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Almost all of the side activities return as well. You can buy shops, complete faction challenges, recruit assassins, and collect those notorious collectibles. The assassin recruit metagame is much the same, but now you can capture cities by doing certain contracts, and gain an income of money and ingredients. As for the collectibles, they're not so bad this time around. There are 100 data fragments and 10 memoir pages. After collecting half of them you can get an in-game map showing the location of the rest, so it's much less tedious this time around. Sadly, there are no hidden glyphs or puzzles to solve.
In Eagle Vision you can now see the patrol routes of guards.
Being my first Assassin's Creed on the PC, the controls took a bit of getting used to. But once I figured them out and remapped a few buttons, the controls work quite well without a gamepad (though gamepads are supported). The only time I had any difficulty was when trying to jump sideways after running partway up a wall. Auto-climb (the button you need to hold to perform acrobatic moves) and jump are mapped to the same button, and it takes a little bit of effort to direct Ezio the way you want him to go, more so than a quick release and re-press of a gamepad button while rotating an analog stick.
The graphics are as beautiful as ever, even more so with the better graphics of the PC version.
There are a few new features, such as bomb crafting. You gather ingredients to create different types of bombs with effects ranging from distracting your enemies to outright killing them. Also added to Ezio's repertoire of tools is the hookblade. Essentially all it does is extend Ezio's reach when climbing, and add a few grapple moves, though the extra reach is often fairly helpful when climbing towers. Also added is another minigame where you defend your assassin's dens. It's a bit like tower defense, where you place units and walls to stop oncoming waves of enemies.
Despite these few new additions though, Revelations doesn't seem to have advanced much from Brotherhood. Brotherhood itself wasn't a huge step up from Assassin's Creed II, but at least it added enough cool new features to make it a great game. Revelations however doesn't seem to add very much on top of that. In fact a couple things are missing: horses and usable boats, granted they aren't very necessary in the Mediterranean city of Constantinople, which is a bit smaller than the vast expanses of Rome previously seen.
This is the Animus Island, a central hub of sorts while Desmond is stuck in the Animus. Think somewhere along the lines of Inception and Lost and you'll get the idea.
The game was still enjoyable, but I couldn't help but feel like I was playing an "in-between" game, before the next big Assassin's Creed game. The ending outright points to another game, and without spoiling too much, with a title like Revelations I expected more to be revealed. Most of the new conspiracy intrigue you get at the end is stuff you already know from AC II and Brotherhood at this rate. Granted, the ending to AC II is very hard to top, when it was the first major reveal of the series.
The multiplayer makes a return as well. In terms of gameplay it is essentially the same, but it can still be great fun. It's refreshing to play a multiplayer game where it's not all about the kill/death ratio. You get more points for skillful, calculated assassinations than running around stabbing everyone. New to the multiplayer are two modes, Artifact Assault and Corruption, capture the flag and infection respectively. In Artifact Assault each of the two teams has a flag to protect, while at the same time they can sprint or sneak over to the opponents side and steal their flag (I personally found sprinting and using chase breakers and decoy abilities to be the most effective). Corruption starts a few players out as "zombies" who must kill other players to convert them to their team, while the "humans" gain points from hiding and evading their hunters.
Overall Assassin's Creed: Revelations definitely had some cool moments in the story, and it was fun to play as Altaïr for the few flashback scenes he was in, but as I said, it just felt like an "in-between game". It essentially felt like Assassin's Creed Brotherhood in a new city. Most of the fun features are there from the previous game, but as much as I love the series, this entry sadly felt a bit like filler. Now, I'm not exactly saying that this game isn't worth getting. If you enjoyed Brotherhood, you will most likely have fun with this game and should by all means check it out, especially for the multiplayer. I just wish there was a little more variety and innovation.