Whack out the hook to make near-impossible jumpsThe major new feature added by Ubisoft, enabling traversing of the city in a new way, is the hook blade, which is essentially an extension of Ezio's arm. Not only can the stealthy assassin flick out his blade from under his sleeve and stab an enemy in the blink of an eye, but he can now attempt near-impossible jumps across the rooftops and latch onto the side of a building at the very last second. Though it's not the most exciting of new additions, the 'blade adds a new dynamic to movement, making it faster and more enthralling to get from 'A' to 'B.' Essentially, the hook blade encourages gambling on long jumps, something that wouldn't always happen in past games.
In fact, movement across the city now is a far cry from the slow-paced climbing actions and measured jumps that we carried out in the first game of the series. The return of the merchandise lift, which shoots you up to the rooftops, is now outshone by the introduction of zip-lines that provide a speedy way of getting across town. As well as being able to move between objectives at a faster pace now, zip-lines also provide more tactical freedom in combat as Ezio drops down on enemies from above to take them out quickly and silently.
One of the greatest things about the evolution of the Assassin's Creed series is how the developer has honed the combat system over the years. Creeping around, stabbing people in the back, or executing edge-of-the-roof takedowns are as satisfying as ever, but Revelations really shines when the protagonist is face-to-face with multiple aggressors, using a combination of parries, blows, grabs, dodges and counter-attacks to take them down. Topped off with some gloriously violent finishing animations, there's always the temptation to ditch stealth completely and take on half-a-dozen guards for the thrill of it.
Evidently, it does feel like Ubisoft has pushed the series in a slightly new direction to encourage players to break out of that stealthy assassin mode more often and cause more carnage, or be more adventurous. As a result, this is the most diverse Assassin's Creed yet, furnishing the player with more choices in combat, which includes access to an insane number of bombs. The bomb-crafting mechanic allows you to combine ingredients to create grenades that suit a particular play-style, whether that be stealthy or aggressive, and it's good fun experimenting to see how enemies react.