We here at the The NYRD are all huge nerds, in case you could not tell for some reason. So any franchise that combines our love of history and our love video games is a winner in our D&D rulebook. The Assassin’s Creed games have always been a fun mix of action and mythology, as well as -you know- assassination. Their newest platform game, Assassin’s Creed: India, follows in the tradition of its older and more graphically developed brothers. The second title in the Assassin’s Creed Chronicles series, this new game takes place in 1841 during the First Anglo-Sikh War between the Sikh Empire and the East India Company.
On a very personal note, we have been thrilled with the Chronicles series. As much as we enjoy the ongoing modern warfare between the Assassins and the Templars, and the legacy of Desmond Miles, it is great to step out of that every now and then and just enjoy the story of historical assassins, especially ones that are so ethnically diverse from previous mainstream games. It is especially thrilling to have a chance to explore new non-European/American-centric timeframes in history. The people at Ubisoft really know how to bring their attention to historical detail to all these new places and locales, and the Chronicles series certainly does a good job of filling in the time between their major flagship releases.
Visually, it is also worth mentions that this newest game is very stunning. Colorful and well designed it really does invoke a very Indian aesthetic that makes the game markedly unique in a library of other Assassin’s Creed titles. We especially applaud the little touches of detail. The architecture, the clothing, and even the fact that localized voices can also be heard speaking Punjabi.
Unfortunately, Assassin’s Creed India is not a perfect game. It is a 2.5 D platform stealth game, so we can forgive some of the clunkiness, but when it comes to combat the game is almost painful. Thankfully, being a stealth game combat is not a main focus, but there are areas where you need to engage in it to overcome the mission or complete the different challenges set out for you. This is a particularly disappointing aspect, as Assassin’s Creed games have always had a fairly decent combat system. Thankfully the stealth and the tools at your disposal help make up for this flaw, at least in part.
As a platform game it is a fun, and with simplified controls it is also fairly easy to pick up, even for the casual gamer. However if you are looking for a pure stealth-based game then Assassin’s Creed India will, unfortunately, fall short of your expectations there as well. There are plenty of better sneaking games on the market, but none of them are Assassins’ Creed. Ultimately, that will probably be the game’s biggest selling point. As anyone who already enjoys the Assassin’s Creed franchise will be the ones who will take the time and the energy to enjoy this newest mini-installment. After all, we have come to accept at least some clunkiness in our Assassin’s Creed games, whether it be frustration while free running or randomly failing to make a leap of faith, even though you are on the goddamn right spot, damnit. “Jump into the hay! It’s right there… Now he’s dead, again.” Loyal fans are able to forgive more when it comes to these games, except for maybe Assassin’s Creed Unity. That game had more bugs than our first downtown office space.
Even worse, if you choose to play the game via PC, then you will quickly find that it does not support a PC controller, which is extremely odd, considering its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, already did. It shouldn’t have been that hard to do, either, considering China and India basically have the same controls.
However, seeing as Ubisoft has announced that there will be no mainstream fully rendered immersive Assassin’s Creed title for 2016, fans of the franchise will have to content themselves with India, not that that is a bad thing. It may not be a flagship title, but it certainly has its charms. Another added benefit is that you will not have to spend half of your new year collecting Animus Fragments, which is both tedious and frustratingly unavoidable.
As we said above, Assassin’s Creed India is by no means a perfect game. It is not even a perfect Assassin’s Creed game, but it is also enjoyable in its own way and decent buy on Steam. Anyone who is a fan of the franchise, and especially if you were a fan of ACC: China you will enjoy this game. It is not the best stealth game, nor the best combat game you will find on the market, but it has enough lore, puzzles, and storyline to keep you coming back to play. However, for anyone trying to get into the Assassin’s Creed franchise we would personally recommend you start with Assassin’s Creed II. It is only $10.00 more on Steam and a much better game.
This newest 2.5D platform game is not enough to give you a truly full and favorable impression of the franchise, but once you have played as Edzio or Connor, come back and revisit Assassin’s Creed: India. It’s worth the wait… for a Steam sale.