Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles for iPhone review

The Assassin’s Creed is set during the Crusades. Combining stealth, swordfighting and platforming components, the iPhone version is a graphically superior port of a Nintendo DS title. Unlike the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, Altair’s Chronicles focuses exclusively on Altair’s story. As a member of a brotherhood of assassins, Altair seeks a mysterious chalice for his order and revenge on a troop of Templars that have slaughtered some of his comrades.

There are nice details in the game. You can pickpocket enemies via a clever mini game. The environments are varied and you get a sense of the enormity of the city you are part of. Much of the spirit of Assassin’s Creed has been kept for the iPhone version, apart from the open-ended gameplay. You unlock new skills and combos as you play. Altair learns a variety of cool moves as the game progresses, but most of these are event specific and you’ll only get to use them a few times.

The most frustrating aspect of the game is the checkpoint system. The game saves whenever you touch a checkpoint icon. This is great except they don’t disappear after you’ve hit them once. If you hit a checkpoint and climb a ladder and then jump and hit another checkpoint, but then fall to the ground, you’ll have to hit the first checkpoint again and thereby lose all of the progress you gained.

This wouldn’t be a problem if the controls were more forgiving. Jumping off a beam and falling to your death is common, but even more common is falling off a beam and landing alive in an area you’ve already explored. The combat controls are also very sensitive, so it’s difficult to manipulate Altair into a better position.

OUR VERDICT

Altair’s Chronicles is one of the most ambitious titles for the iPhone yet. The game takes several hours to complete and is one of the most lengthy (and challenging) iPhone games we’ve played. It is marred by its frustrating save system and hair-trigger controls. Right now Altair’s Chronicles isn’t living up to the Assassin’s Creed or Gameloft name.

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