MSNBC writes: Altair, the enigmatic hero of "Assassin's Creed" - last year's monster hit for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – turned out to be only a puppet in a virtual reality simulator. In "Altair's Chronicles" for the Nintendo DS, the puppet's strings are cut. But while this prequel fills in the missing days prior to the events of the console game, the lack of exciting revelations or thrilling narrative make it so the game's shortcomings - not Altair - end up playing the starring role.
Due to the obvious horsepower differences between the DS and the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, "Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles" is forced to jettison the open-world exploration of the original game in favor of a decidedly more linear adventure. Instead of scrambling up minarets to take in magnificent views or spy on enemy movements, Altair spends the majority of the game running from right to left through a series of well-constructed Middle Eastern cities. This isn't brought up as a knock against the DS title, but fans need to have their expectations adjusted before sinking $30 into the game.