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Assassin’s Creed: Revelations review roundup

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations hits shelves this week. Is the latest installment in the Assassin’s Creed series worth a look? 

By Matthew Shaer / November 15, 2011

Assassin's Creed: Revelations hits shelves this week. Here, promotional art from the video game.

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The most-eagerly anticipated video games typically hit toward the end of the year, just in time for the holiday shopping rush, and 2011 is no exception – Modern Warfare 3Battlefield 3, and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have all launched in recent weeks. Add to that inimitable pile Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, the latest game from the folks at Ubisoft. So can Revelations hold its own in a fight? Read on to find out. 

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The story

"In the first game, you played as shamed assassin Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad," writes Timothy J. Seppala of Ars Technica. "From AC II through Revelations you're playing mainly as Ezio Auditore, an Italian assassin. They tie together through Desmond Miles, a twenty-something bartender kidnapped by modern day Templars. Desmond is the descendant of Ezio and Altaïr, and the Templars access genetic memories stored in his DNA via a machine called the Animus. This technology has a dark side: the Animus is destroying his mind. The fiction is dense, and Revelations assumes you've played the three games before it. There are no recaps at the the story's outset nor during the lengthy campaign. While the narrative of last year's Brotherhood was a grind, taking too long to get anywhere or do anything interesting, Revelations is much more focused and personal." 

The city 

"Most of the action takes place in Constantinople at a time when the Ottoman Empire is on the rise," Nick Cowen writes in a four-star review in the Guardian, "and as a venue for adventure it holds its own impressively against the Renaissance and Medieval environments featured in the earlier games. The streets buzz with market sellers, town criers and guard squadrons who patrol the cobbles. Head up above street-level and majestic spires and sun-kissed domes jut out against the undulating concrete rooftops... It almost goes without saying, because this is an Assassin's Creed game, that everything looks historically accurate and absolutely gorgeous to boot."

The graphics

Revelations is as absorbing as its predecessors, because it's so much fun to move through Constantinople and other key areas," writes team CNET. "This is due in part to the world's sheer beauty. Deep golds and reds make a stroll through the grand bazaar a feast for the eyes, and famous landmarks like Hagia Sophia cut striking silhouettes against the night sky. Row a boat across a strait, and you marvel at the authentic wake that ripples behind. A mauve haze softens the horizon as day passes into night, and makes you keenly feel the passage of time--a thematically relevant effect, considering how conscious the older Ezio is of his mortality. Of course, previous Assassin's Creed games looked stunning too, but Revelations is no less impressive for it." 

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