Title: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy
Platform: PC, PS4, PS Vita and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Climax Studios
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Like Assassin’s Creed? Want something different? Try this!
Price: £19.99 / $29.99
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The Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Trilogy contains three new 2.5D games: China, India and Russia. All three games take place in different eras of the vast Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China features the last remaining Assassin of the Chinese Brotherhood. Shao Jun returns to China in 1526 as the Ming dynasty starts to crumble. The events of Jun’s adventure are set two years after the events of the Assassin’s Creed: Embers short film. Thanks to the knowledge she received from Ezio Auditore, Jun is on a vengeance quest against the Templars into to restore her Brotherhood.
ACC: India takes place in 1841 and follows Arbaaz Mir. The event take place two years after the events of Assassin’s Creed: Brahman graphic novel. Mir is caught in the midst of a war between the Sikh Empire and the East India Company. He must track down and recover the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a powerful Piece of Eden that used to belong to the Assassin Brotherhood, all the while protecting his Mentor, Hamid and lover the princess Pyara Kaur.
While Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia follows Nikolai Orelov in 1918 on his final assignment for the Assassin Order. The events take place between Assassin’s Creed: The Fall and Assassin’s Creed: The Chain comic books. Orelov must steal an artifact from the Bolsheviks holding the Tsar’s family. In the midst of the theft, Nikolai comes across, and saves, princess Anastasia. He must then protect both the princess and the artifact throughout the events of the game.
All three games have 2.5D environments where players must go from point A to point B while avoiding being detected. While most of the games feature 2D environment by going straight ahead, players will sometimes be required to walk away or towards the camera to progress forward. Whereas 3D AC games let players run away or defend themselves, this three pack of 2.5D games doesn’t feature much leeway in terms of defense or escape. Once found, enemies will come at the player quite aggressively and with back up making the chances of survival drop to zero in an instant. If they spot the character going into hiding, they’ll pull him out and kill him. The game does give a false sense of safety as they are lead to believe they can actually fight, but without the possibility to block or runaway. While fighting a single enemy is doable, whom take an inane amount of damage before going down, if nearby guards hear any ruckus, they’ll attack from behind of shoot from afar. This showcases the blatant lack of proper combat forcing players to use stealth and avoid confrontation.
This is where my main problem lies with this trio of games. Unlike their 3D brethren, there’s little to no margin for error. When players get spotted it’s a guaranteed game over. Thankfully, checkpoint are close to each other meaning that a failure doesn’t mean that much backtracking; unless there is a handful of guards on your way to freedom. Also it’s a bit dumbfounding that these games feature little to no combat seeing as their 3D counterparts featured a mildly deep fighting system. If players are caught red handed by more than one guard, there’s no way to adequately defend yourself. While players will concentrate their efforts in taking one soldier down, another one will come from behind to put an end to their shenanigans. While it isn’t hard per se, it does require precise movement and timing in order to avoid or take down (when players are required to) guards.
Not all is grim however. Players are rewarded when successfully clearing a level’s section. They will earn either a gold, silver or bronze medal. In order to earn gold, players have to stealthily go from point A to point B; without being detected and/or engaging in combat. If sequences call for players to actually kill a guard, it won’t affect the medal earned. Luckily, the game helps players by displaying the guards’ vision cone. It allows players to time their move in order to reach the next section. Some guards have a yellow circle around them. It’s the area that their “hearing,” covers. Make a sudden noise in the soldier’s covering area and he’ll investigate.
Thankfully, players have a few familiar skills handy in order to help them around the various obstacles and enemies. Characters can attract the guards’ attention by whistling, allowing players to safely move around. Smoke bombs are also quite efficient to move around standing enemies. Eagle Vision is also here and intact. Players can activate it to track enemies and helpful surroundings. And of course, this wouldn’t be an Assassin’s Creed without spots to hide it. Locating a colored item set in the environment will be a hint of a hiding spot. For example, in Russia, coming across a green mound of grass or green container will mean the player can hide. Each of the three games feature such a mechanic but the color varies.
Reaching the chapter’s required score will reward players will new skills and upgrades such as more health or higher carrying capacity of certain tools. Unfortunately, due to the little to no margin for error, players might have to replay sections more than once in order to learn the exact enemy pattern in order to achieve the perfect score.
The game’s visual are pretty interesting. Seeing as players are treated to a 2.5D experience, the visuals have a cel-shaded inspired look; which is a nice chance from the typical realism of this franchise. Whether it be India, China or Russia, the environments are fully representative of their settings. Russia will have a much grayer, dark, depressing setting. While India and China will feature shiny and much brighter environments. Audio wise…
Interestingly enough, this game is “Assassin’s Creed,” enough to cater to long time fans of the franchise (who haven’t been burned out on the yearly releases) but different enough to have new players jump in. Lack of of proper combat can prove frustrating, as it forces players to use ways to avoid enemies. I can certainly appreciate what Ubisoft and Climax Studios wanted to pull off (it’s a basically a throwback to old school Prince of Persia games), albeit somewhat successfully, but all it made me want to do is go back to Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
- Fresh take on the AC franchise
- Great level design
- Three games in one
- Little to no margin for error
- Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Russia is the trilogy’s low point
The Assassin’s Creed Chronicles trilogy is rated T for teen as it featured blood, language and violence.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by Xbox