Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the latest installment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and has been in development for the past two years in the heart of Québec City at Ubisoft Québec. As a result of the hard work and dedication by the wizards at Ubisoft Québec, they have developed an Assassin’s Creed game unlike any other. Taking place in London during the height of the Industrial Revolution, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate continues the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins and the Templars.
It is the tail end of the Industrial Revolution, twins Jacob and Evie Frye arrive in London to discover that the Assassin Brotherhood has been eliminated. The Monarchy and Church are both losing their power, and the city is now controlled by the Templars. It is up to the twin Assassins to take back the city from Templar control and free the people of London from the Templar oppression.
Whether you’re new to the Assassin’s Creed franchise or a long time fan, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is set to impress with its new features, new gameplay, and a new setting that brings Assassin’s Creed into the modern age.
Twin Assassins with distinct personalities and capabilities
In Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, you’ll play as the twin brother-sister Assassin duo: Jacob and Evie Frye. Ubisoft Québec has done a splendid job of creating charming protagonists with distinct personalities and capabilities. On one hand, you have Jacob Frye, a social reformer, who wants immediate results and gets them by engaging in close combat with anyone that dare cross his path. In direct contrast to Jacob is his twin sister Evie who is discrete, strategic and relies on her intelligence and wit in addition to her stealth like capabilities to outsmart her enemies.
As a twin brother-sister combo, Jacob and Evie with their opposing personalities, and sibling rivalry have a chemistry between them that works surprising well. Although Assassins Creed Syndicate is touted as being able to play as either Jacob of Evie whenever you want, you’ll find that most of the campaign missions, approximately 75%, are played as Jacob. It is only with the side missions and open-world activities that you can freely switch between brother and sister.
A massive world to explore
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate features a world that is bigger than any previous Assassin’s Creed game. London and its seven boroughs: Westminster, the Strand, the City of London, The Thames, Whitechapel, Southwark, and Lambeth are a whopping 30% bigger than Paris from Assassin’s Creed Unity is.
Ubisoft Québec did an amazing job recreating London in the time of the Industrial Revolution. Victorian London is streamlined in such a way that it accommodates gameplay perfectly. For example, you’ll find geographically accurate landmarks such as Big Ben and St. Paul’s cathedral that have had the distance between them adjusted. This allows for the flow of the game to be consistent and less of a break up in action.
Traversing the fast-paced world of Industrial London
With such a massive world, you’re defiantly going to need another way to get around London and it’s boroughs other than by foot. Luckily, you can hijack carriages, which serve as the fastest vehicular mode of transportation throughout London. You won’t need to worry about wondering townspeople getting in your way while driving these Victorian era carriages, the NPCs (non-playable characters) on foot are constrained to the sides of the road.
Surprisingly, the horse-drawn carriages are easy to control and respond well making navigation around the other carriages on the roadway easy. A little tip for those trying to fly under the radar, abiding by the laws of the road while driving your carriage will avoid raising attention from the authorities.
Carriages can also be used as combat vehicles allowing you to ram enemies, and parkour across them to attack enemies or to escape after a daring raid. On top of that, you can partake in a no-holds-barred street race with your carriage. I have to admit, blazing down the streets of London with my horse and carriage as I rampaged throughout the city was a totally awesome and thrilling experience.
In addition to carriages, you can blaze a trail of destruction aboard steamboats along the River Thames and ride a Train Hideout that crosses the city.
A variety of equipment and weapons to use in brutal close-quarter combat
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate features a variety of equipment and weapons both old and new for Jacob and Evie to use against the Templars. Hidden blades, smoke bombs, and throwing knives make their return, however this time around throwing knives have a few new abilities. They can be tossed at objects to create distractions and used to cut the ropes of heavy objects dangling above your enemies’ heads—making for some interesting scenarios.
Keeping true with the laws of the era where individuals were not able to carry firearms in public, the majority of the combat in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is carried out through close-quarter combat. Unlike previous games, a focus is placed upon brawls, skirmishes, and melee attacks. The fast-paced combat allows you to stun multiple enemies at once before unleashing brutal finishers.
As you progress through the game, new items become available for you to use such as a rope launcher and a dart launcher. I found the rope launcher to be particularly useful as it made climbing buildings faster allowing me to scale buildings with ease and in turn escape enemies quicker. In addition, the rope launcher allows you to create temporary zip lines from the rooftops of buildings making getting around London and its boroughs that much easier. If you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise you’ll instantly see that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate features taller buildings and wider streets than ever before—keep the rope launcher handy, you’re going to need it.
After 25 plus hours of playing Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, I can honestly say that it is one of my favourite games in the franchise to date. The two-protagonist system works well, although I would have liked to see equal game time between Jacob and Evie. The contrast in combat styles between each character is compelling enough to make you want to play all of the side missions as Evie. Bringing the Assassin’s Creed story line into the modern era is a breath of fresh air for the franchise and introduces new gameplay mechanics that weren’t possible previously.
+ Single-player gameplay that provides a seamless and focused gaming experience.
+ Charming protagonists with distinct personalities and capabilities
+ Racing around London on a horse and carriage is the most fun I’ve hand in recent memory
+ True authentic representation of London during the Industrial Revolution
– Evie does not get as much gameplay time as her twin brother
– Your character will occasionally grab onto the wrong ledge or climb up the wrong wall
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.25/5 (85%)