Assassin's Creed has got a bad reputation since the release of Unity. The game had so many bugs across all platforms that even broke the game and in many cases made your face disappear.
Chronicles: China was supposed to part of Unity's expanded season pass, which was canned after Unity suffered dreadfully. However, if you didnt buy the season pass the first time around, you still have to pay for it, as it has now got a release as a stand alone title.
The 2D sidescroller reminds you constantly that the Nintendo handhelds did this expertly, even China's beautiful back setting makes you feel like a key part of a full console title is missing. The ability to explore freely. Theres still exploration to be had ofcourse, but no where near on the same scale.
You might be sitting there thinking that is an unfair criticism, you might be right, but the game has many other shortcomings.
As China is driven by the story completely through the many levels, you don't really get the chance to kick back relax and kill a bunch of guards, just well, because you can. Infact, Castlevania did the exact same thing but you didn't mind as the bosses drew you in and you forgot you were playing a 3DS port on a 360. The game also strangely forces you to play stealthily, if you get hit once or twice, you're dead. So, stealth is the only option, at least for the first few levels of the game.
When coming to dispatching guards though, you do have a full array of assassination techniques. Fighting is done by using the left and right sticks while moving in to the guard and hitting B you can block. You can then roll over them by hitting A but occassionally the fame forgets you want to facr the guard and Shao has an awkward moment between forgetting she's in a fight and remembering to turn round.
This also spawns our first glimpse of old man Ezio. Flashing us backward to Revelations amazingly powerful 'Embers' movie which Shao appears in.
Stnchronisation towers are also clunky. Turning the game onto a 3D map as if tryong to copy your HUD map on Arno's grand adventure. This doesn't really lend anything useful to the game as you can't actually tag useful pieces of information.
Eagle vision os almost uesless too. Its only helpful in learning guard routes. But if you have a good attention span, you can just learn their routes by watching the vision cones.
The cutscenes are done wonderfully, however, done as a comic style, they fit the graphics of the core gameplay well.
Chronicles: China fails to deliver where Chronicles triumphed on Nintendo DS. It's a shame as Shao could have carried an expansion by herself and done it better than Aveline. You can't help but feel a great female character (which the industry desperately needs) has been let down.
Assassin's Creed China scores 6/10