Assassin’s Creed games have become as regular as clockwork in recent years, but they’re slowly starting to branch out from the series’ traditional foothold. The new mini-series within the franchise is Assassin’s Creed Chronicles and it started back last year with Assassin’s Creed Chronicles China. The second installment in the trilogy is Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India which takes place in – c’mon, it’s easy – India!
If you’re unfamiliar with the spin-off games, let me break it down for you: Instead of the traditional open-world cities that most previous games have presented us, Chronicles is a 2.5D action-platformer with stealth elements. The core gameplay is still there; stylish combat with counters, blocks, and plenty of blades; stealth, though to a lesser degree.
The story takes place in 1841 with Indian assassin Arbaaz tracking down one of those Pieces of Eden. It’s pretty much your standard affair when it comes to the story and, in all honesty, it’s not much better or much worse than what we’ve seen in recent years. The real kicker is that it’s all just so shallow. In fact, the game feels a little dated in some of its core gameplay mechanics. Remember the Splinter Cell game that released on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance? Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India borrows heavily, as did its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. Stealth is based upon moving the analogue stick up and down to push your character into crevices or dark spaces, all the while avoiding the sight of guards. Combat is simple, yet ultimately satisfying. Rather than waiting for a blow to fall so that you may counter it with a quick tap of the corresponding button, you’re free to pretty much slice and dice as you see fit.
The open-world aspect is greatly scaled down to fit the game’s purpose, as well as its budget. There’s still the familiar Assassin’s Creed moments where you’ll traverse a section of a level; you’ll still eagle dive, though not nearly as often, and there are still opportunities to stab people on the sly. Even so, it just isn’t that much fun.
The game looks nice enough, though the vibrant colours scattered across the screen do seem a bit too “loud” at times. In fact, it actually reminds me of those masterpieces I’d create in primary school, the kind that went on the fridge door for a weekend before mysteriously being stolen by the picture fairies…
There are some redeeming qualities, though. Hardcore Assassin’s Creed fans will relish the new location and the lore that surround the new characters, as well as yet another Piece of Eden. It’s just a shame that there’s not much being done to tie the aforementioned artefacts to their original owners, you know, those lot that came before.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India isn’t an especially long game, but I think its length is just about right. Clocking in at just over 6 hours for myself, anymore would have been a bit too much. There are challenges to beat, trophies and achievements to collect, but after you’ve shimmied your way through the story, it’s unlikely you’ll be paying a second visit to this spin-off.
It’s a shame, really, as fans have been clamouring for Ubisoft to take the franchise to these very locales that make up the spin-off trilogy, but they seem wasted in their current 2.D platformer format.
Disclaimer: This review was conducted using a digital copy of the PS4 version of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India
Release Date: January 12th, 2016
Developer: Climax Studios
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS Vita