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Assassin’s Creed Shadows Is Shaping Up To Be Another Hard-Hitting Classic

Assassin’s Creed Shadows was revealed as a cinematic world premiere trailer on May 15th. Set within feudal Japan and fixated on two playable protagonists in Naoe and Yasuke, I fully expected Shadows to be another typical Assassin’s Creed game with only a few key changes to enhance the overall experience.

After attending a behind-closed-doors demo presentation earlier this month, I’m pleased to say I was wrong about my initial thoughts. Assassin’s Creed Shadows feels like a fresh step forward for the series and can potentially bring many fans back to the franchise who might have taken a break. Here are more thoughts on the Ubisoft Forward presentation, the live demo I witnessed, and why Ubisoft might have another hard-hitting classic in the making.

New Playstyles Are Instant Gamechangers

If you watched the Assassin’s Creed Shadows demo gameplay (embedded above) then you have an idea of how playstyles can vary between the main protagonists. As a Shinobi Assassin, Naoe uses her agile stealth skills to sneak into restricted areas and eliminate key targets. Yasuke is the exact opposite as he is a larger-than-life samurai who uses his size and brute force to run straight through obstacles and enemies.

Fans of previous Assassin’s Creed titles may gravitate towards Naoe’s playstyle more because it feels very familiar. While she does have a different array of weapons like the grappling hook and kunai, her techniques are standard for most assassins. This isn’t exactly the case for Yasuke who operates more like a tank. Due to how much bigger he is than his adversaries, every approach he takes is more direct and satisfyingly brutal.

While the Ubisoft Forward livestream highlighted Naoe’s approach to the assassination mission, the live demo that I witnessed showed just how different everything would have been if Yasuke had done this mission instead. For starters, there was no sneaking as Yasuke infiltrated the stronghold right away. After bursting through the doors and alerting nearby guards, he effectively took out everyone who got in his way. Yasuke is well equipped for all combat scenarios thanks to having a Katana, Kanabo, and Teppo.

Adding an optional playstyle like this one greatly changes the overall gameplay experience. I also like that both of these styles are unique to each character and you are met with certain challenges if you try switching things up. For example, if Naoe is detected and has to face several enemies that are larger than her then it may take longer for her to get through them.

In the case of Yasuke, he is bigger than everyone and sticks out like a sore thumb so stealth wouldn’t work at all. Making both of these characters fundamentally different is quite intriguing and I look forward to learning more about how they will operate as a unit.

A Familiar Setting

Before the launch of Sucker Punch Productions’ Ghost of Tsushima in 2020, people have been asking for an Assassin’s Creed game set in Feudal Japan. With the upcoming release of Shadows, it’s good to see that Ubisoft has finally listened to the fans.

I strongly consider Ghost of Tsushima as the best action-adventure game set within this period. For this reason, I’m even more interested in seeing what Ubisoft Quebec brings to the table with this concept. I only care about if the characters, world, and gameplay are good enough to keep me coming back for more. So far, things are looking promising and I’m eager to learn more.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows launches on November 12th for Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, macOS, and iPadOS. Are any of you planning on picking up the game later this year? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

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