The second game in the Assassin's Creed: Chronicles line, ACC: India continues the newly introduced tradition of sidescrolling gameplay with the Chronicles subseries and spotlights yet another minor character in the ever-growing list of assassins through the centuries. The setting of a Taj Mahal-era India means there’s plenty of scale to the game, and the protagonist, an assassin named Arbaaz Mir, uses the palatial setting to his advantage.
The novelty of the Chronicles games is the side-scrolling perspective, harkening back to a time when platforming was the pinnacle of video games. Still, ACC: India never loses sight of its Creed roots and traversing the terrain here is just as fun as any of the open-world AC games. There’s still an emphasis on stealth, and the game rewards you with combos and high scores for keeping out of sight, staying in shadows and dealing death without alerting guards in the vicinity. Of course, not all of us are master assassins, and sometimes a sword fight is the only way to get yourself out of a jam. ACC: India performs admirably in the combat department...even though it would prefer you didn’t.
While the first entry of the Chronicle’s line, ACC: China, felt groundbreaking with its introduction of 2.5D dynamics into the Assassin’s Creed world, ACC: India is left to fend for itself with its environments and story being the draw. We appreciated the former, but the latter fell flat for us. Even though the cut scenes are heavily stylized and look great, there’s just not much to dig into. That’s a big shortcoming from the Assassin’s Creed series, where the story has propelled the franchise from just another open-world game to an annual blockbuster to an upcoming feature film starring Michael Fassbender. We just never connected with Arbaaz Mir, because there simply wasn’t anything to connect with.
Even without an engrossing story, ACC: India is a highly enjoyable supplement to the main Assassin’s Creed plot that we’ve come to expect every autumn. As Ubisoft rounds out the Chronicles trilogy with plans to point the focus at a Russian assassin in Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: Russia later this year, we fully expect to play through a world of minarets and snowy Siberian landscapes. Until then, we’ll get our ten bucks worth out of ACC: India because, even if he’s bland, Arbaaz Mir isn’t such a bad guy after all.