Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
A bloody good adventure, but not nearly as sleek as its console kin.
Killing is Altair's business, and business is good. Assassination is in his blood, as he seamlessly blends into a crowd and then pops out, killing his intended target and then slipping away with barely a trace. His original adventure, Assassin's Creed, hooked players two years ago, and now he's back, doing what he does best in Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines for PSP. Although this experience is a more condensed edition of what we've seen in previous games, he's still got that killer edge.
The events in Bloodlines tell more of the side story that took place between the original game and the recently released Assassin's Creed II. Altair returns, guided by the subconsciousness of modern day bartender Desmond Miles, as he pays a visit to Cyprus. Here, hidden within the cities of Limassol and Kyrenia, he seeks the last remaining Templars, the ones who eluded his grasp in the previous game. Helping him out is Maria, a female Templar he spared from assassination.
Altair is a very agile and powerful warrior. He's able to scale walls, jump across girders and dive into haystacks with ease. Furthermore, his combat skills enable him to quickly take out guards, whether he engages them in sword combat or sneaks up from behind and dispatches them with a hidden blade. Stealth is obviously preferred, but if you're a player who thrives on action, you'll run into battles with sword drawn. The only negative is that guards constantly show up, and you may find yourself overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, some problems get in the way. First, your platforming skills aren't always 100 percent accurate. Altair will occasionally miss a jump, falling down to a lower level. Second, some of the guards are incredibly stupid. When you move in and execute a primary target, it takes a couple of them several seconds to realize what happened before they give chase. (Maybe they're in shock. Yeah, that's it.) Fortunately, most of the bosses put up a good fight.
The biggest problem, though, is the overall scope of the game. While the two cities are fully explorable, they're noticeably smaller than the ones found in the console games. That's not to say you won't have something to do, but you'll see most of what this game has to offer in a shorter amount of time.
Even with the area limitations, however, Bloodlines is a bloody and beautiful adventure. The visuals are jam-packed with exquisite detail, with old international villages replicated down to the last chunk of marble. The animations are also excellent, especially the executions, when you reduce a heavily armed guard to a lifeless piece of meat.
Likewise, the sound effects are top-notch. A huge amount of ambience is heard around each corner of the city, from peasants having conversations to panic raising in the streets during a fight. Furthermore, the stabbing effects are a guilty pleasure, added satisfaction to a well-executed kill. More music would've been great, but the tunes get the job done.
Had developer Griptonite expanded the scope of the city and cleaned up the guard A.I., Bloodlines would've been on the same level as previous Assassin's Creed games. As it stands, it's merely a side chapter instead of a main attraction. Still, if you need an assassination game on the go, you should kill a few hours with it.
What's Hot: Presentation is solid, killing baddies is still a guilty (and stylish) pleasure.
What's Not: Areas are smaller than those in previous games, some guards are completely inept, platforming is clumsy at times, story lacks depth.