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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Ubisoft
Developed By: Climax Studios
Genre: Platformer
Players: 1
Rated: T for Teen (Violence, Blood, Sexual Themes)
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

May 8, 2015 - Ubisoft has turned what was thought to be a big risk; Assassinís Creed, into a bonifed juggernaut that has delighted gamers for five straight years and has no signs of slowing down. In a different approach to the series, Ubisoft and Climax Studios are branching out with a new approach on the franchise; borrowing several gameplay aspects from classic Prince of Persia titles. Assassinís Creed Chronicles: China is the first of three smaller experiences that will take gamers to Russia and India later this year. While millions are used to the annual releases within the series, many wonder if this new approach can stay true to the lore or will it cause more harm than good.

The first thing that stands out is the visual presentation that ACC: China brings to the table. Instead of a rich, lavished open-world presentation, players are treated to a 2.5D presentation and visuals inspired by ancient Chinese water-color paintings. This change in presentation is actually a welcome change from the gritty realism that is represented within previous titles. The onscreen fighting and lush backdrops conjure emotions within you often seen in visual works of the time period for which the game takes place.

With the change from 3D to 2.5D, comes a more simplified experience. First and foremost, the control scheme has been simplified to mirror the presentation and make the experience more streamlined. You have all the classic tropes that the series is known for Ė jumping in and out of haybales, stealthy approaching unsuspected foes and exploring various locals Ė which help keep the experience grounded within the world of Assassinís Creed. On the flip side, with the changes come shortcomings to the experience; primarily in regards to the combat. Gone are the intricate combat maneuvers and sequences that make the kill all the more satisfying. In its place are sequences where you will be simply block and/or dodging attacks and delivering light/heavy attacks to your foes until they are defeated. You still have some strategic advantage to how you approach your battles, but for the most part they are straight-forward and can be repetitive.

Thankfully you can use your surroundings and the environment o you advantage with facing your foes. For the combat is straight-forward for the most part, utilizing different aspects of your surroundings can keep the combat entertainment and satisfying. For starters, you have at your disposal tools like firecrackers and throwing knives which can be used as aids to distract and vanquish your foes. You also are able to cling to the rafters and attack from above or jumping out from hiding places to get the jump on your foes can also be equally rewarding. There will be certain instances where you will have to confront a multitude of enemies without alerting the others. These instances will require a bit of finesse and planning in order to execute to perfection.

ACC: Chinaís story branches off from the events within Assassinís Creed II in that you are in control of Shao Jun, a female assassin trained by ladiesí man Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The year is 1526 and during the fall of the Ming Dynasty, Jun is tasked with locating and eliminating a Templar group known as Eight Tigers, who were responsible for the systematic elimination of Junís entire Chinese brotherhood. With a huge chip on her shoulder, Jun sets out on her epic adventure that will take several hours to complete. While the story here serves as a catalyst for Junís actions, donít expect it to be fully fleshed out like itís been done in previous installments.

ACC: China isnít all about playing hide-and-go-seek with your enemies as there are collectibles and side quests to keeping the adventure rewarding and to your satisfaction. You collectibles include the likes of pervasive Animus fragments and story-filled scrolls which serve as addition source material about the overall story within the game. With regards to the side objectives, you will find yourself completing tasks like rescuing prisoners and eliminating Templar informants to name a few. While the game is linear through and through, doing a bit of exploration can and will be rewarding to your overall experience.

While Assassinís Creed Chronicles: China is a solid experience and very much enjoyable, itís hard to imagine such an experience would be tied to the Assassinís Creed series. Year after year we have been treated to over-the-top experiences with a sometimes convoluted storyline that we have been spoiled rotten. When you donít compare ACC: China to the likes of its predecessors, itís a wonderful experience full of lovely backdrops and fluid animations. It will be interesting to see if the other two ACC titles will be of a similar nature or will they somehow tie into one another.


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