Assassins Creed Syndicate was published by Ubisoft in late 2015 and takes you back to the Victorian London where you need to defeat the templar leader Starrick and his gang, the Blighters.
So far I’ve accumulated around 35 hours of playtime, completed the main story line and am now looking forward to searching for all the little collectibles.
In this review I’ll share my experiences and opinion on the game to help you decide if it’s worth a close look for yourself.
In Assassins Creed: Syndicate you get to explore the Victorian London during the industrial revolution. The game starts of with an introduction in the real world: the player is an assassin initiate and is instructed to use the memories of 2 assassin twins to locate a piece of eden, an powerful artifact. You get to relive the life of Jacob and Evie Frye and have to fight against the Templars that are also searching for the piece. (Even if you haven’t played any previous AC titles you’ll understand fast what the goal is)
You first go through an prologue that introduces you to the basic game mechanics. After that you meet Henry Green in London. He’s another assassin that introduces you to London’s problem: the Templars have taken over the city and a controlling every borough through their gang: the Blighters. They are lead by Crawford Starrick. Your goal is to eliminate all Templars, reconquer the city and widen the brotherhoods influence.
Throughout the game Jacob’s goal is to liberate the city from the templar-run gangs while Evie is looking for the piece of Eden. They create their own gang called “The Rooks” and meet allies that unlock activities and missions around the map. You as a player take down multiple important Templars with the goal to get to Starrick in the end.
There is also a time anomaly in the memory simulation that transports you back in time into London during the first world war. Here you meet Winston Churchill and have to defeat London from German spies.
What I really like about the game is that many parts of the story are based on real people that have lived during that time. This makes the environment feel very realistic and you can also learn some things about history if you take your time and actually read the information the game provides you through ingame encyclopedia. What I don’t like is the stereotypical division of the Rooks with green colors and the Blighters with red colors. Sure this was probably done for gameplay reasons but it just feels a lot like stereotyped thinking.
The game offers a graphical appearance that can be proudly compared to today’s games. Sure it’s not the best of the best but the buildings are really detailed and the developers didn’t just copy paste them all over the place. For some there is even an interior that you can enter and explore. The buildings feel very realistic and I’ve found myself taking lots of pictures to capture the architectural beauty of London during the Victorian era.
You can unlock many outfits for the characters that can be customized with your favorite colors. The weapon appearance and kinds also offer a wide variety.
The age of the game can be spotted when it comes to cutscenes as you get a closer look at the faces of the characters and building textures. The menu interactions also feel a bit outdated as they are a bit different to today’s menu controls.
When it comes to dialogue I really enjoyed the way it was written. The main characters all have a well described back story and you can understand their motivations and ideas. What I was disappointed by is the fact, that only some voicelines are actually translated to German while other characters solely communicate in English. This is improved through subtitles but a bit sad for such a big game published like Ubisoft.
AC Syndicate is an open world game so exploration is the most important part of the game and you’ll also get to know more about historical buildings and persons. Parkour is also a main component of the game (as in every AC game) and helps to reach areas that would be unavailable to the average citizen. I’ve had some problem with this system as it has some illogical options that for example don’t allow climbing to some places that look accessible.
The main part of the game are the missions: You get a main objective that needs to be completed and some side objectives that give you a 100% sync bonus on the money and experience points you earn. The mission goals reach from killing a target to collecting items unseen. Mission are the main source of experience points besides the fight clubs.
Both characters can switch between short and long range weapons and other gadgets that can be helpful for stealth and offensive combat. Alongside a firearm and a melee weapon of your choice you can unlock and use throwing knifes, offensive and defensive bombs and bolts. This allows a variety of ways to approach missions and leaves room for creativity. Most of the time the game helps you think a certain way to successfully get the right idea how to approach a mission. The combat system is quite easy to understand but hard to master against well trained enemies that need to be blocked fast. What I really enjoyed about the combat are the various elimination animations.
In the open world you can also find activities: Bounty hunts where you need to locate a target in an area filled with enemies and get them to Inspector Abberline. Templar hunts are basically elimination missions for a high ranking Templar member. There are also factory areas where you need to liberate child workers. If you’ve completed all of these acitivites for a borough you can start a gang war that is the final step to getting the control over an area of London. On your way between activities you’ll also find some random events where you for instance need to help some Rook gang members or catch a thief to help a civilian. You can also join a fight club and put your skill in unarmed fighting to the show while earning a good amount of experience points and money. Another option would be the horse races that are less brutal but also lots of fun. Especially when you discover that horse carriages can also drift.
Experience points help you earn ability points that can be used in a skill tree to unlock new abilities for both of your characters as the points stay the same on both of them. Money and materials collected from chests are used to purchase, craft and upgrade items and to get gang upgrades. Other collectibles include: beer bottles, helix glitches, illustrations, normal chests, letters, flowers and some hidden items that are required for a secret in the depths of London.
Lots of crafting recipes can only be found in golden chests that need to be located through exploration or through completing quests. What’s sad is that weapons you like can only be used efficiently for a small time windows as you progress through levels relatively fast. At level 10 (final level) you can start looking for your favorite items to use for the rest of your journey.
To really complete the game (not just 100% achievements) you need to complete multiple steps. Completing all main and side quests and conquering all of London’s boroughs is easily completed why playing normally. There are also some challenges that need to be completed to earn certain achievements and complete perks. These can be a bit of a pain in the *** because you’ll have to complete task like double and triple eliminations a lot. Searching all collectibles and picking up all of them also takes lots of time. (I used an interactive map to help me keep track of my progress).
This will probably take up to 50 hours if I had to guess. (I’ll update the review as soon as I’ve completed the entirety of the game)
Another thing I want to add: Start your game journey by concentrating on the missions first to get an basic idea of what the game is about and go on collectibles hunt after to avoid being overwhelmed by the huge amount of makers on your map. Also read through the tutorials provided by the game as the are a huge help to understand mechanics.
Assassins Creed Syndicate: The game is still a very good open world experiences no matter its age. Although the graphics are a bit outdated you don't notice if at the first look and can still have fun with missions and open world activities that allow a lot of creative freedom. I haven't encountered a single gamebreaking bug yet. – GLPC: emk