Assassin’s Creed Syndicate dropped a couple of days ago and so far, it has been getting very good reviews. The Victorian London based Assassin’s Creed game has a lot of really great improvements over its predecessors, but there are also some things that could still use some work.
In Syndicate, one of the most notable things that is new to the franchise is that you have the opportunity to play as two different Assassins, twins actually. Although they aren’t really all that different. The biggest difference between the two isn’t really in their gameplay, it is in their personalities. Jacob Frye is very brash, cynical, and sarcastic whereas Evie Frye is much more compassionate, intellectual, and curious. Their personalities pour over into what each Assassin pursues in this game. Jacob is much more interested in saving London and killing Templars while Evie wants to find the “precursor object”, also known as a “Piece of Eden”, that is in London. Their personal rivalries pretty much revolve around that. Their gameplay is almost identical to each other, which is a bit disappointing, but there are a few slight differences. Jacob is better when it comes to straightforward combat where Evie is much more stealth based. This is shown mostly from the skills list for each Assassin. Both of them have certain skills that only they can acquire, Evie has a “chameleon” skill, which allows you to become invisible when stationary, and Jacob has the second tier of a skill called “mutilate” which brings an enemy to a near death state much faster in open combat, which sets them up for a takedown. Other than that, they both move about the same, fight the same and control the same. This would have been a great opportunity for Ubisoft to leave a lasting impression in this installment.
On another note, the story so far is very good and not so hard to follow. The cut-scenes could have used a little bit of work to make them more memorable, instead, they just feel short and dry. Another little annoying bit, for me at least, is that Jacob’s gang, “The Rooks”, kind of just pops up out of nowhere. Although that may be my fault. In Syndicate, most of the memories in the sequence are available to play to your choosing and I may have selected a mission out of order. There are usually split in terms of a few memories for Evie, and a few for Jacob, and you can play them in whatever order you want, with the exception of missions that obviously can’t take place without completing the mission before it. But at one time, I was offered two Jacob memories and one Evie memory to chose from. That can get a little confusing at times because there can potentially be two or three different story arcs to each Assassin, but it isn’t too bad, Ubisoft Montreal does a good job with making sure the story doesn’t get too confusing. Also the addition of historical figures like Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell, and Karl Marx, is really cool and a couple of them play big parts in the story as well!
Another thing that I really enjoyed in Syndicate was the addition of the new gadgets. In particular, the grapple and zipline. This new gadget makes climbing and traversing the rooftops of London, very quick and simple. Now of course it doesn’t take the experience of free running away, which is one of Assassin’s Creed’s most iconic features, which is still a little stiff in this installment, but might get fixed in a patch. (Ubisoft did keep the free run down action from Unity which made me very happy) You have the option to either zip up the side of a building or just climb up. But ziplining definitely helps when chasing an enemy through the tiny street and you want to get a leg up on him by getting above him. Compared to previous games, where you could probably get up the building easy, but as soon as your target crossed the street, you had to climb back down the building and then back up the next. The zipline makes it much easier because you can now just shoot across the street on a line from one roof to another. One gadget/weapon I just wanted to touch on was the firearms. You get to choose from a bunch of different pistols, but so far there aren’t any firing speeds that even come close to Black Flag. Now yes you did have about six pistols on your person, but in Syndicate you have access to revolvers which are made for speed, but you don’t really see that speed until you unlock the much later pistols. Jacob can get the upgrade for his quickshot which automatically gives him a headshot when he “quick shoots” his pistol, which is so much fun! The greatest thing about the weapons in this game is how different they are. Each weapon (cane sword, kukri, and brass knuckles) gives you a different fighting experience. Not like switching between a sword and a knife. This is a lot like it was in Unity, but a lot better!
The thing I was surprised about is how easy it is to fully upgrade your Assassins. You will most likely upgrade all of Jacob and Evie’s abilities before you unlock all of their weapons. You also level up your Assassin fairly quickly as well, with level nine, I believe being the highest level. Although, after level 5, it does start to take more time to level both of the Assassins up, which works out for the better.
Over all, this game is a great game so far. I have heard that the ending is trash, but I am just going to have to wait and see. The graphics were better in Black Flag, but are still very good in Syndicate. The twin Assassins are both very fun to play as. Their sibling rivalry is entertaining, as is when they work together. Syndicate continues to incorporate things that were in earlier games like the hiring of thugs, which are replaced by your gang members in Syndicate. The assassinations are as satisfying as always. The city of London is equally fun to run around in. Being a fan of London, the first thing I did was run to the top of Big Ben. This game is a blast to play and completely worth your money. I am even thinking of picking up the season pass for the Jack the Ripper DLC, who is one of the most fascinating, and terrifying people of the Victorian Era in London. And I haven’t bought an Assassin’s Creed DLC since the “Tyranny of King Washington.” Nevertheless, Syndicate was very well made. It could still use a patch or two, but for the most part, it is wonderful.