Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles review

Reviews Damien McFerran 18:32, 7 Jun 2010

We review Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles for Android

Rating: 
4

After briefly dismissing the Android platform as a waste of time, prolific mobile publisher Gameloft has decided to give Google’s mobile format another chance by releasing a selection of ports of its leading iPhone titles.

Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles is arguably one of the more high-profile members of this bunch, thanks largely to its enticing visuals and famous licence.

Based on the 2007 video game, Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles sees you step into the role of a deadly killer from the Dark Ages tasked with finding a sacred item known as the Chalice.

To locate this object you’ll need to resort to interrogation, pick-pocketing and even direct combat.

Although your character is trained in the art of taking down enemies with ease, this game doesn’t actually allow you to indulge your stealthy fantasies all that much.

It may be displayed in luscious 3D but you’re actually afforded very little in the way of freedom.

In the home console original you had an entire city to explore and lose yourself in, but here the limitations of the format dedicate that you’re funnelled down a restrictive path, which means that tactical kills are harder to execute.

In fact most of your encounters in this portable edition will come from direct combat, which is handled fairly competently. By stringing together a mixture of strong and light attacks you can effortlessly dispatch most of the foolhardy Knights Templar which stand in your path.

It’s not all about swords and bloodshed, however; Assassin’s Creed also allows you to stretch your legs and negotiate a wide range of environmental obstacles.

Again, the disparity between this mobile outing the and original console version is immense and you never quite get the same feeling of dashing across as living and breathing landscape, but it’s still an enjoyable challenge – albeit one that occasionally borders on frustration thanks to the twitchy controls and virtual analogue stick.

At first glance there’s little difference between this and the iPhone original, which was released some time ago; the visuals are a close match and the manner in which the game functions is nigh-on identical.

Slowdown can be a problem, however – we ran the game on a Nexus One with Android 2.2 installed and Assassin’s Creed did occasionally stutter when the screen became crowded with objects.

Like the vast majority of Gameloft’s Android titles, it’s recommended that you own a fairly recent Android device before even considering a download.

Another big difference is the way in which the game is delivered to your phone; at the time of writing Gameloft has chosen to bypass the Android Market and distribute its games via its own web store.

This means you have to purchase the game and then wait for a text message link to arrive.

Once this happens you’ll then have to download an additional chunk of data which is then stored on your phone’s SD card.

This method of circumventing the Android platform’s pathetic 256MB rule for App storage is actually very clever but it might be worth getting yourself in range of an open Wi-Fi spot before you attempt to download the game – otherwise you could end up going over your mobile supplier’s data plan limits.

It’s easy to dismiss Assassin’s Creed as old news – after all the iPhone had the very same game months ago and has since experienced a sequel in the shape of Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery.

However, when you consider how starved the Android Market has been of really decent 3D adventures then this argument quickly loses significance.

While it may have a high retail price and boast its fair share of shortcomings (we certainly wouldn’t advise playing this on a phone which doesn’t possess a Snapdragon CPU), Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles is still eminently enjoyable and should come as a breath of fresh air for action-hungry Android gamers.

Specifications

Typical Price £5
Platform Android
Website http:/www.gameloft.com
Longevity
3.5
Graphics
4
Gameplay
3.5
Category Action
Publisher Gameloft

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