Assassin’s Creed Shadows changes massively depending on your character

Here are two vastly different ways to play a mission
Assassin's Creed Shadows
Assassin's Creed Shadows / Ubisoft

Your two playable characters in Assassin’s Creed Shadows couldn’t be more different. During a behind-closed-doors presentation at Summer Games Fest, Ubisoft demonstrates their unique skills in a mission involving killing off a corrupt castle lord.

Playthrough one is with Yasuke. A powerful samurai, he’s the first character in an Assassin’s Creed game based on an actual historical figure. He also plays nothing like an assassin - in fact, he can barely jump. 

Yasuke’s cumbersome climbing makes him far better suited to the ground. Here he relies on brute force to steamroll straight through the front door. Literally. The hulking figure shatters a wooden barricade (a skill his partner lacks) and takes on a group of guards in the castle courtyard using a massive spiked club. 

Yasuka and Naoe from Assassin's Creed Shadows, standing side by side
Two protagonists and two very different stories. / Ubisoft

There’s little room subtlety. He dispatches the first by smashing off his armor before bringing the surfboard-sized weapon down with full force on his head, which promptly explodes. He sends another foe flying into a destructible crate of tomatoes, and the third he decapitates with a swift katana execution, coating his own face in blood. It’s surprisingly gory. 

If you’re feeling slightly less honorable, there’s always the option of switching to an over-the-shoulder third-person cam and blasting from afar with a rifle. Yasuke’s combat skills are so strong you almost feel bad - it’s like a level 100 character going back to the starting area and destroying scrubs. 

Strategy is still important, however. A brief blue glue on enemy weapons indicate they’re blockable, and a red glow means you’ll need to evade. Parrying with perfect timing, meanwhile, opens them up for a counter. When Yasuke strikes the killing blow on the target, a corrupt castle lord called Hayashi, the screen turns black and white as a jet of bright red blood sprays out. 

Assassin's Creed Shadows screenshot
Assassin's Creed Shadows / Ubisoft

The next playthrough is in stark contrast. It’s with Naoe, the smallest playable character ever in an Assassin’s Creed game. She’s also the fastest, able to winch onto rooftops, flip between ledges, and grapple across gaps. It’s refreshing to see Ubisoft add a few more animations to a parkour system that was starting to get stale. 

She even has a few unique tricks up her shinobi sleeve. She can stab enemies lingering on the other side of thin paper walls, go prone in a pond and produce a hollowed-out reed to breathe through indefinitely, throw shurikens to cause a distraction, and rappel up to ceilings, hanging there in silence to survey guards below just as in another classic Ubisoft stealth game, Splinter Cell. 

Like Sam Fisher, she can snuff out lamps and coat the level in darkness. This costs enemies visibility. It adds an extra dimension to stealth, as does the ability to perform a non-lethal takedown on the castle’s servants by grabbing them from behind, dragging them to a quiet location, and charitably choking them out.

AC Shadows' Naoe crouching on a stone wall with a dagger in her right hand
Stealth's back on the menu. / Ubisoft

Naoe is no slouch when it comes to fighting, however. Her signature weapon is a huge chain with a heavy metal ball at one end and a scythe on the other which she swings in a wide arc to hurt multiple enemies at once. It’s like that fight scene at the end of Kill Bill. During one lightning-fast takedown, she wraps her chain around the enemy’s neck, dives through their legs, and pulls them to the floor before driving the blade into their face.

Even her assassinations are nimble, with Naoe flicking out her wrist-mounted blade and plunging it into her target’s neck before rolling away. The castle escape is equally adept as she ropes herself onto an overhanging roof, bounds across without a sound, and latches onto a tree branch before swinging out of the grounds and into safety. 

You can switch characters at any point in the story, with bigger sequences like this one giving you the option of selecting who to play as before you start. Where Yasuke feels like the most powerful Assassin’s Creed character ever, Naoe feels like its most stealthy. Together, the two give you vastly different ways to tackle missions. 

Assassin’s Creed Shadows releases November 15 on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. 

Griff Griffin


Griff Griffin is a writer and YouTube content creator based in London, UK.