25 Nov 2016

Hearing the call of the Creed

Well Assassin's Creed has a special place in my heart. The last game Assassin's Creed Unity did not leave me with a great taste in my mouth.

So Black Friday happened on my XBOX Live account and vola all of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, all of the DLCs - everything for only 30 odd bucks. So I picked it up and let my XBOX spend close to 24 hours downloading everything to do with the game.

Assassin's Creed - Syndicate
If you don't know, I've wanted an Assassin's Creed game in Victorian London since Assassin's Creed - the first game. The idea of hanging out during the time of Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Jack the Ripper, Alex Bell, Birth of Scotland Yard, the London Underground, the construction of Big Ben and the "Square".

It was a time of invention and wonder. It was the stepping stone that led to the 20th century, the modern 20th century. London was at the center of the whole Empire and it was a place of great innovation and change.

First lets talk about Steam Punk, not my favorite sub-genre of science fiction/fantasy, that's Cyber Punk. It has been the technological level in a few of my favorite settings, Warmachine, Dystopian Wars, Dishonored... but I like not the science but level of creativity that found in those settings. Assassin's Creed Syndicate has a wee bit of Steam Punk... just a smidge and that's perfect. Anything else and it would have lost me. The time and place are already rife with innovation lets not go any farther into the rabbit hole.

Spoiler alert - I love this game.

So Assassin's Creed Syndicate has you playing as one of the two Frye siblings. Jacob and Evie. Most missions you can pick which of the two you want to play while the odd other mission has you playing the role of a particular Frye in order to explore their character.

Now Jacob is a goof and feels like Ezio at the start of Assassin's Creed 2. Aloof, cocky, and sometimes very dumb. Evie is more of the typical Assassin and sometimes that perfect but other times you feel like she's too rigid in her ways for the city of innovation. I've found myself leaning more on Evie but sometime I swap out for Jacob simply because I want to be in a top hat running the rooftops of London ready to kick ass. Now Jacob is more robust, gives a bigger beating, and uses a pistol better then his sister who is more stealthy, adept with a throwing knife, and can even cloak when still. Yet other than those 3 unique upgrades they are the same and I forget that sometimes. As I started, Jacob was my bruiser while Evie was my sneak thief. As the game continued those roles lessened and they are both more or less balanced. I feel as I get closer to the end of their advancement that difference will all but vanish.

Story wise - it's simple. The twins failed to not blow up a Peace of Eden, one of the magic devices left behind and littering the planet and growing frustrated they ignore their father's best friend and decide to take the fight to the Templar. So off to London they go with Jacob focused on building the Rooks and destroying the base of power of the Templar while Evie is more methodical and seeking more Peaces of Eden and targets to kill.

Right there this game has beaten Unity.

Add in a pure lack of Multiplayer, do it right or don't do it, great advancements, interesting side missions. This is what Assassin's Creed should have started with when jumping onto the 8th generation consoles.

I love raiding boats on the Thames river and trains on the city rail system. It has a feeling of that special magic that was Assassin's Creed 3, 4, and Rogues pirate sailing systems.

The iconic people of the time are used well and are interesting. I'm not trying to figure out who is who, why I should care, and why have I not just Assassin's Creed'ed the shit of the wanker giving me missions.

You stop child labor, you fight in bare knuckle brawling, you collect pressed flowers, music boxes, and beer. When you start collecting the beer, go and read the the database - the comments on each beer is brilliant.

After the well earned changes in style and new game mechanics from the last couple of Assassin's Creeds coming back to a cityscape to jump around and explore is perfect.

My gripes are small: No dungeons or free running puzzles. The community building is an upgrade menu and not a living breathing place with people that was perfected in Assassin's Creed 3. I would have loved to have created a commune for my gang where you get to meet some of them instead of a faceless mob with a purpose. No armory for your armor and weapons - but you do have a souvenir spot littered across your base. Lastly some of the optional objectives are really annoying and unless I'm super bored one night I will not be going back to complete some of those missions to get 100% - that said... I really want to get 100% in this game.

This is great game and an easy SILVER, 4/5. Not perfect but above the standard and so far very fun to play.

- Cheers