Ubisoft listened carefully to criticisms of Assassin's Creed to craft an improved outing for the sequel, but some of that feedback also made its way into Bloodlines on the Playstation Portable.
That means that we spend less time with Desmond and actually get to find out what happens to Altair at the end of the game. It also means some key tweaks to gameplay. In particular, Bloodlines opens up the mission structure of the game to give the player some variety. At least, that's what Ubisoft Public Relations Specialist Dominic Disanti tells me. He only had one level to show me at Sony Computer Entertainment's PSP showcase and couldn't talk too much about anything that wasn't readily apparent from what I could see on screen.
The level Disanti played takes place in a castle in a town somewhere in Cyprus. The majority of the game is set between two cities in Cyprus and there are four districts within each city. The primary objective in this particular level was to take out a guy called Moloch the Bull. However, I guess there were mission opportunities to kill all kinds of people, because that's what Disanti was doing for most of the demo.
The controls looked very similar to the console setup, though I think Altair is less fragile when it comes to taking sword blows. Players hold X to park while moving with the analogue stick, triangle to attack and the D-pad to select weapons, etc. Also, the swan dives into conveniently placed haystacks are still in the game, though I didn't see a single rooftop gazebo to hide in.
The one new thing I did see right away was a pickup that Disanti jokingly called a "light seed." I get the feeling that these pickups are part of that promised variety to mission structure, but Disanti couldn't tell me too much about them. He might not have told me anything at all if he hadn't fallen on one by accident jumping off a roof. But once he did, he explained that they were similar to the collectable flags from the first game. However, these "light seeds" would actually "some kind of impact" on gameplay that he wasn't allowed to tell me about.
Distani did say there'd be significant connectivity between Bloodlines and Assassin's Creed II beyond obvious story explanations. For example, completing missions in Bloodlines and then connecting it to the sequel will unlock special weapons or health bonuses.
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines is out November 17, the same day as Assassin's Creed II.