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Assassin’s Creed Rearmed

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Rinse and repeat

Product: Assassin's Creed Rearmed | Developer: In-house | Publisher: Ubisoft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action | Players: 1-4 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Assassin's Creed Rearmed iPhone, thumbnail 1
Full disclosure: I love Assassin’s Creed.

Despite the plot taking on a distinctly Lost feel (in more ways than one) with the most recent console title, I’ll still be there outside the local Game store later this month for the release of Revelations, clutching a handful of ten pound notes and pretending I’m Ezio by gently pushing past people to get to the front of the queue.

What I won’t be doing while waiting for the doors to open is playing Assassin’s Creed Rearmed on the iPhone.

While the idea of portable multiplayer cat-and-mouse assassinations goes down as smoothly as a knife between a Templar’s shoulder blades, this latest offering from Ubisoft sadly squanders the opportunity to bring a fun variation on AC:Brotherhood’s excellent multiplayer to mobiles.

Works in the dark

At least the setup is intriguing. You and up to three others are placed in various locales (this time spanning locations across the three main games like Jerusalem and Venice) and tasked with hunting down particular targets played by the other players.

An arrow points in the general direction of your foe, but it fades once they start to come into view. From then on it’s a case of picking out the ‘suspicious’ character that matches your target's description from all the NPC characters milling around.

‘Suspicious’ like that guy perched on a roof pretending to be The Batman. Or the one running around aimlessly hitting civilians because he’s 500 points off the lead.

Then, as inconspicuously as possible, you have to saunter up to them and tap their brains out, with higher points being awarded for the quieter and more deadly kills.

At the same time as this is all going on someone else has your image in their target box, meaning that they, too, will be looking out for the suspicious character matching your description.

To put it another way, it’s a fantastic concept.

Thanks to the backlight

But concept is all that’s really fantastic about Rearmed.

From the outset things are made more awkward and less exciting by the tap-to-move controls.

I’m baffled as to why, once again, this is the one and only control method available, especially as - like AC2: Multiplayer - the occasionally buggy pathfinding means your character has a habit of giving the game away all by himself as he lurches back and forth.

Then there's the Interaction Circle, which is meant to help with attacking your target. However, because it doesn’t adjust to your equipped weapon’s range it ends up causing your man to 'suspiciously' stop dead in his tracks nine times out of ten.

At least finding three willing players appears to be a lot easier this time around, with solid Game Center integration and plenty of people attracted by the free pricetag.

Confusing plot twist

What the low price also brings is in-app purchases, although it’s worth noting that most of the weapons, armour, and characters can be unlocked without spending a penny opr cent.

You will encounter the odd person who appears to have a personal nuke on him, but unless all your opponents are tooled up it doesn’t feel unfair in the way most multiplayer freemium titles do.

It would have been better if the same amount of attention to the balancing was also applied to the menus, though, as the system for purchasing and equipping weapons and armour is distinctly unintuitive and confusing.

It's all a bit of a disappointment, really, especially considering the lack of significant improvements over last year's (now pulled from the App Store) AC2: Multiplayer.

While Rearmed does throw more items and customisation into the mix, it makes too many of the same mistakes to recommend, even if you love Assassin's Creed.

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Assassin’s Creed Rearmed
Reviewer photo
Will Wilson | 1 November 2011
Great in theory, Assassin's Creed Rearmed is awkward and plodding in execution
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