horse drawn carriages race down a narrow and snowy mountain pass, bumping each other and vying for control of the road. Ezio rides aboard one, while Leandros, another Templar with a bad attitude. (I've found that Templars are generally unhappy people), rides in the other. You may remember him as the man who tries to hang Ezio in the cinematic trailer from E3, emphasis on tries. The chase takes a turn for the worse as Ezio and his carriage are knocked off the road and tumble down the hillside, the carriage shattering against the rocks and Ezio not fairing much better as he lands hard among the debris.
Due to his injuries, the first fight Ezio encounters--with guards sent to "finish him off" in his weakened condition, was a relatively passive one. To better show how Ezio's injuries are affecting him, and therefore your ability to play, the camera is tilted slightly, just one of the many "subjective angles" the game will incorporate to make the game more immersive and cinematic than ever before. In this scene, it looked almost as if he was walking on a lopsided ship in the ocean. Of course, just because Ezio is hurt doesn't mean he can't bring his A-game. A well-placed blade took down his enemies in a flash, making us wonder just how injured Ezio really was. Another feature in the game are more finishing moves and a camera that will show off the moves in slow motion (because the kills weren't brutal enough already).
The camera may show his moves, but Ezio has aged. He's older, more powerful, and wiser. With these lessons learned comes an improvement to his eagle vision which has now evolved into eagle sense. This lets Ezio see the path of an enemy and see where he's been, perfect for tracking down bastards that don't know how to share a narrow mountain road, for instance. He also has a beard now and beards have mythical powers.
The most explosive addition to the game are bombs (clever, right?). Bombs can be found in your secondary weapons wheel; yes, there are two now. The first example we saw were trip wire bombs. Ezio killed a guard and hid. The other guards were startled by their friend's body and went to check it out. Upon walking over his corpse, the bomb went off, killing two of them, leaving the third in prime leap-out-hay-stack-and-stab-in-the-kneck position. A wide variety of bombs exists in the game, including cherry bombs that only produce a loud noise.
Being able to use bombs isn't even the coolest part. Crafting tables are littered through the game, and Ezio can use them to craft his own custom bombs: lethal, tactical and diversion. There are multiple types of bomb casings, gunpowder, and ingredients to mix and match, each new combination resulting in a new type of bomb. You can also customize the bombs you already have. Yes, there will be sticky bombs. My immediate thought was that of Ezio using a plasma grenade from Halo on one of the musician townspeople. All of the bombs are historically accurate for the time period too.
Ezio progressed through Leandros' fortress in style, tossing devastating bombs and taking out enemies left and right. Eventually Ezio met up with Leandros. After a battle filled with parkor and bombs, the two meet. Leandros has a key, he knows one of the two will have to die. Spoiler alert, it's Leandros. As he dies, Ezio picks up the key. It doesn't look like what I expected. It was round, blue, and almost alien. The key is actually an early form of the Animus, capable of sending Ezio back to one of Altair's memories.
This memory served as a prequel of sorts to Assassin's Creed. Altair, then 17, is about to commit the assassination that will make him famous. A traitor, who looks identical to Monty Python's Black Knight, is his target. The mission is set up like your classic stalk and kill mission. You have multiple ways to to reach your target, how you get there is up to you. The Black Knight will be a character in AssRev's multiplayer, and you will encounter various other multiplayer characters throughout the single-player campaign as well.
During the demo, it was made clear to us Ubi wants to close this trilogy. Assassin's Creed creative director Alex Amancio, who demoed the game for us, mentioned an online poll the team discovered listing 10 questions fans want resolved/explained/revealed in Revelations. Amancio says the game answers seven of them. When AssRev ends, Ezio's story will be finished, but it will be clear where the series is headed in Assassin's Creed III, or whatever it might be called.
The PAX Prime demo for Assassin's Creed: Revelations solidified my purchase this fall. The game is still months away from going gold but it already looks better than Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Is it November 15 yet?