After enjoying Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed II and completely exploring Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood last year, I knew I had to get involved in this year's iteration of the franchise, Assassin's Creed Revelations, as soon as possible. I picked up the Signature Edition of the game for my Sony PlayStation 3 from GameStop and, with a free hour earlier this week, sat down to take on the role of Ezio Auditore once again. There will be plenty of time to discuss story points and set pieces; right now I feel the need to outline the many hoops that Ubisoft had me jump through in order to start the game. Let me state up front that I'm not angry or irritated about any of what you're about to read. I'm really just stunned by it, left to exclaim a perplexed "Really?" at each accumulating step.
The Signature Edition of Revelations came with a card inside the case with a PlayStation Network voucher code good for an exclusive single-player mission and some weapon upgrades. Before I started anything, I registered that code through PSN where it attached to my account not as downloadable content (I was expecting a tiny download to activate the extras), but as a PlayStation service. Unexpected, but alright. Next, I started the game and waited while it installed 4 GB of data to my hard drive and downloaded a 48 MB patch to bring the data up to version 1.01. Following that, another card in the case insisted I register the game's online pass in order to unlock multiplayer mode and "other extras". While I'm not planning on playing the multiplayer, I don't want to risk leaving any single-player content on the table, so I follow the menu prompt to register the code. The game quits back out to the main PS3 interface where I can enter the code. The online pass also registers as a service.
Once that was done, I loaded the game back up and was prompted to sign into my uPlay account. Ubisoft customers know this one; uPlay is the company's loyalty program in which in-game events are worth special points that can be redeemed for in-game rewards. Imagine if PlayStation Trophies or Xbox Achievements were actually worth something useful and you get the gist of uPlay. Registering Revelations with my existing uPlay account exits out of the game again. While I'm logged into uPlay, I use some of my existing points leftover from playing the previous two Assassin's Creed games to claim a few rewards for Revelations. I spent the virtual currency on yet another exclusive single-player mission and another kind of weapon upgrade. These rewards needed a moment to activate, then I exited back to the game itself where I could finally begin the quest. By the time the opening cinematic was done and I could control the protagonist, forty minutes had passed since I tore away the plastic shrinkwrap from the case and popped the disc into my console.
As I said earlier, I'm not angry about any of this. These rewards and bonuses and online passes are all the kinds of things I've encountered in other games lately, but I can't ever recall coming up against them all at once like this (all that was missing was a PlayStation firmware update). Now that it's all completed and I've registered all of the codes and claimed all the rewards, it's finally time to take up the mantle of Ezio Auditore... right after a lengthy prologue starring Desmond Miles.