If the iPhone version of Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles looks a bit familiar to you it’s because it was released once before, only on the Nintendo DS. Oh what a year, and entirely different platform can do to a game. For a much smaller cost, iPhone gamers are getting a full length adventure with significant visual and audio upgrades. Yes, you’re getting a port, but one that makes it better.
Fans of Assassin’s Creed will enjoy playing Altair in a prequel to 2007 console release. In search of an artifact called “The Chalice,” Altair has the possibility to gain the power to bring the Crusades to an early end. But the artifact raises more questions than it answers, setting up the console game. Like its console counterpart, the game has you running on rooftops, awning, and beams that stretch across the grand cities of the medieval Holy Land. You’re equipped with a sword that can be upgraded, a grappling hook and bombs. Altair’s signature weapon, his hidden dagger, is used to silently execute enemies while allowing him to progress unnoticed.
As you explore the Holy Land, you can pick up hundreds of blue orbs that can be traded in for upgrades, such as upgrading your sword or expanding Altair’s health. You’ll also find most of the mini-games that also appeared in the DS version. When attempting to pick pocket someone you’ll have to tap and hold down on the object and slowly guide it out of the pocket before the timer expires. The ability to interrogate people is also within the game, but no water boarding here. Instead you’ll see a diagram of a person’s back will appear with various pressure points. At each point is a contracting circle that players must tap when it turns green. If you’re successful you’ll be able to extract information from targets.
The only real downside to having the game on the iPhone is the lack of physical controls. The thumbstick control may feel clumsy for people new to iPhone gaming, but you’ll find yourself getting used to it rather quickly. All of the controls are onscreen inputs, with a simple touch of the button activating the controls. One thing that should be pointed out though is that the control is a little loose which can prevent absolute precision. The combat buttons work flawlessly.
Visually, the iPhone port of Altair’s Chronicles is far more stunning then its DS counterpart. The textures on Altair’s robes, he movements through crowds and the way he scales walls is fluid and graceful. The graphics are brighter and more detailed. The game has also received a boost in sound, with better music samples and additional voice work. It’s a true testament of how powerful of a hand held gaming device the iPhone/iPod Touch really is.
For its price, Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles can’t be beat. You’re getting an enhanced version of a $30 Nintendo DS game for only $10. Furthermore you’re getting an in depth game that will satisfy you for hours, well beyond some $60 console games. Gameloft has done a great job porting over Altair’s Chronicles, introducing a game to a whole new audience. It’s definitely worth its price tag.