Assassin’s Creed is one of the most important franchises in gaming history thanks to its historical exploration, mind-blowing storytelling, cultural impact, and, of course, sales. For the same reason, Ubisoft, in addition to releasing deliveries at an accelerated pace, has chosen to develop some spin-offs to continue milking the cow, but they have passed without penalty or glory.
There are those for the Nintendo DS, those for cell phones, those for the PSP and Vita and another 3 that are part of a trilogy called Chronicles. These titles are more recognized because, although they marked a drastic change, they also presented elements that were interesting and resonated with some people, although not enough to sit at the adult table. So, over time, most forgot them.
These are: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles China, India and Russia. It is time to remember them.
Stories from other worlds
Let’s start with the stories. In China, our protagonist is Shao Jun, who was a disciple of Ezio Auditore, and has the mission of eliminating the 8 Tigers, which are a group of Templars that control the country and use the Emperor as a puppet. They were in charge of eliminating the Brotherhood of Assassins in that region of the world, so Shao has personal motivations, because she also seeks to reform this association.
In India, our protagonist is Arbaaz Mir, and the country is also controlled by the Templars, who took advantage of the chaos caused by the Anglo-Sikh war to achieve this. The main objective of the assassin changes as we progress; First, we must rescue our mentor; then recover the Koh-i-Noor diamond; then, get the Precursor box and, at the end, save our beloved Pyara.
Lastly, it’s Russiawhich stars Nikolai Orelov, who appeared in the comic Assassin’s Creed: The Fall and in the graphic novel The Chain, fan favourite. His last mission as an assassin is to recover the Forerunner box, which is held by the Romanov family. The Templars have the same mission, so they kill the relatives, except for the daughter, Anastasia.
Thanks to Nikolai, Anastasia escapes with the box, and that’s why Shao Jun’s memories start to appear in her mind. From here, our main objective is to defend the girl, because the templars and even the assassins are after her to take the Precursor item from her and also because they see her as a threat, but in the end we managed to get her to escape and start a new life under another identity.
In general, each game has a story with a lot of potential and that is very interesting at times, but they never explode as one would expect. There’s not quite as high a point in the narrative as the main titles, so they never quite grab our attention as much, something that was very disappointing for fans who knew the protagonists from the comics and graphic novels.
Despite the fact that each adventure has different conflicts, they are united by the Precursor box that Ezio gave to his disciple before he died, and this is passed on in each title. Although there are other winks and references, each plot is independent, so there is not much of a problem if we play them out of order. It is ideal to do it chronologically so that we understand 100% the relationship between these murderers, but it is not vital either.
Each game inspired its art from the region where it takes place, resulting in immersive experiences. For example, China is inspired by the oriental painting style of the 16th century, India It has many more colors and life and Russia he chose to use the peculiarity of 20th century propaganda. Even though none of the games look as impressive as the main ones, they at least have a soul.
Another aspect that differentiates each game is the skills and tools that the protagonists have, since they are related to their culture. In China, our protagonist has knives as projectiles both to hurt the guards and to manipulate the environment. In India we have some darts that bounce and that still hurt the enemies, and in Russia we are a little more aggressive and we have a gun.
These are details that give these installments a striking identity, but for every good thing they do, there is also a bad one. For example, even though the style of China and Russia It is similar to that of their culture, the settings do not stand out for their dark and inconspicuous colors. Although it is easy to identify each title with a simple frame, it is not something to go crazy with.
Chronicles of a forgotten trilogy
The first Assassin’s Creed surprised due to its deep plot and gameplay that gave us freedom to a great extent and action and movement never seen before. He laid the foundation for a franchise that, for the most part, gets better with each release, and we recognize him today for his parkour, stealth, open world, and exploration. Although it has been experimented with, as with RPG elements, moving in 3D space has always been standard.
So when Ubisoft announced Assassin’s Creed Chronicles Chinaa new 2.5D title, a lot of people were surprised and at the same time turned away from the result, because they couldn’t imagine a Assassin’s to limit her to moving in so few directions. Unlike past spin offs, this one came out for PC, Xbox ONE and PlayStation 4 as part of the Season Pass of Unityso the company had enough faith in it to throw it into an arena bigger than that of laptops.
Moreover, from the beginning it was announced that China 2 titles followed to complete the trilogy, so rather than an experiment, Ubisoft decided that the Chronicles they would be a sub-franchise. They all came out for consoles and PC, and were eventually put together in a bundle that was also released for those platforms as well as PlayStation Vita. So were they a success? Let’s see…
It is important to mention that Ubisoft published the games, but in reality they were developed by Climax, a studio that has worked since the days of the Atari ST until deliveries like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and returnable. From here it is evident that the Chronicles they are different, because to get a different perspective you need different hands. Of course, they always tried to keep the DNA of the saga very present.
In real life events we say that changes are good, but in video games they almost always represent “betrayal” or “disrespect” to the origins of each franchise, especially when something as important as perspective changes. we all relate Assassin’s Creed with movement in 3D environments because it gives us the freedom to scale and go where we want.
When this formula is transferred to 2.5D, there are aspects that remain as they are and that work, but there are others that are lost in translation or that must necessarily change. In the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles, the levels are much more linear and the exploration is very limited; the game is played as the developers intended from the start and we as players have few options to be creative.
In that sense, there’s a disruption of what we know and always liked about the classic formula, but Climax found ways to make each game feel like a Assassin’s Creed. For example, since the scenarios are corridors, it is very likely that we will have to face the enemies, either face to face or from the shadows, so we must act like real assassins.
Sometimes we can pass without being noticed, but the best option is to attack when our rivals are distracted or turned. So, both the combat and the stealth and the murders are more present even than in some of the modern installments of the franchise. Parkour is also there, but it is very guided and rarely do we have more than one option to continue our path.
We would say that thanks to this the platforming is sensational, but it is not, due to the level design being lackluster. In the 3 installments it happens that the more we advance, the more monotonous the experience becomes. There’s little variety and creativity, so there comes a point where we feel like we’ve seen it all. There are occasional flashes of brilliance, but they are limited.
Another detail that becomes obsolete in this new perspective is the eagle vision, which helps us see where our enemies are and how many there are. This is one of the most representative mechanics of the saga, but in Chronicles we always see the full screen, so there is never a significant reason to activate this view.
The end of the Brotherhood
Despite the fact that some fans are fond of this trilogy and that Climax did his best to respect the DNA of the franchise, fans Assassin’s Creed Chronicles they had a much lower reception than the main games. Even each installment received a worse rating than its predecessor, which gave the company and Ubisoft to understand that they had to stop with this experiment.
Many defend them by saying that if we stop comparing them with the Assassin’s Creed main ones, they are outstanding titles, but the truth is that they still fall short. There are few elements that make them standout or memorable deliveries, so it’s only natural that the world has forgotten them over time.
Still, to say that they were a disaster or that they shouldn’t exist is an exaggeration because they showed the aspects that can be removed or changed and what is untouchable in the franchise. In addition, they are fun for some moments and, we emphasize: they have a couple of details that would even fit perfectly with the main games. Assassin’s Creed Chronicles It is the most forgotten Ubisoft trilogy, but also the bravest, and that is how we must remember it. Do you think they deserve a sequel?
Related Video: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Announcement Trailer | Ubisoft [NA]