Assassin’s Creed: Revelations review

Assassin's creed dangle

The plot of Assassin’s Creed has always been absurd – and given that Revelations picks up where previous game Brotherhood left off, the latest instalment of Ubi’s all-conquering adventure isn’t the best initiation to the series. Desmond is stuck in the Animus with no way out. The only solution is to delve back into his ancestors’ memories to see if some closure can help him escape. And yes, that’s ‘ancestors’ plural. As well as Ezio, returning bladesman Altair has a number of cleverly placed sections – and, as a result, the narrative is far less jarring than in previous efforts.

There’s no question that a clearer explanation of what’s gone before should have been included somewhere here – to really grasp what’s going on you need a firm grounding in, at least, AC II and Brotherhood.

Save for that flaw, there’s masses to love whether you’re a series noob having to catch up on the past via Wiki, or a returning devotee desperate to once again whip out your hidden blade.

With the last couple of games set in sun-drenched Italy, Revelations delivers a much-needed and beautiful change of scenery. Constantinople (Istanbul to us future-dwellers) is vast and beautiful, and makes this feel like a true sequel to AC II, rather than an add-on.

And with a whole new city comes a new set of problems for our now pleasantly grizzled hero, Ezio. The Byzantines and Ottomans are using Constantinople as a warground, and the Templars rule over the sprawling city with an iron fist.

Ezio has clearly behaved himself since we last saw him, as he has some brand spanking new toys to play with. Upon arrival in the city he’s gifted with a hookblade – a local assassin tool for extending reach, perfect for grappling on to the ziplines scattered across the city.

These offer up an exciting ride across the rooftops and, when worked into a chase, are one of the most satisfying features in Revelations. Climbing buildings feels brilliantly fluid, and better free-running mechanics make scaling heady heights an even more enjoyable experience.

Another dangerous new addition to Ezio’s arsenal is the ability not only to use bombs, but to craft them as well. Split into three different types – lethal, tactical and diversion – these initially seem like overkill, but quickly become just the right amount of kill.