The third game in the franchise, 'Assassin's Creed: Revelations' takes master assassin Ezio Auditore to the city of Constantinople in the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Here, he walks in the footsteps of his mentor, Altair, on a journey that sees him battle against an army of Templars which threatens to take control of the region.
Firstly, 'Assassin's Creed: Revelations' offers an enormous and highly detailed sandbox city in which to roam; you can free run across rooftops, pickpocket locals for money to buy new weapons, attack guards and even recruit fellow assassins to fight your cause.
From the get go we were struck at how beautifully lifelike the cut scenes are - of course, these are always of a higher quality than the actual gameplay - but nonetheless, they left us eager for more.
For the first couple of hours, whether you're an 'Assassin's Creed' veteran or entirely new to the game, AC:R is fun and definitely keeps your attention, but soon after the repetitiveness does start to set in. Then, no matter how cool free running is, the game starts to feel a bit tired.
In an attempt to liven up what can be a repetitive game, Ubisoft has introduced some new features. The Hook Blade worn on Ezio's arm is a multipurpose tool used to help climb buildings, slash the throats of enemies and grab ledges to stop you falling.
We should point out that newcomers to the 'Assassin's Creed' franchise will almost certainly be confused with the plot of Revelations. Playing initially as Desmond, a bartender who was kidnapped by a group called the Templars and is distantly related to a family of assassins. Using the Animus - a time-travel machine that lets Desmond experience the lives of his assassin relatives - he becomes Medieval assassin Ezio.
Thankfully, knowing any of that isn't really necessary, and newcomers to the game will enjoy it almost as much as those who understand it fully.
Gameplay is much of what we've seen before from 'Assassin's Creed', but there is the addition of a tower defense-style mini game that appears every so often. Positioned high up overlooking a street, you must delegate your fellow assassins, positioning them on the rooftops to stop waves of guards from passing through the street.
The more guards killed, the more points you obtain to recruit more minions, and you can also purchase blockades that can be positioned across the street, blocking guards until they finally smash through them. This feature is intuitive and not particularly difficult, but it feels like nothing more than a mini game, a distraction from the main plot and we can't help but think it's been used as a quick fix to break up the repetitiveness of the overall game.
Overall, gameplay is smooth and the environment is responsive, while the number of civilians and guars wondering around certainly impressed us, as did their varying reactions to your presence - some fight back if you pick-pocket them, while others run away, for example.
Unfortunately, a couple of times we saw characters get stuck in corners or behind objects and control of Ezio can become frustrating, with him inexplicably leaping to his death when really we were trying to scale a rooftop.
An aspect that could have been completely left out is playing as Desmond himself. Occasionally you must walk, as him, around the Animus machine and if we're being honest this adds nothing to the game and will surely confuse gamers new to the franchise.
The selling point here is, as always, the period setting and enormous environment through which you can free run until your heart is content. And don't get us wrong, roaming around, killing some guards then sneaking past others and pickpocketing civilians is fun, and climbing almost anything makes the environment feel very accessible - you can even use the boats - but it soon gets too repetitive.
- Beautiful environment with lots to do
- Good range of interactive characters
- Free running is always fun, the Hook Blade makes it even better
- Too similar to previous games in the franchise.
- Tower defence-style minigame feel like a last-minute addition
- Game soon gets repetitive with not enough diversity
- Plot with Desmond is certain to confuse gamers new to the franchise