Just as before, we're not going to tell you anything. Well, we're going to talk about the game, obviously. We're going to talk about the slightly incongruous American killer running around the Middle East in an eagle garb severing jugulars. We're going to talk about the new PC-specific missions, and how it looks compared to the multi-million-selling console versions, and what kind of crackpot control scheme the console-to-PC converters have assembled this time.
But we're not going to talk about what happens apart from that. Because, well, you might want to be surprised. And we're not going to talk about Jade Raymond either, because we're bored as well.
So, Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition (let's call it AC/PC, and use the phrase "pioneering Australian hard-rockers", so we get some amusing Google typo traffic) is virtually identical to the PS3 and 360 third-person games. You play as Altair, an arrogant, quickly disgraced Crusades-era assassin working for a man in a black cape who sounds like Christopher Lee.
You get to run around massive openworld versions of Damascus, Acre and Jerusalem mining the crooks, couriers and careless talk for information, which allows you to hunt down and kill local arms dealers, minor despots and other naughty individuals who are all somehow connected. The best bit was and is that you don't just trawl the streets; you can climb virtually anything and race across rooftops, hopping precisely from beam to ledge to gangplank without sacrificing any momentum. All of which led some to christen it the next-generation Prince of Persia.
There's a streak of lofty pretention throughout, but it's quite tolerable. One of its most obvious influences is on the control scheme, which is in effect moving, turning the camera, running, jumping and walking, but in Ubiland is actually a marionette system with low and high profile moves, head controls and tickets to the opera.
On the PC, the WASD keys handle directional movement (there's no strafing), holding the right mouse button runs, holding shift makes you walk, and holding spacebar allows you to blend (spilling and seeping through crowds like a tall glass of death). Holding mouse2 and spacebar allows you to sprint and free-run. Number keys then select bits of your arsenal and, in time-honoured tradition, you hack away with mouse1.
There are some other bits, but you're probably free-running for the exits already, so let's just admit that it ties you in knots for a few minutes but then clicks and you rarely think about it again. Or you plug in a 360-style gamepad, which works automagically.
Pretty much all the cool things you can do are tied up in the "investigation" missions, information from which coagulates into a bloody mandate from the local Bureau chief to do some murder. You sit on benches eavesdropping on conversations; you pickpocket by walking along after people and grabbing at their purses while they're not looking; you bump people off in crowds so that informants will tell you things; and to find missions in the first place you clamber up vast towers, steeples and minarets so that the camera can swizzle around you while dramatic music plays, and Altair can take in the scene, before diving out of the sky into a bale of hay hundreds of metres below.
New to the PC are four additional investigation types. Archer Assassinations involve sneaking up on rooftop archers without alerting them; Merchant Stand Destruction Challenges are about smashing up merchant stands, amazingly (there was an unlockable Achievement for this in the Xbox 360 version); Escort Challenges have you guide a vulnerable fellow assassin about town.
Our favourite though is Rooftop Race Challenges, where one informant tells you that he doesn't know anything, but that another chap nearby does and can be reached by getting hold of him before he disappears. Convoluted though it is, translating this into a breakneck chase across rooftops, sprinting, leaping, vaulting and climbing with urgency, while a timer ticks down at the top of the screen, makes perfect sense. The ones we saw were quite easy, but if they're tightened up for later in the game then they could be among the standouts.
With the information gathered and your mini-map sights set on the local mark, you then have to try and get close to them, which provokes a big in-game cut-scene where you shuffle, losing camera focus, through a nearby crowd. After which you strike. Except it's rarely that simple, especially if you want to kill without attracting attention, which is virtually impossible.
One man hides in a ship, another needs to be killed during a public execution, while another still is berating his troops in the depths of a massive fortress, which in any other game would be a level in itself - so epic is the scale and precise the attention to detail. Then you have to escape back to the bureau until the heat is off. In Assassin's Creed, getting the Crusader Feds off your back involves breaking the line of sight and then concealing yourself - on a bench among innocents, in a hay bale, or perhaps in one of the ubiquitous rooftop shacks.
Beyond all that, you can make your own fun, hunting down Templar Knights and collectible flags around the three cities, your home town of Masyaf or the giant Kingdom area that acts as a hub to the other locations. The absence of "Games for Windows - Live" features means no unlockable, 360-style Achievements for doing so, but, on the bright side, there's the absence of "Games for Windows - Live" to celebrate.
As to performance, AC/PC certainly murders your processor - with our 2.4GHz Intel Core2Duo system, equipped with 2GB RAM and a 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS, coping fine with the early Solomon's Temple and Masyaf sections but struggling to pelt 60 frames at our eyes every second in other areas. The Kingdom, in particular, fought hard with our PC's innards, and the innards were losing, as galloping through the sprawling hills and villages became a canter and then an unplanned trot.
Then again, we were playing at 1920x1080 - something neither the PS3 nor 360 versions did - and it was perfectly playable and looked delicious throughout, offering plenty of pixel headroom for environments like the sumptuous Damascus, with its vast draw distance, to expand into. Staring down from the tops of towers or peering into the city from the cliffside road that winds down to it, it was hard not to pause for a screen-grab.
Those worried that Vista and DirectX 10 will be a necessity needn't be - the game looks stunning on DX9 hardware running under XP, with a v-sync lock option to help avoid tearing, and seems to be occupying 6.6GB of hard disk space for those wondering. What's more, a few frame-rate issues aside, our seemingly finished code was extremely stable.
Which is good news for PC gamers who have been sticking their fingers in their ears for five months and humming loudly. Assassin's Creed had and has its problems, but it was still a fascinating experience, with brilliantly violent execution moves in sword combat, a real atmosphere and sense of place and enough content to fill a good few evenings.
With the added variety of a few new mission types, the boosted resolution of a fancy graphics card, and a PC starting price of around GBP 25, it will be worth looking again even if the launch reviews put you off way back in November. After all, it was always a question of how much fun you'd have, rather than whether you would have any, and this Director's Cut seems to have been sharpened sensibly.
Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition is due out on PC on 11th April.