Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines Review

By Jeremy Zoss - Posted Nov 23, 2009

In Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines, Altair comes to the PSP with most of the gameplay from the original Assassin's Creed intact. The graphics and world may be scaled down, but the assassin's moves and abilities are not. There's some things that AC fans will like about Bloodlines, but there's just as much to gripe about.

The Pros
  • A visually impressive PSP game
  • Free-running on a portable system is a thrill
  • Learn the fate of Altair
The Cons
  • Several control issues
  • Lots of loading
  • Repetitive mission objectives
  • Short and easy

In Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines, Altair comes to the PSP with most of the gameplay featured in the original Assassin’s Creed intact. The graphics and world may be scaled down, but the assassin’s moves and abilities are not. There are some things that AC fans will like about Bloodlines, but there’s just as much to gripe about.

Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines

The World’s Smallest Killer

When a portable spin-off of a console game attempts to bring the original’s gameplay to a handheld, it’s hard not to compare the scaled-down version to its big brother. The danger of this mentality is that it invites comparisons to the original, which is (almost) always a better gaming experience. In many ways, Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines successfully emulates the gameplay of the console game. Unfortunately, this PSP port has carried over some of that game’s flaws as well as its strengths.

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Altair, Chapter Two

Unlike Assassin’s Creed II, Bloodlines continues the story of Altair beyond the events of the first game. This is no side-story like the dreadful DS title Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles; it’s a full-fledged sequel. While the story is pretty bland, it ties into the first game nicely and expands on some of the mythology of the series, if only a little. Fortunately, the core of what made the Assassin’s Creed franchise a hit was preserved: Altair’s free-running abilities. Just like in the console game, you toggle between “low profile” and “high profile” actions and when you’re in high profile mode, you can scale buildings and run across rooftops like a parkour master. It’s every bit as fun as it is in the console games - when it works.

Like so many games on the PSP, Bloodlines suffers from the limitations of the hardware, especially the lack of a second analog stick. Since you control the camera manually, your free-running lines will often be interrupted because you can’t see where you’re going. The system works as well as any I’ve seen on the PSP, but it is still clunky and slow for a series built around speed and fluidity. The open-world areas are also small, so even when you do get a good line going, it won’t be long before a loading screen breaks up the action. But for what it’s worth, Bloodlines is such an easy game that the clumsy camera will cause little more than inconvenience, never death – I didn’t die once until I reached the final boss battle.

The boss battles are bland, standard action game affairs that replace the elegant, thrilling assassinations of the console games. The flags of the first game are replaced with coins, which can be used to purchase upgrades such as a longer health bar and increased weapon damage. These changes aside, most of the formula of the core series remains intact, including the rhythm-based combat system and the somewhat repetitive side missions. As in the original, once you master the timing for counter-attacks, there’s little reason to use any other move.

Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines

Now loading conclusion…

Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines is a valiant attempt to bring the Assassin’s Creed franchise to a portable system, but there are just too many compromises made for the game to appeal to anyone beyond the most hardcore AC fans. While the free-running is intact, the worlds you explore are chopped up into tiny pieces with frequent loading as you travel between zones. Combined with a so-so story, redundant mission types and often troublesome controls, Bloodlines is much easier to appreciate in concept than in execution.