Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Diary of an Assassin – Sixth Entry

There tends to be one question many people ask upon completing Assassin’s Creed: Revelations: What was the revelation?

The premise that Assassin’s Creed: Revelations would not only end the Ezio storyline of the series, but also simultaneously reveal the franchise’s secrets to the player, was a lofty goal. To a certain point of view, Ubisoft achieved that goal. It all just depends on which secrets you’re talking about.

The main narrative Revelations, Ezio traveling to Constantinople in search of a way to gain access to Altair’s library, gives good closure to the character, setting up for a big reveal of what secrets the library holds. However, after finding all the Masyaf keys and opening the library only to discover it’s not a library, but a vault holding the body of Altair and another apple of Eden, Ezio turns back saying he’s “seen enough for one life.” The fact the vault holds another piece of Eden isn’t much of a revelation as we saw at least 28 pieces of Eden spread across the world at the end of the first Assassin’s Creed.

Maybe it’s the reveal of who Desmond Miles actually is. Through the collection of animus data fragments and the animus island, I was able to dig deeper into the past of Desmond in what seemed to be an animus data construct. Sadly, this section of gameplay was probably the worst part of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, combining a first-person perspective with platforming to complete what felt like test chambers from Portal. It doles out bite-sized pieces of backstory, most being what one could extrapolate from the first few conversations Desmond has with Lucy and Warren at the beginning of Assassin’s Creed when he says things like, “I’m a bartender, for Christ’s sake! What do you want me to do, teach you how to mix a Martini?” and, “I'm not an Assassin... not anymore.” It’s ancillary information, but nothing too shocking or surprising.

Looking at it from an unlikely approach, could the explanation of subject 16 in the Lost Archives DLC be the big revelation? Before Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, players only knew him as subject 16, the person who explored the animus before Desmond. But this is the first time we have a name and face to connect to subject, let alone an entire backstory for him. It might be a nice chunk of story for Assassin’s Creed fans, but I hardly think Ubisoft would relegate the subtitle of a game to part of its downloadable content.

When the credits finally rolled on Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, I realized exactly what the revelation was. It wasn’t the reveal of a second apple of Eden, or that the library was actually a vault. It was the discovery of the vault of the first civilization. That may not seem like much to the player, but for the characters of the series, this is what the assassin’s order was looking for since the first game. The ones who came before worked on projects to stop to incoming solar flare, but they proved fruitless. The result of those projects where transmitted to a central vault underground somewhere in America, where the series picks up for Assassin’s Creed 3.

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