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Posts Tagged ‘Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Opinion: The best and worst of 2011

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Another year, another opportunity to sum up our thoughts on the year in gaming. Rather than do a simple “Top 5” like I did last year, I instead decided to split my best and worse in to different categories – this year has been a good one for gaming and it’s difficult to only post 5 of my favourite games! Nevertheless, here’s what stood out for me this year:

Best Shooter

Game: Bulletstorm

Overlooked by many, Bulletstorm ditched a lot of the modern design choices a lot of modern shooters abide by, favouring that you kill your enemies as stylishly as possible by using aspects of the level to your advantage… like man eating plants. If you haven’t played this yet then you absolutely need to give it a go. Now get to it dicktits.

Honourable mentions: Gears of War 3, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

Best Platformer

Game: Sonic Generations (Xbox 360, PS3, PC Version)

SEGA has been on a mission to bring the spiky blue Hedgehog back to his former glory as of late, and Sonic Generations was a mighty good effort. Though a touch on the short side, Sonic Generations does feature a lot of replay value with different missions to complete outside of the main game, and if you’re at all like me, then you’ll have fun trying to get the fastest possible time on the games levels. In all, I’ve put over 40 hours in to Sonic Generations just with this simple goal in mind (I get can quite competitive with myself over things like this). If you can forgive the extremely kid-friendly nature of the games main story, then you’ll have fun with Generations. You can read my full review of Sonic Generations here.

Honourable mentions: Super Mario 3D Land

Best Puzzle Game

Game: Portal 2

Quite often puzzle games will fail to grab me, but Portal is one of the rare exceptions to the rule. The core game is simple, but the puzzles that can be presented to you (especially in the games co-operative mode) can be tricky to get through for the first time. Combine this with a well written story and an intriguing cast of characters that keeps you wanting more, and you’ve got a recipe for a great puzzle game, and efforts made by Valve to try and merge console and PC gaming by letting gamers on PlayStation 3 and Steam play together should be praised too, though it’s a shame that Microsofts restrictive policies prevented such a feature from making its way to the Xbox  360 version of the game.

Best Indie Game

Game: Waves

It was a tough choice between this and Bastion, but I eventually decided to settle on Waves because of its simple pick up and play nature. You could just dismiss it as a clone of Geometry Wars – and to some extent you’d be correct, but Waves provides just enough new features that it can stand up on its own. Much like Sonic Generations the replay value comes in trying to beat the high score of yourself and your friends. The soundtrack could benefit from a few extra tracks, but overall Waves is a great little game.

Honourable mentions: Bastion, Solar 2

Best Graphics

Game: Bastion

And with that the Internet shouts out “What the eff bro? Why isn’t Crysis 2 here? Or The Witcher? Or Battlefield 3?” Well, I like to think that a games looks come from more than just how many polygons or how many individual grains of sand a game is rendering at a time – Bastion just looks so gorgeous that if you took away the user interface you could mistake the games locations as real works of art that someone drew as a hobby, or to sell at an art show, not for some “stupid” video game that you can pick up for a couple of quid . Bastion simply looks beautiful, and blurs the line between video games and art in ways that Crysis or Battlefield could only dream of (I also think that Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3 look a little bland). In Bastion you forget that you’re looking at a bunch of pixels and polygons, in Battlefield you do not – and that’s why Bastion wins this for me.

Honourable mentions: The Witcher 2, Gears of War 3

Best Soundtrack

Game: Sonic CD (XBLA, PSN, Steam, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7)

Is this technically cheating? Sonic CD was originally released way back in 1993, though the recent port of the game was the first time I’ve ever played it. Every stage in Sonic CD is full of catchy tunes that, for me, are very reminiscent of the early 90’s and late 80’s – so to that extent the games soundtrack is somewhat nostalgic to me even though I’ve never heard it before. The game had a different soundtrack in the United States, though as far as I’m concerned the Japanese & European version of the games soundtrack (as you can hear in the video above) is far superior.

Honourable mentions: Bastion, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Best Action/Adventure Game

Game: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

I love Assassin’s Creed: Revelations because it gives us what so many games do not: closure. Games are all too happy to give you a cliffhanger at the end of the game in the hopes that you’ll buy the sequel. Of course Assassin’s Creed: Revelations does this – but as far as Ezio is concerned it’s nice to know that we’ve gotten the whole story. And as strange as it may sound, it’s also humbling to see a video game character age, and to see the changes in character that age brings along with it.

But Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is absolutely a fun game to play, bringing together all of the features that we’ve seen before and bringing them together with a bit more added to them. There’s now a little more to capturing and defending Assassin headquarters, recruiting and training Assassin’s has been expanded upon, and there’s a simple yet deep bomb crafting tool. I enjoyed Assassin’s Creed: Revelations so much that I’ve decided to go back and play through the previous two games that Ezio starred in – Assassin’s Creed 2 & Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I do wish, however, that Ubisoft would hurry up and add a co-operative mode to the Assassin’s Creed series.

Honourable mentions: Saints Row The Third

Biggest disappointment of 2011

Game: Battlefield 3

Yes that’s right Internet, I just went there. Battlefield 3 is a game I have given hundreds of chances and fails to entertain me every time. I originally tried the beta on my Xbox 360, and I wasn’t impressed. I eventually moved on to trying the beta on my PC, and wasn’t impressed again, and I was close to cancelling my pre-order. However I eventually decided to give Battlefield 3 the benefit of the doubt because hey, it’s Battlefield – I’ve liked them all since the first Bad Company, so why would this be any different? I simply put it down to Operation Metro being a crappy map.

Launch day comes and I install Battlefield 3 to my PC, open the campaign and I’m bored out of my mind at the second level. I don’t think I have ever played a campaign that’s so… boring before – with the possible exception of Homefront (which I knew would probably be pretty bad before I spent a whole £2 on it, so to that extent Homefront wasn’t really a disappointment because I had low expectations). I do the logical thing and jump in to the multiplayer modes – and, in fairness, I enjoyed it at first.

My problem is that I work 12 hour shifts in my job – and when I get home I just want to chill – I’m not really in the mood for video games, so because of this I start falling behind the crowd – and it’s gotten to the point now that everyone has the best weapons, the best perks, the best upgrades for their vehicles and I feel like I’m still at square one. I’ve been left behind and playing catch-up is proving to be too frustrating. I simply don’t have the patience for shooters where you have to play 24/7 just to remain relevant. For these reasons I’ve already abandoned Battlefield 3 in favour of Halo: Reach, Gears of War 3 and Team Fortress 2.

Dishonourable mentions: LittleBigPlanet 2

Most anticipated for 2012

Game: Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 absolutely, categorically, without question is what I’m most excited for next year. Mass Effect 2 was a masterpiece and I loved every second of it, and I have no doubts that Mass Effect 3 will be the same. My only problem is that I’ve played through Mass Effect 2 so many times that I’ve lost count of what I’ve done through each play run of the game, so I’m going to have issues when it comes to importing my character. Or I could just play through Mass Effect 2 again! I’m sure that won’t be a problem.

Honourable mentions: Halo 4, Assassin’s Creed 3 (we all know it’s going to happen)

That’s the year in a wrap for me, though my back log of games has increased dramatically this year so I’m kind of annoyed I haven’t had the chance to play all of them before writing this up. Nonetheless, this is how I feel about the games that I’ve played this year. Here’s hoping that 2012 will be a good one!

Review: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

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  • Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (Reviewed)

The Assassin’s Creed series has to absolutely be one of my favourite new IP’s to be released this console generation (last years Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was second only to Mass Effect 2). Though I was admittedly somewhat late to the party – I only got the first Assassin’s Creed just a few months before the second instalment was released. When I first started Assassin’s Creed 2 I figured it’d be a similar deal to the first game – you play as a new Assassin, do some quests and then in a few years time Assassin’s Creed 3 will be released and we’ll be playing as someone else. Little did I know that I was about to spend the next three years playing as one of my favourite video game characters of all time.

You can argue all day about whether or not you think the plot in Assassin’s Creed is any good or not – I personally enjoy the stories of the Assassin’s themselves (Ezio and Altair) far more than the main, overarching plot of the series with Desmond and the modern-day Assassin’s and Templars, but as far as I’m concerned Ezio is a fantastic character, and it’s great that, as players, we get to live out the key events of this one man, from birth to well, I won’t spoil the ending of the game for you.

I’m very much fond of the idea of living out one characters life – and Assassin’s Creed is in a unique position where the end of one characters journey doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the series. Assassin’s Creed has almost unlimited potential to go on for as long as it likes – it basically has the entirety of human history to create stories out of. To that end, to see one character grow from an enthusiastic, womanising young man to a much older, wiser, and (in my opinion) somewhat jaded character makes Revelations one of the most humbling games I’ve played in recent years. It’s a real shame that I can’t really go in to more detail on my opinion on the matter without totally spoiling the game – but I nevertheless feel that people who have played though Ezios adventures will very much appreciate and enjoy his final instalment, and suffice it to say that “Revelations” is a perfectly apt title for this chapter of the series.

Revelations takes us away from Italy and takes us to Constantinople – the play space feels roughly the same as Rome in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood though the game isn’t entirely limited to this one location, thanks to some flashbacks that show you what happened to Altair after the end of the first game. Much like other cities in the game, Constantinople proves to be a great location for the series, with plenty of rooftops and walkways to free run and sneak around in. Getting around is very much similar to how it’s been in the previous games, though Ezios new Hookblade allows him to zip-line between certain buildings. Though the free running ability mostly works well, there are still some occasional issues with it – sometimes Ezio (or other characters) will exhibit some strange behaviour in certain places (for example in the video below, Ezio starts moving down a ladder when I’m pressing up), and there will be some situations where you can’t help but wonder to yourself “Ezio, what the hell are you doing?”

In fact, most of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is similar to its predecessors – combat is still mostly blocking and counter blocking, you still need to renovate shops and landmarks to earn money, and you can still recruit, train and summon Assassin’s to help you. One of the new additions to Revelations is a base defence mini game that you can play. If you get too notorious the Templars will take notice of you and attack one of your Assassin bases, in which you have to command your army of Assassin’s to defend the base as waves of enemies approach. It’s a fun game to play, though if you play your cards right you may never even see it beyond the mandatory tutorial mission.

Which is perhaps the biggest problem with Assassin’s Creed – there’s a decent amount of content here, but you may never see or use all of it unless you’re trying to 100% the game. The main story is about in line with the length of the other games (maybe a bit shorter), and there are abilities and tools at your disposal that you might completely forget about when you’re just focussing on completing the story. To get the most out of Assassin’s Creed it’s absolutely worth taking your time to explore all of your options before you jump in to the next story mission. Bomb Crafting is an excellent new addition to the game, but I found that I very rarely used it. Is that the fault of me, as the player for forgetting to use it? Or the games fault for failing to really provide you with a compelling incentive to use these abilities? I’m not so sure.

Graphically the engine that Assassin’s Creed is running on is starting to show its age a little – the game doesn’t necessarily look ugly, there are some beautiful moments in the game, but I’m not at all a fan of the orange fog that’s often seen in the city during the day, and when you’re on top of a tall building you start to notice a lot of familiar patterns that can make Constantinople look a little bland from a distance, but what’s here is certainly serviceable, though strangely enough when I look back, I still think that Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is the best looking game in the series.

As always the games sound design is superb – a lot of the familiar sounds are there, the voice acting is as good as it’s always been, and the soundtrack (which according to iTunes, contains 80 different tracks) is incredible once again, a definite treat for those holes on the side of your head for sure.

Much like its predecessor, Revelations contains a multiplayer mode – though it’s mostly similar to Brotherhood. If you liked the multiplayer there, then you’ll like it here. If not, then you’re out of luck.

But as is the case with the Assassin’s Creed series – this instalment is similar to previous titles with some minor improvements. Fans to the series are sure to enjoy the epic conclusion to Ezios story arc, but if you never cared for Assassin’s Creed then Revelations is unlikely to change your mind. Lets just hope that the next Assassin that we get to play as is at least half as likeable as Ezio has been!

What the game looks like

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations in action

The verdict

Good: Satisfying conclusion to Ezios story, incredible soundtrack, minor but worthwhile additions made

Bad: Free running system is about due for some fixes and tweaks, graphics are starting to look a little dated