This article contains spoilers. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending to Assassin's Creed II and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Revelations? I'm sure most of us don't believe that for a second. What's the betting this ends up asking more questions than it answers?
Already we're being thrust into myriad layers of mind-boggling confusion. What's the deal with Desmond, for instance, now comatose and trapped in his own subconscious, required to solve a series of puzzles in some kind of weird Animus backdoor known as the Black Room? Or why exactly is Ezio travelling to Constantinople to seek out the memories of former master assassin Altair? And how do the secret relics Ezio is searching for allow him to relive Altair's memories past the point of conception - something even the modern-day Animus is unable to do? I'm very confused.
But enough of that. Now in his fifties, Ezio has lost none of his agility - you'd be hard pressed to see his age if it wasn't for his grey hair and spindly beard. He's still trailing a seemingly unending Templar hierarchy to the very top, and at the start of the E3 demo he's looking to head out of the city of Constantinople in order to further follow his enemies.
A meeting with Yusuf, Constantinople's master assassin (therefore equal to Ezio in rank but not as legendary in reputation), reveals the city's harbour has been barricaded and blocked by the historically accurate massive chain from the Tower of Geleta being pulled taut. Like many things in the Assassin's Creed universe, the history has been modified to suit the game's purposes - the chain was historically used to stop invading ships coming in, but in the game it's to stop Ezio getting out.
To sort that out, Yusuf has a new bomb for Ezio with about fifty times more power than what's been used before. This will come in useful in about five minutes for blowing up said aforementioned tower.
On his approach to the tower, Ezio knocks off a pair of unsuspecting Janissary guards with a splinter bomb, before dispatching another set with his new and improved smoke bombs. This now engulfs the screen in thick smoke, forcing the player to switch to Ezio's Eagle Sense mode to detect his foes in the cloud. Eagle Sense can also be used to anticipate enemy movement, allowing Ezio to lay traps.
Bombs, if you hadn't already guessed, have a big part to play in Revelations, and you'll collect items to form over 300 combinations of explosive to be made available in the finished game. Confirmed so far are types of bomb that will handle offence and defence - such as the splinter and smoke bombs already seen - as well as for attracting and repelling enemies.
With the tower forced out of commission, Ezio gets to work on the blockade. To do this he uses his new weapon - the hookblade - to fling himself across the ziplines dotted around the harbour (these will be connecting the entire city, making areas far easier to navigate than before) and position himself on a Greek Fire turret - the period's version of a napalm-spewing flamethrower. Oh, and he also finds himself fighting a legion of Janissaries.
Compared to the elegance and efficiency of Leonardo's dual hidden blades, the hookblade is a downright dirtier weapon. It's not built for quick kills, instead getting itself lodged in the bodies of its targets and requiring brutal tears and yanks to get the thing back out. There's a lot more blood, and a little less finesse - though Ezio is as efficient a killer as ever before, if not more so.
With the harbour in flames, and the tower collapsed in on itself, Ezio makes his exit from the city. The camera pans up for the player to witness the extent of the destruction, and the demo ends.
If the promise of rounding off Ezio's story and cleansing the narrative palate for the next entry in the series isn't really enough for you, it's always worth remembering the power of the series' cities themselves. Constantinople (which would later become Istanbul) is a city steeped in history, and at Revelations' point in history it's the crown of the Ottoman Empire at its peak, and under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent, and a frictional bubbling pot of races and religions have been forcibly relocated long before being cosmopolitan was considered trendy.
The city, then, has been built up to a thick density by Christians, Jews, and Muslims - the kind of aesthetic and architectural diversity that allows an open-world environment to thrive. Constantinople's vertical scale also allows for more of the feats of climbing and leaping the series is so fond of. Even if none of the series' questions are truly answered, Ezio will at least be getting a good workout on his purported final adventure.
Assassin's Creed Revelations is due for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on November 15.