Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Assassins Creed Syndicate Review

  Assassins Creed has a lot to prove after the disaster that was Unity and Syndicate is an exceptional step in the right direction.

  Syndicate manages to fix the problems from the past game while building on the successful features of Unity. Let my address glitches and overall stability of the game first since that was the downfall of the past installment. Syndicate is the best Assassins Creed yet when it comes to glitches and overall flow of the controls. After several years of testing, Ubisoft has finally got the control scheme somewhat manageable. There are still those classic Assassins Creed problems, but it marks a big improvement for the franchise. Glitches are far and between, for it's a rare thing to encounter something as bad as Unity.

  This is the first installment to feature two playable characters with siblings, Jacob and Evie Frye. Jacob is mostly portrayed has a dumb jock while Evie is a controlling rule follower. I'm still waiting for an Assassin who's story and character development are as good as Ezio's. There are certain times when these siblings do shine and that's when they are together. Jacob and Evie have a pretty good sibling rivalry going on and their best attributes show when the are taking jabs at each other. The Assassin siblings travel to London during the Industrial revolution to fight the corruption and gangs that have risen. Jacob is gung-ho about defeating the enemy gang (Blighters) by forming his own gang of rooks. Evie follows the classic Assassin goal of finding the piece of Eden. There is not much to the story. Sure there are little plotlines that go along with each Assassination, but there is no interesting overarching story.  Its mostly just: killing a bunch of people until we which Crawford Starrick, the big bad. The one redeeming factor is that Starrick is the best Assassins creed villain to date. The present day story finally got some momentum with some new plot developments but nothing to get people re-interested in that aspect of Assassins Creed. I just got done re-playing Assassins Creed 2 and I can't help but compare the two. I actually liked the present day story back then. Throughout the course of the games it has gotten too convoluted; losing the audience's interest. I feel like their biggest mistake was killing Desmond. Ubisoft should introduce another modern day character and get the Juno story back on track. I'm in the minority but I would always look forward to the modern day segments in the Ezio/Altair games. I really hope I can feel that excitement again in future installments. I'm going on a rant... lets get back to Syndicate.

 Gameplay is the best part of Syndicate, because it's the most polished that Assassins Creed has ever been. Combat(Jacob's specialty) is more brutal and fun to play through. The problem is that it's simplified. Besides having to break an enemy's guard there is no skill. that goes into the execution. It's basically press one button to attack and one button to counter. There is no timing or strategy evolved which makes the combat seem mindless. The Batman games have a similar approach to combat but they compensate the simplicity by adding a variety of enemies that require different skills to take them down. Syndicate does not do these but at least it is fun to watch. Throughout the course of Assassins Creed games combat has gone downhill and stealth has gone uphill. Stealth(Evie's specialty) is really fun while also requiring a great deal of thought. They improve the cover system that Unity introduced and made stealth in Assassins Creed finally on par with other games of the same genre. Stealth usually translates to the major assassination missions. This is one area where the game exceeds, because there are several different avenues of approach. Optional objectives can change the way you go about the assassination and even unlock special kill opportunities. This is one addition that future installments need to hold onto. On the navigation side of things the grappling hook is introduced. This is a blast to use. You can climb up buildings with ease and use it as a zip-line to reach distant buildings. This is the reason I rarely used fast travel to get my way around. Another form of transportation is the carriages, which is basically like vehicles in any other open world game. There is nothing really special about them but it's fun to flip other carriages over and fight on top of them. Trains also offer another form of gameplay and some cool segments that mostly involve throwing people off of them.

  London offers a lot to do outside of the main missions. One of the better side activities is conquering different areas by doing missions such has rescuing children from factory work and capturing people for the police. Once you do all of these, you can participate in a gang fight but they don't amount to anything special and are over pretty fast. There are also side missions that pair you up with people like Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and many others. All of which are unique and interesting characters. These side missions are also very well done and have you doing some unexpected but fun things. Of course there are tons of things to collect but these are mostly irrelevant and seem like busy work. I wish the collectibles had some sort of impact and diversity to them like the truth in Assassins Creed 2.  These side activities do get a little repetitive towards the end of the game.

Assassins Creed Syndicate offers a fun experience but doesn't do anything that memorable except for a jump in technology. That being said, it is still one of the better Assassins Creeds of recent memory. The game gets a 7.5

Side notes

There is one really cool segment that I can't talk about due to spoilers. This is a side activity that takes the anomaly missions from Unity to another level.

The ending was really bad. The boss fight and its premise seemed out of nowhere and didn't fit into the overall flow of the game

I wish there was some more missions that involved Jacob and Evie working together. Maybe the same way GTA 5 handled their three characters.

No comments:

Post a Comment