Assassin's Creed is an adventure game by Gameloft. $5.99
Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles is the prequel to the famous game Assassin's Creed on the Xbox 360/PS3. Altair's Chronicles is a complete port from the game of the same name on the Nintendo DS. What makes this game so exciting is that it is a $40 game on the iPhone for a bargain price of $6. Altair's Chronicles has been closely recognised to being similar to another game by Gameloft called Hero of Sparta. Altair's Chronicles reigns supreme in almost all aspects of the game however.
Assassin's Creed follows the story of Altair in Jerusalem, 1191 AD. It is set in the middle of the Third Crusade, and the Order of the Assassin's has sent you to retrieve 'The Chalice', an object that has the power to stop the Crusade and stop the destruction of the Holy Land. The game is kind of Hero of Sparta 2.0 in the gameplay and improvements that are in Altair's Chronicles. This game steps away from the total hack n' slash brought to us by King Argos, but focuses more on challenging mazes and obstacles with enemies at the end. The graphics in Assassin's Creed are just superb for the amount of content in this game. There are always new surroundings and are some of the best graphics on the App Store, with the exception of Need for Speed, Myst and a few others. The sound effects are absolutely everywhere in the game, with many sounds and actual dialogue. Some people find the dialogue quite annoying, but I think it is better than none at all.
For a game with so many different scenes and areas, you could expect that the graphics may be lacking a bit. This is not the case, and the game is really detailed and does not repeat itself. Each level is unique, while each stage mostly has the same theme, there aren't three buildings just being repeated over and over again. I would call the fighting animation in Hero of Sparta slightly better, as sometimes the items seem to go where they shouldn't. I would say that the graphics are on par with what we have seen in Hero of Sparta. For a game that is easily two or three times longer, that makes these even more impressive. A super effort that shows the class of Gameloft yet again. Altair's Chronicles has never crashed or lagged while I have played it. While the loading times between levels are quite long, about 20 seconds, they aren't really much of a problem.
The sound effects in Altair's Chronicles are plentiful, turning up around every corner. Great fighting sounds as well as all the basic effects you except are in the game. What I didn't expect was the dialogue from not only Altair but the other people, including the guards. These are great, but have come over some controversy in threads, in particular on Touch Arcade. I actually like the dialogue but there is an option to turn it off if you please. Every now and then a cut scene movie is shown between stages, but not often. The intro movie that is well known before all Gameloft games is very spectacular, looking like something I came to expect in the console version of Assassin's Creed.
For so many special skills and techniques used in the game, Gameloft have done very well to restrict the number of buttons on the screen. The basic controls are quite simple. To walk and run around you move the analog stick on the left hand side of the screen. The shield button lets you block attacks. This is hardly used in easy mode, if ever. There are two attack buttons when you first start the game. The one on the left is for faster attacks, but giving less damage per hit. Obviously the right button gives a slower, but more powerful attack. Finally the jump button lets you jump!
There are many new skills and buttons that you learn throughout the game. I will go through some of the earlier skills that you learn, so people who haven't bought the game don't get their hopes up within the first five hours. There are multiple mini games that you can complete. These range from pressing pressure points to get an enemy to talk to pick pocketing. Above the jump button other options also appear at times, such as to assassinate an enemy or to grab onto a pole with your rope. The buttons already provided can be used in other ways to give Altair new skills. Running in the direction of a building wall will let you climb up onto the roof. Running up a wall then jumping to the wall opposite it will help you reach higher rooftops. New moves can also be made with the sword, but depend on the combination of hits that you make. Lastly new weapons can be earn't such as the crossbow or smoke screen.
There is only one game mode in Assassin's Creed, but this mode has three different difficulty levels. As most of Gameloft's action games has done, Altair's Chronicles has easy and medium difficulty's unlocked at the start and completing one of these unlocks hard mode. As you are aware, the aim of Assassin's Creed is to find the mystery Chalice to save Holy Lands. The storyline in Assassin's Creed is really strong and appears throughout the whole game. Unlike other games where they have quick cut scenes at the end of each level, the story is obvious throughout every level. Being a complete DS port it must obviously be up to gameplay standards we expect from the big gaming devices. There are 13 massive stages with multiple levels in each stage. These levels are incredibly long and filled with action and danger around every corner. The stages are separated by the different areas where you are in looking for people to help you on your quest. This is easily one of the longest games on the App Store as I am only up to Stage 9 and have easily been playing the game for about 8 or 9 hours.
The gameplay has stepped up a large gear from Spartan Times. King Argos was all about slaughtering everything he saw, and time wasted doing long difficult challenges took away from slaughtering. Times have changed and in the 12th Century the Order of Assassin's believe in knowing how to get around undetected to kill only those few that are necessary. The difficulty levels only change how good the enemies are at fighting, but since it takes spot to jumping and challenges any difficulty will suffice. What good is an Assassin, if he doesn't have skills and attributes to set him apart from everyday citizens? Luckily Altair has all this and more, but not at the start of his adventure. As you progress through the game more and more skills are learnt. Whether it is how to stun your opponent, fire a crossbow or run up walls they are all learnt in time for when they are needed. These skills all come in handy and do not take very long to master, with the exception of your special fighting moves. I will go into a bit more detail on how to use these later on.
The game lets you control Altair, the awesomely cool Assassin! The way to get around the many cities is to stay undercover, traveling on roof tops and thin ledges. The guards, however, are onto the many Assassin's getting around the cities so they have soldiers stationed in positions to stop you. The action can get quite intense at times, but generally not as even if you are surrounded by guards, only one of them will fight you at any time. There are a few boss battles but these aren't as frequent as Hero of Sparta. The many mazes in Altair's Chronicles are bound to get you wondering what to do next, and this has happened to me quite often. Great game, with a the length and action to match the $10 price.
I have really enjoyed Assassin's Creed. Not only has this game improved on Hero of Sparta, but it proves that other handheld devices can have games successfully ported to the iPhone and make money at the same time. Hopefully this is showing things to come with more long length games on the App Store soon. For an incredibly long game, it manages to keep you playing until you have finished. You really want to see if Altair manages to find the Chalice and save the land, and that still drives me to try and complete the game. Great gameplay, even if it does focus more on jumping and swinging than bashing and smashing. I hear that the boss levels and enemies increase greatly in the last few stages, so hopefully my craving to kill many guards will come. Amazing graphics, that show the quality of this game as well as the many sound effects.
One of the best games on the App Store. Probably the best adventure type game I have played on my iPhone, showing that once again $10 games are making their mark on the App Store (Now on sale for $6). Quality games from Electronic Arts and Gameloft hopefully turn the tide and bring a lot of quality onto our iPhones and iPod touches once again.