Syndicate feels familiar but fresh, and Victorian London will win your heart. #assassin #creed #syndicate #review
The Assassin’s Creed series has had its ups and downs, but Syndicate succeeds in renewing the formula. Taking place in the huge and interesting playground that is Victorian London, the game lets you take control of two siblings fighting the evil Templar order. As Jacob and Evie Frye, you will engage in stealthy assassination missions and huge gang wars, and you will even form your own street gang.
The two protagonists are some of the most interesting playable characters of the series. The voice-acting is great, and Jacob and Evie are lovable characters and fun to play. Jacob favors a straightforward style, while Evie is more of a cautious planner. Both have a set of unlockable skills, some of which are only available to either Evie or Jacob. Evie’s special skills support a stealthier playstyle while Jacob’s skills are more action-oriented. You will also craft better tools and weapons with supplies you find all over London.
After 23 hours of gameplay I was about halfway through the game. The main missions are usually only playable with one of the characters, but otherwise you can freely choose between Jacob or Evie. The game offers plenty of side missions that reward you with new gear. Along with crafting supplies often inexplicably hidden on church rooftops, the map is full of collectables which I have mostly ignored since Assassin’s Creed II. However, this time I found myself fooling around with my gang members, completing side missions or looking for secrets, which may be in part because of the wonderful environment.
You can have your own gang members follow you around and your street urchins will sometimes help you out with free items. You can also buy upgrades for your gang to unlock different fighter classes or new sources of income, which can be collected from your mobile train base. The train is also great for admiring your city, as the beautiful architecture, a great score and a lively soundscape succeed in bringing the city to life.
The action itself can feel a bit clumsy at times, and this time you have to get used to different controls for free-running upwards and downwards. Ziplining above enemies gives you entirely new approaches to missions, and horse carriages can be used for combat and carnage. The horses are not easily hurt, and mowing down street lamps and unlucky pedestrians is absolutely ridiculous and great fun. Combat is rather forgiving, and alongside dodging bullets and countering attacks you may use firearms and throwing knives. Aiming with guns is extremely awkward, but the game provides you with aim assist.
Free-running assassinations have never been easier and the environment and the characters will draw you in. Syndicate feels fresh and interesting even after a long relationship with the series.
Developer: Ubisoft Quebec
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One
Release date: October 23, 2015