Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India Review

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By Nicole Pryde, @xnikkipryde

 

I have a very, very soft spot for historical fiction.  Whether it be in novels, films, or games, I love it when something fascinating and entertaining is inspired from a time and place long gone. That’s why the Assassin’s Creed series is one of my favorite video game series of all time. In each game, Ubisoft takes us back in time to a historical setting and allows us to explore it through a narrative that is creative and new. While most of the core AC games have taken place in Europe and the Americas, the Chronicles series has started to branch out into non-Western cultures – first with China, and now with India (much to my Asian-Studies-major delight).

 

Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India takes place in the year 1841 – a time of high tension between the Sikh Empire and the British East India Company. One of the Master Templars is in possession of a the precious Koh-i-Noor diamond that belongs to the Assassin Order, and it’s up to the devilishly charming Assassin Abraaz Mir to look into the matter and take the diamond back, all while protecting the people he loves.
I have to say that the very first thing I noticed when starting this game was the stunning imagery. It is a 2.5D game with uncomplicated graphics, but the vibrant colors and the varied textures and patterns of the painted art style make it visually just as interesting as many of the 3D games I enjoy. It reminds me of a beautifully illustrated story book.

 

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The game is a side-scrolling platformer that relies heavily on stealth tactics. At the start of each level, a bit of background story is introduced, and then the main objective is listed along with some optional side-objectives. The player must run, jump, and climb their way through the obstacles of the level, while also crouching and hiding away from guards. The basic gameplay controls are very similar to those of the core Assassin’s Creed games, though it’s clear that in this game combat is intended to be kept to a minimum. Guards can be fought and killed, but the player should rely on non-lethal attacks, whistling, noise and smoke bombs, and other tricks to get around their enemies. The player earns points for their performance on each level, and how many times they are spotted by the guards is a big factor in the score. If the player reaches a certain amount of points, they are rewarded bonuses such as increased health and an upgraded ammo capacity. Patience, timing, and careful planning are the key here. Once you are spotted by a guard, you have a narrow chance to fight or escape, or else the mission is a failure and you start over from the last checkpoint. Personally I’m awful at any sort of stealth mission in any game, so this caused a bit of grumbling and frustration on my end. I would have preferred the option for a bit more combat or escape after being spotted, rather than having to continually start over. However, the challenges did feel rewarding once I got through them, and I think that anyone who enjoyed the stealth missions of the other Assassin’s Creed games would really appreciate this.

 

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When it comes to story, I feel that we run into a bit of lost potential. I know we can’t exactly expect a simple platform game to be story-heavy, but with such a terrific new setting and interesting characters, I can’t help but think about how great it would have been to have this as a full Assassin’s Creed game instead of a short side-scroller. Abraaz Mir has much of the same charm and humor fans loved about Ezio of Assassin’s Creed II, which is what I think makes him so endearing to me, despite the lack of story. For those who would like to get to know more of the backstory of Abraaz, as well as his lover Princess Pyara Kaur and other characters mentioned in this game, you’ll have to  turn to the graphic novel Assassin’s Creed: Brahman.

 

Overall, I would rate this game a 3.5 out of 5. While it met most of my expectations, which weren’t stellar, it only exceeded them on one point: the visuals. That aside, it’s a pretty typical platformer with an Assassin’s Creed flavor – great for a little relaxing, casual game play, but not as immersive and intriguing as I know the main games to be.

 

Want to check it out for yourself? Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Please let us know what you thought of it in the comments below!

 

 


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