With a delayed debut for Assassin’s Creed Unity as its backdrop, Syndicate would either sink Ubisoft’s franchise or change its direction completely. Although, in the end it seemed to do neither. Giving players an interactive world of Victorian London was a great opportunity to meet famous historical figures, and being part of a time when the Industrial Revolution was at its height. The added introduction of two characters was an ingenious idea, but flawed in execution. Evie played like a natural assassin, whereas Jacob was a bruiser with a short fuse.
The Landscapes and areas were well presented and designed, allowing players to get the best of the new sidearm called the ‘grapple gun’; which was well used and added a fun new way to get all of the viewpoints. There were less incidents of lag, and texture flaws in the landscape, in-game making it already a more pleasing experience than Unity.
Along with the grapple gun they added the knuckles, Kukri and the cane sword, with the latter two being fast additions to the franchise which added variety, including different critical hit cut scenes. However, the addition of a bruiser and use of the knuckles was a let-down, and seemed to take the game in the wrong direction. At times it appeared to be better to fight as Evie, the sister, as she was more like an assassin, with the only positive aspect of Jacob being his humour in cut scenes. This leads to the obvious question of why not just make Evie the lead character? The only answer for this was that they thought it wouldn’t sell as well as having a male lead.
The story is the typical Assassin’s Creed good versus bad, with a couple of turns to keep you interested. As the plot progresses there is some exciting missions, but also some dull, long and downright useless side quests. The assassination missions at the end of each sequence were akin of the first game, making me think that this was a move in the right direction, as it allowed some freedom to the gameplay. The end scene, however, was back to quick time events of the other games, making it feel completely scripted. Syndicate’s final scene, especially in comparison to Unity, failed to end the game with conviction, and a feeling that all this was worth it in the end.
‘Nearly but not quite’ sums up this game, Evie solely as a lead would have made this a truly great, but instead they tried to be different and yet only ended flatly. The lack of an end game has always been a problem for the Assassin’s Creed series, and now Ubisoft has chosen not to release games yearly. What comes next will be a chance for Ubisoft to get it right and make people believe that they are playing an exceptional game.