The final episode of the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles series is upon us, and we’re here to meet Nikolai Orelov, a Master Assassin from the early 20th century in Russia. Out of the three episodes we’ve been given, Russia is the best of the bunch but it’s still a hindrance on what the series can achieve.
The third entry of the Chronicles offshoot doesn’t shake up the formula from previous entry’s China and India, and if you’re played either one of those games, you’ll feel right at home here. If you didn’t enjoy either entry before Russia, well, this isn’t for you then.
I’m not sure Ubisoft allowing an outside developer playing with their valuable IP was the best idea here, I’m usually open to studios working together and working off one another, but, the series deserves a refined experience.
I’m not saying Climax Studios didn’t do a good job – they spun off Assassin’s Creed wonderfully, it’s the mechanics of the spinoff series that need tweaking, get rid of the tailing missions, the insta-fail stealth sections, these issues have carried over from each game.
Repeatedly retrying sections and not being able to be creative about how I go through a level is frustrating, the optimal path isn’t what I want because there should be the freedom to move through a stage multiple ways in a way that I feel fits the scenario, but, instead there is but one path to the end.
Combat is little more than button mashing when caught or tasked to face an enemy, whistling and smoke bombs make a return, but there are so few smoke bombs to use that combat is the next best option. As a Master Assassin, I feel no more powerful than an initiate of the brotherhood, the game does very little to make it be known I am an experienced warrior.
The aesthetics of Russia is gorgeous. The buildings and the areas of Moscow are some of the best backdrops the series has given us.
The Chronicles spinoff series never takes hold of the location backdrops in a proper way, we have Russia during the Communist Revolution and all we see is Nikolai trying to escape the area to save his family; which was the plot of The Fall, a graphic novel series based on Assassin’s Creed.
The secondary playable character, Princess Anastasia, yes that princess, is a ton of fun. Princess Anastasia plays unlike any of the series’ protagonists and I don’t want to spoil just what she is capable of doing. It was a pleasant surprise.
The final entry of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles is the best looking of the bunch but the lack of innovation sets the series apart from reaching the true potential of a side-scrolling Assassin’s Creed game. With some minor tweaking to the formula the offshoot of Assassin’s Creed could very well flourish. Aside from a handful of moments through three games, I feel this series is just short of being great.