Review by mark24173

Reviewed: 12/01/10

A good game hiding inside absolutely terrible design

I actually played the Ipod Touch version, but for some reason I can't post a review for it here. This will have to do.

The bottom line about this game is that it had so much potential to be really very good indeed. The other bottom line is that almost all that potential was ruined by what must be the worst movement controls ever implemented in a game.

It COULD in theory be the ipod touch itself, but I've played other games on it and I've never had anything like the problems that this game gives me.

The main offender is the directional control system, especially when jumping. It's a total crapshoot. You might go in the direction you want to, or you might jump straight onto a spike which is 90 degrees in the other direction to where you're aiming your character. Walking on the narrow beams that are all over the game is equally a matter of luck; and there are many parts of the game where the 3D elements are so hard to judge that you will die over and over again just to find the right angle of entry to an area.

The game's also riddled with bugs. I thought this level of bugs in a game died out with the ZX Spectrum, but it would seem that someone on the programming team for this game has a nostalgic longing to bring those days back. You can get stuck behind things while fighting and have no idea who's hitting who. You can walk through walls. You can fall off what seem to be entirely solid objects. And on it goes.

The puzzles in the game (including the tests of co-ordination like combined jumps, swings, etc) are actually quite well designed in themselves, but again the pathetic control system makes them far, far harder than they need to be. I've had my character killed ten or fifteen times in a row, each time down to the controls failing. I hope whoever programmed the controls for this was sacked immediately afterwards, because they don't belong in the world of game programming.

The combat, on the other hand, is actually decently done. I've almost never had a problem with it. It's easy, intuitive, and works nicely. I have no idea why it is so much better than the directional controls, but it is.

If you have the patience of a saint and/or are exceptionally good with your manual dexterity, you might be able to get some enjoyment out of this game, but by and large it can't be recommended due to the total botch-up made of the controls.

Caveat Emptor.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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

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