First impressions – Assassin's Creed: Syndicate
One of Ubisoft's more popular game franchises is the Assassin’s Creed (AC) series. From the introduction of Altair to the final quest of Arno, the series has amassed millions of fans around the world.
Lately however, the series has experienced a decline. After the terrible bug-filled and lackluster performance of Assassin's Creed: Unity, gamers have been a little reluctant to pick up Ubisoft’s latest offering, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
However, after playing the first 6 hours of Syndicate, the game is shaping up to be a better and far more entertaining game than Unity.
Syndicate brings to the table new mechanics and better combat, pairing it with a gorgeous and meticulously designed London setting.
The game also offers a nice major twist with the introduction of the charming and rebellious pair of twin assassins: Jacob and Evie Frye.
A well-crafted London
Syndicate presents an amazing setting around the conflict of Templars and Assassins. As always, one of the best parts of any Assassin’s Creed game is the ability to free run through the entire city, reaching its highest points, and drinking in the breathtaking views.
More than just the well crafted portrayal however, is the life that Ubisoft has breathed into Syndicate’s setting. Syndicate’s world is incredibly detailed, giving players a good balance of the troubles and triumphs of the Industrial Revolution in London.
Once again, Ubisoft manages to give players an immersive history lesson merely through the way they’ve built London. Players get to witness the geniuses of the era at work while freeing children from the hands of exploitive villains. They get to see the benefits of new machinery while fighting against the humanitarian problems it has caused.
New assassins, new approaches
The most noticeable inclusion to this series is Evie Frye, a playable main female character. Despite being twins, the two have different ways of tackling a situation. While Jacob is more aggressive and flashy, Evie prefers to be stealthy and strategic. Her inclusion allows players to switch between different approaches to certain missions.
The only similarity the twins have is their rebellious and playful nature. Evie and Jacob are a breath of fresh air considering that their predecessors are usually serious in nature, carrying tragic backstories as their initial motivators for defeating Templars. At the start of the game, it is clear that these two offer a lighter side of the Assassin life. The two do not care much about following their leaders, and prefer taking on their own paths.
With the peak of the industrial revolution, it’s only natural for the Assassins to have new toys to play with. Assassin’s Creed meets Batman when the twins encounter a gang leader and steal his rope launcher after an epic train fight. The two also wield unique weapons. Evie sports a cane with a hidden sword for stylish and stealthy assassinations, while Jacob likes to bring sharp metal knuckles to a fist fight.
Fast, fluid, and exciting fights
With new weapons come new moves. In fact, one of Syndicate’s biggest enhancements is its faster and smoother combat. Evie and Jacob have their own distinct styles yet both have the same level of speed and brutality when fighting their foes. On a preferential basis though, Evie’s use of her cane sword shines through the most during a conflict.
With that said, enemies also move quicker. Counter attacks and stuns may be harder to do due to a few quick attacks from enemies, but experienced players can still pull it off with relative ease.
There’s a risk of repetition but Syndicate keeps the fighting fun with the inclusion of vehicles. Unlike Unity, Syndicate gives the reins of the horse carriages to the players. Players can race and chase around the city with these wagons, and can even bash their carriages against their foe’s.
Aside from carriages, Syndicate also uses trains to get the adrenaline pumping. Fights can break out whilst on top of moving trains, and players must try not to feel too overwhelmed by the number of enemies they must kill and push over from the top of a train.
Gangs are the new brotherhoods
Following the footsteps of Master Assassin Ezio Auditore, Jacob and Evie establish a brotherhood-like organization in the form of a righteous gang called the Rooks.
The Rooks assist the duo in taking back London from the abusive clutches of the Templars. To gain members and expand their territories, Jacob and Evie must take on certain missions such as taking down gang strongholds and aiding allies through different types of quests. In addition to gaining territory and allies, the two may also improve the loyalties of their allies by taking on quests.
By increasing the loyalty levels of their allies, Jacob and Evie get to score advantageous items such as schematics and rare loot. It’s an interesting mechanic that can make a few dull quests at least worth the trouble.
The same troubles are present
While Syndicate shows that it is a vast improvement from Unity, it still maintains some of the series' annoying faults. The day one release for the PS4 is still buggy.
There are glaring glitches in some of the cutscenes, and surprising bugs during gameplay that cannot go unnoticed. While these can be fixed with a patch or two, it still takes a lot away from the players’ initial experience.
Packaged with every great and terrible Assassin’s Creed game are repetitive and dull missions, and lengthy loading screens. Maintaining the series' almost step-by-step narrative also makes Syndicate predictable.
Aside from these, parts of Syndicate’s AI system show no evolution. Imagine civilians positioned right in front of an enemy, pointing out an Assassin awkwardly waiting in the corner, and the enemy simply walks to said corner without heeding the words of passersby.
Some things never change.
One of the better games in the series
Still, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate makes a good first impression. Despite having the series' classic faults, Syndicate’s new elements are well executed.
These elements offer a unique and interesting experience which players have been craving for since Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. Syndicate's first 6 hours can be enough to bring former fans back to the fold, and compel players to marathon through the whole game. – Rappler.com
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