Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
The first time I played Assassin’s Creed, my mouth hit the floor. I think this is probably the same for most people, especially those of us who played the original on the XBox 360 back in 2007. Graphically it was stunning, and the gameplay was amazing. A lot has happened since then, and everyone has their own views on how the game has improved or gone down the wrong road. For me, the game was loosing interest around 2010 with Brotherhood. It was all getting a little bit too samey. But then in 2012 Assassin’s Creed III took us to the American Revolution and gave the series a fresh lease on life. What’s more it introduced us to naval combat and lead the way for 2013’s Black Flag, a new highlight in the series.
The Assassin’s Creed Unity was announced, and I got worried. In the last two games naval combat has made the game so much more interesting, and I couldn’t see how UbiSoft could fit naval battles into the French Revolution. They didn’t. But it didn’t matter.
In 2014 when Unity dropped on the Xbox One, the game came with a massive city to explore, and some graphical challenges that may have indicated that UbiSoft had over-reached the capabilities of the current systems. I like to look at it in more positive terms, that it takes a while to get used to a new console, before you can find just how far you can push it, and Unity suffered some from graphical glitches. But they were by no means game breaking.
Of course, if you believe the internet – which judging by the fact you are reading this on the internet, you probably do – then Unity was an unplayable disaster. I’ve never met anyone who feels that way. In fact a gaming buddy of mine joined me for many countless hours of fun playing co-op in Unity. It was for me the best in the series so far. Not better than Black Flag, as the two can’t be compared, but the best land based game in the series.
Which leads us to Syndicate.
Syndicate takes us to Victorian Era London, bang in the middle of the industrial revolution, and the next logical step after the French Revolution. It’s a fantastic setting and builds on what UbiSoft created in Unity, bringing in subtle changes rather than game changing directions.
The biggest change is the main character is two people, a brother and sister team that works incredibly well, and makes the story-line come alive like never before. Being able to play two different characters that have distinctly different game-play approaches is brilliant. Evie is a more subtle character, she prefers the quite stealth approach to situations, though she can definitely hold her own in a fight. Her brother Jacob on the other hand, prefers to jump right in and get things done using his fists and causing as much trouble as possible. Though he too has the ability to lurk in the shadows.
London is beautifully recreated and is of course massive on scale. Graphical glitches are minimal to non-exsistant, which shows that UbiSoft have learnt from Unity, and because it’s the industrial revolution, Jacob and Evie’s base of operations is on a train. A little way into the game you unlock the grappling hook, and this coupled with the horse and cart gives both characters a faster way to traverse the city, if they so wish.
The grappling hook also gives them a lot more options during missions.
Guns are a lot more effective in Syndicate, and in some situations, if you don’t have the time or inclination to fight your way through a gang of enemies that are in your way, you can take them out with head-shots from the safety of a close roof. Guns however don’t rule combat, as you only have so many bullets, and the familiar combat system is still as fun as ever, though Jacob and Evie are not superhuman, so don’t walk into a fight you can’t handle.
Being the era that it is set in, another activity that Jacob specifically can take tart in is the underground fighting clubs. This not only will enable you to build income and get experience points, but it’s also a great place to practice hand to had combat.
All in all, Syndicate is an amazing game. It’s fun, challenging and definitely addictive. There are always numerous ways you can complete missions, and there are always the bonus objectives for you to try and hit. It’s a game that builds on what has gone before it, but has it’s own style.
If the bad press surrounding Unity put you off the Assassin’s Creed series, then Syndicate will set your mind at rest. UbiSoft definitely know what they are doing.
The only question now is where will UbiSoft take the Assassin’s to next. I was hoping that the weird WWII time anomalies that popped up in the were and indicator that the next game would be an Assassin’s Creed version of The Saboteur, though purists would probably be up in arms if the series ever when that modern. Where ever UbiSoft decide to take the series, based on Syndicate, I know it will be a fantastic game.
Reviewed on: XBox One
Rating: R13 Contains Violence.
Reviewed by: Jonathan