Assassin's Creed - Altaïr's Chronicles Review
Before I review the game, it is vital to look back to some real historical facts which help us realize who the assassins really were. The name "assassin" is a modified version of the word "hashishin", which means "one who eats hashish". The sect of assassins became widely known throughout the Middle Ages: these drug consuming fanatics committed murders on religious and political grounds. Later on the word "assassin" was used as a definition for a skillful killer willing to spend decades of life achieving his goal: to find and murder the required person. Deaths of several crusaders' leaders made the assassins dramatically known during the crusades. That is the reason why the game Assassin's Creed, which came out in 2007, tells us about the great time, when the Templars set off for crusades. Assassin's Creed - Altaïr's Chronicles, designed by Gameloft, is the so-called prequel. The plot regenerates the events that had happened before the facts described in the 2007 version.
The thrilling gameplay of Assassin's Creed takes you to the present and past, thus refreshing you with a peculiar fantastic strand, whereas Assassin's Creed - Altaïr's Chronicles lets the players witness only the events of 1191 and take part in the assassin Altaïr's adventures in Jerusalem. The Third Crusade is under way and the Holy Land has been literally torn apart. The Order of Assassins chooses Altaïr as one of the best and sends him to recover the "Chalice" from the Templars. This artifact possesses such incredible power that could sheathe the sword of war in no time. As a matter of fact the side holding this very "Chalice" will win the war, which makes the Altaïr's task as important as ever.
Assassin's Creed - Altaïr's Chronicles enables the player to use the whole range of actions: you can run in any direction, climb up the rooftops, ladders, hop on barrels, crawl along the wooden beams and practice roof-to-roof jumps. The iPhone touchscreen operation is also worth mentioning, due to its ups and downs in the game context. It is rather difficult to get used to the controls. The main hero keeps falling here and there, running by or failing to jump to the target. For example, you will hardly be able to succeed in roof-to-roof jumps at once. You will probably have to start the mission over, as Altaïr's health may weaken after some of the leaps. Plenty of traps, such as spikes rising from the ground, can lie anywhere waiting for the assassin. Sometimes they are really difficult to avoid. The hero may seem to be far enough from the trap, but he will by no means miss it and lose a lot of energy. Perhaps, only the most patient players, blind to Altaïr's uncontrollable falling and constant slips, can master the gameplay and keep on playing.
During fights the main hero can come to close quarters, or use one of the six types of man-to-man weapon (a sword, a dagger, etc.). Altaïr finds each new murder weapon after every game mission. So in the beginning he can only use his hands and hope they are strong enough. Nevertheless, all the greatest battles wait for him only when the sword is found. Altaïr can use quite a range of strikes. For example, try giving a few short kicks, and you waste minimum energy and cause negligible damage to the opponents, or descend such a heavy disastrous blow upon the enemies, that can ruin Altaïr's health energy. What is more, he can even carry out complex combo attacks, which will surely turn out to be most efficient in practice.
The fights are rather monotonous though, despite the range of weapons and strikes. On the whole, you wouldn't call this game breathtaking. Although the hero travels along the three-dimensional world and can move anywhere, the importunate green arrow keeps showing him the main direction of the actions. Naturally, you must follow this guide, if you want to reach the destination. In case that you find this tip annoying, disable this option in the game settings, which is possibly going to make your way longer. Blue arrows indicate additional health and weapon energy sources.
In addition to running forward and killing the enemies, Altaïr has to solve logical tasks, presented in the form of mini-games.
Gameloft made a huge effort developing the graphics, which is well-defined and highly polished. However, there are still some significant drawbacks, such as the situation when the hero walks through a tree or another person. It is also rather hard and uncomfortable to play such a game on iPhone, because all objects are too small. Few people would enjoy the gameplay, if one has to scrutinize the display and try to take the least pains tapping the controls to make a successful jump. Special attention should be paid to the sound: it is splendid. Altaïr's adventures are accompanied by the noise of the big city and the birds' singing, which submerge the player into the mind-blowing atmosphere of the game. Battles get more and more emotional, as you hear the assassin's true-to-life sword swishing in the combats. So who is the target audience for the game? You have got a great opportunity to come back to the magical world, since you played both Assassin's Creed, and Assassin's Creed 2 and haven't cooled off the battles and mysteries of the crusades' time. Assassin's Creed - Altaïr's Chronicles is also ideal for those who can't live without arcade action games. Don't be surprised in case you have to spend hours on Assassin's Creed - Altaïr's Chronicles, as it can't be played at odd moments. It will either absorb you completely, or get you bored right away.