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петък, 10 юли 2015 г.

Assassin's Creed Chronicles China - Sneaky it tries something new




Recently I told you about Klei's new creation Invisible Inc and there I mentioned Mark of the Ninja. Today I will not just mention this amazing stealth game but will actively compare today's chosen with it. After saying this I'm sure even without the title you would have guessed that I'm here to tell you more about the newest part of the Assassins's Creed franchise - Chronicles China.

The game came out in 22th of April 2015. It's made by(of course) Ubisoft, its 2.5D and it uses the Unreal 3 engine. In it you will take the role of Shao Jun a female assassin who by using stealth and skill will have to avenge her Brotherhood.




Now before getting to the story, mechanics and other interesting things I must say that I never played any Assassin's Creed games and because of this I will not talk about Chronicles China as a Assassin's Creed game instead I will look at it more as a stealth game.


The Story


 The year is 1520, Asia. The Chinese Brotherhood is destroyed by the Templar group The Eight Tigers.  You're the last assassin from the Chinese Brotherhood which after being trained by the legendary Ezio Auditore returns back to his homeland to avenge the death of her brothers and recover if possible the former glory of the Chinese branch. The first step of your bold plan is to let yourself get caught...



Gameplay and Mechanics



If you have played Mark of the Ninja you will feel at home here. Chronicles China uses many mechanics similar to the ones in Klei's game. In every mission you will have main and optional secondary objective. Completing the secondary is not mandatory but it gives you bonus points and you need them to unlock new things for Shao. On every level there will be several checkpoints where you will receive sum up of your performance so far. Generally you will have choice of two ways of play style - aggressive and stealth. 

If you choose the first one you will have the chance to see a pretty good battle system. Our female avenger will dodge arrows, parry attacks and roll over your enemies if you are quick enough... That said you after all are an assassin and a bit fragile, in the beginning of the game two hits will be enough to kill you and Guards will give you no quarter. They will even call backups to cut your road of escape. Choosing this style of play will give you a bit less points, but with good reflexes you will find yourself cutting through two or three Guards with satisfying finesse and skill, giving you the feel that you really are fighter supreme. Just don't let it get to you; five or six Guards will make short work of you. And a bit later in the game they will even carry crossbows and shields making your job even harder.



If you choose the second option you will enjoy being just a deadly shadow, appearing and disappearing every time taking someone with herself. This option is may be a bit harder, but there is nothing like the feeling of passing a whole level without killing anyone and never been seen. Not to mention that this is the more rewarding play style. Yes, I found being stealthy a lot more enjoyable and satisfying, but this of course is highly subjective. Choosing stealth does not mean you will be sanctioned for kills, no in fact kills done without being seen doesn't decrease your score. The main mechanics here is hiding in background dark doorways, bushes, curtains and bales of hay and the ability to quickly dash between hiding places. This will painfully remind you of Mark of the Ninja if you have played it. Also don't forget to hide the bodies or you will quickly find the Guards thoroughly looking for you instead of lazily patrolling around. Similar to the Guards with shields and the ones with crossbows noisy birds and dogs will hinder your silent walk...also don't forget that wood creaks sometimes.

Or you can just act according to the situation and mix the two styles. But regardless of your choice there will be boss fights which will force you to fight your enemies face to face without a chance to take them out by surprise. 


"She's got the looks..."


No, not Shao Jun you....guys! She is hooded all the time, how can I know? I'm talking about the game. Ubisoft have chosen very interesting brush inspired art style. And it’s not limited only to the cut-scenes, the whole game is made in it. The style is very fitting to the Chinese/Asian setting of the game and it truly shines in the cut-scenes where it gives everything very mystic look and feel. We can only hope that they will do the same with the two other games from this spin off series and will pick distinctive styles for them too.



Other than nice looks, Chronicles China has decent soundtrack, effects and all characters are voiced, even the Guards. The sound and music will not make you lose your mind but it is not unpleasant either.


Conclusion


Assassin's Creed Chronicles China is a 2.5D stealth game made and published by Ubisoft. In it you take the role of the ambitious young assassin Shao Jun which after being trained by Ezio Auditore is back to her homeland and strives to avenge the destroyed Chinese Brotherhood and if possible to restore it.

As mechanics the game takes a lot of inspiration from Klei's hit Mark of the Ninja, but also it offers unique paint brush inspired art style and setting. Chronicles greatly rewards stealth  but you will be far from defenseless if got seen. Being highly trained assassin you will easily block attacks and dodge arrows, demonstrating your superiority over your clumsy enemies. Just don't forget that you're not as tough as they are and that there is a lot of them. All this builds up for interesting and challenging game where you will reload saves repeatedly while trying to maximize your score and unlock new upgrades for your assassin.

That said let me give you some personal thoughts on it. 

Chronicles China is not a bad stealth game and it will not only offer you good stealth action but it also has a diverse battle system which will allow you to hold your ground against the guards if found. The story of the game though may get your interest only if you're fan of the series.

To me it felt a lot more like a Prince of Persia game. Personally for me that is not a bad thing as I'm fan of the series, but it might be for those of you who are looking for AC experience.




But the really bad things about it were...

First negative for me were the cheesy lines of Shao Jun which instead of cold, calm and content make her sounds cocky and overconfident. 

Something else is the fact that when Guards talk with each other they will not see you even if you jump over their heads and land right next to them. From there you can calmly walk away without even trying to sneak. What makes it worse is that it is deliberately made this way. It doesn't make any sense.

And may be the biggest problem I had with Chronicles China is the fact that the levels are too similar, changing only skins and backgrounds in most cases. But most of them were just boring set of platforms where you climb or decent, complete your objective and go to the next level. They lack the variability of...other titles.

Final conclusion! Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China is a decent at best stealth game that may interest fans of the franchise, but if you're someone like me who has never played Assassin's Creed games this game may not live up to your expectations.

Links:

Official site

Steam

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