Assassin’s Creed went in a new gameplay direction for its Chronicles series – a 2.5D platformer wrapped in Assassin’s Creed mechanics that played like a modern-day version of the original Prince of Persia. India is the setting for the latest episode in the three-part chronicle – the perfect place for a spiritual successor to the two-dimensional prince.
You play as Arbaaz Mir, an Assassin not too dissimilar from Ezio Auditore – he is more interested in the love of the princess than he is about the Creed. Having stolen the Maharajah’s Koh-I-Noor diamond, a suspected piece of Eden, the story unfolds via beautifully painted art stills. It held my attention far more than China’s story, but was just as simple and lacked deep storytelling, but the beauty of the second game, beyond its vibrant art style, is a well-worked set of levels that offered more challenges and navigational options than the first game.
Indian patterns flow across the backgrounds with rich oranges, bright purples and lush greens filling the foreground. India is a stunning piece of artwork and a far throw from the drab palette of China, but on the face of it India is a continuation of the first game – a reskin – but for all that it takes from the first game, India builds upon the mechanics to create a game that feels more exciting than the first.
Navigating the simple platforming puzzles to pick off enemies one by one is far more manageable (and enjoyable) than getting into a mass brawl, but should you decide to go up against a group of enemies, a new Helix ability allows you to perform an instakill until you’ve run your Helix bar dry. The Chakram, Mir’s throwable weapon of choice, can bounce off surfaces but was only really useful in a few instances – when a rope needed cutting to reveal a path, to drop a chandelier or to destroy a lantern – making the weapon somewhat underused. Combat largely remains the same as China’s, but you can now pick pockets, open locks and collect disguises, but these hardly make the game stray too far from the style that China established.
Challenge rooms are new to the game but with only three styles – collect, contract and assassination – and six rooms to tackle I was left wanting more. Each room tests your ability to make it through in the quickest time while completing certain parameters, like avoiding yellow areas or killing all guards without being detected. It’s wonderfully challenging and there’s a high replay value as you chase the top leaderboard spot and collect all four synchronization points – it’s just a shame there aren’t any achievement points for completing them.
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles India builds upon what made the first game fun with a more rounded package. The game challenged me far more and while there was little depth to the storytelling, I cared for the Assassin I was playing – hopefully Russia, the final part in the chronicle, can raise the bar further and finish the series off on a high.
Thanks to Xbox and Ubisoft for their support
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