I’ve been looking forward to Assassins Creed Syndicate because not only is it set in my home town, it’s sure to be less boring than the last game.
This one tells the story of Assassin twins Jacob and Evie Frye from the London borough of Crawley. After an opening mission where they search for a Piece of Eden on the outskirts of the city, they then make their way into the heart of the city of London to put pay to the Templars and take back the city from a gang dressed in red called the Blighters.
If you’ve played a previous game you’ll know the deal, however this one feels very different in that it’s less of a pure Assassin’s Creed game and more of a mix of its own franchise, the Arkham games and Grand Theft Auto.
For instance, you can steal carriages and ride them through the city streets which is something brand new to the game, you get your hands on a grappling hook which you can fire to buildings and zip and swing between buildings, and the combat is a much faster affair with hits, blocks, stuns and distance attacks all mixing things up even further. All these touches bring something new to the game but at the same token, do take away slightly from the purity of climbing and stealthy assassinations. Evie is the supposed to be the more stealthy of the two, but by the time you’ve levelled them up by spending points as you gain XP, they are pretty much interchangeable characters depending on how you level them up and the items you craft and equip them with. It’s also good to see that Eagle vision now stays on for as long as you want just as long as you don’t kill anyone or start running about. This now gives you time to mark enemies and spot secrets without having to keep reactivating it every five seconds. Being able to free run up and down is back again which stops you from jumping to your death but it can also be confusing when you want to jump over a gap that the game deems too far and your character just comes to a halt during a chase scene.
Having lived in London for over a decade now, it’s really great to see the city realised in such a fashion. Climbing to the top of Big Ben and looking across the Thames towards where the London Eye would now be is something really special, likewise shimmying up the side of St. Paul’s Cathedral. You’ll also have to contend with the local constabulary as, if they see you getting into a fight, they’ll also wade in with their truncheons and give you a good drubbing.
There are also some interesting faces from history that have been thrown into the mix – I’m not quite sure how accurate the history is here but you’ll be doing missions for the likes of Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens, meeting Karl Marx and Queen Victoria and even Jack the Ripper makes an appearance. It’s a bit of a jumble without too much direction if I’m honest but the game does give you plenty of things to do. There are areas to take back from the rival gang by hook or by crook, you can now kidnap people and sling them in the back of carriages, there are child labour rings to put pay to, there are high profile Templars to assassinate and read their last rights to and, thankfully, you even get to see the dual story playing out again akin to when Desmond was kicking about. His comrades are still going into the Animus and I for one am glad to see this back in a big way. Unity’s voice just telling you what to do in revolutionary Paris just wasn’t enough for me.
Syndicate is certainly better then Unity but for me, Black Flag is still the best game I’ve played in recent times. It felt more open but didn’t detract from the core gameplay of what Assassin’s Creed is all about. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate gets 8 out of 10.
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