Assassin’s Creed Chron­i­cles: In­dia

Ap­palling Creed

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased out now! Re­viewed on PS4

Also on PC, XBox One

Pub­lisher Ubisoft

Back in April, Ubisoft served up a re­fresh­ing lit­tle ap­pe­tiser – a down­load­able amuse- bouche that whet­ted our ap­petite for the next in­stal­ment in the ACC tril­ogy. Given that ACC: China was an em­i­nently ca­pa­ble game, you might ex­pect this fol­low- up to serve as an ex­er­cise in story de­vel­op­ment, me­chan­i­cal evolution, and gen­eral re­fine­ment. Un­for­tu­nately it fails to de­liver on any of these fronts.

The se­quel doesn’t get off to a strong start, in­tro­duc­ing pro­tag­o­nist Ar­baaz Mir by hav­ing play­ers steer their lusty assassin to­wards a steamy mid­night tryst. It’s a ju­ve­nile start to the game, and it po­si­tions him as some sort of nine­teenth cen­tury jock with a quick wit and an eye for the ladies.

In­deed, any­one hop­ing that these smaller- scale out­ings would pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for Ubisoft to ex­per­i­ment with sto­ry­telling is in for a dis­ap­point­ment. ACC: In­dia presents yet an­other search for a mys­ti­cal McGuf­fin acted out by a cast of com­pletely two- di­men­sional char­ac­ters.

But whereas the first game made up for its lack of nar­ra­tive nu­ance with me­chan­i­cal so­lid­ity and a cer­tain sense of nov­elty, In­dia’s tweaks are largely neg­a­tive. China took care to train play­ers in the art of 2D as­sas­si­na­tion be­fore set­ting them loose, for in­stance, but In­dia as­sumes you’re up to speed from the off, and a cur­sory tu­to­rial omits any num­ber of de­tails that will prove cru­cial to your pro­gres­sion through, and en­joy­ment of, the wider game.

The con­sid­ered sneak­ery is bro­ken up by oc­ca­sional speedrun­ning stages that see Ar­baaz chas­ing down tar­gets or es­cap­ing dan­ger­ous lo­cales. Suc­cess in these sec­tions car­ries a cer­tain sense of ac­com­plish­ment, but even here there’s a mis­guided re­liance on in­sta- fail ob­jec­tives, so that rather than pass­ing through these stages by the skin of your teeth, you’ll find your­self sit­ting through them time and again.

Cer­tain sec­tions are so ex­act­ing or poorly sign­posted that re­peated fail­ure is sim­ply the only way to fig­ure them out, en­cour­ag­ing a trial- and- er­ror ap­proach that quickly grates. It’s un­for­tu­nate, given that China made for such a sat­is­fac­tory en­trée. We can only hope that the last in the tril­ogy, Rus­sia, will present a tastier third course. James Nouch

See if you can spot the line in the other­wise rather ropey script that’s lifted whole­sale from Seren­ity…

As ever, things don’t go well for the guys in red shirts.

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