It is especially interesting to me, when a video game company as big as Ubisoft and a franchise as popular as Assassin Creed take an interest in utilizing a setting, albeit for a platformer, which lies just a stone throw away. It feels nice when the subcontinent region is acknowledged in a game, for it has been left quiet ignored despite the ballooning young adult population.One can only hope for a AAA game based on the setting, but still Ubisoft, Kudos for that.
Coming on to the game, Assassins Creed Chronicles is an offshoot franchise, consisting yet of 3 games; China, India and Russia, from the main Assasins creed games. AC India is, like others in this series, a 2.5D platformer where you can jump in and out of ‘lanes’ on which you traverse upon, similar to Little Big Planet.
Our protagonist is Arbaaz Mir (I like the name) who wants to steal the, guess what, Koh-e-Noor Diamond, somewhat clichéd item, if I say so myself. He does awesome parkour, can sneak stealthily, hang off buildings and kill in the oh-so-satisfying assassin’s creed style. All good things here.
The fight controls are not the most responsive I have seen in the genre but they are very well executed and fluid and they go with the philosophy of AC games. While we’re on the topic of fight controls, here is where AC: India falls short. You gain points for leveling up by completing a stage successfully and they are critical for success in future missions, but giving us enough health to die from one bullet shot and deducting a majority of points for getting detected in most missions, you would think the game is actively trying to force stealth on you. This considerably hinders the flow of game in my opinion and it would’ve been better if there were more options so that the players would have more freedom to express themselves. There are a few sections of the game, where you are required to eliminate the enemies under time constraints and they feel very forced due to the segmented nature of these missions.
One place where AC : India shines through is the visuals department; the visuals look absolutely fantastic. The Mughal era feel with Mehndi (Henna) inspired artwork and a vibrant and highly contrast filled art style looks quite alive and exciting. The environment and the architecture, with arcs, domes and stylish palaces look the part. I even like the painted elephants. Although, I have a sense that some assets are remodeled and retextured from AC China, but they work nicely.
The sound design is pretty functional, although a few classical and sufi pieces would’ve not gone unnoticed. The gameplay is quite fun and most Assassins Creed fans will be most satisfied by the movement and high-value-target assassination missions, but they missed a very good opportunity to add unique and exclusive gameplay elements, which would’ve elevated the game to the next level. Another missed opportunity that was evident was how little the resources from the era were used, I wonder how much of a part did Ubisoft’s studio in Pune, India played in the development process.
I was left with the sense that the designers should’ve gone with a bit more experimental design choices to make it a bit more unique, not from just other games but also other Chronicle games. This is also the case with depthless main storyline. A lot of successful 2D / 2.5D platformers realize how important story is and how much value can be added to the game with a deep, immersive and thought provoking storyline.
Though mind you, the game is a lot of fun to play as a platformer, it gets a lot of things right and you should definitely try it out. I just feel that with slight polishing the game would’ve sparkled, kinda like Koh-e-Noor.
I would give it a 7.5 / 10