Staff Writer Danny Stueber
Last year, Assassins Creed: Unity was a glitchy mess that was not fun to play and had multiple things in game making you feel that you had to pay real world money to unlock them. This year, Assassins Creed: Syndicate fixes many problems from last years game while also adding new features to make this the best game in the series since Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag.
Since 2007 there have been nine main games in the Assassins Creed franchise but since Assassins Creed 3 in 2012 it has not mattered if you have played the other games. Syndicate is kind of a sequel to Black Flag but only in the way that they mention it a few times in dialogue.
Syndicate takes place it the late 1800s during the industrial boom in London. You play as Jacob and Evie Frye, twin assassins whose goal is to eliminate the villainous group known as the Templars whom the order of Assassins has been fighting with for generations. Along the way you will meet and interact with Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Thomas Edison, and even the Queen of England herself.
The city itself looks pretty good all considering and I never got tired of running around it for the 20 hours I spent in it. You see children workers, crime in the streets; carriages with police escorts and more, that all make you feel like you are in the correct time period. Unity last year might have been bad but it did look amazing being set in France which I give credit to over Syndicate. The city is nice but very dreary and not as graphically pleasing as Unity was.
Everything looks how it should though and that is all you can ask for. The animations of characters also look very nice. When you’re fighting and are surrounded by many enemies your character never moves in a jerky motion. It is always smooth and nice to watch and play.
I will say however that this game is not free of glitches entirely. Over my week of playing this game I had more bugs than I have ever seen in a game I have played before. Sometimes characters would not move with me so I would continue to walk and see my arm stretch all the way across the road. Sometimes my character would jump onto the street and crumple like paper almost falling through the world. I exited a cut scene and my character was totally invisible for almost five minuets while I was still able to play until I reset the game. None of this ruined my time though and were just quick laughs. The extreme happened though when the game hard crashed three different times in two days where I had to end up resetting my Xbox every time. That kind of thing should not happen and not as frequently as it did.
Playing the game feels a lot like any other Assassins Creed game before it. You run, hide, climb, etc. to assassinate your targets and take over the city. The climbing and movement in general is smooth but just like any other game in the franchise you will find your character flying off in a direction you didn’t intend and you just curse to yourself about it. The one change is the addition of a grappling hook to help you climb and cover gaps faster which now that I have used it I will never be happy with another game in the franchise without it.
Like I said at the beginning, you play as twins, which means you can change between the brother and sister anytime you want. Even though the game tells you Jacob is more for fighting and Evie is more for stealth however I never found them to play too differently. Other than missions that made you play as a certain one I would just stick with Evie because she was a better character over her brother (he is just annoying and hard headed compared to her) and because they felt so similar to control.
The whole gang aspect also was not that appealing to me. You could have members of your gang help you in situations like fighting and escaping but the combat was so easy that I never felt like I needed the help. Really, you’re just over powered the whole game as long as you do not try to rush through the story. It was nice to have the option of help though and your gang growing really helped you feel that your power was progressing.
The story is enjoyable and when I finished it all I felt like I had a good run and had a lot of fun. At the end of the day that’s what you hope for from a game is that you had fun with it. The characters don’t vary enough to constitute being different, the real world aspect that is shoe horned in is dumb and makes no sense to new players, the bugs were everywhere, and the city itself is kind of forgettable compared to past locations. It is fun to play though and rewards you every step of the way so you always have something to look forward to. I can say that Syndicate is in the top three of the series and shows that even though the ball was dropped with last years installment this franchise can still find ways to be new and fun.
Assassins Creed: Syndicate 8/10 (Xbox One version)
StUeBs13 = Xbox Gamer tag
Stuebs_13 = PSN account
Edited by Rob Gay