On Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China

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Last week Ubisoft released the first of three downloadable Assassin’s Creed games. Unlike previous Assassin’s Creed titles this one is only available through digital download. Initially part of the Assassin’s Creed Unity Season Pass, this game is now being offered to anyone for around $10. I feel this is a good price considering the length of the game. Personally I got it for “free” since I had purchased the season pass for Unity.

The thing to keep in mind about this game is that it is short. I’m not saying just the story is short, the whole game is short. There are not a ton of side activities to do like what you would see in a full release title. I think I beat the game somewhere between 4 and 6 hours. There is some replay value to the game though. Going back to get collectibles you missed, or playing through on a new game + or new game + hard which provides at least 12 hours of content.

The obvious difference when comparing this game to previous titles is that this is a linear 2D/3D side scrolling game. For the most part when you’re just on the ground moving through the levels you are doing so on a 2D plane. When climbing walls or hiding from enemy sight you can move in to the background or foreground which effectively puts you out of their field of vision. In each level (memory sequence) checkpoints are rated in one of three areas: Shadow, Assassin, Brawler. You get scored based on the style you use to get from one checkpoint to the next.

You receive ranks in Shadow if you move through the checkpoint without being detected, and without killing any of the guards. This provides you with the overall highest score between the 3. Ranks in Assassin come from, well, assassinating the guards. This is probably the fastest way through any level, but you won’t get the highest score possible this way (not that I know anyways). The goal of the assassin ranking is to kill the guards without being seen or caught, which still involves learning their pathing and hiding the bodies. The last ranking, Brawler, is what happens if you get caught in a fight, which is bad. You get the lowest score possible for this path, and more than likely you will die and have to restart the checkpoint.

I played through most of the game with Shadow/Assassin ranks, but on occasion I would get caught and have to fight my way out. That is the main way of scoring in the game. The other way only happens a couple of times throughout, but involves racing to the end of the level as it is being destroyed behind you. The fast you run the better you score at the end. Scoring unlocks additional health, item storage and a helix bar. The helix bar allows you to quickly move between hiding points, or to kill guards more effectively. I honestly only used this a couple of times.

If you’re like me and like unlocking trophies, then you’ll have to play through levels multiple times. Maybe if you’re really good you can get everything on one try, but I’m not that good so I’m still working on it.

The only thing that frustrated me was the combat system. If you actually get caught in a fight you’re probably going to die. At least if you’re fighting more than one person, or if that person has a ranged weapon. You can dodge attacks, but you have to be really on top of it to time your buttons right. Normally if I got caught I’d just restart that checkpoint and do it over. As long as you don’t complete the checkpoint restarting does not affect your score. It doesn’t count until after you get through it.

Overall I really enjoyed the game. There were some frustrating parts, and you will have to be patient in order to stealth the whole game. You’ll be sitting in hiding spots and learning the guard patterns enough to get past them and to the next checkpoint. There are plenty of trophies to obtain, at least on the PS4 which I played it on. And that is something I’ve been trying to do more of lately, if just to extend the life of the game a little bit.

And you know, considering the price I think this game is worth playing through. I’ve seriously paid $60 for a retail game that was just about the same length as this. So I feel like the price is more than worth what you’re getting out of it.

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