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Alta?r Comes to Nintendo

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Last Friday, there was a somewhat misleading announcement on the Ubisoft website last week regarding new content on Xbox Live. Some rushed online hoping for a game update that would fix various issues including the ability to explore the Kingdom without having to go through old cut scenes. Alas, it was merely a new set of picture packs and themes. Do people pay for those?

Hot on the heels of this news, out of nowhere, they announced that Alta?r will be coming to Nintendo the first Tuesday of next month. No, no the Nintendo Wii. Ubisoft will be bringing the prequel game to the Nintendo DS.

The title will delve deeper into Alta?r’s history and although the graphics will suffer some, the game will continue to be in a 3D format rather than in 2D like the mobile version. The press release indicates that Alta?r will be exploring four cities in the Middle East (presumably the same four cities). Combat will be similar, but will also incorporate kicks into the mix. It is not clear whether the player will be utilizing the Animus.

Based on early screenshots, it appears that the developers have addressed several elements of gameplay because of the limited graphical ability of the DS and they look like welcome updates I hope they incorporate in the sequels.

The screenshot below shows the standard gameplay screen. The player controls Alta?r on the top screen and it seems the map is always open on the bottom screen. The DNA bar makes the port to the DS and onscreen arrows guide the player to target items. One of the drawbacks of the original map screen was that the icons were mildly confusing, yet the DS version ironically provides more detailed graphical icons. One concern with the new user interface is the fact that the player needs to look all the way below the map screen to see which weapon is currently equipped.

Standard Gameplay Screenshot

The next screenshot shows a dialogue scene. It follows the typical portable game format. The touch screen displays detailed pictures of Alta?r and his “conversation partner.” The dialogue itself is adjacent to the image of the speaker. To me, this is preferable, because I wished they had incorporated subtitles in the original version. At points in the original game, it is unclear what they are saying, because of the subject matter and the range of thick accents that they use. As you can see from this screen, the graphics are not half-bad.

Dialogue Screen

Although the original games were fairly seamless when switching from standard mode to eavesdropping and pick-pocketing, it appears that the DS version has more elaborate mini-games to execute these functions. For example, it appears the pick-pocketing function will actually require you to select specifically what you want to pick from their pocket.

Mini-Game

Interestingly, Jade Raymond has not made an appearance to promote the game. Hmm . . . I digress. Although the original games were rated Mature, the DS version is rated Teen and it shows in the various ways that Ubisoft has modified the game to cater to this younger audience. MadCatz has already put out a DS Lite Starter Kit in addition to the skins (XBox/PS3) and case (Xbox) that they have already released.

Apparently, based on a poll on their website, there should be a PC version as well (March release date).

Assassin?s Creed DS cover

Assassin’s Creed Alta?r’s ChroniclesTM Exclusively For Nintendo DSTM

London, United Kingdom ? 15 January 2008 ? Today Ubisoft, one of the world?s largest video game publishers, unveiled Assassin?s Creed Alta?r’s Chronicles?, exclusively for the Nintendo DS?. The Assassin?s Creed Alta?r?s Chronicles video game will be available at retailers nationwide in February.

Assassin?s Creed Alta?r?s Chronicles is the direct prequel of the critically acclaimed console title Assassin?s Creed?, where players discover more about the protagonist Alta?r and his deep history. The game features a fully realized 3D world in which players will travel and battle through four cities of the Crusade?s Middle East, using acrobatic moves and exhilarating combo attacks that mix sword skills and high-flying kicks.

?The success of Assassin?s Creed worldwide has been incredible and we?re excited to delve deeper into the story and bring it to the Nintendo DS,? said John Parkes, EMEA Marketing Director at Ubisoft. ?Assassin?s Creed Alta?r?s Chronicles will be a title that resonates with those who played the console version as well as those who have yet to discover the secrets of Assassin?s Creed.?

Assassin?s Creed Alta?r?s Chronicles is rated ?12+? by PEGI and has a retail price of ?29.99. For more information, please visit www.assassinscreed.com.

About Ubisoft:

Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide and has grown considerably through a strong and diversified lineup of products and partnerships. Ubisoft has offices in 21 countries and sales in more than 50 countries around the globe. It is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers. Ubisoft generated sales of 680 million Euros for the 2006-07 fiscal year. To learn more, please visit www.ubisoftgroup.com.

? 2008 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Assassin?s Creed Alta?r’s Chronicles, Ubisoft, Ubi.com, and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. Developed by Gameloft.

Nintendo DS is a trademark of Nintendo. ? 2004 Nintendo.

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