I've taken up assassinations again. That is, I finally started in on Assassin's Creed: Revelations. My initial impressions of the game can be distilled into a simple sentence. It feels exactly how it was marketed. That is, if it were an MMO, this game would have been an expansion. I think there may be a bit of a negative cast to that statement (at least there is in my mind, if it doesn't come through in the text), but I'm not displeased by the game. No, it's exactly what I expected, no more, no less.
I love the AC series. They've been great games, and have a great story.. I knew I was going to pick up Revelations, it was just a matter of waiting until I got my Christmas gifts. With all the other gaming I was doing, it wasn't hard to wait, though I was excited about the game. The beauty of single player games is that they wait on you. Unless it's Skyrim, in which case if you don't start playing it with everyone else, you'll still feel left out (much like an MMO).
In any case, the game looks and feels the exact same as its predecessor. It plays the same. In all facets, it pretty much just picks up where the last game left off. In my opinion, the story-telling is a little clumsier than the previous games, as it sort of just thrusts you back into the animus and I found myself a bit bewildered. It had been a while since I'd played the last game. Still, my feelings likely mirror Desmond's own, so it's not terrible. The game just feels a bit more "gamey" than iterations past, where I've felt completely immersed.
I felt like from the first Assassin's Creed with Altair, to the AC: II... that jump was a legitimate 1 to 2 jump. That is, the game felt updated and improved on from one iteration to the next. From II to Brotherhood, that was the introduction of multi-player, I think. Thus, there was a significant addition even if the game was mostly the same. Revelations has all the same stuff... and it feels like no more. I guess there are some minor things (like the bombs are a fun touch), but it is exactly what they are marketing it as: an expansion in the series story. AC III is in development, and I assume that will feel like a proper "jump."
I feel like my tone is coming off a bit whiny here, and that's not completely my intention. I did have some initial disappointment, but I'm not exactly sure why. Like I said, I don't feel lied to. I feel like I got exactly what I was paying for. And, like all of the games in the series, as I play I find myself drawn in (maybe not as quickly or as wholly as the others, but still significantly). The mechanics and styling all settle in around me like a favorite blanket, and I'm enjoying myself. From randomly bombing guard patrols, to seeking out treasure chests, to renovating the city... it's all familiar and still fun, not tired. I look forward to doing it. I just can't shake the feeling that it could have been better I guess. Or maybe that it was sort of rushed out as they focus on III. Like this was the "left overs" of the story and it didn't have quite as much polish. But I can't really point at any one particular thing. It's still a solid game so far... a little clunky at parts as it tries to immediately pick up where you left off, but solid. Definitely solid.
Now, there is the addition of the Assassin's Tower Defense, so maybe I'm not being completely fair. It's sort of like an awesome, assassiny mini-game. From someone that enjoys the occasional tower defense, it's a lot of fun. Not really a revolution, but fun. I'm glad they added it. Also, there's the hookblade. Same story here. A fun mechanic, but not ground-breaking. Seems like a simple, logical addition.
Maybe there are huge surprises in my future. I've hardly scratched the surface. But I wanted to write it out. Maybe some of you playing the game have had the same feeling and could place it better. Maybe I'm just being persnickety. I do find that it makes me muse about subscription models, downloadable content, and single player games. I'll write a bit about that tomorrow, which is why I wanted to describe this today.
I have absolutely no regrets about buying the game, and I'm having the exact fun I've come to expect from the series. Forgive me, then, if I don't classify it as a "blast." I'm not really feeling mind-blown, or like I'm going to spend long sessions burning through the game. Instead, I'm looking forward to a nice, leisurely walk with my old friend, Ezio. A scenic stroll down Constantinople's ancient streets, bodies lining the gutters, blade in hand. Idyllic, no?
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