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An older, wiser Ezio wearily tries to avoid putting his back out in Assassin's Creed Revelations...
Continuing the theme of subtitles over sequentially numbered releases, Assassin's Creed returns to consoles with Revelations, due out later this year. Moving away from the Renaissance era of 1490s Italy and into the 'Crossroads of the World' of 1511 Constantinople, an older, wiser Ezio once again has the freedom of medieval Eurasian rooftops to mess about on.
TVG was guided through the E3 demo of Revelations by the game's Audio Director, Aldo Sampaio. He was eager to discuss how Constantinople has been as lovingly crafted as any of the series' previous cities, and the Ubisoft Montreal team has been hard at work recreating the hubbub of what was Europe's largest and wealthiest city. This certainly seemed to be the case, as Ezio wandered the dusty streets to ambient sounds of traders yelling, belly dancers, fire breathers and other generally believable activity: a perfectly suitable and realistic backdrop to skulk around the alleys in.
It's strange then, that the series' hallmark stealthy prancing wasn't really featured in our time with the game. The term 'assassin' is largely understood to be a silent, sneaky killer whose identity remains anonymous, a mantra mostly followed in the original Assassin's Creed game and its two sequels so far. Our preview shed this theme, instead opting for super-soldier style rampages. Ezio uses his new custom weapon-crafting techniques to fashion some rudimentary grenades, which he flings at some unsuspecting guards, before stabbing a few more with his blades, including a brand new hook weapon.
After hauling a massive chain to the ground and then toppling a tower with it, Ezio begins to wreak havoc on the Constantinople harbour. Leaping from ship to ship in a blaze of destruction, he finally finds an inexplicably placed mounted flame-thrower aboard one of the vessels - despite our scepticism, Aldo insists this is historically accurate - and it's not long before Ezio has set fire to every ship in the quay and set sail with a friend, for reasons yet to be revealed. This unsubtle act, while not very assassin-like, was good fun nonetheless. It's also worth remembering that the opening scene of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood was as action-packed as a Michael Bay flick, so this first look at Revelations may not be representative of the rest of the game.
Announced as the final act in the trilogy (after Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood), Revelations should wrap up the actions of both Ezio and the original game's protagonist, Altair. Players can control both characters, as well as continue the exploits of Desmond, who now finds himself in a strange limbo-like surrealist space within the animus. This preview is spoiler-free for those that are yet to finish Brotherhood, so exact story details will remain a secret for now, though we can reveal that Ezio is on the search for five special artefacts, and is aided by clues and visions in the form of Altair. Basically, you control Desmond, who controls Ezio, who controls Altair - get it? We also managed to almost provoke Aldo into admitting that you will be able to take control of an all-new character as well, though official word on this remains null and it is certainly not decided one way or another. Remember though, you heard it here first, folks.
Revelations is a sequel in the classic sense, in that this is an expansion rather than the eponymous revelation it claims to be. There will be a return of familiar features such as the brotherhood of assassins, the town rejuvenation projects, the optional side-quests and some collectables; the game is one of refinement over innovation. Amidst a move to Turkey, a developed continuation of the series' narrative is coupled with more of the excellent gameplay we've grown so accustomed to.
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