Assassin’s Creed Shadows Showcase Highlights Its Two Very Different Gameplay Styles

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Ubisoft gave us the deepest look yet at Assassin’s Creed Shadows–previously codenamed Assassin’s Creed Red–during its Ubisoft Forward presentation. This game stars dual protagonists, the stealthy shinobi Naoe and the real-life samurai Yasuke.

The demonstration began with Yasuke riding across the countryside on horseback and then exploring a village on foot. The villagers reacted to the presence of a samurai with respect, and some even bowed. We also saw a cute moment where he found a dog and gave it a friendly pet before talking with a woman about a recent violent threat to her village. So he went off to investigate and the problem, sensing corruption in the village that is effectively dividing the people there. He’s confronted in the street by a rival samurai who wants him to leave the situation well enough alone, and quickly dispatches him and his allies. His weapon–called a kanabo–isn’t what you may expect from a samurai, though, resembling a steel spiked club. He then switches to using a more traditional katana for the second phase of the fight. When he takes out the leader, there’s a special transition to mark the beheading.

Another fighter attempts to ambush Yasuke, but Naoe intervenes. The two exchange some dialogue, and there’s a player-select screen to choose how to approach the next part of the mission: directly with Yasuke or stealthily as Naoe. For the demo, it transitioned to Naoe, who skulked across rooftops, around corners, and through tall grass in an enemy encampment. We get to see her sneak into a building and stab someone through a door, before sensing the target on his way and hiding on the ceiling. She follows him outside and sneaks through the water to get a good vantage point before stabbing him, but that alerts his guards. That kicks off a more-direct combat sequence, but Naoe’s combat looks more distinct with lighter, ranged attacks. After killing a few guards, she runs off to escape the camp.

No doubt due to its emphasis on stealth, fans have been demanding an Assassin’s Creed set in Japan and featuring ninja for years. So this is making good on a long-awaited expectation, but the dual-protagonist approach gives it a different twist. The two appear to control fairly differently from one another, and Shadows tells a non-linear story with targets that can be taken out in any order. It also introduces a new seasonal system with weather that changes between spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Assassin’s Creed Shadows is coming to PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S on November 15. Ubisoft+ Premium members will get early access starting on November 12. For more details, check out our Assassin’s Creed Shadows preorder guide. For even more, check out all the biggest games from the Ubisoft Forward.