It's a decent tale that fans of the franchise will love, but some poor voice-acting can make the story-telling a chore.
Bloodlines is essentially Assassin's Creed on the PSP, which is not a statement to be taken lightly. All the expected gameplay mechanics are present here - stealth, parkour, climbing, combat. It really is a stunning achievement, just as the original Assassin's Creed was to next-generation consoles. Naturally, limitations of the hardware mean that buildings are largely boxy, plain affairs, and the draw distance is fairly short; but it's still impressive.
Believe it or not, Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines controls pretty well. Sure, the lack of a second analogue stick can make it clunky landing a jump, or scaling a building, but, on the whole the game does a good job of keeping you in the action. The camera sticks quite well behind Altair, with free camera control handled by the face buttons while holding L. Most action games completely fail on the PSP, but despite being clunky, Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is not one of them.
Impossible games on the PSP are dumb. Who wants to be frustrated while sitting on the train, playing through a game to pass the time? It's certainly not our cup of tea, and so, we think Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is perfectly tuned. The game is not easy, but it's also not frustrating. The combat is well balanced and the experience is never frustrating.
Although not as repetitive as the original Assassin's Creed, Bloodlines relies on some pretty safe mission objectives over and over, making the game far too predictable. You'll either infiltrate a building, kill some guards, assassinate someone, or tail an enemy - and that's pretty much your lot. Rinse and repeat over different environments and you have your core campaign. Boss fights break up the monotony, but there's not much else on offer here.
Bloodlines has some Playstation, SEGA Saturn era-voice acting going on. Not only is it compressed to hell (the game is only 500mb!), but it's also terrible. Like, House Of The Dead terrible. Ok, maybe not that bad but, still pretty woeful.
While a technical achievement, and an ok game, Bloodlines' biggest problem is probably the hardware it's on. Yes, it deals adequately with the limitations, and it's a decent game, but it's so sparse next to a true Assassin's Creed experience. The world is empty, the variety is thin, and the environments are small. There's just not much to it. And yes, that probably is a fault of the hardware but then, if you can't offer 100%, why offer 65%?
The way the familiar mechanics of the Assassin's Creed universe have been squished onto the PSP in Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is admirable, but we're still not convinced the platform is the best place for them.
I actually greatly enjoyed this one.
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