Review – Zorro The Chronicles

When Nacon announced they were set to publish a Zorro game, I was stunned. No, it’s not because I’m a die-hard Zorro fan (my parents are, though), I just never thought I’d hear anything about the franchise ever again. I was even more suprised to find out that Zorro The Chronicles is actually based on a recent cartoon series, and that said cartoon series is actually a hit among young kids. I guess I now find out about what kids are watching these days via licensed game announcements. My question was whether or not Zorro The Chronicles would end up being decent or just another mediocre licensed cash grab. It was the former, which might have been the single most shocking news of them all.

Zorro The Chronicles

Not unlike older Assassin’s Creed games, when you stop and think about it.

Yes, Zorro The Chronicles is actually a really good stealth game, when you realize its core audience is kids. I’m not saying that kids will put up with poorly designed games, though: this is a stealth game, not unlike older Assassin’s Creed titles, but with a very bearable level of difficulty, being really lenient if you blow your cover during a mission. Baby’s first stealth game, at the end of the day. That’s actually a genius usage of the IP, considering that Zorro was basically Batman before Batman. The dude was an 18th century ninja. Making this a simplified Black Flag with Sniper Elite level design (linear levels with tons of means for you to complete your objectives) was the single best idea they could have had.

Zorro The Chronicles Combat

If you blow your cover, don’t worry. You won’t be punished, but you will need to fight a ton of (easy) enemies.

There’s more meat in here than just some simplified stealth mechanics. Zorro The Chronicles also features some basic, but effective combat mechanics borrowed from the Arkham games (yet more proof that Zorro and Batman are basically the same character), a wide array of funny takedown cinematics (all PG, of course), and a skill tree. Just like the rest of the game, said skill tree is simple enough, but each new move you acquire does make a ton of difference when tackling levels. Dare I say, it even made me want to replay earlier stages just so I could get rid of everyone in sight with ease, and more importantly, with style.

Zorro The Chronicles Enemies

They tried to go full Altair…

That doesn’t mean Zorro The Chronicles is devoid of flaws. It’s a low budget licensed title, so you know there are plenty of them in here. I will commend the developers for coming up with the best title they could with a paultry amount of resources at their disposal, but I cannot ignore the fact the game’s button placement is a bit bizarre (running with X? What is this, old-school GTA?) and the camera controls are wonky at best. The game is completely devoid of voice acting, and its sound effects are beyond cheap. Furthermore, the visuals, while cute, resembling the cartoon series, do not take advantage of the PlayStation 5’s horsepower at all. It does run at 60fps, sure, but I don’t think there’s any difference between the PS5 and PS4 ports in terms of how they look.

Zorro The Chronicles Cutscenes

Just use Waze, jeez…

I was pleasantly surprised with how competent Zorro The Chronicles ended up being. It uses elements from both old-school Assassin’s Creed and Sniper Elite in an easy and forgiving environment, making this game the perfect gateway title for kids to learn how to deal with a stealth game. I never thought I’d play a Zorro game in 2022, let alone one as good as this one. Goes to show how neat licensed titles can be every now and then, and how far a developer can go with a title in spite of how little of a budget they’re given.

Graphics: 6.5

It does look like its cartoon counterpart, but it does suffer from that typical “low budget” vibe. It also doesn’t take advantage of the PS5’s horsepower at all, though it does run at 60fps at all times, without ever stumbling.

Gameplay: 7.5

It uses elements present in older Assassin’s Creed and Sniper Elite games, but in a kid-friendly and non-punitive manner. The gameplay itself is shockingly competent, but the game’s button placement and camera leave a lot to be desired.

Sound: 6.5

The soundtrack is quite good, but the minuscule amount of voice acting and subpar sound effects ended up disappointing a bit.

Fun Factor: 8.0

I was pleasantly surprised with how competent this game ended up being. It’s really easy, but that’s fine, given its target demographic. It combines stealth elements from bigger games in order to create a perfect, kid-friendly introduction to the genre.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Zorro The Chronicles is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of Zorro The Chronicles was provided by the publisher.