Review: AC: Revelations – Lost Archive
From the events of the very first Assassin’s Creed, the mysterious Subject 16 has been a ghost in the machine, an ever present spectre casting his shadow across the events of the entire series. His hidden messages scattered throughout Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood have driven players to spend countless hours searching for the next clue and piece of the puzzle, all on their road to discover “The Truth”.
So naturally when I heard that Ubisoft was releasing their first single-player focused DLC content for Revelations, and that it would focus on the infamous Subject 16 and his backstory, I was beside myself with excitement at the prospect. When the content became available I quickly downloaded it and began playing. At first I was disappointed by what I found. Instead of getting to control Subject 16 in third person, potentially running around the animus or exploring a new ancestor, what I got was more of the first person platforming sections that had fleshed out Desmond’s life in the main game.
However, my initial disappointment quickly faded away as I gave myself over to the interesting puzzles, symbolic environments and amazing storytelling on display. The basic gameplay is pretty much identical to the frequently maligned first-person sections found in the main game, but there are some new twists and mechanics. Where Lost Archive sets itself apart is just how the environments symbolically piece together Clay’s Kacsmarek’s (Subject 16) story and provide some Revelations that paint the entire series thus far in an entirely different light. We learn of Clay’s family life, his struggles and potential mental health issues, his induction into the Assassin order, the mission that brought him into the clutches of Abstergo, and some shocking details about his ultimate fate.
All of this story telling is done organically and without taking you away from the gameplay, save for one standout moment that literally had my jaw hanging open in shock. For instance, one section of the game has you infiltrating Abstergo. You make your way past an empty secretary desk, through some cramped and dark areas that seem to symbolize air ducts, and past various tricky traps and defenses that obviously represent Abstergo security. When you get your hands on the memo that you were searching for, alarms blaze and the gameplay picks up. Moments like these are done extremely well, painting an almost abstract picture of the events being described to you and contextualizing them perfectly through the gameplay.
If you’re not a fan of Assassin’s Creed for the twisting conspiracy storylines, or if you didn’t like the first-person sections in Revelations, then this DLC probably isn’t for you. While the DLC does include some content that was previously exclusive to the Collector’s Edition of Revelations, such as the Ottoman Doctor character for Multiplayer and various outfits for Ezio in single player, the bulk of the content is in the Lost Archives portion. You’ll likely get anywhere from 3 to 4 hours with it, depending on how rigorous you plan to be with finishing the storyline and discovering its hidden secrets.
For me it was more than worth the $9.99 I spent on it, but for you? Well I guess that all depends on how important The Truth is to you.