ASSASSIN'S CREED CHRONICLES: RUSSIA
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on February 8, 2016
1918, St Petersburg, Russia. During the aftermath of the October Revolution, Nikolai Orelov, retiring member of the Assassin Brotherhood, just wants to take his wife and daughter somewhere safe and leave all the violence and death far behind. This is, however, not to be. First, Nikolai needs to perform one last task for said brotherhood before he is allowed to leave. It seems the Tsarís family is in possession of one of the legendary pieces of Eden. It is Nikolaiís task to retrieve this piece of Eden before the Templar Order can get their grubby little hands on it.
While searching for the artifact, Nikolai has to make his way through the war-torn streets of Russia, which are crawling with Bolshevik troops. Like in the two previous installments in the series, youíll have an array of attacks, weapons and other items at your disposal. Unlike any of the previous Chronicles games, youíll have a rifle in your arsenal. You can use this rifle to take out enemies at long range, create a distraction so you can sneak past unnoticed and even use sniper positions that are strewn across the cities. When using these sniper positions, your screen changes from the usual 2.5D view to a sniper scope-like first person view, allowing you to take out enemies from a much larger distance.
Eventually, you arrive at the Tsarís palace, where the Tsar and his family are being held against their will. You witness the murder of the Tsar and his family, although you overhear some guards talking about one of the Tsarís daughters, Anastacia, being missing. Nikolai, although shocked and appalled by the bloody massacre of the Tsarís family, realizes that saving them is impossible and, furthermore, not his mission, so he presses on to find the legendary piece of Eden. However, while youíre making your way through the palace, you come across Anastacia and defend her from Bolshevik soldiers. To your amazement, the girl is carrying a box, containing the artifact you have been searching for. She doesnít want to give up the artifact, but you donít have time for a soft touch and take the box from the girl. When the box comes into contact with a pendant around your neck, something really odd happens; Anastacia suddenly seems to know how to be an assassin, although she doesnít know why or how.
In order for you to solve this mystery and get the artifact to the Assassin Brotherhood safely, you decide to defend Anastacia and take her to your headquarters. This is easier said than done, however, seeing as how the place is still under Bolshevik control and theyíre hell-bent on finding you, the artifact and the girl. So you promise Anastacia youíll help her escape the palace and keep her safe.
This is where things take a slightly different route from previous Assassinís Creed Chronicles games. After promising to help Anastacia, Nikolai hands her a dagger and sets out to kill as many of the guars as he possibly can. This leaves you to take the role of Anastacia and make your way outside. So, instead of controlling just one protagonist, youíll control both protagonists. Not at the same time, mind you; that would be a bit difficult, I imagine. Instead, you take turns controlling Anastacia for a while and then switch over to Nikolai when things get a bit too dangerous for a teenage girl to handle. This gameplay mechanic reminded me quite a bit of Assassinís Creed: Syndicate, where you could switch between brother and sister: Jacob and Evie Frye. In Assassinís Creed Chronicles: Russia, however, you donít get to choose which one of the protagonists youíre controlling; this choice is made for you, as it is dictated by the story. Nevertheless, itís a very cool addition to the Chronicles universe and offers a bit more diversity in gameplay.
Each installment in the series has its own unique theme and art style, and Russia is no exception to this rule. Where Assassinís Creed Chronicles: China looked like a 16th century Chinese painting and Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India almost literally burst off your screen with vibrant colours, Russia actually looks like an old Russian propaganda poster. The art style of the game perfectly fits the time-period and the overall setting. Especially in external scenes, a lot of grey is used, giving the game a somewhat industrial look. The highlights in the environment are done in red, giving the environment more of a threatening and ominous feel. This, together with a modified arsenal and an awesome storyline, makes Assassinís Creed Chronicles: Russia another fantastic adventure! But, the art is not the only thing determining the overall feel of the game. The use of sound effects and background music only enhances the overall threatening feel, as does the very well-written story of the game, immersing us even more into the dangerous times of early 20th century Russia.
So this is it, ladies and gentlemen; the end of a trilogy. After China and India, it is Russiaís turn to host an Assassinís Creed Chronicles game. And what a game it is! The plot, characters, art, music and overall setting make this another installment in the Assassinís Creed universe that is really worth your time, money and effort! Itís an absolute must for Assassinís Creed fans, as well as those of you that get a kick out of a good platform game. I can only say that it has been an awesome journey and this wonít be the last time I play through this trilogy... not by a long shot!