The Assassin’s Creed mini-trilogy known as Chronicles is now complete with the release of the Russia entry. This mini-series has released to an average reception, but does a new setting and more stylized graphics raise the bar a little higher this time?
A Bit Intriguing
This time around, you start out playing as the Assassin Nikolai Orelov, though things change up a bit when you also play as a certain mysteriously capable Romanov after the rest of her royal family is executed. Nikolai’s main objective is to complete one final mission before leaving the order and attempting to live a “normal” life, but of course things rarely go to plan in video games. ACCR has the most intriguing story compared to the two previous games, by far.
ACCR is the most stylized version of the bunch. Most of the game’s color palette is a decidedly gray-based affair, to match with the Russian Revolution setting. However, objects which are able to be interacted with, and especially that are crucial to your advancement, are tinged blood red. The world even looks like it has a pastel, almost hand-outlined rendering applied to it. It’s a nice change of pace from the more realistic-looking earlier entries. Perhaps due to the fact that the backgrounds are simpler, ACCR also runs a little more smoothly than its predecessors, though things can still stutter a bit when the action is too hectic for the game to keep up with.
Fresh Coat of Paint
Though ACCR is an admirable visual effort, the rest of the game follows the path of the entries before it in this mini-trilogy. Expect to run around, jump, hide, and kill some terribly stupid AI characters. Enemies lose track of you after just a few feet, even indoors, and rarely look very far beyond the last spot that they saw you. The game is really almost too easy…except for those chase/escape missions. Oh man, they are back and as annoying as ever. There’s an exciting scene where you’re being chased by a train, which is ruined because you’ll likely have to repeat it several times. My issue isn’t with the fact that they are challenging — it’s that the game requires that you have pinpoint precision in performing your moves, while giving you clunky control over your character.
Speaking of controls, there are a few new segments worth mentioning. The most radical change from before includes special areas in some levels that enable you to take up a sniping position, and take out enemies in first-person mode. This is a fun distraction from the main game, and even serves to help make upcoming sections of a level easier. It also has the unintended side effect of showing the game’s graphics up close, which is not as good of an idea as it may initially sound.
Beyond the new segments, there is a New Game+ mode as before, but because there is an additional character you can vary things up a little bit, such as using the unlocked abilities of one character on the other. There are also around three challenges to complete on each level for bonuses that range from extra health to stronger weapons. These often present enough challenge to make Ezio Auditore wince, and are definitely bonuses for those completionists out there.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia is the best entry in this mini-series. The story is the most intriguing, and there are finally some new mechanics that add to the gameplay. The core of the game, however, is still unfortunately flawed. Enemies are hilariously stupid, chase/escape sequences require timing that is too precise for such a clunky control scheme, and checkpoints can be frustratingly sparse. While the stylized look and feel is a standout for this entry, ACCR doesn’t do quite enough to its core to improve by much. If you’ve enjoyed your time with the Chronicles series, then let Russia serve as a nightcap: good as a finish to the evening, but too much of anything is liable to upset you.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia review copy provided by publisher. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.