I’m going to just say this at the top of this piece: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is a must-buy game for fans of the franchise. We were all burned by last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity which featured all manner of glitches and game breaking bugs. That’s (literally) in the past now as Syndicate is as polished as you can expect. It’s also pretty fucking fun too!
I’ve been playing the game since Monday and have loved every second of it. Since this is an Assassin’s Creed game, it will take a long time to actually finish it. I could have done a review after having played the first 20 hours of the game, but that would have been a disservice to all of you. The review should (hopefully) be done by next week, but in the meantime, here are my thoughts on the first half of the game.
The thing that stands out the most is how “modern” the game world is. Yes, this takes place in London, England 1868, but it very much feels like the cities we are accustomed to now. There is very little nature to be found here; the world is instead full of concrete and steel. It’s also modern in the sense that this is the most modern setting the Assassin’s Creed games have taken place in (outside of the real world stuff, of course).
Syndicate uses the same engine as Unity so it looks gorgeous. Assassin’s Creed games have always done a marvelous job of capturing the atmosphere of the historical times they take place in and Syndicate is no different. Thanks to so many TV shows and movies that take place in Victorian-era England, I feel familiar with that setting and Syndicate truly puts me in the middle of it. From the bustling streets of central London, to the clogged waterways of the Thames River, this is about as authentic an experience as you can find outside of actually travelling to 1868 London yourself.
There isn’t much new to be found however. If you’ve played any of the Assassin’s Creed games after ACII then you will be familiar with what Syndicate has to offer. You have to take control of the world map piece by piece from the Templars. You do this by killing off key members of the evil organization, freeing child laborers, and of course, dismantling the street gangs who answer to the Templars. While the objectives might be different, you are still conquering the map one segment at a time.
Like past AC games (or any open world game, really), there are a ton of things to do in the game world. From hijacking carriages, stopping muggings, collecting items, and doing sidequests for historical figures, you won’t be at a loss for things to do in the game. All of this gives you experience points which you can then use to upgrade your skills which in turn make you more adept at killing or being stealthy.
Control-wise, this is the best game in the series. Traversing the world by climbing or descending from buildings is now easier than ever, and thanks to the new grappling hook, you can get around much faster than before. Combat has been streamlined as well, but it still feels like standard Assassin’s Creed (which isn’t bad since combat in the series has always been a highpoint).
There’s obviously more I can say about the game, but I just wanted to give you a quick overview of what the game has to offer. I’ll go into more exhaustive detail in my review, but I can say with confidence that if you have been turned off by the series’ previous installments, this is the game that will make you return to the Brotherhood. Assassin’s Creed games set a standard for open world games last generation and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate sees the series returning to what made the franchise great. Even at only the halfway point I am thoroughly impressed and expect the last half to be even better than the first. This is definitely a game you should check out.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate will be released tomorrow for the PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will be released for PC on November 19.