Assassin’s Creed Review: Altair Lands on the iPhone

Gameloft have brought the Nintendo DS version of Assassin’s Creed to our mobile devices, and have priced it at the premium level of $9.99.  A bold move, considering most games sell for a lot less.  But Assassin’s Creed has the benefit of name credibility; it’s console counterpart sold well over a million copies.  This game places you as Altair, an assassin in the past who has the unique ability to take out foes with a blade instead of a ring finger.  You run through a 3D world, scaling walls and fighting enemies to carry on your quest.  But does the smooth gameplay of the original game translate onto your iDevice?

Likes

Smooth scaling: Altair will run up walls and platforms automatically, which looks like a breeze and makes it easy to control.  When you want to climb up a wall, all you need to do is run into it and he will try and continue upwards.  It works smoothly, and it brings back memories of the console counterpart’s impressive handling of climbing.

Cutscenes: The videos mixed into the gameplay to further the story have full voice acting.  I was surprised by this, and it helps justify the $9.99 price tag.

It’s a full game: For at least a third of what the game costs on the DS, you’re effectively getting the same game.  It includes a story, hours of gameplay, and all for a better price.  It’ll keep you busy and there are some good moments on the journey.

Dislikes:

No buttons, no fun: Using an on-screen dpad and having to hit separate buttons for attack, defend, jump, grapple, all make for a complicated control scheme.  Often times I’ll have to break out of the experience of the game to physically look and find where my fingers are in relation to the button I want to press.  This is distracting and annoying, especially in the heat of battle.

Jump, damnit: Doing the same action often times resulted in a different result.  For example, trying to jump a gap would work sometimes, but other times I’d drop to my death.  More consistency in the platforming elements of the game are needed to cut down on frustration.  It’s no fun having to repeat sections over and over again, even when you think you are hitting the button at the right time.

I had a decent time playing through Assassin’s Creed.  I’ve never spent time with the Nintendo DS version of the game, and I’d expect those who have played that version already can safely avoid this one.  But for anyone who enjoyed the console game and are looking to spend more time with Altair, this is the place to start.

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Assassin’s Creed was developed by Gameloft and is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch for $9.99.  I played through version 1.1.1 on an iPod Touch 2G.

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