Published on January 28th, 2016 | by Chris Scott0
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India Review
Summary: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India is more of the same but this time something is missing.
Last April, Ubisoft dropped the first in a trilogy of side-scrolling Assassin’s Creed games, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. I enjoyed the game immensely (review link here), feeling it captured the Assassin’s Creed feel in a great 2D action platformer. Based on my enjoyment of ACC: China, I expected more of the same out of the follow-up Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India. Unsurprisingly, for a game that was originally planned to release just a short while after ACC: China, ACC: India is just that. With more of the same this time, however, I found something missing.
Taking place 300 years after the China adventure, ACC: India features a new protagonist, the assassin Arbaaz Mir. Arbaaz is a bit of a suave fellow, akin to fan favorite protagonist Ezio Auditore. The first level of the game tasked me with sneaking him into the chambers of his lover, the princess Pyara Kaur. After succeeding in rendezvousing for his forbidden tryst with the lovely princess, Arbaaz sets out to find his master Hamid and everything goes south. The Templars have taken a fabled gem that will unlock a precursor site that holds a powerful Piece of Eden that will change the world. Or something, I don’t know. As a fan of Assassin’s Creed lore, even I found that sentence to sound like gobbly gook.
For, as important as the plot all sounds, the player is mostly tasked with being a thorn in the Templars side and then rescuing the princess when she inevitably becomes a damsel in distress. During my run through the game, I never really cared about Arbaaz or his cause. I can’t say I am much surprised, as the story in ACC: China was pretty nonsensical and absolutely non-essential to the game overall. ACC: China thrived on its stellar gameplay. You’d think that ACC: India would be able to hold par at least. It doesn’t.
Arbaaz, like Shao Jun before him, can run, jump, and climb through his environment with relative ease. And progressing through a level using all of Arbaaz’s acrobatic skills is incredibly satisfying when everything all comes together. Sadly, everything just doesn’t come together nearly often enough.
ACC: China often let you play through a level utilizing Shao Jun’s large assortment of skills in whatever way you want. ACC: India often locks you on a singular path through many of it levels with little chance for creativity on the part of the player. Bad at stealth? Too bad: this level makes you do it without being seen. Bad at combat? Too bad: this level makes you kill everyone in the section before you can move on. Oh, and there is a time limit too. Get cracking, because that timer isn’t very forgiving.
This all makes half of ACC: India a bit more frustrating and ultimately less fun than it should be. This would be forgivable if the platforming half of the game was as great as its predecessor. But, this portion was somehow flubbed as well. Instead of allowing players to get into a great flow and maneuver through a level at speed with skill, ACC: India tries at every turn to disrupt any flow you might have. Traps you wouldn’t know exist, put in places you can’t see but are forced to jump into without knowing the timing sequence permeate many of the platforming segments. And they just aren’t fun.
Completing a platforming course in ACC: China was exhilarating, and I wanted to go back and rerun them to improve my times. Doing the same in ACC: India just left me feeling relieved I didn’t have to continue banging my head against the wall as I inched forward death after death. And I certainly didn’t want to play them again.
Ultimately that is kind of how I felt about the entire game. Relieved it was over. Maybe Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia will right the ship when it releases. But I can tell you now, I am far less excited for it than I was before I played ACC: India.