Friday, 24 May 2024

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China

Last September, Ubisoft announced a new game called Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China as part of the Assassin’s Creed Unity season pass. This unique spin-off, played in a 2.5D side-scrolling format, will be available for free to season pass holders, and can also be purchased separately for $10 starting in late April. However, this is just the beginning, as Ubisoft has plans to release two more Chronicles games set in India and Russia later this year, each priced at $10.

China: A Beautiful Watercolor World

The first installment of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles takes place in China during the year 1526. The game features a stunning watercolor-painting aesthetic, immersing players in a visually captivating world. You play as Shao Jun, a skilled assassin and a familiar face from Assassin’s Creed Embers, the epilogue video for Revelations. Shao Jun returns to China after her training in Italy with Ezio Auditore, and her mission is to eliminate the templar gang known as the Tigers, who have nearly wiped out all the Chinese assassins. Shao Jun’s goal is to restore the order of assassins in her homeland by taking down those who hold power.

If you enjoyed playing Klei Entertainment’s Mark of the Ninja, you will find the 2.5D stealth action vibe of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China right up your alley. The gameplay involves sneaking around, hiding in darkened doorways and haystacks, while guards patrol with vision cones in the environment. You have various methods of dispatching enemies, including close combat with your sword or foot blades, jumping and sliding kills, and using secondary weapons like noise distractions, stun bombs, and throwing knives. Remember, hiding the bodies of your victims is crucial to avoid setting off alarms and summoning reinforcements. Engaging in direct combat is risky, so it’s best to use carefully timed button presses to block attacks and dodge projectiles, weakening enemies before delivering the final blow.

Progress and Upgrades

As you journey through Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, the game saves your progress at each checkpoint and assigns a grade based on your performance. If you manage to remain undetected and refrain from causing harm, you earn the prestigious Shadow gold rating, collecting maximum points. However, if you prefer a more aggressive approach, you can achieve gold ratings for silent assassinations or combat. Reaching certain point values unlocks upgrades, such as extending your health bar or increasing secondary weapon ammo. Additionally, completing secondary objectives like collecting assassin scrolls or freeing slaves contributes to your final tally, encouraging players to explore and take on additional challenges.

Familiar Features and Unique Twists

Fans of the Assassin’s Creed franchise will feel right at home in Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. Shao Jun possesses the ability to climb buildings and synchronize viewpoints, revealing hidden chests and Animus fragments that expand the map. Taking the iconic leap of faith into a haystack is also present, allowing for dramatic escapes and quick travel. Eagle vision makes a return, assisting players in identifying patrol paths and highlighting important targets like guards carrying valuable keys. While stealth remains the core of the game, players will also encounter speed-running levels, adding an exciting element of urgency and adrenaline to the experience. In these levels, you must outrun explosions and flames while attempting to escape a base, with completion time being the sole factor for scoring.

India: A Historical Adventure

The next installment, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India, takes players to the year 1841 amid the conflict between the Sikh Empire and the East India Company. Playing as assassin Arbaaz Mir, known from the AC: Brahman graphic novel, your mission is to track down and retrieve a strange object recently acquired by a templar. Romantic elements are also introduced, although details remain scarce. The art style of India differs from China, featuring vibrant colors and a newspaper-etching look.

In the section of the game we played, Arbaaz must navigate crumbling structures and stalactites within a massive cave, carefully avoiding falling into the treacherous abyss below. Guarded by enemies armed with swords and pistols, this section provides a new challenge compared to the crossbow-wielding guards encountered in China.

A Glimpse of Russia

The final chapter of the Chronicles series takes place in Russia during 1918. Nikolai Orelov, who fans may recognize from the AC comics The Fall and The Chain and as an ancestor of villain Daniel Cross, is the protagonist in this dramatic story. Orelov’s mission revolves around rescuing the Tsar’s daughter and escaping with a precious artifact. The art style of this game adopts a Russian propaganda aesthetic, adding a unique visual flair. One interesting twist is that Orelov possesses a sniper rifle, offering a different gameplay experience that focuses on long-range combat.

FAQs

Q: How much does each game cost?
A: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China is available for free to season pass holders or can be purchased separately for $10. The upcoming games set in India and Russia will also be priced at $10 each.

Q: Can I expect the same stealth-focused gameplay in India and Russia?
A: Yes, while each game has its own unique setting and characters, the core gameplay mechanics of stealth and assassination remain consistent throughout the Chronicles series.

Q: Will there be any additional content for each game?
A: Ubisoft has not yet announced any plans for additional content beyond the base games.

Conclusion

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles offers a fresh and engaging experience within the beloved Assassin’s Creed universe. The series features unique settings, captivating characters, and an emphasis on stealth and strategic gameplay. Whether you choose to explore the watercolor landscapes of China, navigate the treacherous caves of India, or unravel the mysteries of Russia, the Chronicles series promises hours of excitement and adventure for fans of the franchise.

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