|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Griptonite Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The only thing that serves as a detriment to the intensity of the kills is the constant sound glitches that plague much of this game, especially the combat. The anti-climactic silence that will often come when you plunge your sword through an enemy can't be understated. It's really a bit of a letdown when you're in the full swing of combat. Imagine pulling off a counter that will crescendo with Altair stabbing his sword fully through an enemies back, just to have the sound cut out as the sword makes contact. It detracts from the intensity of combat and pulls you out of the experience.
The sound glitches rear their head consistently in dialogue as well. Perhaps a quarter of the spoken lines in the game will experience at least minor glitches such as repeats, two of the same voice speaking the same line at once, and sometimes the sound just cuts out completely.
While the sound is a glitchy mess, the controls are much better. It's far from perfect, but Bloodlines does a pretty decent job of mapping a lot of complex functions to the PSP - a system notorious for horrid controls. The only aspect that isn't fluid and intuitive is the camera control. Being able to center the camera behind the character is a nice touch, but in order to move the camera you have to hold the L button, and then use the face buttons to pitch the camera one direction at a time. When you're standing still it's not so bad. But moving the camera while moving is practically impossible. So even a simple task like looking behind you to see who is chasing you isn't really practical.
Overall, I think Bloodlines is going to surprise a lot of people. Many times publishers will release a throw-away portable version of their console hit just to capitalize on the good name of their series. These games are almost always terrible, but Bloodlines has a lot more going for it than most titles of its ilk. Ubisoft really took its time with this game, and it has kept the good name of Assassin's Creed intact. Plus, this is releasing alongside the heavily Italian-themed Assassin's Creed 2, so if you're getting weary of Ezio and the flashy Mediterranean aesthetic, give Bloodlines a try and return to the Crusades with Altair.
If you like the Assassin's Creed series, then you'll most likely enjoy Bloodlines as well, but it's not a guarantee. The game certainly has its problems, but they are generally overwhelmed in the face of great technical prowess, the big open-world, and impressive fluidity of gameplay. We only wish it was a bit longer, because the storyline will only take about five hours to get through.
CCC Freelance Writer