Very few things in life feel routine. The spontaneity of life can yield surprises and tragedy that will always guarantee that no two days of your life ever be the same. There are those moments though that bring that routine into your life. One of those things now seem to be Assassin’s Creed. We’ve been here before but with a new developer at the helm, things feel new in some ways and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is probably the best Assassin’s Creed title since Brotherhood in 2010.
This time Assassin’s Creed Syndicate takes you away to Victorian London. You play as twins Jacob and Evie Frye on a quest to start a gang and take over London is typical open-world fashion. This is a perfect reason to accompany the typical Assassin’s Creed open-world design.
The story is an engaging tale of greed and compassion as Evie and Jacob’s gang, The Rooks, aim to take over all the boroughs of London. The two protagonists have a great rapport and differing ideologies of how to be an Assassin. It creates great tension as well as some interesting looks of things from multiple perspectives. It’s a story that actually stays interesting throughout its entirety, even if the ending doesn’t exactly feel as enjoyable as you might expect.
The city of London is stunning. From smoke stacked chimneys, to horse and carriage spewed streets, London is an absolute joy to be immersed within. The world is large, detailed, and holds up much better than last year’s Unity which tried to be too ambitious with its huge crowds. London doesn’t feel as dense pedestrian-wise but it certainly still feels alive.
There are two new ways to get around London in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in the form of the horse and carriage and the rope launcher. The latter of the two new things is probably the most divisive as some will say that working your way up buildings is a large part of what makes Assassain’s Creed so enjoyable while others will welcome the quicker aspect of getting around the city. The one thing I noticed about it though is that it stopped me wanting to quick travel to places.
The horse and carriage controls pretty smoothly and offers some new gameplay to the universe, even if it’s only minor. Encountering and fighting enemies with them can be rather thrilling and it’s just another way to mix things up as you travel around some of the massive streets of London.
The scars are Unity are still showing as Syndicate seems to be toned slightly down in every aspect. While visually spectacular, I wasn’t impressed as much as I was with some moments in Unity. It comes at a cost though of a much more stable game and stability is much more important than spectacle. In my time with the game I encountered far fewer bugs than I did with Unity although I had the odd unusual thing happen and one instance when I fell through the ground.
There aren’t too many gimmicks in Syndicate that adds to the gameplay which is great. You can recruit members of your gang if you see them on the street and have them fight for you which is not too dissimilar to how it worked in Brotherhood.
The possible true stars of Syndicate are the twins Evie and Jacob. The series has had a problem making likable character since Ezio and which they don’t match up, they’re both thoroughly likeable. Both have different personalities but also different playstyles. Evie is more stealth-based and Jacob is a brawler. They each have different skill trees that unlock different abilities and both plays can be used in the open world at any time.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate really does feel like a return to form for the franchise. Not since Brotherhood have I felt as compelled to keep playing, to be interested in the story, and most importantly, enjoy just being in the open world. It’s a series that may run out a steam but Syndicate is a great return to form for the tiring legs of the series.