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Review: Assassin's Creed Bloodlines

Nathan Grayson | 8 Dec 2009 21:00
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Aside from that little gaffe, Bloodline's setpieces deserve major props. Infiltrating the lairs of important targets is tense yet never plodding, and the ensuing boss fights are surprisingly creative - except for the final baddy, who renders all of your accrued knowledge and battle tactics useless with one strike of his unblockable, lightning-quick cleaver. In general, though, missions are well-paced and bite-sized - practically beckoning you to play "just one more" before sleeping, eating, or performing other such inconvenient survival rituals.

Beyond that, Bloodlines can best be described as an ode to the "assassin" parts of Assassin's Creed. As such, the series' counter-oriented combat, one button free-running, and open-world exploration make the jump to PSP fully intact. Or at least, as fully as the PSP's single, not-so-nimble analog nub allows, which causes Altair's famous eagle-like precision to suffer from a case of clipped wings. The game's somewhat finicky camera and tendency to slightly misread control inputs can be frustrating at first, but before long, accounting for the proverbial horse's occasional buck becomes second nature.

Bloodlines certainly makes the PSP sweat, with sharp visuals and expansive vistas. Unfortunately, the apparent technical wizardry uses its fair share of smoke and mirrors, resulting in nearly deserted cities and some occasional environmental clipping and tearing glitches. These technical flaws don't hamper the fun factor too often, nor do many of the game's other issues. Certainly, if you've got some sort of beef with Assassin's Creed's combat or free-running systems - which are front-and-center for the majority of Bloodlines - then this isn't the game for you. But if wanton murder with a side-helping of parkour has you licking your chops, Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is a bloody good time.

Bottom Line: Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is by no means perfect, but in many ways, it's a step up from Assassin's Creed 1. Sure, the controls are a bit janky and the story will have you reaching for the nearest can of Monster, but on the whole, Bloodlines is quick, violent fun.

Recommendation: Rent it. Since the game lacks Assassin's Creed 1's filler missions, yet doesn't compensate for them with Assassin's Creed 2's bountiful wealth of content, Bloodlines clocks in at around five or six hours long. A few unlockable item and stat upgrades, along with hidden coins, extend the game's life a tad, but not enough to warrant a full purchase.

Nathan Grayson thinks all this fictional Team Jacob vs. Team Edward nonsense is foolish, and instead recommends that people redirect their energy into the very real Templar vs. Assassin war that's going on right outside our homes.

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