I’ve been uninterested in the Assassin’s Creed franchise for a long time. I liked Asscreed 2 and Brotherhood quite a bit, but once it came time for Revelations I think I realized that I’d had just about enough climbing, jumping and stabbing my way around a big pseudo-historical playground full of shallow minigames and collectibles. AC2 became the codifier not just of Assassin’s Creed, but of all of Ubisoft’s major releases — big playgrounds full of shallow minigames and collectibles.
So imagine my surprise when I discover that the newest AC release, AC Chronicles: China, didn’t look like that at all, but instead looked like Mark of the Ninja with an Assassin’s Creed skin.
The HUD shows vision cones from guards and concentric circles appearing around all sounds. You climb on walls and ceilings, and can assassinate unaware enemies from above, below and behind, all using the context-sensitive X button. Environments are filled with Hiding Spots that you can sneak into and become invisible and wait until the right moment to hop back out. It has so many similarities to Mark of the Ninja that at a glance it looks like a clone.
So considering Mark of the Ninja is still my favorite game ever made, it probably makes sense that I was ready to play it and then eviscerate it afterward for being a hollow rip-off. But I was also ready to declare it a triumph if it proved itself — a game that takes inspiration from MotN, but differentiates itself and elevates the formula.
Now that I’ve played it all the way to the end credits, well, it isn’t really either of those. It’s a decent stealth game that’s cohesive and polished by Ubisoft standards, and messy and inconsistent by MotN standards.
For those of you who have ever asked what Ninja Blues video content might look like, we have an answer! Something like this.
Ninjustin here. I’ve had a plan to make this exact thing for a long time. Mark of the Ninja is my favorite game, and I’ve wanted to take it step-by-step to talk about all the little and not-so-little reasons I love it so much. This is a video-based Let’s Play, but it’s not in the Game Grumps style of just running around and having fun and laughing. That’s not to say I don’t like that style — I love Game Grumps and still watch it almost daily — but I felt I wouldn’t be doing this game justice. I wanted to do something more analytical.
Brilliant name, isn’t it? Sadly, we didn’t think of it — it came from a friend of ours who goes by Thanatos.
I’m not sure if I’ll continue with this. I probably won’t have as many things to say in every level as I did in this level. But there’s still plenty more to be seen. I could also play specific levels with specific restrictions or alternate abilities/masks. I’ll have to think about it. In the meantime, let me know if you’d like to see more, what you like or dislike about the video, ways you could think to improve it, etc.
Also: Thank you all so much for your feedback from a few weeks ago! I was expecting one of two reactions to the post: 1) nobody would comment, leaving us where we started, or 2) a bunch of people would comment to get a free game, which would be fine. Instead we got a bunch of people commenting, the majority of whom specifically asked not to get a free game. I did not foresee that outcome. It really blew me away.
I’m working on the giveaway. I was going to give out the free games through random number generation, but since I have five candidates for six games… I have something else in mind. Stay tuned.