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Review

Zorro: The Chronicles Review

June 21, 2022

By: Robert Grosso

 
 
More Info About This Game
Developer
BKOM Studios
Publisher
Nacon
Release Date
June 16,2022 (Calendar)
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)

American fiction owes a debt to early pulp characters like Zorro. Originally penned by Johnston McCulley in 1919, Zorro is about a Spanish-American vigilante taking on Mexican officials in Pueblo, California. For nearly 100 years now, the character has graced the pages of paperbacks, comic books, and the silver screen, but surprisingly, very few video game adaptations exist. The latest attempt comes from a brand new title from developer BKOM Studios, Zorro: The Chronicles.

Zorro: The Chronicles is an odd game to be sure. For one, it is a kid-friendly version of Zorro that is based on an already six-year-old children's animated series. It is also a Zorro game that suffers like many other Zorro titles by being on a severe budget. Yet for what it’s worth, BKOM Studios put together a decently solid, if brief experience that captures not only the general vibe of Zorro but is competent in its mechanical inspirations.

 

Zorro The Chronicles Level Map
If you played any action-adventure game from the past decade, this will be a breeze.

The First Batman

The basic premise of Zorro: The Chronicles seems to follow the animated series, where Don Diego has a twin sister named Ines, and the two don the Zorro mantle to fight against Captian Monasterio. Players can pick between Diego and Ines for each of the game's 18 missions, which involve you following objective markers across a small arena-wide map, battling or avoiding enemies along the way. 

Zorro: The Chronicles basically plays like one of the Batman: Arkham titles, which is super fitting considering the caped crusader was directly influenced by the creation and motifs of Zorro. Much of your gameplay follows two basic beats; stealth and combat, offering a bit of variety in the game; you can use your whip to climb certain surfaces, throw rocks to distract or position enemy guards, and even do stealth knockouts on them. Combat is basically fluid enough, using either your whip or your rapier to strike foes with simple-almost button-mashing combos. Then you simply need to press the A button to dodge an incoming attack. 

 
 

One of the benefits, and weaknesses, of Zorro: The Chronicles is how basic it really is. It takes the elements from a stealth action title like the Arkham games but simplifies it down to singular combos and a single action button. This is great for younger players looking for a competent game, or anyone not used to action titles to get their feet wet. For everyone else though, the gameplay does begin to wear thin after you complete a few levels. There is simply little challenge to be had for anyone already used to the system. 

Much of the game's meager variety comes in the form of how you approach each level. Environments are pretty drab overall but feature some fun interactivity from time to time. Knock a guard into a nearby fountain or burning fire, and they are eliminated from the combat entirely. You can set up unique combos at times where you lure a guard near a horse, and throw a rock at it to have the horse do your dirty work for you. You also have special takedown moves where you see a mini cut-scene play out with a humorous bit, showing Zorro completely decimate their foes with quick movements or Looney Tunes comedy skits. This is a fun little addition but again wears out its welcome fast. 

 
 
Zorro The Chronicles Takedown
The cartoonish takedowns are some of the best little bits of animation in the game.

Sly as a Fox

After playing a few levels, chunks of them begin to open up, allowing players to tackle them in any order they technically choose. The objectives are roughly the same each time, ‘’find X to move on to Y’’ kind of mission structure, with occasional wave combat thrown in for good measure. You do have a very basic skill tree, in which you can unlock health and special attack upgrades, as well as new attacks. The skill tree opens up possible by spending coins, which are gained when you knock out an enemy. 

Zorro: The Chronicles does reward the player at times with extra coins through bonus challenges. Each level has multiple sections which count for an alternative objective, like ‘’knock out three guards in stealth’’ or ‘’steal the key without being detected’’, among others. They are simple, easily marked, and actually add to the overall replayability, even if it is only a slight bonus for the player. The game also tries to encourage exploration by having the player post up goofy, hand-drawn posters in designated areas around the map for an extra reward.

All of these additions at least make Zorro: The Chronicles more than just a low-budget children's game. The foundations are fairly solid, the mechanics are pretty simple to master, and if nothing else, the comedic nature of the game offers a sometimes funny change of pace for players burnt out on blood and gore.

Zorro The Chronicles Camera
The game's camera issues are apparent a lot of the time, making fights super tedious. 

Limited Potential

Sadly, while the base of the mechanics of the game is pretty solid, the overall package itself is hampered by a few major issues. The biggest one is the camera, which is very slow to adjust, especially when you are in the thick of combat facing off against a dozen or so enemies. In fact, the few times I did get taken down were mostly due to unseen enemies either shooting me or stabbing me from behind a wall corner I couldn’t see. If there is one thing that brings down the whole experience, it is the camera and its slow pace. 

 
 

The other major issue is ultimately the challenge of the game. For very young children, it may be tough enough for a single playthrough, but even then the game is easily beaten in one or two sittings for most kids. You only have the 18-story missions, with the only real incentive being to come back and play around with the bonus objectives or just to simply grind coins for the skill tree. Most missions take around 20 to 30 minutes to complete, so even the bite-sized structure of the game works against it as you can easily knock out three levels within an hour. 

It is also a pretty boring game aesthetic-wise. Fans of the cartoon it's based on will see pretty solid re-creations of the TV characters, but the in-game models and worlds lack a lot of detail to them. Animations for enemies are incredibly stiff, especially in combat, which actually makes combat awkward instead of superfluid like it tries to be. The map variety also tries to hide the fact that it has very limited assets created, leaving several maps that barely have a distinction between them. Even the sound and music are a non-factor, there is no voice-over at all in Zorro: The Chronicles, and outside of a few repeating melodies and basic guard and Zorro grunts, much of the effects are pretty lackluster. 

Zorro The Chronicles Combat Whip
Despite the limitations, the fox has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Final Thoughts

Look, Zorro: The Chronicles is not a game most people will play unless they have kids or the kids themselves are fans of the cartoon series. Zorro as a character concept has so much potential, it is a shame that no game so far that features the character can be considered a great game by any stretch.

That all said, Zorro: The Chronicles has just enough under its basic presentation to be a fun little experience if you keep in mind whom the game was made for. Parents looking for a bloodless action game to play with their children now have an option, and ultimately, it's not a bad game to pick if you can get past the camera issues and lack of challenge or level variety. If nothing else, Zorro: The Chronicles is a game worth a look in that light, and is well worth your time in the right circumstances. 


TechRaptor reviewed Zorro: The Chronicles on the Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available for the PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Review Summary

Review Summary

6.0
Zorro: The Chronicles is a kid-friendly action-adventure that, despite some limitations, shows that the old fox has a few tricks up its sleeves.

Pros

  • Solid Action-Adventure Foundation
  • Cartoonish Takedown Attacks Add Flavor
  • Appropriate for Children

Cons

  • Very Wonky Camera
  • Stiff Enemy Movements and Bland Environments
  • No Real Challenge Whatsoever
  • Lack of Music and Non-Existent Voice Overs