Not the quite the 2.5D Assassin’s Creed experience we were hoping for
The Assassin’s Creed franchise may have redefined the third-person action adventure genre, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the franchise. Games like Assassin’s Creed 3 and Assassin’s Creed Unity have been a low point for the franchise but there have been great games as well, like Black Flag and Syndicate along with my personal all time favourite, Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. With Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, we had the franchise shifting to the 2.5D modern era and it was fun to play. Does Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India have what it takes to be a part of our favourites or are we better off looking elsewhere?
Unlike their 3D counterpart, there is little to do with the modern world apart from the abrupt Animus animation that is used as an excuse to give you new abilities. So there is no story relevance to the modern Assassin vs. Templar war. The story in focus here is pre-independence India. The game kicks off in Amritsar and keeping it true to the Assassin’s Creed style, you will hear the guards speaking in Punjabi and the English troops with their British accent but unfortunately you won’t hear it for long. The language changes to English and there are only three topics the guards talk about – the hot princess, their pay and where they were before they came here. It’s a bit of a let down since Punjabi is such a beautiful language and the developers could have used some traditional Punjabi jokes to lighten the mood in the game.
Coming to the protagonist, you don the role of Arbaaz Mir who has a soft spot for the princess and wants to get back the Kohinoor diamond. The biggest drawback of this is that the protagonist pronounces the word Kohinoor in a very American accent. I wonder, would it have been too much of an effort to get an Indian to record the voice of the protagonist, because even if he is an Indian, he has a strong accent. The plot of the story will take you to Afghanistan as well, but there is little in the story to keep you hooked.
Overall, the story of the game, though pretty straight forward with the usual plot twists and turns, is a bit of a disappointment especially if you look at the rich culture and history that India has.
Just like Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, India is a 2D game with some traversing elements in the third dimension. The game can be best defined as a 2.5D game. The focus this time around is more on stealth and traversing than action and it shows in the way the game handles combat. Get pushed into a corner and you will really have to fight your way out, which for me 9 out of 10 times resulted in death. This led me to rethink my approach and the more stealth you adhere to, the faster you will progress through the game. There are a few levels that challenge you with time and others where you need to reach the end before the foe, and these for me were the highlight of the game. It was fun mastering these levels and even though you need to remember the traps at a muscle memory level, they aren’t unforgivably punishing. The controls in the 2.5D environment take a bit of learning. The game does take cheap shots at you by placing traps where you wouldn’t be able to see them.
Where Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India suffers is with combat. The combat is unforgiving and it’s overall not a lot of fun. In fact, every time I switched off the game in frustration was because of the combat sections. Speaking of combat, you have the standard array of light and heavy attacks, which will be familiar to any Assassin, with the ability to block projectiles. There’s Animus Helix powers at your disposal which could tip the scales during a combat in your favour. Evidently, the traversing segments are fun but the combat feels frustrating.
Graphics & Sound
Coming to the graphics of the game, it’s similar to Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. The game look pretty, but not exactly like Amritsar during pre-independence India. The animations of the lead protagonist parkouring through the environment are smooth and the combat animations look smooth too. The animation of blood is a little cartoony but that’s just nit-picking.
Moving to the sound, the swish and thuds of movement are good and the fast-paced music is just right for the time bound and running levels. Where Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India suffers is with the voice acting. There could have been Hindi and Punjabi in the cutscenes and the accent could have been more Indian. Did the Italians feel that Ezio’s accent wasn’t great? Or did the English feel that the Frye twins didn’t have the right accent for the period? I, for sure know that Indians didn’t have the accent the game portrays and that’s a bit disappointing.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India isn’t the best 2.5D game we’ve played but it isn’t the worst Assassin’s Creed game either. The game is punishing and there isn’t a great sense of achievement when you’ve beaten the six to eight hour long campaign. You can beat the game faster if you master combat and parkour. If you are on the market to play a 2.5D experience on your console, there are more challenging and fun options like Valiant Hearts: The Great War, Ori and the Blind Forest, Guacamelee!, CounterSpy and many more. The only reason you will drop cash on this game is if you are a die-hard Assassin’s Creed fan. It is a good experience, but you may want to wait for the game to go on sale or become free via PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold before checking it out.
- Vibrant environments
- Smooth parkouring
- Timed levels are fun
- Lackluster combat
- Frustrating fight sequences
- Cheap tricks with placement of bombs
- Low replay value
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Sameer "Psycho Mantis" Mitha
I live for gaming and technology is my muse. When I am not busy playing with gadgets or video games I delve into the world of fantasy novels.