Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
|Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines|
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is an open world, action-adventure video game for the PlayStation Portable, part of the Assassin's Creed franchise, taking place in between the events of Assassin's Creed and Assassin's Creed II. The game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal in conjunction with Griptonite Games and published by Ubisoft, it was released on November 17, 2009 in North America and November 20, 2009 in Europe, concurrently with Assassin's Creed II and Assassin's Creed II: Discovery.
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines contains similar, almost the same, gameplay to Assassin's Creed in terms of control style, although there were minor modifications to the control scheme, due to the lack of specific keys and buttons. Some features from the previous game, such as Eagle Vision, were removed for the improvement of the controls. Due to the system platform, the AI has been seen as somewhat inferior when compared to the first game, making combat easier and simpler. A minor addition was featured in the combat aspect of the game, allowing players to instantly assassinate a target when they are downed in combat.
Another difference between the two games is the amount of civilians present on the street. While the first game was filled with random civilians, Bloodlines has little to no civilians, explained in-game that the civilians were in a constant state of insecurity due to the new system of governance. Still, civilians will react to Altaïr's improper behavior, such as scaling buildings, and running around the streets.
Stealth in Bloodlines was downgraded, again for the reason of controls. Blending was downgraded, due to the system platform. Although scholars are still present in-game, Altaïr can no longer use them as a way to hide. Although Altaïr can still blend, it only acts as a way to safely bypass guards without raising suspicion. Scaling the side of buildings was made easier and faster, resulting in simpler animations, again, due to the system's inferiority. High and Low profile movements were still present in-game, though they were downgraded.
Taking the place of flags, a new collectible featured in the game are Templar Coins that can be used to upgrade health bars, and the amount of damage a weapon can inflict. Three types of coins are present in game: Bronze, Silver and Gold, with Gold holding the highest value. Similar to the previous game, Side-missions are available to players, such as saving civilians from Templar soldiers and performing specific tasks for allies of the resistance. The variety of tasks has been expanded, such as delivering letters, and intercepting couriers. In return, Altaïr will receive coins as a reward, instead of assistance from previous groups, such as scholars and vigilantes.
The setting of this game was based on two areas: Limassol and Kyrenia. The look of the area is very similar to some of the cities in the first game, going as far as having the same atmosphere. Due to the small setting, Horseback riding was removed in Bloodlines. Like in the previous game, Altaïr can synchronize from high vantage points around the city in order to map out the city. Although the map itself is already drawn out, synchronizing will provide the locations of various side-missions.
New assassination techniques were featured in Bloodlines. Weapons from the previous game return in Bloodlines, such as Altaïr's sword, his hidden blade, throwing knives, and his fists. His usage of each of the weapons is very similar to the first Assassin's Creed. Assassinations are also similar to the first game, although the animation has been toned down to better fit the system. A new, yet very minor assassination technique has been added to the game, allowing Altaïr to pull opponents off of ledges, similar to Assassin's Creed II.
In Bloodlines, cut-scenes are played through preset dialogue, with the character models acting in preset motions and gestures. Unique gestures were only present in confrontations between boss characters, such as Moloch and the Dark Oracle. Subtitles were also added to the game. This enabled easier understanding of the game plot
Story missions and assassinations were simplified and straightforward. As a replacement for eavesdropping and pickpocketing, missions were played in the same structure as Assassin's Creed II, with Altaïr handling one task after another and slowly gathering vital information from both his allies and enemies as each mission was cleared.
An in-game achievement system is featured in Bloodlines, which rewards players with Templar coins. Achievements can be earned after performing specific tasks, such as killing a set number of soldiers in a specified order, and also collecting all of the Templar coins located throughout the game world. Despite all the downgrades, a new feature is also in this game that doesn't apply to the other games: Altaïr can now regain throwing knives by walking over his used ones. Since pickpocketing was removed and was the only way to regain throwing knives in the first game, Altaïr can now reuse his throwing knives provided that: the knife he threw landed on the ground or an enemy; if the knife lands on water, Altaïr cannot reuse them. Throwing knives may also be regained by interacting with the newly added knife box in the safehouses.
Beginning shortly after the end of the first game, Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad learns of a plan of the remaining Templars to escape to Cyprus, and so infiltrates one of their strongholds in Acre to stop them from doing so. Although he does not succeed in this regard, he does defeat and capture Maria Thorpe, who attempted to avenge her former master, Robert de Sablé, who died at Altaïr's hands. Managing to charter a ship, Altaïr also heads to Cyprus in pursuit of the apple, with Maria in tow.
Once there, he learns of the presence of Armand Bouchart, who has succeeded Robert de Sablé, as Grand Master of the Templar Order. Altaïr also learns, and gains the assistance, of a resistance movement in the city opposed to the presence of the Templars, who, after purchasing the island from King Richard, have formed a repressive government to control the land and its people. He also learns of a Templar "archive", a trove of Templar knowledge and artifacts, hidden somewhere on the island. True to the way of the Assassins, Altaïr makes to both locate the archive and free Cyprus from Bouchart's grip, firstly by slaying his underlings: Frederick "the Red"; Moloch "the Bull"; Shalim and Shahar "the Twins", and the Dark Oracle "the Witch," eventually confronting and defeating Bouchart at the archive, whose contents have been evacuated and relocated by Templar soldiers. Following Bouchart's death, the archive begins to collapse, but Altaïr manages to escape.
The game also details the relationship between Altaïr and Maria. At first, Maria is hostile and sarcastic towards Altaïr (in her own words, "the man who spared my neck but ruined my life"), but as the story develops, she gradually warms to the assassin who, despite her repeated escape attempts, repeatedly rescues her from harm and does not punish her. Eventually, she decides to assist Altaïr by killing a Templar mole in the resistance when he attempts to kill Altaïr and confronting Bouchart alongside him in the final battle, at this point having fallen in love with the assassin. After their escape from the Templar archive, the two of them decide to head east towards India.
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines features exclusive connectivity with the PlayStation 3's version of Assassin's Creed II. It was revealed at the E3 2009 that by connecting a PSP to the PlayStation 3, six exclusive and unique weapons can be unlocked on Assassin's Creed II as well as on Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines.
There are six unique weapons that are unlocked for use in Assassin's Creed II once each boss in Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is defeated. Coins acquired in Bloodlines can be transferred over as Florins to Assassin's Creed II. Vice-versa, in Bloodlines, extra health, the ability to block with the hidden blade, and the ability to shoot daggers can be unlocked from acquiring codex pages in Assassin's Creed II.
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines has received mixed reviews from critics. It received a 5.5 from GameSpot which praised its sound-effects but heavily criticized the platforming, small areas and over-emphasis on combat neglecting other areas. However IGN gave it a 6.9 criticizing its repetitive sound effects as well as one dimensional combat but praising the game's visuals. GameSpy gave the game a 2.5 out of 5 praising its faithfulness to the series and its gameplay though heavily criticizing its environments, repetitive gameplay as well as poor script and voice-acting. GameZone's Louis Bedigian gave the game a 5.3/10, saying the game is "Generic at best, Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is a great example of what can be done on the PSP visually, but should in no way be considered an example of great gameplay."
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