Assassins creed has certainly had its ups and downs and whilst many feel the series has become to grow stale with age, Ubisoft have decided to take on a new approach with ‘Assassins Creed Chronicles.’ Assassins Creed Chronicles is a three part mini series revolving around three different assassins Shao Jun, Arbaaz Mir and Nikolai Orelov. This review will be focused solely on Shao Jun’s game ‘China.’
The game takes place in 1526 and follows Shao Jun as she returns to her homeland to exact her revenge on a group of templars called the Eight Tigers. Anyone who has seen ‘Assassins Creed: Embers’ might recognise Shao Jun as she was the assassin who met with master assassin Ezio Auditore de Firenze who then proceeded to train her so she could exact her vengance.
Gameplay wise the game takes on a new approach for Assassins Creed as the chronicles series is a side scrolling adventure game. The games’ visuals take on the art of the time period and they give the game a ‘chinese’ feel. However the game is let down by its’ music. Over and over the same droning music plays and this really takes away from the experience. Unfortunately this is not the only problem the game has.
The game may be a side scrolling adventure but it does grant some depth as Shao can move between planes by running over planks or swinging on ropes. Whilst there is plenty of climbing to do at times, Shao just doesn’t want to go where you intended resulting in her dropping in front of enemies which, 90% of the time leads to death. This is due to Shao not seeming to have enough endurance to withstand enemies coughing on them let alone a sword strike. This is not really an issue as the combat, whilst being boring, is pointless as the game scores you on how stealthy you are. Not being seen or assassinating enemies nets you the best score. The problem here is that the game checkpoints you so often that if you are seen you are better off letting yourself die and losing five steps of progress. There is no real reason not to get the highest score possible as at the end of each level your points unlock new skills to use.
Shao has a few tricks up her sleeve. She has firecrackers to stun or distract enemies, a whistle to draw enemies to her location, a throwing knife to cut ropes, holding objects or platforms into place and lastly a noise dart which again, draws enemies to a location allowing Shao to slip past. Obviously the games’ soul intention is for you to be as stealthy as possible. You can dive from hiding spots to stay out of enemies’ cones of vision but at times this just seems farcical as when you are standing inches from the end of a cone in plain view of enemies it just takes away from the experience. However even worse is the mechanic that when guards are talking to each other they cannot notice the woman literally standing behind the person they talking to.
The big issue of the game is the story. After each mission you are treated to still images with a voice over as the soul exposition in the game. The images are, again, in this ‘Chinese’ style of painting but it just feels very slapdash and to be honest the story left me very uninterested.
In the end whilst ACC: China is a good side scrolling game, it just feels like it is missing a lot of character and heart to make the game feel completed. I honestly believe thar if the games’ story was presented in FMV’s I may have become more invested.