Review by hippohumper527

Reviewed: 02/11/08

Heed my warning before playing this game!

Assassin's Creed hit shelves with a bang, completely destroying concepts of what gaming should be. It was a revolutionary experience backed up by a company that makes great games. It was one of the best platformers of 2007, in my opinion, and definitely the most hyped. Ubisoft then announced something nobody expected; a sequel, rather then a port, coming to the Nintendo DS. Everybody was shocked that they were already so close to completing a sequel, when it was announced that rather then a sequel, it was going to be a Nintendo DS exclusive prequel. Set a couple of years before Assassin's Creed takes place, it follows Altaïr, the main character of the original Assassin's Creed, through 5 cities, looking for a certain Chalice for his master Al Mualim, who believes it is too powerful a tool to be left in the hands of men, and wants to destroy it or keep it locked away.

Graphics 7/10
I've seen better, but they get the job done. Guards look identical, and you can't tell that a crossbowman is carrying a crossbow. I really think Ubisoft could have improved in this area, I have seen them do a lot better, even on a Nintendo DS. Altaïr is the only unique character model, and I think a few other assassins might just look like him. Swords look cool, although characters hold them just a little bit awkwardly, and they are just a bit overproportioned. The environment, however, is beautiful, as with the original. Trees look like trees, pillars look like pillars, perhaps my favorite thing though is the destructible environment. You can tell when something is about to crumble, and when it does, it look so cool. Sometimes I walk across things that I don't even need to walk across just to watch them crumble. Good job, Ubisoft.

Sound 10/10
I haven't seen better on a DS, they really overdid themselves. It's like playing a console or computer game, Ubisoft somehow managed to pack in tracks that are good quality, pretty dang loud, fit in with the place you're in, yet they sound like console tracks. Great job here, Ubisoft.

People don't talk, there are, however, battle grunts, which sound great. Swords clashing also sounds very realistic. My one annoyance is that no matter where you are, you can hear people talking the background, chiefly a man. This isn't realistic, and you can audibly tell that the person talking is in a recording studio, it just sticks out like a sore thumb.

Realism 5/10
Well, what do you expect with a DS game? Guards "sleep" when they don't notice you, somehow running is a suspicious action, yet walking isn't. You spend 40 seconds pickpocketing a person, which I think they, or the person they are speaking to, would notice. Interrogation is actually pretty realistic, you must hit pressure points on a persons back at just the right moment. I don't know how Altaïr jumps chasms so well, either, he can jump really wide ones in this game. Another bone I have to pick here is spikes. You touch them, you die. You don't get poke by them, all you have to do is slash at them, the instant the tip of your sword touches the fire, you die. Pretty realistic isn't it? It's the same with fire. When you run on oil, for some reason you stick to it, so you have to rapidly push "A" to get out of it. You can't push people in this game, you just bump into them, they don't notice, and it's like hitting a wall, quite annoying.

Repetitive Gameplay 4/10
Pretty repetitive. Unlike Assassin's Creed, the developers intended the game to be played on its default setup, so there are no settings you can change to make it more interesting, except difficulty. You pretty much run around, hop across some ledges, kill some guards, meet a contact, rinse and repeat, this is what levels consist of, just in different cities each time.

Story 6/10
Very vague, to begin with. It's not told through cutscenes but rather slideshows on one screen, with written dialogue on the other. From what I am able to tell, Altaïr is making his way to Al Mualim when Templars strike a city he is in. He escapes to Al Mualim, who tells him he must go after a Chalice, and explains why it is important for the fate of the land. He then goes after the Chalice, meeting contacts who give him information along the way. The story here takes place in 5 different cities, including the 3 original from Assassin's Creed 1.

Creativity 0/10
Just your everyday hack-and-slash RPG-based game, reminds me of Eragon for DS, without the lock-on system. 'Nuff said.

Gameplay 7/10
This game, despite it's flaws, will keep you very entertained for the time you play it. There are some nice mini-games, such as interrogation and pickpocketing, the platforming reminds me of original Prince of Persia 2D side scroller. Sword fights are less entertaining, it just consists of blocking and slashing, and, if the enemy is unaware, assassinating. No counter-kills in this one, just counter-stuns.

Overall 8/10
The game definitely has potential for greatness, what it lacks is the capacity, and the push to make it truly great and unique. Where the original excelled, this game failed; there is no free-roam, swordplay is like watching paint dry, platforming is bugged with many glitches. Despite all of these shortcomings, the game is still loads of fun. In short, the game didn't strive for greatness, instead just took the easy route for quick cash.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles (US, 02/05/08)

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