Assassin's Creed Jade hands-on preview: I'm ready to take a leap of faith on a mobile stealth experience

Assassin's Creed Jade
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

When I first heard about Assassin's Creed Jade, I wasn't entirely sure how to feel. I'm not what you'd call a mobile player, and the thought of diving into a new stealthy experience on my iPhone didn't exactly appeal. After going hands-on with Jade for just shy of 30 minutes, though, I'm already impressed by its scope and just how quickly I took to the touch controls. While I would still opt to play on console or PC if given the choice, the new adventure set in third century BC in China is not only treading new ground for the series as an exclusive mobile experience, but also with some of its features, too. 

My time with Jade began, for example, in a character creation suite – which is a first for Assassin's Creed. With the choice to select a male or female character, you can also change up their facial features and hair, and give them a name of your own choosing. It's not the most extensive suite of options (as per the current build I played, at least) but it's certainly a welcome touch for the new entry. 

My first task sees me head out to break into a bed chamber in order to loot some treasure to "give back to the people", which gives me the opportunity to try out the mechanics. With touch controls for navigation, a series of buttons on the right hand-side of the phone screen allow me to crouch, assassinate, parkour and climb, and engage in combat should I get detected. Having never really used mobile touch screen controls all that much, I'm surprised by how well the mechanics translate, even if they're a little less involved then using inputs on a controller.

A new leap

Assassin's Creed Jade

(Image credit: Ubisoft)
Gamescom 2023


(Image credit: Gamescom)

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A lineup of guards stand between me and the bedchamber, so naturally some stealthy tactics are required. After landing in a hay bale, it takes me a spell to figure out how to move and crouch. A joystick-like control on the left side of the screen allows me to navigate, while I use my right hand to move the camera and do a series of different actions. Since I'm inexperienced with the world of mobile touch controls, I feared I would be out of my depth going into it. After a few minutes, though, I quickly adjust to the setup and fall into the swing of things. I'm also surely helped by the fact that I'm a seasoned Assassin's Creed player, and everything feels immediately familiar to me. That in itself is a testament to Jade's aim to stay true to the hallmarks of the series, with scanning focus feature, assassinations, climbing, viewpoints to leap from, and more. 

With a tap on the screen, I camouflage myself in some foliage nearby and sneak up behind a guard. A prompt flashes when I'm close enough to signal that I can now assassinate them, and my custom character takes them out with a hidden blade in one fluid motion. It's not quite the same as doing the same thing on console, but the touch controls work well to capture the core feel and signature manoeuvres of the series. 

Once I've reached the bedchamber and secured the goods, the next introductory mission has me climbing and parkouring over buildings and structures to reach a viewpoint. It's here that I really get a taste for the scope of Jade, which features an already sizable map that the team tell me will continue to be expanded upon over time. The landscape is impressive in scale, and once I've taken the leap of faith to open up the map further, several points of interest pop up. 

The setting is ripe for exploration, and I take a moment to appreciate the vista before me once I've landed. With missions to discover and sights to see, this feels like a far more open Assassin's Creed adventure than I was anticipating, and with plans to expand it further, it'll be interesting to see how Assassin's Creed Jade grows and develops in the future. 

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Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.