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Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China offers a unique experience

28 Apr 2015

Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China is a different experience from the main games as it takes the series to a 2.5D environment.  Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China is very unique because it does things the series has not done before. First of all, the series takes you to China for the very first time. Not to mention you assume the role of Shao Jun who is a female character. There had been some controversy last year that most Assassin's Creed protagonists are males. This game may not be a main entry in the series, but it's nice to see some diversity in the franchise. 

Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China is set in the year 1526 during the Ming Dynasty. Shao Jun is a female assassin that has been taught by Ezio Auditore. She is the last assassin living in the Chinese branch of the brotherhood. Jun goes back to China to take revenge on those responsible for killing her clan.  One reason Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China is different is that the game is played on a 2.5D environment. Usually the series uses an open-world 3D environment. Here, the gameplay mechanics are different yet stealth is still the key component in succeeding in this game.  Stealth is pretty cool to do in this game because of the unorthodox level design. Jun can hide in dark hallways and is agile as she can hang on ledges and other high places. She also has a ton of cool items in her arsenal that can aid her distract enemies from their usual posts.  Aside from just hiding in crowds or dark places, Jun is able to lure enemies out of the way. She has a noise dart that creates sounds, she can whistle and even chuck a sparkling bomb. All of these techniques are crucial for you to use as the guards are everywhere and are tough to beat.  The main downside to the gameplay in Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China is how clunky the combat is. If you don't manage to sneak past the guards, you will have to fight them. This creates a problem because killing enemies upfront with Jun's sword is easier said than done.  Jun cannot attack two enemies simultaneously, so if you kill one person, you will immediately alert the other. Since this is a 2D game, engaging in combat with more than one enemy becomes a real pain in the neck. It's almost as if the game's mechanics are only suited for one-on-one combat only.  If Jun faces an enemy to the right, she is unable to effectively fight the person that is coming behind her. This causes a lot of problems when lots of guards are around in one level. It gets worse when the enemies get stronger with shields and other armour protecting them.  However, combat may have been nerfed on purpose to force the player to use stealth. This is not a bad idea, but it makes the game harder by default. If the combat system was smoother, the game would have been less frustrating to play.  Graphically, the 2D artwork is gorgeous. The level design is beautiful as ancient China is not a setting that is often used in video games. The artwork in the cutscenes are great to look at too. Also, the levels are large and full of great hiding places for you to exploit.  Overall, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China is a nice change of pace compared to the main entry game of the series. It has a unique setting and we can play as a female character. It's 2.5D gameplay design is also different and adds new challenges. The only minor flaw is the combat. Other than that, this game is worth getting if you are into old-school style 2D video games.  Verdict: 8.0/10