I first played Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India back when it was released at the beginning of the year. I played the first two levels and quit as it really wasn’t grabbing me. A couple of nights ago, I found myself thinking about it and loaded up a lets play video to see if maybe there was something I missed. I watched the first level being played through and it looked like a good time. So I reinstalled it and went through the first level and halfway through the second before remembering what it was about the game that turned me off before.
Firstly, playing through the tutorial level is actually a good amount of fun. The level’s pastel colored background is beautiful, and the game does a decent job of teaching you how to play. Then, the second level shows up and nearly undoes everything the first level did. The level is artistically cluttered, making the multiple plains of movement hard to notice. In one section, I kept trying to sneak past guards in obtuse ways before I realized there was another path around them I hadn’t noticed before. Some jumps look farther or shorter than they are and the level in general just lacks a sense of visual cohesion.
It doesn’t help that the controls immediately become cumbersome on this level. Before they felt simple to understand, but in practice now feel redundant and unnecessarily confusing. Depending on your situation, you may need to press either up or the jump button in order to ascend and down or the cancel button to descend. Using items feels cumbersome too as there’s too many button commands required to use them. Combat is unfortunately clunky and often feels unresponsive, which is exacerbated by the fact that protagonist Arbaaz dies in one to two hits. In my experience, having to engage in a sword fight meant certain death.
I didn’t spend a lot of time with the game but I wasn’t motivated to continue on as it frustrated me with its punishing combat and perplexing level design. Even the first level, though well designed, just felt boring. I can appreciate an Assassin’s Creed game with a bigger focus on its stealth mechanics but in all honesty, they weren’t the strongest aspect of the main games and they are lacking here as well. Since that’s the focal point in India, it tanks the game as a result. It’s not a terrible game but there’s really no reason to play this.