Old wine in a shiny new bottle. That’s what Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is all about. Nothing more, nothing less.
Another year and another Assassin’s Creed game! Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity was the first AC game for the PS4 and Xbox One and we know how that ended up! Bugs and glitches and an overambitious multiplayer co-op gameplay. This year, Ubisoft has decided to stick with the tried and tested and add a handful of new features. Set in London, Syndicate lets you don the role of two lead protagonists with some interesting abilities. Is it enough?
Syndicate lets you play as twins Jacob and Evie Frye looking to make a difference in Victorian London. Jacob has his interests set in brawling whereas Evie wants to search for a piece of Eden. That’s the short version of the premise. As the plot unfolds, you will be introduced to a number of historical characters including the likes of Charles Dickens, Frederick Aberline, Alexander Graham Bell, Florence Nightingale, Edward Hodson Bayley and more. It’s fun interacting with these characters as their wit and character adds to the uniqueness of the plot. There is little to do with the story of the present day and it’s nice that this has been kept minimal. It also feels like after the story of Desmond Miles the developers weren’t interested in having a present day protagonist arc.
Overall, the story this time around is quite entertaining thanks to witty one-liners from the protagonist and supporting cast, keeping you entertained. The pace at which the plot unfolds is up to you based on the number of side quests you delve into.
It wouldn’t be right to say that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has stuck with the same “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” philosophy. To begin with, the biggest addition to gameplay is the grappling hook that lets you quickly traverse between buildings. It isn’t as fluid as the traversing mechanics of Batman: Arkham Knight but it does add speed to traversing high buildings. The next addition is the ability to steal a horse carriage (GTA style) to traverse the city of London. There are a lot of missions that involve hijacking a horse carriage so you better get used to the controls quick! The controls here are fluid and responsive.
Weapons are plentiful. From a cane with a hidden blade, to brass knuckles, bombs that shock the opponents, guns and more. The variety in weapons is a nice touch but it barely affects the core fighting mechanics. What it affects are the abilities that you can unlock as you progress through the game. Both the protagonists have the same skill-developing tree except a few abilities. Jacob’s unique skill lean more towards combat and Evie’s skills leans more towards stealth to the point where she can give Metal Gear Solid’s stealth camouflage a run for its money. Syndicate’s combat feels a cross between Batman: Arkham Knight and Shadow of Mordor. This doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. It’s still plagued with the haphazard camera angles but it’s better than previous Assassin’s Creed.
The only downside to the gameplay is traversing. It still isn’t perfect when we look at other games likes Metal Gear Solid 5 (for the stealth aspects), Batman Arkham Knight and Shadow of Mordor. You will still grab that ledge you didn’t mean to or jump off a roof instead of reaching the ledge, but we think by the next AC game, these problems will be fixed. Sticking with the stealth aspect of gameplay, it looks like Syndicate has taken a leaf from MGS’s play style and lets you mark enemies when you switch to eagle vision. Overall the gameplay of Assassin’s creed has changed for the better.
Graphics & sound
It isn’t the best looking game out there and it sure isn’t the largest Assassin’s Creed map, but what’s on offer is diverse. You have the ghettos of London that look bleak and dead and then you have Big Ben that looks stunning. It’s the startling difference between the two that makes traversing from one corner of the map to the other fun. The assassination animations this time around are very brutal. You have combos that you can pull off where the camera gets really close to the characters and this looks great. The voice acting this time around is good. You have Jacob with his cheesy one liners and Evie with her intellectual banter and a cast of supporting characters that drive the story well. Like we mentioned earlier, there is comic relief in some of the historic characters.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is available for the PS4, Xbox One and PC. If you haven’t played an AC game for a few years, this is when you should revisit the franchise. If you have played the previous games, then the decision is up to you. As far as we’re concerned, this is the redeeming game of the Assassin’s Creed franchise!
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Sameer "Psycho Mantis" Mitha
I live for gaming and technology is my muse. When I am not busy playing with gadgets or video games I delve into the world of fantasy novels.