Review: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy
A few weeks after the announcement of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles trilogy, the first part of this three chapter game arrived, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Chine, soon to be followed by India and Russia. No open world in comparison to the Assassin’s Creed series, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy is a clean title that focuses on gameplay, bluntly influenced by modern stealth 2.5D sidescrollers like Mark of the Ninja, with side views, infiltration and a neat low price. For this review, I decided to group all three episodes in one, to make the most of it, and for you to decide if Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy is worth your time and money.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China takes to the age of the Ming dynasty, in the sixteenth century. Everything begins precisely in 1526 when a small Templar group called the Eight Tigers eliminated the Chinese branch of the Assassins. Shao Jun is one of the few survivors and wants, with the help of the new head of the Brotherhood, to get rid of these Templars and liberate the country.
If you do not know the character, it Shao Jun already made an appearance in the animated short film Assassin’s Creed Ambers (where we discovered a retired Ezio’s life shortly before his death). If you missed out, nothing to worry about, as you learn to know in the course of his wanderings, with a few comic book style cutscenes to illustrate the story and advance the narrative, but it is not the backbone of the game.
The difference here is significant. With the switch from 3D to a 2.5D angle, there’s room for an artistic touch, giving the impression of strolling through a watercolor paintings. This has its own limitations though. While the exterior areas are lovely to look at, it’s not the same for caves and buildings: textures are coarse like it is the case for enemies’ rendering.
The level design in general is cut by numerous smaller areas, with some parkour parts, and no loading times. Once an area is complete, you will be rewarded according to your play. If you are a fan of discretion, you’ll easily get constant gold emblem, but if you’re not, you will reap the bronze in each areas. To continue on the level design, know that it is rather linear, even if it tries to give you the impression of multiple paths are available to reach the same objective.
While the emphasis on being stealthy is great, it won’t propose interesting challenge. Blame it on a progression where the player is constantly held by the hand. The most damaging is the overall gaming experience tarnished by an approximate balance in either the proposed or challenges during the fights. Secondary objectives are available for the most experienced, or hidden areas harboring small bonuses like scrolls.
Speaking of fighting, know that these are introduced via Ezio. Once you recover a weapon, you emerge in a ‘ “room” to serve as a place of tutorial, in which your mentor will explain how to use it or to face new enemies that you will encounter during your journey. Unfortunately, fighting is not the strongest feature of the title, because they exploit the game mechanics established by the license, which doesn’t fit Assassin’s Creed Chronicles’ style. Blame it on a lifetime lanky and painful stiffness in animations, and the number of enemies that increase over the levels, just to make things worse.
fans will still enjoy this gaming experience even if it’s different of the series in general
When it comes to infiltration, everything is at hand to help you move without being detected. Shao Jun moves like a cat, pleasant to handle, helping to help you pass incognito. The enemies have a cone of vision, which helps you figure out strategies and movement patterns. This leaves some leeway to develop various strategies before walking head into the level: If you make loud noises, the cone of vision will begin to switch to yellow, indicating that the enemy suspects something. If it turns red, then you are done and detected. Of course, you can flee and hide, and the alert meter countdown will begin (less than 10 seconds). Once alert is gone, the enemies will leave and get back to their usual patrol as if nothing had ever happened, but you’ll lose your ranking points.
Several archetypes of opponents will appear throughout the adventure which are pretty traditional: the basic enemy armed with a sword, then the archer, then a shielded enemy or one with a spear. When all these enemies appear together in one area, infiltration is not an option but a necessity. The environment will help you cover up with the presence of various hiding places present around the levels.
You can also hide bodies of your enemies in these same hiding to prevent attracting attention. Other than the environment, your equipment will give you a boost which are split between daggers, decoys, smoke bombs. All is there to attract or discreetly kill everyone you meet on your way. Once a completed level, you will reap the skills and upgrades to evolve a little more easily in your environment, just don’t expect to customize Shao Jun as proposed in Assassin’s Creed: Unity or Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
The adventure as a whole will ask you to devote a little more than three hours of your time. However, it has good replayability value since scores taken in the regions will be surpassed and providing access to new upgrades. In short, given the overall quality of this chapter, fans will still enjoy this gaming experience even if it’s different of the series in general.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India
After China, the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles takes us to the land of spices, India, with a new hero. You play as the assassin Arbaaz Mir in India in 1841, as he tries to get his hands on an artifact and save his beloved at the same time. No need to describe too long the scenario in this Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India, which is primarily used as a pretext for a new chapter of this trilogy.
In short, those who have already played in China will not be disoriented. You could even say the game is wearing just a “new skin”, as the two games are the same and don’t really show real differences in terms of gameplay. Visually speaking, the 16th century Sikh Empire is gorgeous to look at, with an aesthetic style is fairly close to the era’s palette, with the famous bright colors of the Mughal style. Visually, it is frankly successful, especially as each of the ten levels of the game are varied, topped with a soundtrack that helps give this episode an atmosphere of its own
However gameplay side, apart from some minor additions, they are more or less the same things seen in Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. The fights are still annoying to deal with, with a painful difficulty. In general, the “die and retry” tends to break the pace of the game. However, even if the formula lacks some originality, the game itself alternates fairly infiltration, action and platform sequences, gradually introducing new gameplay elements to keep us in suspense until the end.
Also note that Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India like the China offers a great replay value, with 10 sequences, a “new game +” to break records with all your abilities already unlocked, collectibles (“Helix” and other objects), but also a mode offering varied challenges (reminding me of the “VR Missions” in Metal Gear Solid) and attempt to break records. In short, everything that is enough to make us hang on long hours certainly.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India is very similar to the previous episode in China, having more or less the same qualities and same faults, but remains a small action and infiltration title, friendly to play with a good setting, topped with some good ideas and an interesting challenge. Now on to Russia!
Assassin’s Creed Chonicles: Russia
The conclusion of this trilogy, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia invites to the time of the Bolshevik revolution, with Nikolai Orelov, an assassin already known to fans of the extended Assassin’s Creed universe, star of Assassin’s Creed: The Fall and Assassin’s Creed: The Chain comic novels.
Nikolai Orelov is accompanied in the adventure by Anastasia, a young woman you meet early in the adventure, and share the leading role in the game. It also retrieves the Helix powers inherited from the second game, which strongly facilitate your progress at his side. The alternation between the two characters is a nice addition to the gameplay, offering some interesting transitions that boost the dynamism of the narrative. One great example is the chapter where Nikolai helps Anastasia escape by covering her with sniper rifle from a distance.
Other new mechanisms now in the game is the use of a line between two phones to distract a guard, new mines deactivated with the appropriate tool. These new assets reduces the detection cone of the guards, allowing players to infiltrate more easily within a specific area. Also you should note that Nikolai is equipped with a sniper rifle, which should be used in some occasion in sequences.
Overall, the title offers a good variety of story missions, but suffers from a rather harsh difficulty like the previous episodes, which often forces the player to adopt a die-and-retry strategy. To add to this issue, the level design leaves no room for improvisation either, which was clearly noticeable as well in Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India.
Another disappointment for me, as someone who is fond of the previous two chapter art direction, is finding Russia donning greyish tones to hide maybe its artistic weakness. Engine slowdowns are also more present and become particularly annoying during flighting phases, already uninspired because of aberrant difficulty due to tough to pin timings and a lack of clarity on the screen. Frankly all of this is painful, and this failure highlights a lack of overall finishing touches that is unfortunate for such a title. Just to stay on a positive note, we note nevertheless the great work portraying the relationship between Anastasia and Nikolai Orelov.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code of each chapter provided by Ubisoft. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC via retail and digital release. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• The artistic direction
• All of the characters are rather interesting in their own way
• Replayability factor
• A rather nice gameplay (regardless of the fighting element)
• Alternation between action and infiltration
• Visually greatly designed
• Great soundtrack
• The Anastasia and Orelov duo
• Somewhat lazy level design
• The fighting mechanics are dull
• No clear difficulty curve
• The stories in general are boring
• Ugly indoor settings
• No real differences between each episode
• Too much help in the game