I may not be the greatest Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood player in the world, but I’m by far the most humble. And in that vein, I humbly present to you my thoughts after playing Assassin’s Creed Revelations at the Ubisoft E3 2011 booth today.
In the most basic sense, little has changed, at least in the version I played today. Blending, running, and skill usage remained the same, though obviously many elements had a few layers of additional polish. The user interface in particular saw the most revisions, with much smaller icons in every corner (taking up less real estate) and more helpful pop up descriptions. While the overall effect might be a less stylized, even less branded approach, I think the changes make the game easier to play in that less of your peripheral is obstructed with icons that are generally unhelpful most of the time.
Of course, there were a lot of interesting changes, though not many were particularly drastic…
During this demonstration, I wasn’t allowed to choose a persona, though I saw about half a dozen were available, and I was told that there would be significantly more customization options than in Brotherhood. Mark that as a large “meh” in my book, since customization is fairly meaningless when every NPC looks exactly like you (as it should be, of course), but it sounded like the general progression system would offer more options in general, which is welcome.
Speaking of progression, I learned (though it was earlier mentioned in Game Informer) that this time around, the multiplayer component of Assassin’s Creed will include more story elements, so players will learn about Abstergo and its inner workings as they move up the Templar Pyramid, or whatever its equivalent in Revelations will be. This certainly is game-making or game-breaking, but interesting for lore geeks like myself.
As for as abilities go, I wasn’t able to look at any of the skills players will be unlocking, though the demo round of Manhunt featured two – one familiar and one new. The old skill, Morph, worked exactly as Morph works in Brotherhood, albeit with a different and much louder sound effect. I don’t know if my opponents could hear this sound, but since they were categorically terrible, I had no way of ascertaining its impact (if any). It should go without saying that its existence would be troubling if it is indeed audible by enemies.
The other skill given was a landmine, a type of trap. Basically when you use the skill, your persona plants the mine into the ground, where it becomes invisible to enemies. If they step on it, it releases a smoke bomb with a stunning effect similar to that of Smoke Bomb. The Ubisoft rep was not able to tell me if this skill would be replacing the best skill in Brotherhood, though I’d personally prefer if it did, since as it stands Smoke Bomb is a little too dominant in every game mode. A triggered smoke effect seems a tad more balanced, offering new strategic possibilities while also limiting the skill’s power. This trap could also grant a tactical advantage in game modes with capture points, much-contested routes to the roof, or VIP-based modes. We’ll see.
Controls for Assassin’s Creed Revelations are almost identical to those of Brotherhood, though a new action for “taunt” (a la single player AC) was listed. I wasn’t able to get it to work, so I don’t know if it was a typo carried over from the single player element or if it must be contextually triggered. If it’s the latter, though, you can bet I’ll be employing it on a regular basis. I was interested to see that hunters can now “revive” teammates, meaning they can pick stunned teammates off the floor. I didn’t personally get to do this, but it seemed balanced based off what I saw, and it should make stun traps a little less powerful overall.
Graphically, the character models are on par with Brotherhood’s cast of violent villains. Again, this is hard to pin down in a short demonstration, but I don’t think any Assassin’s Creed fans are going to shit themselves one way or another.
Speaking to the rep, I learned that one big “enhancement” made to the multiplayer gameplay was to scoring in general. Point values have been tweaked to encourage closer teamwork, and new bonuses have been added to do the same. I hate to be mean, but my boothmates weren’t terribly good, so I wasn’t able to verify this claim, though I did see other players earn bonuses I’ve never seen before.
One cool “bonus” I saw was called “Contested” though I couldn’t tell if it was a bonus or a detriment. Basically, in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood when one player tried to stun someone at the same time as the other player tried to kill him or her, the assassinating player always won. This is still the case, but in Assassin’s Creed Revelations, a special animation plays, and the killing player gets a “Contested” kill after winning. To reiterate, the killer still always wins, but the kill is highlighted in a special way. It looked like to me that the kill was worth less, and deservingly so, since it’s basically saying “your target knew who you were, so you kinda fucked up, even though you got’em.” Sounds good to me.
Although it was admittedly very loud on the E3 floor, I was pretty sure the “whispers” sound that currently denotes your pursuers’ presence was different. There was still definitely some kind of low-key music playing when my killers were around the corner, but it was more musical and less akin to a LOST plothole. Again, a welcome addition, though one that will take getting used to.
Still, beyond the good, there are some things I’d like to see or learn for certain. Has anything been done to dissuade constant roof antics? I climbed around the roof frequently during the demo to test it, and although a prompt came up telling me that being on the roof was’t stealthy, it didn’t seem to directly impact my score or incognito meter. It would also be interesting to learn how abilities and perks have changed, if at all, and what impact such updates will have on gameplay. But of course, this is all a given; we simply won’t know more until more information is released or until Ubisoft grants me unlimited access after they come to the realization that I single handedly sold thousands of copies of Brotherhood for them (and gave one away)!
I’m in the process of uploading live footage of Revelations’ multiplayer gameplay to my YouTube channel as I speak, but the file is gigantic so it will still take a while to process. Definitely check back for more E3 and Assassin’s Creed information; I’ll update this post with whatever I can get as I can get it!