Review by blueninja4444
Deliberately Designed Poorly Because "Assassin's Creed" Title Can Sell Instantly
In the year 2007, a little game called Assassins Creed was released, becoming such a hit (albeit to mixed reviews) that the name Altair became a household name of gamers every where sending the Assassins Creed hero to fame right up there with Solid Snake and Kratos (Well, almost.) So naturally, like all great video games, the fans demanded a sequel. Like all great video games on only a select system or two, the fans wanted a game on their favorite platform, in this case, Assassins Creed was released for the PlayStation 3 and XBOX360, but never the Wii. So to solve both problems Ubisoft announced this little game on the Nintendo DS, not a sequel, but a prequel to Assassins Creed affectionately named Assassins Creed: Altairs Chronicles. Altair was heading to the portable consoles, just like Snake and Kratos, but this one wasnt heading to the Sony PSP, and Altair had a pretty big next-gen reputation to live up to on the DS. So how does Altair and his appropriately named Altairs Chronicles live up to the legend? Well.....
To sum up the graphics in one word, Id say Bland. Another case of Not great, yet not poor. The first thing I should mention is the 3D but not really Psuedo-3D graphics which end up looking about as exciting as it sounds. The camera is fixed and you can move in eight directions, but this doesnt help you out when the camera starts to kill you more than the actual enemies, especially when it comes to jumping over random spike pits and terrible looking death-traps that look really out of place smack dab in the middle of a busy ancient city.
So if the camera killing you is a problem you might think Maybe killing enemies is the shining solution! but alas, this is only if you enjoy choppy and uninspiring animations. Even the walking animation looks choppy and couldve been done better on a GBA. Some of the animations you think they wouldve spent more time on, like Altair using his signature hidden-blade-in-between-the-fingers weapon or swinging his sword are quite poor.
Well animations look bad, the fixed camera is bad news, what about the models? Ohh the character models, theyre kind of lack luster too. Though Altair looks an awful lot like Altair, almost everything else looks blocky and using cheap animations from enemy guards to the background. Though there is the occasional impressive (for this game) collapsing terrain, but even thats kind of annoying because it usually leads to you dieing.
What about glitches? Ohh those? Do you count accidentally walking through a solid wall and plummeting to your death in an endless pit of doom a glitch? If so, youll find plenty, and I mean plenty, of glitches in this game thatll be sure to have you pulling your hair out, or laughing your guts out as you witness (in terrible frame rate, might I add) just how uninspiring Altairs Chronicles graphics are.
Yikes! No voice acting?! No exciting battle music? Lame sound effects? This a disaster! You can try to stick up for this game however you want, but I just spent US $30 on it and I cant even say one good thing, audio wise. And being on the Nintendo DS is not an excuse to pass up the opportunity to use good sound. You may have played games with great voice acting and SE and BGM on the DS such as Mech Assault: Phantom War but Altairs Chronicles is just an embarrassment in the sound department.
Just because Altair has come to the Nintendo DS doesnt mean this game is automatically Assassins Stylus. The touch screen is only put to minimal use in this game, only being used for basic map and inventory stuff in addition to the rare (and unsatisfying) mini-games. So basically, the game plays pretty much like youd expect, a GBA game with 2 extra buttons, and because of poor game mechanics (poor lock on, lack of variety, etc.) you are left with a button mashing Assassins Creed experience that puts Altair to shame. To make it worse, Altair has an acceleration problem, it takes him a long time to get running. Also of note, no DS mic use in this game. Sorry.
Even if you are the biggest fan of mini-games ever, youll find the interrogation mini-game exceptionally cheesy, and the pick pocket mini game, a waste of time because of the lack of programming around that event. You can get caught pick-pocketing someone by screwing up the stylus mini-game, yet he doesnt even react to anything by catching you (such as killing you) instead you just attempt the mini-game over and over again. Torturing someone with the interrogation mini-game is even worse, as the enemy doesnt react, make painful sound effects, or anything that makes you seem like youre not wasting your time doing what youre doing.
And to truly kill any realistic Assassins Creed experience you can be pick pocketing someone, a guard will walk right up to you and not even notice you. Theres no inspiration to play like an assassin, theres no consequences to losing the poorly designed stylus mini-games, and theres just no thought put into the control scheme of this game.
They went and did it! They took out my favorite part of the console version, and maybe yours too. The unique futuristic story of Assassins Creed where you are actually Altairs relative just many, many, many years in the future (Desmond) and are seeing all of the in-game events thanks to the frighteningly realistic Animus project. No longer is the neat back story about the company using you and your memory-filled DNA to gain fortune put to use. When the creators said prequel they really meant it!
Now you play as Altair, hence the games sub-title, in a very unenthusiastic story which is not told with any voice acting or appropriate cut scenes but just little slow moving captions, that cant be sped up and will bore you to death. The quality of the story is very poor and it almost seems like some history class drop out sat down with a notebook, pen, and map and just threw a couple of random ancient cities, mysterious artifacts of doom and of course, the Altair character, and thought it would instantly be great because you visited Jerusalem.
The story is only Go to (insert ancient city) and (insert stylus mini-game) some random dude who wont even care if you pick pocket him and fail over and over, because we need that (ancient artifact). Its bad. And to make it that much worse, it doesnt seem to have anything to do with the console Assassins Creed. It will really make you wonder if the guys behind the scenes even played the first Assassins Creed. At least the Animus makes a cameo as the main menu.
Gameplay was what made Assassins Creed what it is today. Assassins Creed isnt Assassins Creed because we loved the graphics, or story, it is what it is because you felt like you were really an assassin back in the day doing whatever it is you had to do to complete your mission. This game takes away everything that made you feel like an assassin, and replaces it with the gameplay of a budget N64 game.
No longer is stealth a priority, but rather your main goal is to jump over the ridiculously lame spikes and other death-traps inserted along your adventure. Even if stealth was a priority, the guards are ludicrously unrealistic, they will swarm you if you run, because only walking is allowed in these times, apparently, yet they can witness you interrogate someone and not bat an eye?
Since stealth is all but important in this game youll probably want to know about the all out battle techniques with guards, that is, if they arent cartoonishly sleeping on the job. Well you can bust out your sword for some slow-as-can-be sword fights with massive amounts of guards, but be aware, the enemy AI is terrible (yes, in this phase also). You can string together some pretty poorly animated combos for some uninspiring killing with your sword, via X and Y, but that gets real old, real fast. And dont even think that the auto-aim feature will help you, because its stale. You can throw in the even more uninspiring cross bow and other weapons, but they all become stale too.
I wouldnt say Assassins Creed has horrible game play, but the action parts are extremely boring, and the in-between parts, such as jumping over many obstacles or using your other ninja talents like swinging on ropes, are insults to Assassins Creed. The assassin experience is 100% gone, so what motivation is there to even play anymore? And if you really wanna know about the touch screen based mini-games, look above this section for my review on controls.
Replayability/ Longevity: 2/10
Let me put it to you this way: If you can sit through this game long enough to beat it, you are a true champion! If you bought this game, you probably didnt do much research, and the moment you play the game you will feel like the creators are challenging your intelligence and your patience. It doesnt even take 5 minutes to realize you are not getting anything close to a genuine Assassins Creed experience. And then try to blow your mind by letting you unlock a hard difficulty as if one play through wasnt frustrating and depressing enough. Even if you had Altair posters on your wall and bought this game the day it was released you wouldnt find the motivation to play it twice, I promise you, and obviously the game testers didnt either with all the bugs and glitches. Free roaming? Forget about it!
Ohh and lets talk about Ad-Hoc and Wifi, or more importantly how there is no multiplayer at all in Assassins Creed. Why not try to distinguish this from the console by adding an ad-hoc co-operative mode, since the console was one player only. Instead you are left with one less reason to pick up the game, not that you could talk your buddy into getting this game to play co-op with you anyway. Replay value? Non-existent. If anything this game makes you want to put the console Assassins Creed in your PS3 or Xbox just to embrace the fact that Altairs Chronicles was just a bad dream.
A two out of ten is not a good score under any circumstances, and if you come across someone sticking up for this game theyll probably throw some garbage at you like Ohh its just a DS game! What did you expect? PS3 quality? but thats just trash, because I own a DS and you probably do too, and we both have played games that make this look like rubbish. They can say Its a portable, of a great game of course theyre gonna rush it! but you know there are games like Chains of Olympus that blows that theory out of the water. And they can say Assassins Creed!! Come on, it doesnt get any better than that, its my favorite game on the PS3! but thats a bunch of crap too because if you take away the genuine assassin experience in Assassins Creed, youre left with nothing but a blemish on Altairs record of great games, one and done.
Whats left to say? A game full of sub-par graphics, glitches and bugs, lackluster audio, a drab story, useless stylus mini-games, no free-roam, gameplay that feels like anything but Assassins Creed, and has no real replay value whatsoever is just a horrible game, and if you are an Assassins Creed fan you are probably ashamed to see Altair get dragged through the mud on this disgrace of a game. But never fear, Assassins Creed is still a young game at heart, and this is just the Snakes Revenge (Solid Snake) for Altair. I cant even tell you to rent it, because youd probably sue me for your money back.
Lets make a game, put no effort into it, call it a prequel to Assassins Creed, include some Altair stuff like his hidden blade, rush the release, slap Altair and Assassins Creed on the cover and we have a WINNER!! Yeah right, theyre seriously hoping youre stupid enough to buy that.
Rating: 1.0 - Terrible
Product Release: Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles (US, 02/05/08)
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