Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines Review

Assassin’s Creed was received very positively when it came out, mainly due to its original premise. The game follows a modern-day experiment on the mind of a person alleged to be the ancestor of a famous historic assassin, in an attempt by scientists to recover the assassin’s memories and find out how certain events happened in humanity’s timeline.

In a gameplay somewhat similar to the infamous Hitman series, only set in a medieval setting, Assassin’s Creed was universally loved by gamers. Bloodlines brings the game to the PSP, and continues its story shortly after the events of the first game left off.

Gameplay

The player once again follows the exploits of Altair, tasked with eliminating various figures in his time. Those of you who’ve played the original Assassin’s Creed will probably be familiar with the premise of the gameplay. You’ll have to first identify your target (often by seeking them out in a busy crowd), then stealthily make your way to them, execute them and get out without getting caught. Of course, it’s never as easy as it sounds, as the game does its best to stop you from completing your goals, by throwing devious AI mercenaries in your way.

The gameplay mechanics have been changed from the last installment in the series, “Altair’s Chronicles”, and are much more similar to how the first game was played. You’re no longer restricted to a linear gameplay, instead given the freedom to explore the game’s world as you see fit, and approach your targets from original directions. You can once again take cover in various everyday objects, such as diving in a stack of hay to avoid getting detected by a passing group of soldiers.

Graphics and System Requirements

Bloodlines improves Altair’s looks somewhat, at least to the extent that a portable console allows the developers to – the character has received a new dose of details, mainly on the clothing, and his animations now look more fluid (which is an achievement in itself, considering the original AC was praised specifically for the thousands of different animations the character used). The world is as large as ever, and the game draws it very far away – the engine isn’t limited to a short rendering distance as most PSP games are.

The smaller screen may give you a few problems when you’re trying to identify your target in a crowded area, but the “aura” skill makes it a lot easier – you’ll just have to find out where the glow is coming from. All of the important objects have been detailed extensively and stand out from the rest of the environment at one glance.

Other

If you own a PS3, make sure you connect your PSP to it at some point. This will give you access to several new unlockable weapons, which can only be found in this manner.

Conclusion

A decent continuation to a great game, Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines could only use some improvement in its plot and short gameplay time, and it would be a perfect game.

Colin McRae: Dirt 2 Review

The Colin McRae series of video games has enjoyed tremendous popularity while it was active, releasing multiple games that have all been huge hits with racing fans. After the tragic death of Colin McRae himself though, the series was halted for a while and there were no new games on the market with his name. Colin McRae: Dirt 2 is the first to be released since then, and many fans were wondering what to expect after the pause, and whether the series has managed to retain its integrity.

Gameplay

The new Colin McRae puts an equal focus on multiplayer as well as singleplayer, and you can play all of the available game modes against computer-controlled opponents, or real live humans online. The feeling of the driving, and the overall level of immersion in the game, have been tremendously improved – the game’s powered by an all-new engine that can handle physics very realistically, so expect to be able to perform various real-life stunts that were previously not very easy to do due to limitations of the game’s technology.

Some of you will surely involve one of the new racing modes, Raid, which puts players behind the wheels of some very impressive-looking and quite largely sized machines, on medium-long races that will test your skills in some more unforgiving environments. There are also several extra game modes, and the overall replay value is very high and the game has a lot of potential for entertaining you.

Graphics and System Requirements

The new engine does its job perfectly when it comes to pleasing your eyes – you’ll see lots of effects, realistic collisions between the vehicles, and impressive representation of weather effects. The engine is especially capable when it comes to drawing detail over distance, as you’ll be able to see some very finely detailed elements of your surroundings even at longer ranges.

As you’re probably guessing though, this does come with its price – you won’t get to enjoy the new Colin McRae if you’re running on an old machine. Even the minimum requirements will leave some disappointed, so those of you who’re planning on playing it on the PC should prepare themselves with at least a Radeon HD 5750, or Nvidia’s equivalent which would be anything above their GeForce 400 series.

Other

The mobile versions of the game are somewhat stripped down as you might expect, but they still replicate the actual game quite closely. We were very impressed by the graphics the PSP version offers, as it managed to bring some very good-looking eye candy on the screen without compromising framerates in any way (though the loading times were somewhat longer than usual)

Conclusion

Rally fans have been waiting for this for quite a while – and if you’re one of them, then you should already be on your way to getting your hands on the new Colin McRae: Dirt 2 – it’s definitely worth every penny.