18th Nov2015

‘Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’ Review (PS4)

by Paul Metcalf


With the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity last year Ubisoft provided fans with a broken game and they weren’t happy… With this year’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate the company had a big job on their hands, they had to win back the hearts and minds of their biggest critics. The gamers themselves.

Setting the game in London in the year 1868, Ubisoft have brought franchise into the time of the Industrial Revolution. In a city where not only do we see the Templars and Assassin’s at war, but also historical characters such as Queen Victoria, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, and Karl Marx make an appearance. So far so good, especially in a story that manages to live up to expectations for Assassin’s Creed fans, without alienating new players.

This time we take control of Jacob and Evie Frye, twins and Assassins but with different aims. While Jacob is more of an in your face character who enjoys anarchy and the battle, Evie goes for stealth and takes a subtler approach. This makes Evie a more interesting character, especially when she gets her ability to become invisible. The real star of the game though has to be London itself, which is a beautiful recreation of the Victorian era city. With each area having a different style, with factories, run down slums, the opulent houses of the rich, and of course Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament some of the best parts of first playing the game is to explore the map and climb the buildings. This is before you even obtain the zip line which speeds things up impressively.

One thing that worries me this time was the fact that horse-drawn carriages had been introduced into the game and in-game footage shown before release they looked like they handled horribly. Once you try them out though you discover that they in fact handle how you would expect them to, and are a surprisingly effective way to travel. Also jumping from boat to boat on the Thames is an interesting experience and one you have to become used to.

So to the elephant in the room, how does Assassin’s Creed Syndicate perform? On the PlayStation 4 I would argue that it performs well, without too many problems. As the hours of gameplay build up you do start to notice some glitches and little annoyances but nothing truly game breaking. The game felt up to speed, with only the odd stuttering of frame rates, but for the most part it ran well. I should note that playing it weeks after the game released, most of the initial bugs have now probably been fixed.

After spending some “quality time” with it, I’ve found with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is actually a pretty decent game with a suitably involving story. It may be a little silly at times, but there is a flamboyance and a kookiness to the Creed lore that makes it just a little different. An “Ubisoft game” through and through, there is plenty of exploring to do, towers to climb and collectables to be found, and I for one love that.

Much has been made of Evie as a female character, and however socially important this fact is, what is more important is that she is by far the more interesting of the playable characters in the game. She is the more intellectual of the twins, her storyline features more of the Assassin’s Creed lore missions. Her missions tend to be more complicated as they are based on stealth, but most importantly she is a total bad-ass so yes, she is the better twin.

In terms of delivering an Assassin’s Creed game that will save the franchise, I’m not sure if Syndicate will do that. It certainly performs better than Unity, a lot of the issues are fixed, but there still feels the need for the game engine to be a little smarter. If you like Assassin’s Creed games and are more interested in playing the game than bug hunting, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate actually manages to deliver.

****½  4.5/5

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The PC version is released in the UK on 19th November.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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