Assassin’s Creed is a series that’s been around for a long time now and I had become quite disenchanted with it last year after playing through Unity and thought I was done with the series. But after some heavy advertising for the game last year from the Ubisoft marketing team and a sale of the game around Christmas time last year, on impulse, I purchased the latest game in the series, Syndicate.
Having virtually ignored most news about the game throughout 2015, I really had no idea what I was in for other than the London setting and that the main characters were a brother and sister duo. I think that this helped me enjoy the game quite a lot more as I didn’t really know what to expect out of this one.
The game is much improved compared to what we had last year. I didn’t find any major glitches or crazy moments and the English were all speaking with English accents, unlike last year’s English sounding French which was great to see.
What was also much better, was that the online components seem almost completely gone with only a few instances where I was made aware of the online world. I found this to be a much better playing experience. I have no desire to play Assassin’s Creed online with friends and prefer to just stick to the single player missions and this game did just that, which left me quite happy.
Gameplay wise things are as they were for most of last few titles in the game. Although I did feel that the combat in Syndicate was much improved and far more balanced than last year. Enemies will block your attacks, shoot at you etc. But you can always counter these moves by pressing a different button on your controller, for example pressing X when an enemy is blocking to break it, or O when an enemy is attacking to dodge. While it’s not the most complex battle system out there, its simplicity keeps things fun. It was only towards the end of the game, say sequence 7 out of 9 that I felt my character was too powerful, I could take on any number of enemies by that point, but before then would struggle with too many.
The game in a way though, particularly towards the end suffers quite a lot once you are leveled up with a all the abilities unlocked. While it’s great to unlock new abilities as you go, it does make the enemies a little too easy and towards the end of the game I always want things to be more challenging rather than easier to beat, due to this the final few chapters may fly by for most people.
In the game you play as Jacob or Evie Frye who are a brother and sister duo, with a slight gangster background and they’re also assassins. The most interesting parts of the story for me were the gang elements of the game. Your characters are in charge of a gang known as “The Rooks” and throughout the game you and your Rooks will fight the Blighters. Gangs have territories all throughout London and you can actually take strongholds and fight the ring leaders of different Blighter gangs all over London to take territory for yourself and grow your gang. For me this was the highlight of the game and the most enjoyable part, it’s broken up into a mix of brawler and stealth strongholds and it’s up to you if you’d like to use either Jacob or Evie to beat them.
Jacob and Evie are slightly different to play as in the game. Jacob is more of a brawler and is suitable for missions where you will need to do a lot of fighting. He also has a few abilities towards the end of his upgrade tree that are specific to his character and are related to brawling. Evie is more of a stealth character and she too has abilities that only she can unlock, the best one being able to go invisible when stationary, which is unlocked at the end and is quite helpful.
The games missions aren’t entirely balanced between the games characters though. Most will leave you stuck playing as Jacob who isn’t as interesting as Evie and in an Assassins creed game I do like to stealth around a lot more and Evie to me was the more fun to play as of the two.
The story mode is something I don’t want to spoil, but you run this gang and there is trouble about all over London. But there are also Templars to deal with who are messing around with a lot of things and as assassins it’s kind of your characters duty to take them down. I personally have mixed feelings with the story, in some parts it’s good and in others it’s very bland. There are not many good lines and a lot of lame ones. I wish it was better because the gameplay was great, but because I was having fun, I didn’t really mind.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is a massive improvement compared to what we got last year with Unity. It’s a lot of fun being in a gang and the territorial missions which have you taking territory from rival gangs were the highlight for me. Gameplay is well crafted and the fighting is quite fun. The story is a bit of a let down and is some ways it’s very bland and has little substance. But it’s still a good time and I enjoyed playing through Assassin’s Creed Syndicate a lot more than I have any others in the series for a while. It’s still a lot of the same that we’ve seen from the franchise and some may be tired from that, this one certainly isn’t bad. If you’re lucky enough to find a good deal on this title, it could be worth giving a go.