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Namaste Assassin!

The Assassin’s Creed games are the closest to a time machine we have. These are games that have always been known for their stunningly real historic recreations of cities, people and time periods. The games are set in a fictional history of real world events and follow the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins and the Templars. The Assassins fight for peace with free will as apposed to the Templars, who desire peace through control. And all of this is set in a quasi-science fiction setting.

India, with its rich history, architecture and heritage, has long been wished for as one of the settings by fans of the game series. That wish that has now been answered with ‘Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India.’ As wishes sometimes go, they come true, but in ways you weren’t expecting.

What is it about?

Meet Arbaaz Mir, hero of the Assassin’s Creed: Brahman comic book, who now has his very own game. The year is 1841, in Amritsar, Punjab, and the Sikh Empire is at war with the East India Company. Arbaaz must free-run across a landscape of golden palaces to recover the famous Koh-i-noor diamond, which is a powerful artefact, a piece of Eden, now in the hands of a Master Templar.

How does it play?

The Chronicles series is a 2.5D side-scroller which is in 3D, but yet the levels scroll sideways. The backdrop of the tapering domes of the palaces, and the movement of Arbaaz Mir, are very reminiscent of Prince of Persia.

Those familiar with the franchise’s signature open world cities buzzing with detail will feel a little underwhelmed at just side scrolling. Especially since the architecture is all there, as the game teases with little flybys of detailed streets and paths. It would have been immense fun to wall-run along the narrow corridors and then jump across rooftops.

Ubisoft has made the game look attractive, though, with the use of embellishments like flowery artwork and colour, which feel very Indian. Add to that little touches like the guards speaking to each other in Punjabi. There is very little historic detail that the game delves into; instead it allows you to have fun. There is a feeling, though,that this setting could have been much more. The game at its core is strictly a sneaking game. It introduces mechanics by which you can slip by guards unnoticed; however, once you’re caught, it’s instadeath. Which is annoying, as the Assassins Creed’s getting caught formula has that exciting getting away and lying low until the air is clear. Chronicles just gets frustrating with its death screens. Sometimes you don’t know what killed you.

Should you get the game?

Sure, it’s a game worth trying and a lot better than Assassin’s Creed China. Hopefully, the next game in this trilogy will be a lot better. Chronicles India is by no means a bad game, but it’s also not one of Assassin’s Creed’s best games. A great buy if you’re a fan of the series, or of Arbaaz Mir from the comics.

(The reviewer is a freelance writer and full-time gamer)


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 11:15:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/entertainment/Namaste-Assassin/article14011867.ece

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