It’s back to the animus for gamers as the next installment from Ubisoft takes us into the Victorian streets of London. With my total time played hitting 44 hours, I wouldn’t be afraid to call it one of the most immersive Assassin’s Creed games that I have played.
To begin with, the difference that we see in Syndicate compared to it’s predecessors is the introduction of two playable Assassins. I was skeptical about this to begin with, but it only took one sequence for me to fall in love with these two comical siblings. Their competitive rivaling nature is really quite refreshing to see in an Assassin’s Creed game, as this is one of the least serious games I have played in the series. A lot of people may not like that, but I personally found it funny and above all else, enjoyable. Along with their differing personalities comes their different skills. Evie specialises in a stealthier approach where as Jacob takes a more ‘hands on’ approach (basically just runs in and fights).
The story takes us through a total of nine sequences, which is less than the norm but the narrative doesn’t feel shorter than the usual. Both of the characters have varying narratives with Evie trying to discover a piece of Eden, along with taking on the Templars while Jacob’s main aim is recruiting a gang and taking over London. I enjoyed these differing aims as they offered a range of missions to play. This, along with their difference in abilities adds to the variety of the game. What’s more, if you prefer one tactic over another, the game allows you to play as who you favour for the majority of the game. However, there are selected missions where you are required to play as either one or the other. Either way, the game allows you to play the game how you want to. This is a good counterbalance to what was unfortunately a disappointing ending.
Visually, the game is superb. We see the usual Assassin’s Creed graphics as we’d expect, but the beauty is in the scenery. Ubisosft really have captured Victorian London accurately here whether that be how active the are streets to the glistening clock face of Big Ben. No matter where you are on this large map, there is always an element of exquisiteness to be found.
A further aspect of the game is the side missions that span off from the main story. I felt this lacked direction at times and felt like I was just doing them for the sake of completion. Furthermore, all of these missions are led by famous people from Victorian history. At first, I thought this was quite good. I was able to help Charles Dickens catch a mysterious ghostly villain for example. However, after I then met: Darwin, Marx, Nightingale and even Queen Victoria, I started to feel like they were just thrown in as a selling point. It never felt like there was any real aim to it. Additionally, Assassin’s Creed prides itself in staying as historically accurate as possible, and I doubt two twins just happened to come across all these particular people in the space of a week.
Carriages are a major part of this game as you find yourself racing around the streets in them to get to where you need to be. I have mixed views on these. On the one hand they are unbelievably unrealistic in the way they drive, being able to knock down lamp posts and post boxes. They also have a ‘ram’ ability in which the carriage simply defies the laws of physics and shifts itself entirely to where you aim. All of which support the claim of Synidcate being the least serious game in the series. On the other hand, if you sit back and forget that you’re playing an Assassin’s Creed game, it is somewhat enjoyable taking the Mario Kart approach for a little while.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a game that should be looked at in its own right. There’s no denying, it’s not as historically accurate as its predecessors. But it is a stunning spectacle with great accompanying gameplay that will bring you hours upon hours of fun.
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