Assassins Creed has made a constant appearance on my gaming shelf over the years, even through its ups and downs when it comes to story and gameplay mechanics. AC is one of those reliable franchises that helps you vent some frustration while performing amazing group assassinations or making your stomach turn as you jump off a tall structure into a small bale of hay, and the “spin-off” Assassin’s Creed Chronicles games manage to achieve that too.
AC Chronicles: Russia follows Nikolai Orelov in 1918 as he sets off on one last mission before leaving Moscow with his family. He is ordered to infiltrate the house where the Tsar’s family is being held by the Bolsheviks and acquire an artefact that the Assassins and Templars have been fighting over for centuries. It’s pretty standard Assassin’s Creed fare here, but, without giving away too much, is a strong point of the game.
The most notable difference with the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles games and the mainstream entries is the side-scrolling perspective. At first glance, the game looks very simple and partially uninteresting; however after starting it up and learning the basics on what you can do, the game really starts to open up. With its points and levelling system using the Bronze, Silver and Gold achievements and combos, you tend to find yourself replaying missions to try and achieve the best points rating so that you can level yourself up accordingly.
The actual gameplay mechanics are far better suited for a controller than that of the usual keyboard and mouse, however after a few missions in you tend to get used to the keys. There are some frustrating situations that you find yourself in that can be avoided if you pay very close attention to the map and the possible paths that you can run on, however I did tend to find myself scratching my head and wondering where I went wrong while staring at a dead-end.
These confusing moments may lead to a few annoyances with Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia, there’s no denying that it certainly boasts a rather neat visual style. Greys and reds litter the surroundings and skylines, with trains, telephones, cables and abundant blood making up the remainders of the stark contrasts. Comic book style cutscenes also helping to tie the missions together in a suitably attractive fashion.
So is Russia the best Assassin’s Creed game? Well, no, but the Chronicles sister franchise has some potential and I do recommend it for those that have been following the games as religiously as I have been. For those that are in two minds about the game and are swayed by the price tag on it, rather wait for a special to come along or hold off until the full retail package (including the Russia, China, and India chapters) arrives.
Have you played Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia? What do you think of the series experimenting with some 2D adventures? Let us know by tweeting @MenStuffZA and commenting below.