Assassin's Creed: Revelations - The Lost Archive
February 28, 2012
While available for several platforms, this review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
It’s been three months since Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, the latest installment in Ubisoft’s largest franchise, was released. Since then, the game has received two downloadable content packs, both of which expanded the game’s multiplayer. Now, the game’s single player DLC has arrived, and with it, a new story with familiar gameplay elements. Is The Lost Archive a mere sell-out for Ubisoft to rake in more money, or is it a story worth experiencing?
The core content in The Lost Archive is a new single player story mode called, you guessed it, The Lost Archive. In this mode, you find yourself playing as Clay Zaczmarek, more commonly known in the series as Subject 16. The story follows Clay from his initiation into the Assassin Brotherhood to his inevitable death at the hands of Abstergo Industries. While this may sound boring to some, as his story is more or less well-known thanks to previous games, there are plenty of twists and turns as you discover what really happened not only to Clay at Abstergo, but another member of the main Assassin’s Creed cast as well.
The add-on’s story manages to keep you thoroughly engaged as it delves into the personal life of Subject 16. While it can get a bit confusing at times – especially towards the end, where you are forced to guess several events – it reveals many major and minor previously unknown details, and does a good job at explaining the actions of several characters in the series. As a fan of the series, I must say that I enjoyed it. However, if you have only played Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, you may become confused as you progress, as the game assumes that you are well-versed in the series’ lore.
With previous Assassin’s Creed add-ons featuring gameplay that is similar to, if not exactly the same as, the base game, it would be reasonable to assume that The Lost Archive would be a third-person action-adventure romp. However, in a twist, Ubisoft has instead chosen to utilize the first-person puzzle-based gameplay introduced in Revelations. Very few changes have been made to how it plays; a spawnable blue square that makes you jump higher (Similar to another certain first-person puzzler) has been added, as well as lasers that you must block to pass, but the game throws the same easy-to-solve tricks at you that are used in the main game’s Desmond’s Journey segments. The game can take anywhere from two to three hours to complete, and while there are collectibles to hunt down that help flesh out the story even more, there is no other reason to go back through and play the game, except to hunt down remaining fragments to experience the true ending. I personally find the gameplay to be decently fun, but there is a problem: it has not been improved at all. The additions certainly make it more entertaining, but the movement can still be annoying at times. That, coupled with the easy puzzles and little replay value, drag down the overall experience.
The music is, as it is for every Assassin’s Creed game, excellent. There are plenty of moments where you won’t be able to hear anything but the hums of lasers and your own footsteps, but when a piece is playing, it’s for a good reason, and fits the moment perfectly. There were several moments where I was genuinely creeped out thanks to the music and visuals. Speaking of graphics, the game looks good. The Lost Archive uses the same style seen in Desmond’s Journey for the most part, but also introduces more organic locales that almost look as good as the main game.
Luckily, for those who find the puzzle-based gameplay to be boring or frustrating, there is more content included. For the main single player story mode, weapon capacity upgrades are granted, as well as several outfits (The Armor of Brutus, Altaïr’s robes, and a Turkish Assassin outfit) and a bonus level, the latter of which also adds another weapon. Meanwhile, multiplayer fans can look forward to three characters that were once limited to special editions of the game: the Ottoman Jester, the Ottoman Doctor, and the Crusader. While these certainly don’t warrant a purchase on their own, the outfits and characters look great, and the bonus level is fun, albeit short.
It’s hard to fully recommend The Lost Archive. While the story is good, it may be confusing to newcomers, and even to fans of the series; at the same time, the puzzle-based gameplay is largely hit or miss, especially with it being the same type seen in the main game. If you’ve played Revelations, then you’ll know whether or not you will like The Lost Archive. If you do choose to give it a shot, however, chances are you will find it to be an alright way to spend a couple of hours, at the very least.
Story fleshes out events in previous games.
Slightly confusing story.
Little replay value.