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Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia

February 18, 2016 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia
ACC: Russia’s stylized graphics are reminiscent of Sin City.

The Assassin’s Creed Chronicles games have stumbled to the finish line — much like the clunky parkour in the main series. However, while Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia suffers from many of the same flaws as the previous games, it offers some innovations that are the best in the trilogy, and even adds some ideas that might be worthy of the next proper entry.

CONTROLS (3.75/5)

If you’ve played the other Chronicles games, Russia’s controls are nearly identical as it’s built on the same engine. That means for better or worse, the issues that plagued the previous control scheme (floaty timing, particularly on stealth) are still here.

The only difference is that Russia includes some first-person sniping sections, which stand out from the rest of the series as pretty much the only mini-game (more on that below).

GRAPHICS/SOUND (3.5/5)

While India was the prettiest of the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles, Russia may be the most stylized because of the nature of the time period. Set in 1918, the primary colours are greyscale, but harsh reds are used for accents, creating a unique look that’s almost along the lines of Sin City.

That’s counterbalanced by mediocre voice acting with Russian accents bordering on parody, similar to the weird combination of Chinese/British accents in the first game (India was markedly better). And the less we remember about Ezio Auditore’s cameo, the better.

GAMEPLAY (3.75/5)

Outside of the setting, Russia is more of the same of what we’ve seen in China and India. Primary gameplay is set into bite-size sections, and your goal is essentially to get from point A to point B. You’ll be given a score after each section and points earned allow you to purchase minor upgrades.

Sections range from pure stealth to a combination of stealth/combat to timed parkour. All of it uses the original Prince of Persia-style platforming controls, which makes for nice animation but occasionally clunky stealth.

What hasn’t improved: the AI, the difficulty of some of the level design and the unforgiving enemy detection. However, given that this is the latest chronological entry in the entire series, there are some cool features here that should be integrated into a modern-era Assassin’s Creed game (let’s hope one day we get a Nazi Germany or McCarthy USA entry).

For example, because your main protagonist has a rifle, you have a greater range of attack and the ability to distract with noise. Your phone can be used to create a distraction as well. There are also some first-person sniping sections, which break up the platforming action — more importantly, they actually feel relevant to the historical nature of the game.

OVERALL (3.75/5)

Each Chronicles game comes with its pros and cons. China started out strong and finished with terrible level design. India’s trial-and-error gameplay got old quickly, but had the best production values. Russia is a mix of highs and lows. Its attempts to branch out the franchise’s tropes are welcome and sometimes quite innovative, but like the other two games, sometimes it’s just frustrating as hell.

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Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India

January 29, 2016 | by Mike Chen | Comments (0)
Reach a checkpoint, stealth or fight some guards, pick up some collectibles, repeat. Despite some slightly better level design — including some sections that focus more on parkour — India faces a lot of the same repetitive issues that China faced. Even with nicer production values, the game is still blocked off into small segments of stealth or combat or parkour.
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Video Game Review: Jack the Ripper DLC

December 30, 2015 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
The primary missions are mostly well designed, with a few featuring some level of infiltration flexibility. Some of the DLC also has you playing as Jack himself; whether it’s a gimmick to exploit history or a psychological trick to get into the mindset of a murderer, it works effectively thanks to a slightly different GUI and visual elements. This is balanced by Evie’s side quests, which involve finding justice and safety for the prostitutes of London that were the Ripper’s targets.
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Video Game Review: The Talos Principle

December 14, 2015 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
The less said about the story, the better. The only thing we’ll really divulge is that things are not necessarily what they seem, and it’s probably the closest a game story has come to classic hard science fiction in a while. Much of this is done through computer terminal access, a la Fallout. If you know rudimentary DOS or Linux commands, you’ll find some of the interface to be familiar.
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Video Game Review: Fallout 4

November 17, 2015 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
The core Fallout experience is roughly the same, it just looks better and is more refined. You’ll explore the wasteland, embark on a personal quest while picking up dozens of side quests, run into things both humorous and heart-wrenching and shoot a lot of stuff.
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