The character of Zorro has been around for a very long time. Featured in everything from books, to television series to movies, and even video games; the Zorro character has had a lot of content created around it over the years. I got to say that I have never had strong feelings, positive or negative, towards the character. This is mostly because while I am familiar with the character, I can’t recall ever having seen any of the Zorro movies or television shows. Despite not being a fan of the franchise, I was intrigued when I first saw Zorro The Chronicles. I was interested in the game as it seemed like an interesting indie twist on a number of different video game genres that I have genuinely enjoyed. Zorro The Chronicles is a fun family friendly video game with gameplay reminiscent of the Batman Arkham and Assassin’s Creed series, that unfortunately has some issues that it can’t quite overcome.
Based on animated television show of the same name, Zorro The Chronicles follows Zorro and his sister Ines. The game takes place in 19th century California. The evil general and his army threaten the people of the region. You must complete various missions to stop their dastardly deeds and protect the innocent.
If I were to describe the gameplay of Zorro The Chronicles, I would say that it feels like a combination of the Batman Arkham series and Assassin’s Creed. This is wrapped up in a package meant for families (there is no blood or killing). The game is divided into levels. Each level gives you a couple of objectives that you need to complete in order to help the people. At the beginning of each level you can choose to play as either Zorro or Ines. The main difference seems to be that Ines has more health, and Zorro has more energy which can be used for special abilities.
I would say that the gameplay has two main elements.
The first is the combat. The combat reminds me a lot of both the Arkham series and Assassin’s Creed. There is no killing in the game as instead you knock enemies out with various silly hi-jinks. The gameplay relies a lot on managing large groups of enemies that surround you. You can smoothly switch between enemies by pressing the attack button and aiming in another direction. You have access to a stun attack as well as a counter which temporarily incapacitates enemies if you press it at the right time. Do well in combat and you receive energy which you can use to unleash special attacks which immediately defeat enemies. Otherwise you need to deplete their health, or knock them into one of the environmental hazards.
In addition to the combat mechanics, there is a stealth element to Zorro The Chronicles. The stealth mechanics are basically optional. Utilizing them allows you to dispatch of enemies quicker without drawing attention, but if you are ever spotted you can just fall back to the normal combat. To hide from enemies you can use your whip to jump towards various perches and rooftops. You can then jump down and immediately defeat unsuspecting enemies. You can also sneak up on enemies and use a stealth attack to knock them out.
Most of the time Zorro The Chronicles gives you a choice between using stealth and combat. The game even encourages you to utilize both as there are various challenges throughout each level which give you rewards if you defeat enemies in a specific way. If you complete the challenges you will earn experience which you can use to purchase upgrades for the characters.
Heading into Zorro The Chronicles I was curious how the Assassin’s Creed/Batman Arkham gameplay would work in a game gauged towards family/children. I will admit that I was genuinely impressed by the gameplay. The gameplay actually reminded me quite a bit of those two other games. It has been simplified a little for the target audience, but this doesn’t adversely impact the gameplay much. Zorro The Chronicles’ gameplay is quite satisfying.
I applaud the game for actually giving you a choice in how you want to approach the levels. Most of the levels even have different entry points for when you want to go the stealth or combat route. On their own both mechanics work well. In most cases the game really lets you choose either option. The various challenges try to get you to approach sections in a certain way, but you can always choose to approach it in the other way. There are no automatic failures if you are caught trying to use stealth. The only punishment is that you will have to take on more enemies at the same time. This will make the combat a little more challenging. Ultimately I tried to mix in both stealth and combat depending on what fit the current situation. The various challenges really helped shape what I did as well.
I think the main reason why the gameplay works as well as it does is due to the controls. The game has some animation glitches where you and enemies will suddenly change your animation to fit what is going on in the gameplay. Visually this can look a little off at times. The gameplay itself is quite responsive though. I think the game works because the gameplay is quite smooth. With the simple press of a button you can reach a rooftop to get away from the view of enemies. The combat is also quite smooth as you can easily move between different enemies that have surrounded you. The only real issue with the controls is the camera which can be kind of a pain at times. For an indie game, Zorro The Chronicles does a really good job replicating what works about the Batman Arkham series in a package that the whole family can enjoy.
While I had fun with Zorro The Chronicles, it does have a number of issues which kind of hold it back.
I would probably say that the biggest issue with the game is the fact that the gameplay gets a little repetitive after a while. The gameplay is pretty fun, but after the first couple of levels it never really changes. While each mission has different objectives, they don’t really change the gameplay in any noticeable way. Basically every level involves defeating enough enemies to clear an area or acquire some object. Each mission basically becomes an exercise of dispatching the enemies whether you do it by stealth, or through combat.
The other major issue with the game is just the fact that it is really easy. I am guessing a lot of this has to deal with the fact that the game was made with families in mind. I ended up playing the game on the hard difficulty, and I never really encountered any significant challenge.
Now this won’t necessarily be an issue for everyone. This does make the game more accessible for children and those who don’t play a lot of video games in this genre. The problem comes from the fact that regular gamers won’t have too much trouble with the game, and it kind of defeats the purpose of choosing between stealth and direct combat. Stealth makes it quicker to defeat enemies, but if you are caught you just have to fight more of them. The combat unfortunately is quite easy where you can get pretty far just by mashing the attack button and occasionally the counter and jump/dodge button. The game never gives you that sense where you have to play really well in order to do well. You can get pretty sloppy, and still have no trouble beating the levels.
Ultimately Zorro The Chronicles kind of feels like it was overly ambitious. There is a lot to like about the game as it is quite fun. The problem is the budget wasn’t big enough to do everything that the developer wanted to do. Thus the game gets a little repetitive after a while. The visuals are solid, but you can tell that it is an indie game. The story is pretty limited as well since it mostly involves short cutscenes and text explaining what is going on.
As for the game’s length it really depends on how you approach it. The game features a total of 18 missions. Most missions feature one to three objectives to complete. These usually involve acquiring a few objects or clearing out the enemies from an area. Each location is a decent size. If you just focus on the main objective of each mission, I think you could beat most of them rather quickly. If you take your time though trying to complete all of the challenges and finding the posters hidden around the world, I would guess that most levels will take around 20-30 minutes. With 18 levels this will take a decent amount of time to complete.
There are a lot of things that I liked about Zorro The Chronicles, but it has its share of issues as well. On the positive side the gameplay is quite enjoyable. It has been simplified in a way to appeal more to children and those who don’t play a lot of video games. It still reminds me a lot of what I enjoyed most about the Batman Arkham and Assassin’s Creed Series though. The gameplay does a good job letting you choose between taking the stealth or combat route. Both are quite fun as it is satisfying when you can take down a large group of enemies. Unfortunately the gameplay gets a little repetitive after a while and the levels don’t really change up the gameplay much. Zorro The Chronicles is not a particularly difficult game either, as even on hard difficulty I didn’t really have any issues beating the enemies.
My recommendation for Zorro The Chronicles comes down to your thoughts on the theme, and whether you want a more simplified family friendly Batman Arkham/Assassin’s Creed game. If neither really interest you, I don’t think Zorro The Chronicles will be for you. If it sounds interesting to you though, I think you should consider picking up Zorro The Chronicles.
Zorro The Chronicles
Release Date: June 16th, 2022 | Systems: Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Developer: BKOM Studios | Publisher: Nacon | ESRB Rating: E 10+ for Mild Violence
Genres: Action, Adventure, Indie
Official Website: https://www.bkomstudios.com/projects/zorro-the-chronicles/
- A fun more simplified take on the Assassin’s Creed/Batman Arkham gameplay.
- Fun gameplay with good smooth controls.
- The gameplay gets a little repetitive after a while.
- Is quite easy if you have any experience with this genre of video games.
Recommendation: For those intrigued by the theme and what a simpler family friendly action adventure game.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank BKOM Studios and Nacon for the review copy of Zorro The Chronicles used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.