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PSP  header logo

Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines

For: PSP

Stabbed in the back

Product: Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines | Developer: Griptonite Games | Publisher: Ubisoft | Format: PSP | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines PSP, thumbnail 1
They say beauty's only skin deep, and nowhere is this more evident than the latest game in the Assassin's Creed series, Bloodlines.

Rich in historic details as you'd expect, the story kicks off immediately after the events of the first game.

Location-wise, the action is shifted to Cyprus, with Altair hot on the heels of the Templar commander Armand Bouchard in a quest to locate the Templar archive and the mysterious Apple of Eden.

Of course, the graphical eye candy on display means that, at a glance, Bloodlines seems like a ported version of one of the console titles - the wide panning camera shots and death defying leaps are nothing short of spectacular.

Indeed, looking out over the two cities you play though, the winding dusty streets and Mediterranean rooftops just demand to be climbed. And climb them you shall. By far the best feature of the game is your ability to seamlessly run, jump, vault and clamber over pretty much everything you can see.

To that extent, Bloodlines is a technical triumph.

Mutton dressed as lamb

Visuals aside, though, Bloodlines demonstrates a certain shallowness. Dig under the surface and it quickly becomes clear that the gameplay fails to match up.

For example, you begin your quest in the port of Limasol, becoming a frontline figure in the resistance against the Templar oppressors. Missions are broken up by cut-scenes featuring the captured Templar Maria and occasional bizarre ramblings from Altair on the nature of man

These brief interludes do little to detract from the lack of variation in the set objectives, however. This repetition is particularly clear towards the end of the game, where there's no disguising the 'go here, kill this guy' theme.

Much of your time is therefore spent racking up your kill count up as you methodically butcher every guard who crosses your path - surprising considering the second rule of the Assassin's Creed is to be discreet about your work.

This gratuitous violence is fun initially, but it quickly becomes repetitive. Once you've got used to timing perfect combos and one-hit kills, the game presents little challenge.

More surprisingly perhaps, stealth, while present in the game, is almost entirely unnecessary. Objectives that require this approach are few and far between. Rather than tiptoeing around, it's often far easier to simply murder everybody in the level and then walk unchallenged over their still warm corpses.

Now you see me, now you don't

Still, for what it lacks in subtlety, Bloodline certainly makes up for with muscular action. There's good clean fun to be had brutally assassinating multiple enemies before leaping to the safety of the rooftops, that is until you encounter the occasional camera failings.

It's here where the PSP itself becomes restrictive. Without an additional analogue stick to control the camera angle, it can be difficult to see where you're going, particularly when free running.

The camera can be pitched and swung by holding the L Shoulder button but this option is only available when standing still. Sometimes, in combat sequences, you'll probably find yourself presented with a not-so-helpful close-up of a wall.

Such technicalities aside, though, the main issue with  Assassins Creed: Bloodlines is its repetitive gameplay. Any activity repeated too often, even bloody assassination it seems, becomes stale over time.

So while the story and graphics are impressive, when it comes to the killer blow the blade isn't as honed as it could be.
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
Reviewer photo
Tom Love | 10 December 2009
Bloodlines is a brave attempt at an open 3D world which, while visually breathtaking, is let down by repetitive gameplay and awkward camera controls
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