Review – Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles for DS

assassinscreeddsboxart225.jpgIt was almost an out of place April Fool’s joke. Shortly after its Xbox 360 and PS3 release, a few sites indicated a February 2008 release for Assassin’s Creed on DS. I admit, it made me laugh (sort of like Halo DS). And then the rumor wouldn’t go away. Finally, the actual game came out and I had to play it for myself.

Having never played Assassin’s Creed on either PS3 or 360, I knew very little about the story. What I did know was that it was graphically handsome and looked like a fun action movie you could play on your console. The DS version attempts something similar, wrapping it up as a prequel to its high def big brother.

On first start, I was pretty surprised at the 3D graphics. These are some of the best textures on DS. The wow factor quickly wears off, though, as the controls always feel like you’re a step behind the action on the screen. That said, it’s a blast to run and jump across rooftops once you get a feel for the controls. Fighting is pretty weak and consists of button mashing. The dude has a sword, so why not do something more like the upcoming Shinobi game?

There are a couple mini-games to accomplish various tasks throughout the game. Pickpocketing is handled in a sort of Operation “don’t touch the sides” way. Torturing is done with an Elite Beat Agents style rhythm game on pressure points. Both are pretty weak, but I fully expected to do more of this to break up the action platforming levels.

As a game no one expected, they should’ve taken more time to pick a direction they really wanted to go into and then focus on that path. After playing through a few levels, Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr’s Chronicles feels like a bizarre mash up of some great games, but with a hasty execution.

Rent it if you must, but this is a game you can afford to miss.