‘Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India’ Review
Platform PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / PC Genre Platform-Adventure
Developer Climax Studios Publisher Ubisoft
Platform Played PlayStation 4
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India is easily one of the most vibrantly coloured titles I’ve played in recent memory. Unfortunately the picturesque art style does not mask the numerous issues found throughout the brief 6 hour campaign.
AC Chronicles India is the second release in the AC Chronicles spin-off series, which takes the well-known franchise formula and transforms the experience into a 2.5D platformer. Players begin on the foreground plane, but are able to manoeuvre between the front and background areas. These transitions offer the illusion of an open world adventure, increasing the scope of each level.
AC Chronicles India follows the story of Arbaar Mir, an Assassin from 19th century India. Arbaar only has a small selection of meaningful dialogue throughout the campaign, but during that small window Arbaar proves to be an enjoyable lead character. Unfortunately this cannot be said for the other characters in the story, with almost every other character suffering from a severe lack of character development. The narrative has Arbaar chasing a Piece of Eden that is in the possession of a generic Templar villain, and his chase to reclaim this item is the catalyst of almost every mission. Though the final objective adds a new layer of emotional investment for Arbaar, the conclusion is over so fast that any sense of danger is gone in an instance. Exploring the Assassin order throughout India could have been an incredible adventure, but instead the narrative feels thrown together and follows one of the most generic Assassin/Templar stories the series has delivered.
The best part of AC Chronicles India is the charming art style, which is simply perfect. India comes alive with a beautiful use of colour and symbolism throughout each level and during the picturesque oil painting-like cut scenes. There were times when I found myself stopping to enjoy the beautiful art style on display, and this exciting collection of colours certainly made the campaign a memorable visual adventure.
Arbaar has a large selection of Assassin tools at his side to give him the upper hand in battle, or they can be used to simply avoid enemies altogether. The selection of tools closely mirrors those found in the main Assassin’s Creed series, which include smoke bombs, rope darts, and noise darts. Utilising these items correctly can make life a lot easier when navigating enemy filled levels, with each enemy possessing their own vision cone to give players a sense of when they will be detected.
Like any Assassin’s Creed release, traversal is also a prominent feature in AC Chronicles India. Unfortunately the lack of precise traversal that has plagued the main line series also affects AC Chronicles India. When surrounded by enemies, I found myself fighting the controls more than the enemies themselves. A small movement when hanging off a ledge could see Arbaar jump into enemy vision, and there were also moments when the controls simply wouldn’t respond as fast as I required. The sluggish natures of these controls during difficult stealth sections was a frustrating aspect, but traversal certainly isn’t all bad. There are multiple sections where Arbaar must navigate levels with utmost speed, either as the environment falls down around him or enemies are on the chase. These sections were easily the most fun I had during AC Chronicles India, simply because I wasn’t required to pull off precise traversal movements; instead simply enjoying some intense platforming without enemy interruption.
AC Chronicles India also contains a heavy selection of instant fail and un-Assassin’s Creed like missions. For instance, there is a lengthy section of sniping as Arbaar must take down his foes with a rifle. This section felt completely out of place in an Assassin’s Creed release, and its inclusion felt unnecessary. Making matters worse the level comes to a jarring conclusion after shooting the set number of enemies, which left me scratching my head. AC Chronicles India also offers a huge selection of instant fails sections, an aspect of the franchise that has always been negatively received. Coupled with the excessive number of cheap deaths, from either explosive booby traps scattered throughout the world or overpowered enemies; AC Chronicles India removes fun for frustration far too often.
Stealth isn’t the only option for players, as Arbaar can take down his enemies with lethal force. It took me almost half the game to truly understand the combat features, which offer slight deviations from the typical Assassin’s Creed combat; but when I finally understood the damage Arbaar could deliver combat was a pleasure. Dealing devastating kills on unaware enemies at full speed was not only brutal, but extremely satisfying.
Though combat can be fun, the stealth option ultimately feels like your number one choice when facing enemies. Upon completing sections of each level players will be rated depending on if they were spotted, or how many kills they delivered; and in some cases how fast they completed each level. Depending on your performance you will earn points which will unlock bonus health, more item storage and extra abilities. AC Chronicles India also offers New Game Plus and New Game Plus Hard modes, both modes increase the difficulty and allow players to keep their unlocked items for another playthrough (with hard mode removing vision cones from enemies). Points are also increased during these modes, allowing for any abilities you may have missed to be unlocked a little easier.
Aside from the main campaign, AC Chronicles India also offers a small collection of bland challenge rooms. These side missions challenge players to assassinate particular enemies, or collect a number of items as fast as possible. Completionists may find some extra challenge to obtain each gold star in each challenge room, but ultimately these challenge rooms don’t offer much in terms of enjoyable content.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India is a visual delight, offering one of the most charming combinations of art style and colour palettes. Unfortunately aside from some beautiful visuals, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India struggles to deliver a cohesive and enjoyable journey during the brief campaign.
When Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India focuses on producing an enjoyable platformer – ignoring the need for enemies and precise controls – there is a great deal of enjoyment to be had. It’s just a shame these sections are so few and far between. Instead Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India focuses too much on producing a quantity of options, rather than providing features of a high quality.
Striking art style.
Fast platforming sections.
Excessive instant fail missions.