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Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China Review

By DOA hed

Since the beginning of next gen, Ubisoft has had kind of a rough start: games with glitches, games with server problems, games not living up to what was promised. Unity… Tetris…. I’m looking at you especially. So I’m happy to report Ubisoft has finally gotten a game out that had none of these problems and is actually quite a fun little experience.

Developer: Climax Studios
Publisher: Ubisoft
Format: Xbox one
Release Date: April 21st, 2015
Copy provided by publisher
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China is a 2.5D side scrolling stealth game, much in the vein of Mark of the Ninja, (a fantastic game and as I’ve always said: if you’re gonna rip off a game, pick a good one) and is the beginning of a trilogy that will be continued with India and finally Russia. In this installment we play Shao Jun in 1526 China who was introduced in the film Assassin’s Creed Embers and trained by Ezio himself, star of Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations.

In Chronicles China Shao has returned from abroad with a mysterious box in tow, given to her by Ezio, to find that the assassins brotherhood of China has been wiped out by The Tigers (Templars). The Tigers are led by the villainous Zhang Yong who, via his control over the Emperor, is basically in charge of the entire country. Your only comrade is Wang Yangming, your shifu, (it’s never clear if he was part of the brotherhood, but I assume so) and together you are out to avenge your fallen brotherhood and take back China for the people. A solid revenge story is always tried and true, but the side plot with the mysterious box mcguffin is not so great as we are only told it’s some kind of weapon and is missing a part. For some reason everybody good or bad wants it. It’s convoluted to say the least but looks like it’s the item that links the three chronicles games together so maybe the box story will improve with the next installments.

Of course, the star of this game isn’t the story anyway, it’s the game play. Fear not, it’s very strong only suffering a few minor issues. There are 12 levels and is meant to be played as a stealth game though that is not required as you could just hack and slash your way through if you choose, but where’s the fun in that? As I stated it’s a 2.5D side-scroller and is presented in a sweet looking water paint style. It has a nice variety of locales to play through like ship docks and the Great Wall. No assassin blade is hidden up our arm this time though…. It’s in Shaos’ boot, which makes for some fun assassination animations, I might add. Enemies have vision cones so you can tell where it is safe to move and hide. You are given several gadgets and tools to help you like throwing knives, noise makers, and your trusty sword. The movement controls are solid as you climb, crawl, run and slide all around the map to get passed your foes (or to kill them). My only complaint with the movement was that you couldn't snap turn and several times I got caught because I couldn't turn fast enough. To mix up gameplay a bit there are a few escape levels where you are just trying to quickly navigate an obstacle course and make it to the end as fast as possible. Those were a lot fun and honestly I could have played a whole game made up of just those levels.

In my time with the game I completed all the achievements which includes two full playthroughs, one of which being a 100% stealth run that was a lot of fun and a decent enough challenge. I recommend trying for this whether you are into achievements or not.

It’s quite sad to say that Assassin’s Creed Chronicles China is far superior to Assassin’s Creed Unity but it’s true. Unity was so bad that I can honestly say that I’m not looking forward to Victory later this year and unless I see some major improvements I probably won’t play it at all. However, that’s not true of the Chronicles series as I’m definitely going to play India and especially Russia, with its sick looking black and white visual style. So thank you Ubisoft for at least partially reinvigorating the series for me. Now go and make Victory great as well.

+ Combat
+ Art style
+ Stealth
- Minor movement issues
- Story

Score: 8.5/10 "Great"

What I Played: About 15 hours completing two full playthroughs, one of which being a 100% stealth run. All upgrades.
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