Of all the upcoming titles on display at last night's PSP showcase in San Francisco, we were most eager to check out Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines. After seeing the video from the PlayStation Blog, we just had to confirm that it really looked that amazing in person – and it does. Although our demo was hands-off, it was running on PSP Go hardware and was just about the most impressive thing we've seen on Sony's portable.

It looked great, locked in at a nice, smooth 30 frames per second and featured superb character models, textures and lighting. It also seemed to play really well, which, at the end of the day, is what we all know really matters.
Our demo driver took us through one assassination mission, which reminded us of the more linear play style of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – or, given Altair's stealthy nature, even Metal Gear Solid. (There are free-roaming areas in the game; they just weren't shown to us.)

The level – as it was – served as a gauntlet of enemies leading up to the assassination target / boss. It showed off a great mix of stealth, free-running / climbing and full-on combat, all of which looked like a carbon copy of what we're used to from the console game. The controls seemed intuitive, mimicking all of the actions from the first game and using a "hold L trigger to move the camera" compromise in lieu of a second analog stick. (So, no moving the camera and Altair at the same time.)

We were impressed by the balance of outdoor and indoor areas within the level, which an Ubisoft rep told us will feature prominently in the full game. We confirmed that there will be some out-of-Animus sequences featuring Desmond in the modern day, but that they'll be very limited compared to the amount found in the original Assassin's Creed.

The only aspect of the demo that left us a little unsatisfied was the post-assassination escape. Being used to the console game, there were a multitude of ways to impede and elude Altair's pursuers. In this case, he simply faced more (and more aggressive) enemies while backtracking through the stage. Of course, the slice of the game we saw was small, and Ubisoft is still pretty guarded about the big picture, so this could very well be a non-issue upon release.

As it stands, Bloodlines looks to be a full console-like experience on par with games such as Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops in terms of tech and production values. Now we just need to sneak into Ubisoft and play the thing ourselves.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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