The ‘memories’ that Ezio seeks in Constantinople are actually linked to seals
hidden around the city, which together promise to unlock a secret chamber
beneath Masyaf Castle that was closed off by Altair centuries earlier. As Ezio
finds the keys, he unlocks visions – playable memory sections based on
significant points in Altair’s life. One such section occurs shortly after
Altair murders a prominent assassin in possession of a powerful artifact; as he
lays the man to rest, a scuffle breaks out amongst the gathered assassins,
during which one of them liberates the artifact and climbs to the top of a nearby tower. Unfortunately, this artifact – The Apple of Eden – has a mind and power all its own, and starts pulsing out blasts of energy which threaten all nearby.
Cue a frantic scramble to the top of the tower to rescue the assassin, who’s
life is slowly draining away. The section owes much to Shadow of the Colossus:
movement must be timed to avoid the Apple’s blasts, as each makes you lose your grip, forcing you to quickly grab a ledge lest you plummet to the bottom of the
As with previous games in the series, Ezio can still renovate buildings around
Constantinople to generate income, but first needs to liberate them from
Templar control by using his Eagle Vision to hunt out and kill the local area
Captain. The dens that are then created (filled with Romanies, Thieves, or
Mercenaries) can sometimes come under assault from vengeful Templars looking to re-establish control, initiating a wave-based Tower Defence mini-game.
As Templar soldiers trudge towards your property, you can strategically place defensive troops on nearby rooftops; a leader must be placed to ‘unlock’ each rooftop, at which point you can arrange crossbow archers and rifleman at strategic (pre-defined) points to help slow the Templar advance. As your men kill Templars you gain points which can be used to buy further units or better
defenses (such as upgradeable barricades). You can also call in a barrage of
cannon fire to help scatter the troops, but only with limited frequency, as the
ability takes a while to recharge. The waves get progressively harder until the
Templar forces are spent, with a formidable mobile battering ram marking the
end of the section we played; naturally this introductory section wasn’t
massively challenging, but it did offer a nice change of pace to the usual ‘scale,
hunt, kill’ action.
Will Assassin’s Creed: Revelations offer enough new content to bring jaded fans back into the fold? The developers are clearly doing their best to vary the action
within the confines of AC’s well-defined gameplay parameters; an early section
in which Ezio dresses up as a minstrel in order to distract revellers at a
crowd (complete with lyrical in-jokes aimed at fans of the series), certainly
brought a smile to our faces, but it also demonstrated just how entrenched the
Assassin’s Creed establishment has now become. There is always the danger that
popular series can fall prey to their own successes, particularly if publishers
are tempted to boost profits with mandatory annual installments.