See! I told you I’d get back round to this franchise at some point. Yes, it’s time we return to Abstergo Industries and fly back into the past to experience yet another Assassin’s Creed game. This time we’re headed to 18th century London, where there are flat cap assassin’s, chimney sweeps and stereotypical cockney accents. Not a problem for me! Lets dive right into this game like an assassin dives into a cart of hay. Keep on reading for our Assassin’s Creed Syndicate review.
For the beginning of a game, there isn’t much to really impress me with. But, for some reason, I found myself impressed simply with the first few moments of the opening cutscene. Maybe it’s because I recognised some of the faces on display, but whatever the case, it was welcoming. This cutscene serves as a form of bridge into the newest game of the series. For this, it creates a fine introduction all round, and one that was enjoyable and fun.
Being in London was a very refreshing change of style that the series desperately needed. I was sick of the beautiful landscapes given to us by Italy and Venice and so on. What I really needed was some grimy, British cockney landscapes that I’d physically been too. As far as I’m aware, London in this game and London in the modern day hasn’t really changed at all. Apart from the vape sticks and Adidas tracksuits of course. But I digress, London is actually quite a beautiful place, well, it is in this game anyway.
I suppose the game looks so nice because of the graphics. Honestly, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the graphics of this game are eye appealing. I won’t spend much time on it because by now you should just expect nice graphics. This is a game on a current gen console, if it didn’t look nice I’d be genuinely surprised.
Combat has been a staple of the Assassin’s Creed series since the early days of the franchise. It quite simply just wouldn’t be an Assassin’s Creed game without being able to stab someones shins off. Luckily, the combat in this game is, well, it’s pretty much the same. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it is the motto Ubisoft have went with on this game. That’s especially evident in the combat. Other than a few button re-maps and visual presentation upgrades, the combat has basically remained the same. There’s nothing wrong with that, because the combat is great.
Something I found rather interesting is a significant lack of tutorials. I’m not saying there were none at all, because of course there were, but there weren’t too many either. At this point Ubisoft probably expects you to know how to play a game from this series. To be fair it has been a good ten years since the first game released. It’s sort of like thing your shoelaces, you never forget once you get the hang of it.
The opening fight as Jacob for me was the most fun I had in this game. That really says something, doesn’t it? To be fair I just love fighting on top of moving trains and I’ve no clue why. Maybe it was because it was kept short, was a fitting end to the first sequence and above all just a whole lot of fun. The same went for Evie. Yeah, that’s right, there are two characters in this game.
The two characters don’t just differ in voice and appearance, but also playing style also. For me, Jacob was a much less stealthy character whereas Evie relied on remaining hidden. The combat also differs between the two, Jacob being the brawler character and Evie using a cane of some description.
Because this game takes place in London, you can be assured that the characters are going to be charming. If I’m honest, the two main characters were better than anything Ubisoft has produced in a while. They aren’t memorable characters by any stretch, but at the same time they’re not bad characters.
Some skills on the skill tree are actually very good, such as the auto looting enemies one. But of course, I can’t have skill trees as a positive now can I. For some reason there was a sudden surge in open world games having skill trees and I’ve no clue why. Still, I have to deal with them, they’re there and aren’t going away. Some skills should be unlocked right away from the start. For the most part though, not a bad job on unlocking things. It could’ve been worse.
The opening introduction character is not a cockney, sounds more Spanish than anything. To be honest, I’ve literally no clue who this character is in the first place. Up to the point I played within the game, I never found out who it was. It could be revealed later on in the game. Hell, by the time this review is up I might have found out who it is. But right now, I’ve got literally no clue.
Obviously a large staple to this series is the frequency of graphical errors. Some of them are a lot worse than others, but I can’t help thinking they need to try harder. I experienced my fair share of clipping, rendering issues and lag while playing this game. To be fair I wasn’t surprised, just more dissapointed than anything. This issue has been around for so long but nothing has been done. It’s having a major impact on the game itself.
Some character animations were quite terrible, facially wise anyway. Really my main issue was the lack of control I had over my character because of the issues with lag and clipping. Poor optimisation is the Ubisoft way unfortunately.
The very first assassination in this game was forgettable at best. It was basically just a game of fisticuffs. Mind you, that may have been because I forgot that “A” was sneak. No excuses though, I ended up flailing my arms at the poor sod until a cutscene clipped it’s way into existence.
I usually play games with the subtitles on. But this game, bloody hell. The subtitles were condescending at best, it had the Americanism in brackets for the subtitles and I’m not sure why. I get that there’s a language barrier but there’s a general gist of what is going on.
RT + LS + B was such a big control change that never settled well with me. I’m sure others enjoy it, but not me. Really that sums up my opinion on Syndicate. A game that is a definite amount of fun that I probably would have enjoyed two or three years apart.
It’s not a bad game, not at all, it’s actually quite good. But again it’s just the same old story that we’ve played and seen time and time again. A different setting isn’t enough to shake the feeling that the ideas at Ubisoft have run dry.