It's hard not to completely lose yourself in Assassin's Creed Revelations. There's plenty to explore, loads to climb and arses to be kicked
As we review Assassin's Creed: Revelations, we can't help but feel a little teary eyed about the prospect of this being our hooded friend's final adventure.
It's been a long, hard road for Ezio Auditore da Firenze.Over the last 50 years, he's had his family torn from him, had his homestead burned to the ground, has suffered countless wounds and hardships and found himself embroiled in a civil war fought in the shadows of society.
So how will he fare this year?
Assassin's Creed Revelations Review: Gameplay
Assassin's Creed: Revelations is, first and foremost, a giant, beautiful sandpit for the player to enjoy at their leisure. They can take out enemy strongholds and build new headquarters on the ruins.
They can recruit assassins to their guild and send them off on secret missions through Europe, Africa and the Middle East. They can bribe thugs or Romany women to distract guards while they help themselves to trinkets or the contents of a passer-by's pockets.
They can use a Hook Blade to grab hold of roof ledges or rip out the throats of their opponents. They can craft a large array of bombs. They can defend their guilds against armies of attackers in a tower-defence game.
They can buy equipment, collect earnings and renovate buildings. But best of all, they can parkour through the game's vast open expanse, shimmy up towers, leap from building to building and engage in a lot of swordplay.
The action-packed madness will certainly make for an exciting Assassin's Creed: Revelations film.
Assassin's Creed Revelations Review: Features
There's also a plot of sorts, and this is where a whole-hearted recommendation becomes a little hard to justify. This is because the game, which is by no means bad, is the latest section of a plot, which has become so barmy and convoluted by now that newcomers will battle to follow what's going on.
Playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations as an entry point to the series is like starting to watch The Wire with the eighth episode of the second season.
The backstory runs thus; a bartender called Desmond has been kidnapped by a secret society calling themselves the Templars.
Apparently he's the descendent of a line of assassins and the Templars hope to access his ancestor's memories, in order to track down some artefacts that can change the course of mankind (or something).
To that end, they stick Desmond in the Animus, a machine that allows the user to experience parts of the lifetimes of anyone who shares their DNA.
With the Animus, Desmond relives the memories of first Altair, a Medieval assassin, and then Ezio Auditore, an Italian noble who turned assassin during the Renaissance and…
…are you still following any of this? No? Good, I thought it was just me. All you really need to know is that in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, the lion's share of your time will be spent as Ezio in Constantinople, during the time of the Ottoman Empire, with occasional visits to the Animus and the Medieval Middle East.
Assassin's Creed Revelations Review: Verdict
The large portion of the game involving Ezio and Altair is absolutely ace; the sections involving the latter are a bit brief and bit too scripted, but overall they do the job.
The parts set in the future, where Desmond has to navigate the inside of the Animus in some sort of first-person platforming game are badly made, but thankfully they're kept to a minimum.
The real draw, though, is Ezio, and his engrossing travails through Constantinople. Forget the convoluted story - you don't need logic when you have bombs and a Hook Blade.
Assassin's Creed Revelations availability: Out now
Assassin's Creed Revelations price: £37.89
Watch the Assassin's Creed Revelations trailer (below)
Enjoyed this Assassin's Creed Revelations review? If you're a self-confessed games freak, you might also want to check out our FIFA 12 review and our Batman Arkham City review.