Ubisoft couldn't rely on recycling architectural assets en masse like they did by staying in Italy in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. So it's all the more impressive that they managed to craft a living sandbox city of Constantinople with only a year since the last game. I can't vouch for the authenticity, but there are enough domed buildings, intricate rugs and colorful fashions to convey to the player that we're not in Italy anymore. Harlots have been replaced by gypsies and Romans have been replaced by Ottomans and Byzanines.
For what the Assassin's Creed games lack in size of their open worlds, they've always made up greatly in detail. And when you're dealing with the aforementioned intricacies of Ottoman designs and motifs, it's hard to imagine Ubisoft skimping on detail. There many other subtle touches worth appreciating from the character animation to the dirt that comes off the rope as Ezio traverses along ziplines. It also feels like Ubisoft managed to increase the NPC count while keeping the game's framerate at a respectable 30 fps.
Rounding off Revelation's presentation is of course the music, once again featuring the talents of Jesper Kyd and series collaborator Lorne Balfe. The two superbly switch musical gears in adapting to the new setting with compositions that would certainly feel out of place in Italy. The music selection features the unsurprising mix of mood music your hear while roaming the city to more dramatic themes such as when you're engaged in den defense.
All the compositions fit Revelations well, although there wasn't any piece that stood out for me in the same way that 'Venice Rooftops' did in the last two games, a track that has since become Ezio’s unofficial theme for the fans.
As if the intertwined strands of Desmond Miles' DNA seem to tighten with every Assassin's Creed, so too do we get great a greater sense of cohesion between him, Ezio and Altair. This point comes across right when Desmond goes into his first Ezio memory, where find our Renaissance assassin exploring Altair's Syrian base, Masyaf. There's also an Inception-like appeal in how Ezio himself uses a primitive version of the Animus to dive into the playable memories of Altair. Not since the first Assassin's Creed has one been able to take so much control the famous Syrian.
You can easily tell that Ubisoft was eager to improve upon the multiplayer component from Brotherhood, and they do so by offering user profile customization and expanding the selection of MP modes beyond the standard deathmatch. It can still be easy to experience amusing moments of "daisy chain dog piling" where the hunter, upon killng his prey, is immediately killed by the assassin who was seeking him out. This once again highlights the minor shortcomings of multiplayer in this series, but this is made up for by the addition different gameplay formats like Capture The Flag and modes themed on treasure hunting.
The initial start up of the game's story mode makes no bones about what an undertaking this project was, as the opening lists off the numerous Ubisoft studios that had a hand in making Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Yet its the end result that counts and what the game pulls off is both a satisfying end to Ezio’s story arc and a compelling transition to the next chapter in the series. Ezio’s visit to Constantinople showcases the most detailed Assassin’s Creed to date and makes for a much needed change after two games set in Renaissance Italy.
The tighter intertwined narrative off all three related assassins further expands the series' mythology, and it is this attention to the franchise’s lore that has always set the series apart from other sandbox games.