Following on from the release of the fairly well received Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China
, Ubisoft has released the second instalment in the Chronicles
series, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India
. After first visiting China, we now get the chance to experience India through the eyes of an assassin, in the same 2.5D gameplay of the first game. As we follow Arbaaz round India, is this assassin's story worth exploring and how does it compare with its predecessor?
I can see the whole city from up here!
The game sees players take control of a new assassin, Arbaaz, and his exploits in India as he chases down a stolen artifact that is important to the assassin order. The story fits in with the typical Assassins Creed
type of tale that you might have heard in one of the other games, and consequently has you chasing down your objective whilst facing a whole host of different enemies. There's nothing wrong with the basic story arc, though, and the game wraps the story up at the end with a nice little bow, whilst still leaving it open enough that we would be able to revisit Arbaaz again if Ubisoft ever felt the need to do so.
The series carries on with the same style of gameplay from the first game, with the 2.5D style allowing you not only to move from side to side, but also to go between the foreground and background at certain points. Whilst it may have originally seemed a peculiar choice for the Assassins Creed
series, the style fits the gameplay surprisingly well. You are able to creep up behind enemies, but if they decide to turn around then you have the chance to jump into the background into a blackened doorway. It also allows the levels to have more freedom to them, and you will find yourself walking a tightrope, traversing a plank of wood or sliding along a zipline into a new area. The addition of side objectives as well as the main objective in the level also encourages you to explore all the corners and look out for things that you might otherwise ignore, like a hidden symbol at a dead end path or person trapped on a lower path that you must free.
Ha ha ha ha ha, you can't see me
You'll come up against a whole bunch of different enemies on your journey through India and you are given the freedom to play in whichever fighting style that you choose. Whether you want to sneak past every guard and leave everyone unharmed, bar a few takedowns, then you can, or you can simply run straight through while stabbing everyone as you go. In some areas where there are a lot of enemies in a line or group, you feel like the game is forcing you to be a cold blooded killer, but there is always a way to sneak past enemies without using violence. This might be by using a smoke bomb or noise bomb to distract the enemy away as you hang from a ledge (although red, these are not always easy to see), or by using conveniently placed bushes and hiding spots to move between enemies without them ever noticing you.
Each enemy has a sight and sound cone in which you will be noticed if you step into it. It can be ridiculously unrealistic when you are standing right in front of an enemy and yet they still can't see you just because you are outside of the cone, but this works to your advantage by making it easier to manoeuvre between them. The way in which you complete the level is scored and you are given a final total at the end, consequently unlocking extra abilities and extending current ones. You can earn Assassin, Silencer and Shadow ranks, with each having a gold, silver and bronze rating that reflects how many enemies you have killed, alerted or taken down. This ranking system gives you an extra motive to sneakily run through the levels, although some sequences are based on time and the quicker that you do these, the better.
The fast flowing gameplay is enhanced by the levels that you must complete quickly and the running sequences, although you'll also be met with some puzzles along the way that might slow you down. These serve well to break up the sneaking and fighting without providing anything too difficult. It may be as simple as jumping on a weight to bring it down and open a door, but other sequences have you timing your jumps right to get through an area without dropping or being hit by an obstacle. Unfortunately, these too get a little tiring after a while, but the game is short enough so that nothing is repeated too much and the game finishes before you get too bored.
The 2.5D style somehow manages to fit the game perfectly. The look of the game is simple and cute but, unfortunately, the different areas themselves are surprisingly similar and not all that exciting. Whilst it's fun jumping in and out of windows and climbing up buildings, it loses its charm when the buildings all start to look and feel the same. Similarly, the dusty setting means that these pale coloured buildings that take up most of your screen often simply blend into the background rather than standing out and making you notice them. Any colour that is put into the background is mostly blocked off, and the foreground is distinctly lacking in any bright colours for the majority of the game. The accompanying soundtrack is suitably quiet and subtle, fitting in with your sneaking and crouching gameplay. Whilst it won't jump off the screen at you or draw you in with its colour or sound, Assassins Creed Chronicles: India
is perfectly satisfying for both your eyes and ears, without being groundbreaking.
There is a reasonable 18 achievements tied to the game for you to try and unlock. Whilst the game starts you off with a gimme achievment
, most of the others will make players work for them. You'll need a full playthrough without killing anyone
, which can be hard when you have to stop obstacles falling and harming enemies too. There are some time based achievements that are tied to certain sequences, and a few others that are tied to getting enough of each of the gold style ratings. Finally, once you have unlocked the game's plus hard mode at the end of your first playthrough, you will have to try and get through that without even being seen
Our trip to India is not dissimilar to our original trip to China; the style and gameplay are almost identical to the first game, not that there is anything particularly wrong with that. Being given the choice to play stealthy or by using full on combat is refreshing and you are able to go through the whole game without directly harming a single enemy, but it does sometimes feel like you are forced into combat with the layout of the levels and the frequency of the enemies. The 2.5D style is used to good effect and works well for the assassination based gameplay, being able to dodge enemies and hide in hidden doorways in the background, or ledges in the foreground. Whilst there is no new ground being broken here, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India
is more than enjoyable to play through, especially if you enjoyed the first game, and it will surely keep you entertained until we get the chance to visit Russia the next time around.
- Simple but addictive gameplay
- Choice to play using stealth or head on combat
- Not always obvious to see obstacles and climbable objects
- Doesn't feel like much variation in level design and layout
The reviewer spent approximately 7 hours sneaking through levels and avoiding combat, eventually giving up and slaughtering everyone in sight, which unlocked 10 of the game's 18 achievements. An Xbox One code for this game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.