Assassin's Creed Revelations 2-Years Later ReviewGuest_Jim_* - November 6, 2013
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With a name like Revelations, you can expect to have a lot of information about the franchise's lore and characters presented to you. Naturally this is achieved largely through the Animus, as Desmond lives Ezio's life, but as it turns out, part of Ezio's life also involved living segments of Altaïr's, the Assassin from the original game.
After the events of the first Assassin's Creed game, Altaïr became the mentor of the Assassin Order and was the holder of an Apple of Eden. For years he studied the Apple to learn whatever it would share with him, including new technologies. Among those technologies was apparently a device capable of storing a specific memory for someone to later live, much like what the Animus enables. Altaïr not only put his memories on these devices, but also fashioned them to be keys to his library, hidden beneath Masayaf Castle, a former Assassin stronghold. Ezio's father had once sought to uncover the wisdom of Altaïr, and now Ezio desires to complete his father's mission, and must uncover the keys and memories to do so.
Ezio himself has become an old man, with grey beard and aged voice. On many occasions as he free runs around the city of Constantinople, citizens can be heard to comment on how someone as old as he could move like that. His age is actually something that troubles Ezio greatly, as he feels like he has lost out on his life, because he has dedicated so much time and energy to being an Assassin. As it turns out, Altaïr had similar feelings, so those memories are particularly poignant to the Renaissance Era Assassin.
Back in the present day, Desmond is also going through his own crisis. Due to his extended time in the Animus, his mind has become unable to distinguish present from past, and the only reason his brain has not been destroyed is because he has been placed in the Animus. However, as the monitoring systems have been disabled, to free up as much memory as possible, Desmond is alone... almost. Subject 16, the person Abstergo placed in the Animus previously, managed to load his personality into the Animus' memory. This has allowed him to manifest now, and help Desmond understand what is going on.
Something intriguing about the story of this Assassin's Creed game is actually how few assassinations there are. Ezio's mission does lead him to fighting the Templars, but his primary goal is just to collect the keys, which do not always require any conflict. When the need to kill arises, he will efficiently dispatch his enemies, but that need is not always there. Indeed much of the game seems to have Ezio exercising his responsibilities as Mentor, with him working to rebuild the local Assassin's Guild by retaking dens and recruiting new Assassins. These recruits, by the way, can also be sent on missions to other cities to remove Templar control and grow Assassin influence.
Another important aspect of the story are the missions concerning the woman, Sofia Sartor. To put it simply, Ezio turns his charm on her, and she turns hers on him as well. In fact, one mission actually has you collect flowers for her. I have to agree with Ezio on that mission that it is a nice change of pace.
I find the story of Revelations to be very satisfying and well crafted. It ties together all of the playable characters, Altaïr, Ezio, and Desmond, while also tying up the two ancestors' stories. The action is interesting to follow with how it ebbs and flows, and you really do get a sense of what being the Mentor of the Assassins means. At times it means you must learn and at other times you must lead, protecting and even punishing those under you.
The ending, I believe, is possibly one of the best endings I have experienced for a video game, as it should be. It is not just an ending for a game after all, but for some of the characters we have invested hours playing as. Invested hours in getting to know.