Assassin’s Creed : Syndicate – Time For Murder In The Big Smoke

ACS CoverI’m going to cut right to the chase:
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is way better than Assassin’s Creed: Unity. To be honest, it wasn’t that hard to surpass Unity but I thought I’d better get that out of the way.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is set in Victorian London (1868, to be precise) and follows assassin twins, Jacob and Evie Frye, as they try to retake London from the Templars and find a “Piece of Eden”.  Meanwhile in the modern day plot, we follow the Assassins as they try and locate the same “Piece of Eden.”
As far as plots go, the game has a very typical Assassin’s Creed storyline. If you have played any of the other AC games, don’t expect too many surprises but thankfully it avoids the typical cliche of avenging the death of a family member… again.

While the plot doesn’t offer anything truly different, the characters do make up for it.
Firstly, the twins are fantastic. Jacob is a chaos-loving assassin who doesn’t care much for plans or consequences; while his sister, Evie, is more analytical and methodical. They complement each other and are different from any other Assassins in the series- a definite positive point.
Each has their own style: Evie is more stealth focussed, while Jacob is combat orientated. While both have their own mandatory missions, players can choose to play whichever one they want for the free-roaming sections, allowing you to play your way.
Aside from the twins, the Templars are wonderfully evil; a special shout out to Lucy Thorne and the leader of the Blighter gang. On the other hand, I felt Grand Master Starrick didn’t do the game justice as the main antagonist. He didn’t appear that threatening to the twins, nor did he feel like a threat to the innocents of London.
However the other Templars make up for this. As with the other Assassin’s Creed games, you get the opportunity to cross paths with historic figures. In this instalment, you will meet the likes of Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin.

One of the highlights of the game is London itself. One of the redeeming features of Unity was Paris, which was beautiful, and the same can be said for London. Split into a number of different boroughs, each with their own style, London feels like a thriving city.
Plenty of the city’s historic and iconic landmarks have been recreated, including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

ACS Train
The train hideout is but one way to get around London….ed for you to clamber on, though attention should also be given to the weather effects, as the rain and fog add a particular atmosphere to the game.

Because London is large, you can now drive carriages (they are very temperamental!), use the new zip-line on the assassin gauntlet or ride your train hideout. Yes, you get a train as hideout!

The number of side activities have been toned down, compared to previous iterations. Now you just have to go to certain characters to start one of these side missions and for most of these side missions, the more you complete for a particular character, the more loyalty you gain with them which in turn unlocks new weapons and other equipment.
Some of the missions also contribute to freeing the boroughs from Templar control. This gives more purpose to the side activities and gives the player an incentive to actually complete them.
There has been a marked improvement to the quality of the side missions too. There is more variety in the missions (rather than just find the target, kill the target) but at the same time less missions are scattered across the map.
A great example of quality over quantity.

Speaking of quantity, there are still collectibles to found around London: beer bottles, Queen Victoria’s Letters, pictures, flowers, music boxes and glitches.
As you can see, Ubisoft hasn’t toned down the number of collectibles but they have made it a little easier as you can buy maps from merchants. This brings up one of my main gripes about the game: micro transactions.
If you want to get a map for the glitches and the music boxes, you have to go to the Ubisoft store and buy it. What annoys me is the fact that most of the maps can be bought with in-game currency, but if you want to go for 100% completion, you spend hours running through London finding the glitches, unless you fork out real money.
It wouldn’t have been quite as bad if you had to go to the Ubisoft store and buy all the maps but for some reason Ubisoft decided to split the maps up, which annoys me. However there isn’t much in the e-store to buy so it doesn’t feel like Ubisoft is trying squeeze every last penny out of the player: a refreshing change.

Overall, I really enjoyed Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Ubisoft has listened to the complaints of Unity and have tried to resolve them. That being said, Syndicate does not revolutionise the franchise.
If you are burnt out with the Assassin’s Creed series this may not win you over, but if you want a solid Assassin’s Creed experience then this is the game for you.
Now if you don’t mind, I have a carriage race to win.

Assassins Creed: Syndicate is available on PC, Playstation 4 & Xbox One
Last played on 10/01/2016 for PS4
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