Chronicles: China is a small game relative to its franchise counterparts. It’s a 2D side-scroller, not an open world adventure, and priced at only $10, it presents itself as an even smaller package than its downloadable peers (China takes a lot of inspiration from Mark of the Ninja and that game is $15). Naturally, changes must be made to the typical Assassin’s Creed formula to fit it into this very different package, and China succeeds in this regarding its mechanics and systems (mainly by mimicking the mechanics and systems from the aforementioned Mark of the Ninja).
Yet, its narrative remains a sprawling adventure, an excuse to travel from historical locale to historical locale. It’s a narrative uniquely unsuited to the 2D side-scroller genre, and it’s interesting to watch the game bend over backwards as it tries to shove as much plot as it can between levels. China is an unfinished product, but only from a story standpoint. Its gameplay systems and art and level design are all quite well-done, but it’s clear that they were the priority. The story remains an outline that never got revised.