So it is not your normal Assassin's Creed game. No, not even close. Side-scrolling action brings you a completely different view and combat is...well...not easy...unlike holding the right trigger and countering everything like you are probably used to. That being said, I think this game is a very good game and I am looking forward to India and Russia.
As I played through this, two games continually popped in my head. Child of Light (another Ubisoft game) seems to me to be the cloth the game was cut from, visually at least. Water color art is absolutely beautiful and makes this game very easy to look at through the several playthroughs that are required for 100%. The combat and necessity for stealth constantly brought Styx to mind. In both games, more than two combatants is trouble. Patience is required if you plan on completing both games, lots of patience.
The story falls right in line with the Assassin's Creed puzzle. I won't go into it and spoil any of it for you. I figure if you are reading this you are probably pretty familiar with how this story has been playing out and I am really pleased with how this one plugs into the line.
So, all that out of the way, let's talk about the achievements. This is an achievement site after all. If you are a completionist this game is going to require a minimum of two full playthroughs. There are two achievements for completing the game, one on regular and one on plus or plus hard mode. You must complete the game on regular difficulty to unlock the other modes, so there are your two playthroughs. Thankfully, unlike the other Assassin's Creeds, this game really isn't very long. If you get a good grip on the controls you can probably play it through in about 5 hours the first time. For me it took about 8 as I really didn't get it for a while. Once I did, I started to have a blast playing this game.
Collectibles aren't that bad. Most of the collectibles are on your path to the finish line, or just barely out of the way. When I finished my two playthroughs (I was not looking for my collectibles until after I completed it both times) I only needed 2 scrolls and 18 shards to clean up those two achievements which I found to be rather satisfying. Of those, there were only about 4 that were a pain to find. Unlike Unity, gathering your collectibles is not going to add another 24 hours to your game time, thankfully. I enjoy collectibles but I think they went a bit overboard on Unity and I was happy to see they dropped back to a more reasonable amount in this one.
There were maybe two achievements that were a real pain for me to complete. The helix kill achievement was a real drag. I just couldn't get the helix kill to work for me. After about 80 kills, one at a time, I figured it out and it really didn't seem to make it any easier. Combat in this game is not easy, not in the least bit. The other hard one was completing sequence 11 without being seen. Not that it was terribly difficult, there is a good guide posted on the achievement, I just had a hell of a time doing it on regular difficulty. I changed to plus mode and whipped it out in very little time. I actually found plus mode a lot easier for my style of play. It also allows for playing with all of your bonuses earned in the regular playthrough.
On that second playthrough, plus mode, I did the Shadow Gold achievement at the same time and found the guides posted on that achievement are fantastic. Getting your secondary objectives is the hardest part of the shadow gold achievement and will cause you to rip your hair out at times. Several of the other achievements are directly tied to the secondary objectives so you can save yourself some time if you do it this way.
I rated this game a 4.5 out of 5. The half point is due to the fact that I feel they made the combat a bit too hard. I am sure this is on purpose to force you to be more of an assassin and use your stealth skills as much as possible, but there were times that I felt this ruined some of my enjoyment of the game. Yes, it is very satisfying to run through and do it the way that it seems to be meant to be played, but there are times you want to take on a few guys and have a chance to survive it. But that is only a small ding in the very solid armor of this game.
So, it is different, visually and mechanically. It is not different as the story is an added bonus to an Assassin's Creed tale that seems to just keep getting bigger and bigger. I'd recommend this game to just about anyone out there. And I would also advise you to be patient. If you can be patient, you can really enjoy this one.
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