I used to love Assassins Creed and couldn’t get enough of shiving evil Templar knights and climbing tall buildings. Then they introduced base building, asked you to hunt animals, turned the Templars into some boring chaps in frock coats and wigs, swapped the tall buildings for trees and the series went to pot. I still like the idea of an Assassins Creed game, it’s just the actual game isn’t as fun as it used to be. Assassins Creed Chronicles : India sparked my interest by simultaneously looking like an Assassins Creed game as well as looking refreshingly new. Following on from Assassin’s Creed Chronicles : China this very much follows the same template, improving certain aspects and building on the foundations laid.
After a brief tutorial, and before you start properly there is a bit of story which sets the scene and it’s told in a series of artistic images set out to look like ancient Indian art. What I mean with this is it’s all Mandalas and bright colours. The way in which this is presented is great to look at, the stylistic approach used makes this look pretty special. The art is unique and I struggled to think and other game this compares too. This art style carries forward to the game proper and the use of bright colours and a consistent art style really permeates every aspect of the game.
Playing something like the original Prince of Persia games this is primarily a 2d scrolling game. However in order to mix it up you can sometimes run over planks or climb walls which move your character either forward or backward into the screen. It all slots together perfectly and the items you can interact with are elegantly highlighted red within the game. This works really well and means you will always know what you can interact with, and where you can climb. You’ll find yourself crawling round the corner of buildings, climbing on the ceiling, swinging down ziplines and jumping between trees. The range of movement available to you is huge and ensures you’ll never be stuck in one place for long. Although there are loads of ways to interact with your environments the way you navigate can often feel a bit stilted, seemingly moving from one animation to another. This is never more apparent than in the combat.
Whilst navigating the levels you’ll face off against numerous guards, regularly being outnumbered and often outgunned. Mainly you’ll rely on stealth to get you past these guards, either avoiding them all together or taking them out silently. While you can engage them in combat, often this will result in your swift death due to the way the action is not as fluid as you’d like. Sword swipes can feel slow, and the movement from one attack to another feels cumbersome. To help you in your encounters you’re given various tools to distract the guards and take them from their patrol routes, allowing you to take them out one at a time like the assassin you are. There is a lot of fun to be had in avoiding the guards. Each guard has a sight cone and a set patrol route, l really enjoyed playing with the guards as their reactions were predictable and the clockwork nature of it all really pleased me.
There are downsides to this game and the biggest one will be lack of any real variety here. Each level is functionally the same, seeing you run across a 2d level and kill or dodge guards. The action can also feel a little stilted and not as fluid as you’d like it to be. However there is a lot to like here, the levels are large and intricate, the art style is refreshingly different and it’s a generous package for the cost of the game. Overall it’s a decent compliment to the main Assassin’s Creed canon.