Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 2015
Download Size: 40GB (PS4)
With the Assassins Creed Franchise moving on from its instalments with the likes of Altair, Ezio, Connor and Edward, we move on to London to meet Jacob and Evie. Assassins Creed Syndicate is the 7th console full release game in the franchise that has seen a steady release year after year with mixed results. Can the exploits in London make up for the issues in the previous game, Unity? Julius donned his blade and pistol to hit the streets, rooftops and back alleys to find out.
After playing Assassin’s Creed: Unity, I have to be honest and say that I lost faith in AC and Ubisoft for a while, but upon hearing details of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate being based in industrial London, I was intrigued, and then I started hearing positive things about it upon its release, so back into the AC universe I went. And before we continue, I want to say, for the reader’s sake, that there may be mild spoilers below.
Jacob and Evie Frye, ahh this merciless pair of twins both serve as our main characters in the game and we can switch between them as we please, but it is to be noted that during main memory sequences, Jacob and Evie both have their own mission paths and we will have to play as them both to continue. Although their personalities differ to the point of clashing they somehow find a way to make their partnership work: Jacob, the charismatic gang leader, and Evie, the smarter and perhaps deadlier of the two, travel to London and wreak wondrous havoc.
Because we are playing two characters, you are able to customize them each to whatever you prefer from their clothes and outfits, to weapons and skills, and while I am on this topic AC:S has a much better menu navigation and skill trees compared to the previous AC:U. While AC:U had a massive outfit library we can choose from, AC:S gives us a smaller selection, but introduces having to find schematics and craft some items.
AC:S also introduces a level system based on exp and how many skills you have purchased, and what level you are determines what weapons and outfit pieces you can equip as they have a level lock. The max level you can reach is 10, and to reach that you will have to get every obtainable skill for your respective character. One thing that peeved me was how they arch-typed both Jacob and Evie with the skill tree, yes their personalities are a factor, but there are some combat skills only available to Jacob, and some stealth skills only available to Evie.
Jacob and Evie do not start off in London, but events lead them there to do what they feel needs to be done in order to advance the Assassin cause, and while Evie hunts down a piece of Eden, Jacob forms a gang called the Rooks to regain control of the city and eliminate key figures of the Templars there, led by Crawford Starrick, Grand Master and Leader of Industry of London.
London 1868 is a fun place to explore: gritty, busy, dirty, and I’ve read it is an accurate depiction of London in those times, but the people themselves seemed a little lifeless. In the middle of London’s industrial age, pollution runs thick, and carriages, trains, and boats are constantly running, but opens us up to the Zipliner! That’s right, after a certain point in the game, we get a zipliner to, well, zipline through the excellently crafted city.
The zipline aids the free running system well, which has just gotten better through every AC game. They’ve kept the free run up and free run down system, which I love, and they have fixed one peeve I’ve had in AC:U – climbing in an open window while clinging to the wall. I know that doesn’t sound very hard, but in AC:U it was quite annoying.
Combat has a much better feel to it compared to AC:U, it is much faster and fluid, and when you knock off a certain amount of an enemy’s health, they are open to finishers, and do that to enough enemies at the same time and you can do multi-finishers. And while the enemy AI is pretty good, there was no real variety in the enemies and I could take them all out in the exact same way.
Bishop, Shaun, and Rebecca are back, hunting a piece of Eden in London and trying to eliminate they’re Templar enemies, but you still remain to be the random initiate in the series. I still think that after making the decision to kill off Desmond, our only playable character in the present, that they would have introduced another such character we could play, but alas we are still nameless and faceless. I would love to have a more engaging present story to bring a balance and give us more reason to why we are helping the Assassins. Although I do enjoy the Sage story and Juno’s impending resurrection, they are giving us scraps, and ties past and present very poorly.
AC:S was the first next-gen Assassin’s Creed game to get me to put some faith back into the series. Ubisoft has worked to fix all of the little things I hated in AC:U, and although there are still a few systems that could use some work, this was a great Assassin’s Creed game.