Assassin’s Creed continues to be one of the most popular videogame franchises out there, and that trend looks to continue with the imminent release of Assassin’s Creed Mirage. However, I’m not here to discuss that, for Mirage isn’t due to appear on Nintendo Switch, but mobile gamers are certainly in for a treat courtesy of Assassin’s Creed Jade. At Gamescom 2023, I was lucky enough to go hands-on with the game for roughly 30 minutes, during which time I got to experience the combat as well as learn a bit about the characters, story, and world.
Everything that’s quintessential to the Assassin’s Creed experience is present in Jade, and the game took me to a place in history that I’ve long thought the series would suit. I found myself in ancient China, and while we’ve technically visited China previously thanks to Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, AC Jade offers so much more with an enthralling story that’s set during the Qin Dynasty.
You play as Xia, and for the first time in an AC game, you get to fully customize your character, though the amount of options on offer during my brief time with the game were fewer than what the developers intend to put in the full title. Plus, you know that your character is a certified badass, given they know Kassandra and learned from her in ancient Greece before returning to China.
Though I can’t comment too much on the story due to such a brief time with the game, I can certainly tell you that the combat is excellent. The game goes back to Assassin’s Creed’s roots in its approach, offering you a primary attack button, as opposed to the multiple-button maneuvers from the likes of Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla, while also encouraging you to make good use of the dodge button. Mind you, dodging is vital in every AC game.
Fighting feels a bit like a dance, thanks to how smooth it is. I can honestly say that I’m blown away by how authentic it all feels – who would have thought AC could be on mobile at this caliber? But it doesn’t stop there. As great as it is to swing a sword, dodge some blows, and even perform a parry or two, there’s one specific mechanic that any and all assassin games must have. Assassinations.
Just like in every other Assassin’s Creed title, you can sneak up on your enemies to assassinate them and perform an insta-kill. You can do this from behind, below (if hanging from a ledge), or above. As veteran AC players likely know, you sometimes need to pick the perfect moment to strike, and Assassin’s Creed Jade encourages you to make good use of your environment to get the job done. During my time with the game, I was able to crouch in the long grass to conceal myself, waiting for a group of enemies to split up so I could begin to pick them off.
Interestingly enough, you’re not technically an assassin in Jade because they don’t exist yet. It’s an interesting tidbit, though it changes nothing about the gameplay itself – it’s still Assassin’s Creed.
You likely want to know what you can expect from the map. Well, it’s a sprawling open world that’s even larger than some open-world triple-A games on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. Yes, it’s that huge. I didn’t get to explore too much, but I could see from the map that there are many regions to explore, and future updates to the game after release are set to add even more territory.
Not to worry if the size of the map intimidates you, as fast travel is still a thing here, just like in the console AC games. However, I have no doubt that I’m going to lose hours of my life to this mobile game at launch as I explore every nook and cranny of ancient China. Plus, the fact that the game looks beyond stunning is nothing short of a bonus. It’s a true triple-A experience on mobile, and it runs very smoothly on both Android and iOS devices, from what I experienced. However, do bear in mind that it was the more recent smartphone models that I played the game on, such as the Samsung Galaxy S22/23, so if your phone is two, maybe three years old, there’s a chance your phone might not run the game at its full specs.
Luckily, the team at Level Infinite plans to run several more beta tests to ensure the game is up to code before its full release. So, as an Assassin’s Creed fan, it feels good to know that the developers are going about this the right way and that Jade is shaping up to be a solid effort at bringing the beloved franchise to mobile.