Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – Review
Follow Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC
Tested on: Playstation 4

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Holds true to the formula
Bad: Tedious secondary mission objectives
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A little while after Assassin’s Creed Unity was released, Ubisoft erred slightly as they accidentally released footage of the next game in the series, then still called: Assassin’s Creed: Victory. The title was nod to the Victorian Age in which the game takes place. Also if the release went spotless then the title would summarise the release perfectly. Probably not wanting to take the risk, as there are bound to be bugs in such a major release, the game was renamed into: Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate.

Assassin-s_Creed_Syndicate logo slim

Story

Evie and Jacob Frye make an appointment with Starrick. “You know, we see how you are running the town and things are really going smoothly. There is however one little gripe. The small issue of child labour. You could get a lot more productivity out of them making things run even smoother.” “Yes, Miss Frye?” answers Starrick. “Well,” interjects Jacob. “You see, if you were to train them for say a couple of years, see which are their strengths and weaknesses, and then at the age of say…oh I don’t know, 16, put them to work at the right facility, they won’t die so easily and they’ll be loyal.”

“You make an excellent point Mr. Frye.” Then Starrick signs some documents and child labour is abolished and the Templars and Assassin’s hug it out and they live happily ever after.

That’s how it could have gone and then the game wouldn’t even be in existence, heck it would be even more cinematic than ‘The Order: 1886’.

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The story doesn’t stray from the formula. Assassin’s good, Templars bad… But at this point, I’m rooting more for the Templars. Not certain if Ubisoft was going for this, but making your protagonists look like freewheeling loose cannons, doesn’t make me want to relate to them. The Templars come across as comically evil, but at the same time Starrick comes across as a completely rational man. Sure there are moments where you think he has a really, really short fuse, but other than that he has got his wits about. The Assassin’s just seem to be murdering enemies for jolly good fun. The city doesn’t really even seem that bad off without them to begin with.

Making Evie the sensible woman and Jacob the manly hothead is sexist. Doesn’t matter what you state on your opening screen, doesn’t matter how big you state it on the box art. If you want to appease feminists, how about you make sure women are treated equally in your studios and pay them the same wages. Treat them equally as you would any other qualified person. Doing so would make much more of a difference than putting a female lead in a video game. She’s not sexualised so at least there’s that.

Graphics

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is equally as beautiful yet less gory than the previous entry. Blood no longer squirts out of the bodies in copies amounts and though this makes the combat less gruesome. This isn’t a bad thing however. The amount of bloodletting in Assassin’s Creed: Unity was downright ridiculous anyway, so this makes it more convincing. When it comes to glitches, less people will need intense therapy after this game.

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Gone are the faces made solely of eyes and teeth which are pure nightmare fuel. They have been replaced by pure nothingness. At one part of the game, a cut scene played and well, nothing showed except for the background. All things considered it could have been a worse release.

Sound

Finally a game where they have made use of the English accent perfectly. It was queer when the accent was used during the French revolution and made things seem a little goofy, but here it fits perfectly, at some point there was the fear that Ubisoft would throw a curve ball and put in a French accented character. That would have been the ultimate tongue in the cheek joke, which would probably not be received well. Nothing like that, as they’ve cast the voice acting quite well. Saying anything positive about the sound would be like stating the fact that water is wet and that standing in direct sunlight without sun tan cream leads to sunburns.

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Gameplay

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is an action adventure game with stealth mechanics. It takes you back to the era of the Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood times. It does away with a lot of the mechanics from Assassin’s Creed III to Assassin’s Creed: Rogue and builds on the previous entry in the series. Ubisoft has made the combat more free flowing and easier to get down. It feels a lot like the combat in the Batman games and Mad Max. At times it can feel like button mashing but it’s fun and it really is a power trip when you down half a dozen enemies without even breaking a sweat or taking any damage.

The map is littered with things to collect and things to do which distract you from the main story line. Though it feels like most of these things are redundant and lots of these collectibles feel like filler of the map, at this point it is a staple of the games and if they were to remove that the game would feel lacking. The biggest part of the game is winning control over the map. Starrick has a firm grip over London and it will take a lot to make him relinquish it. You synchronise the map by climbing towers and upon doing so you’ll see what activities you can do.

Assassin's_Creed_Syndicate_04There is liberating children from child labour, bounty hunter targets which involve you kidnapping Templars and handing them over to the police or you can go on Templar hunts. When you’ve beaten enough of these activities in a certain part of the map, the leader of the gang of that part will challenge you. If you beat them the first time you encounter them, the gang war will be just against grunts, but if you fail to kill them, they’ll join the battle in the gang war.

When you beat a sequence you can pick the next one in line. When you first pick one, you can see that you can immediately pick the second to last sequence. If you don’t pick it until you’ve played through the complete game, then you are into a shock as the eighth sequence requires you to have control over three boroughs, this is a mechanic which wasn’t used in the game until that point which makes the game’s pacing lurch to a shuddering halt if you haven’t invested in clearing the map.

As you kill enemies and finish objectives you’ll gain experience, every 1,000 experience you get you unlock a point which can be invested in a skill tree. Unlocking perks means levelling up and although Evie and Jacob have the same skill tree, it might be they have a completely different style. This depends on how you arrange the skill points. Don’t worry though, both Jacob and Evie have different top tier skills. Evie is more stealth based while Jacob is more of a fighter. So even though Ubisoft might be trying to be politically correct in giving women a part in the game, they fall for the oldest trick in the book and make them seem like they can’t hold their own in a scrap.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate has no multiplayer. The teams wanted to create a solid experience and focused on making the game as good as can be, so Ubisoft axed the multiplayer part.

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Conclusion

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate goes back to the earlier days of the franchise and reimagines the entry by taking what was great about both Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and refines them. So for the fans of the game who were disappointed by Unity, yet loved the second entry and Brotherhood in the series will be elated. No multiplayer though, but that isn’t that big of a loss. The future day story might be a little confusing for newer players, but don’t let that stop you from buying and enjoying the game. If you aren’t into the series, then don’t come into it thinking it’s going to win you over.

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First game ever was Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped, ever since then, gaming has been something that I've gravitated to. Reading's fun but not as interactive. Always up for a bout of online multiplayer. If that multiplayer is co-op. So if you are up for a friendly co-op session, hit me up. Rahenik's the name to search on PSN.

1 Comment

  1. pulse
    pulse
    October 27, 2015, 10:55 pm

    Still on the fence about this one. Sounds like it’s more of the same old, same old, and after Unity nothing seems sacred anymore. I am intrigued by the setting and the female protagonist though (even if she falls into the stereotypical female character role), might pick it up and give it a chance! An 8.5 is not a bad score!

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