"This used to be so easy," says a wounded Ezio. He's not talking about understanding the story of Assassin's Creed, that's for sure, what with it being a narrative tapestry more confusing than Lost weaved with random episodes of a long-running soap opera. Yet the unashamedly complicated antics of Ezio, Desmond, and Altair are obviously not without their charms, and my concerns about Revelations - the third and alleged final title in Ubisoft's proposed Ezio saga - have never been with its barmy plot.
Still, the promising new Assassin's Creed: Revelations footage shown at gamescom 2011 helped restore my confidence in this year's title. Or, in simpler terms: how I learned to stop worrying and love the bombs.
I'll admit I was sceptical at first, as the new bomb mechanic seemed pernickety and more than a little unnecessary in a game with an already overflowing arsenal - why faff around with crafting explosives when the hidden blades were already so effective? Besides, hundreds of potential bomb combinations simply sounded like it was going to be a mess of crafting materials and unsightly inventory management.
In reality, though, Revelations' bombs look like a joyous addition. They are bucketed into lethal, tactical, and diversion categories, and are easily crafted out of shell, gunpowder, and effect components - you'll naturally accrue the various components as you go about your grisly business.
The new footage on show had Ezio chasing Leandros, the leader of a byzantine Templar faction, across Masyaf, after being wounded and knocked off a carriage. He scrambles up water wheels and over ornate city walls, and - after focusing solely on the hookblade at E3 - it's time for the bombs to take centre stage in dispatching the city guard.
One of the most significant additions of the bombs is that they allow for more variety in your confrontations, letting you do things like drop caltrops to easily give pursuers the slip. Or you can hook up a tripwire bomb to a downed guard and lull his unsuspecting colleagues over to investigate the booby-trapped body. The tripwire doesn't necessarily have to be fatal, either, if you're looking to take a non-lethal approach.
Another example is the cherry bomb, which can distract enemies from their posts with a neat little fireworks display.
What this means is there's now more variety in ways to go about your business, including plenty of stealthier options, in a series that over the last couple of years has made its counter-based combat by far the easiest way to resolve conflict. Maybe, just maybe, not as many of Masyaf's guards will end up with their eyes horrifically poked out.
You'll gather up bomb materials through regular play, and unwanted bombs can be easily reduced down into their component parts with no penalty, allowing you to easily tailor your materials into the desired explosive combination at virtually any point in the game.
The demo also gave us the first glimpse of one of Altair's flashback levels, with the series' original protagonist saving Al Mualim from an attack before the start of the first game - the act that sees him promoted to Master Assassin.
Seeing Altair in action brings back memories of the 2008 original, but I don't find myself welcoming them with open arms - I became a fan of the series with the birth of Ezio, and I have little love for series' original protagonist, especially in a game purporting to be the last outing of the Italian stallion.
At the same time, however, the idea of seeing Altair establish the order of Assassin's that Ezio would later come to inherit is irresistible. And now that I'm not worried about the bombs, I can sit back and think about the bigger picture; what, exactly, is the deal with the secret Masyaf keys that allow Ezio to view Altair's memories? And what's going on with The First Civilization? And, finally, what's Desmond doing with that silly moustache?
Assassin's Creed: Revelations will be released for 360, PS3 and PC on November 15.