Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – Review

ACS_HR_Mechanical_Crest_Wide_E3_150615_4pmPT_1434308303.jpgENTERING the industrial revolution, the common peppered moth was a mottled mixture of pretty whites and various greys.

As the soot from coal fuelled factories coated the country, the rare black peppered moth became the dominant colouration for the species, affording camouflage.

This was the first recorded case of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has followed the moth into industrial Britain, also choosing to drop its pretty colours to fit in with the filth.

The animations are smooth and it is incredibly well detailed, but the same can be said for Rowan Atkinson’s eyebrows; Syndicate is not a pretty game.

Set in 1800s London, Ubisoft have opted for realism rather than creativity when it comes to the aesthetic of the era.

Everything is either grey, brown, black or grey.

This is believably what London looked like back then but the developers would have done better to take come creative liberties.

Why apply strict realism to how it looks and then get all arts-and-craftsy with other aspects, such as the laws of gravity?

After a lengthy playthrough including a couple of base jumps off Nelson’s Column, hitting the ground at terminal velocity seems to be as dangerous as a balanced diet.

Despite the visuals being as exciting as office work, the game is deceptively fun.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate follows twins, Jacob and Evie Frye as they take over London with their fists, knives, free running, politics and street gang, the Rooks.

The fighting system is sometimes too busy with enemies and another awkward camera, but the animations are satisfyingly brutal and it works well enough.

Free running is the best it has ever been, movement is fluid and the new grapnel line makes it far faster too.

There is the rare bug such as getting stuck on a window ledge or a punch not being recognised, but it is never a deal breaker like it was in the previous game.

London is devided into boroughs that can each be reclaimed from the evil Templars and the Blighters street gang.

Liberating the city is a satisfying process broken down into submissions that include: assassinating targets, freeing children forced into labour and taking down strongholds.

There are also missions that earn experience and money to spend on weapons, skill upgrades, outfits and your gang.

With such a wealth of things to do, I ocassionally forgot about the main narrative.

For the most part, the game forgets about the over-arching magic religion story line from other titles and focuses on your rise through London.

This is an excellent choice and allows us to get to know the Frye twins who have some top British banter.

Unfortunately, the story wavers towards the end with a weak villain and an ending that is identical to the endings of the past 50 Assassin’s Creeds.

In total this is a strong game and the best in the series since Assassin’s Creed IV, yet this is barely an accomplishment.

Since IV, Assassin’s Creed has become the moth.

It has lost its colours and is now made in a mould to fit in with the generic sand-box open world games that are flooding the market.

+free running
+British idiosyncrasies
+unlockable skills and gear
+immense detail

-London is hideous
-weak ending
-lacks originality

8/10

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