Assassins Creed Syndicate, following in the footsteps of the other games and the new fashion of releasing a game a year. Developed by Ubisoft this is another in the main franchise to be released, with some debate over if people should buy another Assassins Creed game after the debacle of Unity in the past. Set in Victorian London, the most up to date version of Animus technology plunges you into a world of Guns and Steam power.
The game follows twins Jacob and Evie Frye, young looking assassins out to make their name but stuck in the suburbs of the London area. Evie is keen to follow in their father’s footsteps as he was hot on the tail of a Piece of Eden, whereas Jacob wants to do good by the order and his fellow man by killing as many Templars as he can all the while uniting people under one banner to keep them safe. The two knock heads quite a few times throughout the game and the twin rivalry is shown often, though in the end sibling love prevails as they do end up helping one another and keeping watch on their backs.
Whilst playing Evie you will be sneaking into different estates and complexes to either find information about the Piece of Eden, or to kill a target who is involved in learning more about them or who know of its powers. These levels are, the more fun to play as they allow for several points of entry and several ways to complete them, either through dropping from the rafters to kill your target or sending in a squad of your Rooks.
Jacob takes on a more hands-on approach with brawls and thuggery, threatening out the information he needs or stealing items to help his cause. However, it isn’t always all out thuggery as he has the option for stealth as well, it’s just the levels seem to be more tailored to the gun shooting and sword duelling style of gameplay.
Together the twins will bring down the Templar presence in London as well as learn more about and obtain the Piece of Eden. Playing through the story will last you around 10+ hours, depending on skill level and if you will just brute you way through levels or sneaking them. All the additional content can easily quadruple that with all the collectables and challenges to be had throughout all story missions.
The gameplay in Syndicate hasn’t changed much from previous releases, mash the Square button for attacking, X for stun lock or guard breaking, Circle for a parry/counterattack move and triangle for your tool of choice. It is a bit more refined and visceral with the new finishing moves lasting up to 5 hits more with your weapons and it feels a lot more engaging with the sound design. You can also combine stunning with your tools for devastating combo attacks.
Gunplay is rather underwhelming in the release, it hasn’t changed too much from previous releases and can sometimes just feel like another throwing knife with a loud bang. Fight clubs add a bit of a challenge to the game where you must fight through several waves of enemies, but the higher level areas of the game can offer the same amount of difficulty as well.
Levelling up is very prevalent in the game, Xp is gained through killing people, collecting things or completing objectives. As you level up you get skill points to unlock and improve your assassin skills or abilities, all the while increasing your overall assassin level, which tells you how strong you are against specific areas of the game. Weapons and Equipment also add a certain aspect to your level as higher level enemies get more health and defences.
Horse Cart riding is very wishy washy at times, turning is annoying and the overall experience detracts from the original Assassin feel, Boats just feel a lot better to control than a horse pulled cart. The chase scenes are sometimes way too easy as your cart can take so much more punishment than the enemy carts and with some of the more narrow streets it is a pain to drive and not hit someone… which doesn’t even desync you.
Business owning and upgrading is back again, allowing you to get discounts and income at regular intervals, which is all accessed by your menu and Private Train. It is dumbed down quite a bit from previous releases I feel and you don’t really see as much of an impact, it falls more in the side-lines than anything else. It is nice to go to your safe and pick up some money as it is sorely needed for better equipment, but I felt it could have been more polished.
Overall thoughts and Feelings
The music kind of falls into the background in this release, I was hoping for an awesome score to go along with the Victorian aesthetic, but most of the time I felt myself hearing gunshots and bashing more than anything. When you can hear their music, mostly in cutscenes, it is beautifully crafted and conveys both the emotions and themes at play in the game, I just wished there was some more action packed tunes for battle and chases.
Syndicate is definitely a lot better than the harsh outcome of Unity, however, I do not feel it does enough new idea or mechanics well enough to draw in a new audience. The gameplay is rather samey in comparison to older releases and glitches pop up every other mission or so, with people falling into the floor, running into walls or merely acting strange. If you’ve played an Assassins Creed game before you know how to play this one, nothing jumps out at you and scares you with new ideas it merely takes on a “Safe” route to bring in the fans.
Assassins Creed Syndicate gets a 3/5, it’s a fun game and has its moments but the overall experience is brought down by overused mechanics and being too scared to throw something new at you. The out-of-animus parts are too few which was what helped the narrative along with the series and cutting it out so much makes it just feel like you are Jacob and Evie and not an Assassin in real time.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.