We gamers have all played an Assassin’s Creed game sometimes in our lives.
There has been enough of them. Each one progressively better than the next mechanically and [sometimes] graphically. Ubisoft have evolved this awesome series year on year with each new release taking us players from one beautiful location to another introducing us to some interesting and sometimes deranged characters. Some badass protagonists too beginning with Altair Ibn-La’Ahad, Ratohnhaké:ton otherwise known as Connor and of course the more renowned Ezio Auditore. It was like being dragged from one time period to the next in some messed up time machine all the while following a good versus evil, or Assassin’s versus Templar storyline.
This time, that messed up time machine dumps us in Victorian London in the 1800’s during the Industrial Revolution in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, the latest game in this superb franchise. We become the Frye twins, Evie and Jacob. Yep this time we have a duo to play as which is one of the first noticeable changes Ubisoft have made this time around. They are typical brother and sister. Bickering, debating, and sometimes arguing. These two are fun to watch. Jacob takes more of a gung-ho, kill all Templar’s attitude to missions but with his sarcasm and wit, he is fun to watch during his screen time. Evie however is more subtle. Taking more of a silent approach with careful planning, straight in, straight out. She is more intrigued and curious and brings Jacob down to earth constantly. Their chemistry is endearing making them the most interesting Assassin’s Creed heroes to date.
Assassin’s Creed never truly evolves when it comes to its base gameplay. We can still run and climb around the streets and rooftops, not much has changed here. Instead, Ubisoft have improved the combat bringing more of a fast paced fisty cuffs element which is more explosive and beautifully brutal. Whether you use a knife, cane or your fists, Evie and Jacob can both deliver some nasty looking cracks topped off with a crushing finishing move. It’s the best combat we have seen since Assassin’s Creed 2. It’s also location sensitive so if you are fighting on top of a train say, your finishing move will be a King Leonidas style boot right off of it.
London is gigantic and all the key landmarks are here. Big Ben, Kings Cross Station, Whitechapel, its significantly bigger than last year’s Paris and with that it made sense to bring in a form of transportation. The roads are heavily populated with horse drawn carriages and yep you can hijack them Grand Theft Auto style. They handle surprisingly well. Tight turns are no problem and boosting is exhilarating and with this new driving feature and there is combat to go with it. Ramming enemies works best although shooting the driver, his occupants or even the horse pulling them is a valid option. It feels like the car combat in Watch Dogs which is far from a bad thing.
Not long into the game, I got a rope launcher attachment for my gauntlet. I want one in real life. It allows Jacob or Evie to climb up or across buildings with ease. Although it’s not the stealthiest of gadgets, it makes some missions a hell of a lot easier opening up opportunities for some slick air assassinations. I felt like Batman but without his bank account. Yet another huge risk for Ubisoft to take putting this mechanic in Syndicate but it works brilliantly.
With a city so large, we need stuff to do in it. Carriage races, fight clubs, Child Liberation missions, Stronghold Takeovers and Bounty Hunts are but only a few of the missions that will help you take back the city one area at a time and of course what would Assassin’s Creed Syndicate be without Assassin’s Creed collectables. They are here but not nearly as many to collect as Unity thankfully.
The main problems are purely cosmetic. The now standard graphical hiccups all remain. Texture popping and random bizarre occurrences happen. One time, I hijacked a carriage but it glitched during the animation with the driver ending up on the roof of my carriage stood still. Also during a cut scene involving the Twins, Evie’s face was misshapen. It’s distracting and needs to be patched but as a whole the game looks lush. Characters are true to life and London is gorgeous. A lot of time and research has been spent to make London look as authentic as possible and it’s the biggest and most diverse Assassin’s Creed location to date.
London is massive and beautifully crafted.
The Frye twins are the best heroes of the series.
The new rope launcher makes traversal a hell of a lot easier and fun.
Horse drawn carriages handle brilliantly.
Combat is fantastically brutal.
Tonnes to do.
Distracting graphical hitches.
Loading times are overly long.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the best Assassin’s Creed game to date. The new rope launcher, horse drawn carriages, better stealth mechanics, fun protagonists and the new refined brutal combat thrust Syndicate to the top of the list of best AC games. The graphical hitches return which need ironing out but they don’t take away the awesome experience of playing as the coolest heroes of the series.