Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Assassins Creed

Review: Assassin's Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper

Dec 16 // Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft MontpellierPublisher: UbisoftMSRP: $14.99Released: December 15, 2015 (PS4, Xbox One), December 22, 2015 (PC) Assassin's Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper takes place 20 years after the main game ends. In that time, Evie has traveled to India and learned and perfected a non-lethal fear technique. With it, she's able to send her enemies into a panic, often causing them to flee in terror. Predictably, that's the main gameplay allure in this DLC. Both Jack the Ripper (he's playable) and Evie share this fear mechanic. The add-on nicely juxtaposes the two characters in alternating sequences. In one, Jack will callously and barbarically kill anyone in his way, sending those who see him running scared for their lives. In the next, Evie will use these same fear methods to mostly skirt combat in a completely different, yet equally effective, manner. Jack's sections are easily the most interesting this expansion has to offer. In them, haunting visual prompts pop up like "kill them all" and "leave no witnesses," as if they're coming straight from Jack's twisted mind. As he continues on his homicidal bent, the screen will briefly distort, adding another troubling layer of visual tension to the already disturbing scene. [embed]326720:61550:0[/embed] Evie, on the other hand, spends most of her time trying to unravel the mystery of Jack the Ripper, but always one step behind. Much of her focus is on crime scene investigation and pursuit. Like in Syndicate proper, Evie's tendencies are rooted in stealth and cunning. It's here that we learn most about The Ripper through examining his actions. This is where Jack the Ripper falls flat. Even though Ubisoft doesn't go too crazy in divulging his story, what is told feels contrived. Again, Jack the Ripper is best as a faceless boogeyman. It would've worked if Ubisoft simply sent Evie to protect London from Jack. Instead, he's unnecessarily shoehorned into Assassin's Creed lore, and the expansion is worse off for the artificiality of it all. Unlike main Assassin's Creed installments, Jack the Ripper benefits tremendously from a streamlined approach. The add-on quickly ushers the player from mission to mission, with little dillydallying in between. Ubisoft couldn't resist the urge to pad the expansion with some trademark side events, but they're not pressing, not in-your-face, and ultimately not really important. It's just three hours of mostly quality main story content. Jack the Ripper can't aspire to reach the heights that Syndicate did. But, it also doesn't suffer the same setbacks. In a game where open-world strain can become a serious problem, this add-on is a mostly-focused reprieve. Sure, there are some fumbling moments, but there are also some elegantly-handled ones. Given the difficult source material and the obvious danger of stumbling, Jack the Ripper mostly doesn't, and that feels like a best-case outcome. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Jack the Ripper review photo
Whodunnit?
The tale of Jack the Ripper is one of mankind's great enigmas. More than 100 years ago, someone savagely murdered at least five women in the Whitechapel district of London. He maimed his victims so unthinkably that his legend...

Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Here's Deal 7 in Sony's European 12 Deals of Christmas Promotion


Syndicate Savings galore
Dec 14
// Vikki Blake
Today's 12 Deals of Christmas is Assassin's Creed-flavoured, with discounts available for the standard and Gold digital editions of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, as well as savings on the Season Pass. From now until 11.59pm GMT...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's Jack the Ripper DLC coming next week


December 15
Dec 10
// Chris Carter
Assassin's Creed Syndicate has been teasing its Jack the Ripper DLC for weeks now, but this is the first time we've had a really good gander at it. All told, it actually looks quite meaty, and the new story trailer isn't hal...
Assassin's Creed photo
Also coming to Vita
After months of going without any sort of real news on Assassin's Creed Chronicles' last two entries, we now have confirmation straight from Ubisoft that they will be released in "early 2016." Following up China, India a...

Star Wars Battlefront photo
Star Wars Battlefront

EA: 'There is no weakness' in Star Wars Battlefront sales


Shots fired
Dec 03
// Vikki Blake
Electronic Arts was "a little bit" surprised by GameStop's comments that Star Wars Battlefront had "underperformed." As reported by Eurogamer, talking to investors, GameStop executive Tony Bartel stated that three r...

PC Port Report: Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Nov 27 // Joe Parlock
Rig: AMD FX-8320 3.50GHz Eight-Core processor, 12GB of RAM, AMD HD 7970, Windows 10 64-Bit. Framerate measured with Raptr. Game played at the “High” graphics preset. First things first, as a technical product Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is definitely one of the best of the series on PC. The graphics options are incredibly descriptive, so those who may not quite understand which ambient occlusion or anti-aliasing settings would be best for them aren’t left in the dark. I particularly like the little bar in the top-right corner that shows just how much of your video memory is being used, letting you tweak the game to be as high quality as your card will allow. The game supports 4K resolutions for people with absolutely monster rigs and big enough screens to run them on, as well as widescreen resolutions (up to 2560x1080) and borderless windowed mode for easy swapping between applications. However, there are also some important options missing, such as the ability to change the FOV. This is a third person game though, so it probably isn’t as big of a problem for the majority of people as it would be in a first person ganme. Some people do still suffer from motion sickness when playing third person games though, so the option to change it could have been beneficial. Also worth noting is that Syndicate features full and complete key remapping, adjustable mouse acceleration, and full controller support for Xbox 360, Xbox One and PS4 controllers. Disappointingly, the menus suggest there is a way to remap controller inputs, but this doesn't actually appear to be possible. After spending so long playing Assassin’s Creed on PC, trying to play it with an Xbox 360 controller felt unnatural to me. The ability to tweak which button does what thing would’ve been nice. As I mentioned, Assassin’s Creed has never been known for its stellar PC ports. Assassin’s Creed III and Unity in particular suffered from poor optimisation, and I struggled to hit even a steady 30FPS on them with the rig described above. I’m not a framerate perfectionist who demands 60+ FPS in all things (even though I also understand people wanting to get what they’ve paid for out of their expensive hardware), but even then being able to get solidly 40+ FPS in Syndicate on the high preset felt like a breath of fresh air. Even in the most expansive or detailed areas I noticed very little drop in my framerate and considering how big the game is, that is a massive achievement. [embed]322674:61263:0[/embed] The only times there was a notable drop was on initially loading into the game (which is somewhat expected), and unfortunately during the carriage portions. Syndicate reintroduces drivable vehicles to the series, but whenever I picked up the pace or caused some carnage, the game would drop to around 20-25 FPS. This may be due to moving quicker through the world than it could load, but it was a bit of a disappointment none the less. Overall, I would have to say I’ve had a better time with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s port than with Unity or AC3, and it’s even arguably running better than the better games in the series like Rogue or Black Flag. When I played the demo at EGX, I came away feeling incredibly disappointed. At the time, it was just as buggy as Unity, without building on any of the mechanics introduced. It felt like one big rehash, and it left me worried for the future of the series. Now that I’ve been let loose on the final version, I can safely say that I was totally wrong. Syndicate is right up there as being one of my favourites in the entire series. It has its problems, but I can confidently place it alongside Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed 2 as being one of the series high points. Victorian London is recreated beautifully. The detailed streets, the steam trains barging down the tracks, the Thames chock-full of boats…the entire game feels like you’ve stepped into a Charles Dickens novel. One that involves lots of stabbing and the threat of naked hologram aliens, but a Charles Dickens novel none the less. Weirdly, I’d argue Syndicate borrows and improves on a lot from Watch_Dogs too with just how many moving parts the city has. Carriages, trains and boats make London feels a lot more dynamic than previous cities in the series, and at times can allow for some really cool getaways. A big problem I had with combat in Unity was how effective ranged weapons were against you. Almost every enemy carried a gun, and there was no way to counter against them, meaning armed enemies at range had a massive, massive advantage and frequently proved fatal. This problem was elegantly solved in Syndicate, where now you can simply dodge shots at any time. You don’t even need a human shield anymore. To balance it, melee combat is a lot trickier now. Gone are the days of simply countering everything and killing everyone all in one combo. Now you have to be smart, do damage when you can, and often running away to get an advantage later on is the better solution. It really helps encourage stealthier play, while also not being an instant death sentence should you decide to be a bit noisy. Speaking of stealth, Syndicate takes a lot of emphases away from the series’ cornerstone of “social stealth”. Instead, you now have a stealth button that will cause Jacob and Evie to crouch down and pull their hoods up. A lot of the creeping is based more around hiding behind walls and staying out of sight, rather than hiding in plain view as has always been the core of the series up to now.  Blending into crowds just doesn’t feel all that important anymore, and at times I actually found it almost impossible to do. For example, bumping into other people can cause crowds to break up just enough to leave you exposed, but when you want to close the gap on an enemy using the crowd as cover you’ll be bumping into people a whole lot more. I’m still not sure whether this change is good or not, as when you’re placed into environments designed for it the new stealth system feels involving and effective, but it does make the game feel a bit less Assassin’s Creed to me as well. The changes to player movement in Syndicate can be a bit of a mixed bag. I love the new line launcher that lets you quickly scale buildings, across entire streets, and opens up lots of new tactical possibilities in dealing with enemies. Being able to jump in, cause some damage, and then zip away again really made me rethink how to handle enemy encounters, as now the strategies I’d learned from the earlier games simply wasn’t the best way of dealing with things. On the other hand, the parkour system does frequently suffer from weird pathfinding issues.Syndicate adopts Unity’s system of having one button to move up and another to move down, but moving down often resulted in me getting caught up on bits of scenery and winding up heading in a totally different direction than what I was intending. While it’s certainly nowhere near the broken state of Unity, Syndicate does still suffer from some bugs. Aside from the pathfinding issue I’ve already mentioned, I’ve notice plenty of people teleporting around in crowded areas, random deaths when pinned against stationary trains, and enemies running around in tiny circles. It’s by no means a bug-free game, but they’re minor hitches in a massive game, so I personally could look past them. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate does have problems, but that doesn’t stop it from being the most enjoyable, interesting and different entry since Black Flag. The setting is great, and the changes to combat, movement and stealth mean you can’t play it the same way as every other game in the series. It’s a bit buggy, and there are some minor performance issues, but please don’t let that stop you from picking up Syndicate. For both ardent fans and those who are a bit tired of the formula, chances are Syndicate is what you were hoping for. [This PC Port Report is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] Update: Since writing this PC Port Report, I have upgraded to an Nvidia GTX 980. I can now confirm (albeit only anecdotally) that people with Nvidia cards may struggle with getting acceptable performance out of the game. The GTX 980 is a high-end card in Nvidia’s range, and can easily get a steady 60FPS in every other game I’ve tried so far with it. However, when setting Syndicate to max settings (which is what it recommended for me), I rarely hit 60FPS, and instead generally hovered somewhere around 45-55FPS. For my old card, I considered this acceptable because of its age and mid-range status, but for something like the GTX 980 I would really be expecting better performance. One thing that weirdly became more noticeable once I’d upgraded were the cloth physics, which are for some weird reason locked to 30FPS. Even if you’ve somehow got the game running at a smooth 60, Jacob and Evie’s capes will look incredibly jerky. Fortunately,PCGamingWiki has a simple .ini tweak that will uncap the cloth’s framerate. Overall, I’d say that the previous reports of Nvidia kind of struggling with this game are accurate. It still plays at a framerate I’m personally happy with, but I would’ve expected more out of my sparkly new card. Optimisation seems to be somewhat worse, and I noticed graphical glitches were a bit more frequent than before. It’s still by no means a broken port on Nvidia-powered PCs, but it’s something to keep in mind. --
Assassin's Creed Syndicat photo
Let's 'ave a butcher's at the PC version
Assassin’s Creed has had a rough time on PC. Not only did the very first game control poorly, but later both the third game and the infamous Unity both had a glut of technical issues, bugs, and suffered with very p...

Jack the Ripper photo
Jack the Ripper

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's Jack the Ripper DLC is probably imminent, maybe


Achievement lists light the way
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
It has only been a month since Assassin's Creed Syndicate launched, but the first add-on might be lurking in the shadows, ready to strike any moment. The compelling Jack the Ripper DLC is the biggest expansion that...
GameBarcodes photo
GameBarcodes

GameBarcodes distill games down frame by frame


Journey's is the best
Nov 19
// Darren Nakamura
A couple weeks ago an imgur page was floating around the Internet showing various films with each frame reduced to its average color and represented as a single vertical line in what turn out to be often vibrant barcodes. Thi...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate releases on PC tomorrow, but will it work?


That remains to be seen
Nov 18
// Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Syndicate is one of the best Assassin's Creed games in recent memory. But, only two-thirds of the prospective audience has gotten a chance to see it. While PS4 and Xbox One owners have had the chan...
Electronic Arts photo
Electronic Arts

EA is working on its own 'Assassin's Creed-style' game


Jade Raymond is leading the way
Nov 17
// Vikki Blake
EA has confirmed that it is working on a new Assassin's Creed-type action game. At the UBS Global Technology Conference yesterday, CFO Blake Jorgensen said that Jade Raymond - an Ubisoft veteran who joined EA in July to found new Montreal studio, Motive - would be leading on the "gigantic action" game. 
AC Syndicate photo
AC Syndicate

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's PC requirements are done hiding in the shadows


They're pretty reasonable
Nov 05
// Brett Makedonski
It's almost impossible to talk about Assassin's Creed on PC without bringing up last year's Unity debacle. It was so profound that it likely affected the release of Syndicate, pushing it back a month so that Ubisoft...
One free Syndicate DLC photo
One free Syndicate DLC

Why the hell are Assassin's Creed Syndicate's goofy steampunk costumes 1GB?


Large, bad DLC (but free!)
Nov 05
// Steven Hansen
God, of course it was coming. Fucking steampunk. It will never be cool or good, you're exactly like that shitty we-live-a-Victorian-lifestyle couple that everyone made fun of for their shitty thinkpiece about how great life i...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Ubisoft: Syndicate sales were 'clearly impacted' by Assassin's Creed Unity


But it has 'nicely outperformed' since
Nov 05
// Vikki Blake
Ubisoft has acknowledged that Assassin's Creed Syndicate sales have been "clearly impacted" by the performance issues of its predecessor, Assassin's Creed Unity. In an investor call last night, Ubisoft executive Alain Martinez said: "Clearly, in our first week, we were impacted by what happened with Assassin's Creed Unity."
Halo 5: Guardians photo
Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5 grosses more on day one than Spectre in UK


7.7 million UK pounds, to be exact
Nov 04
// Vikki Blake
Halo 5: Guardians grossed £7.7 million on day one in the UK, Microsoft has announced. Halo 5 entered in pole position in the UK chart, selling twice as many copies as Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and twice as many as 343 Industries' previous Halo game, Halo: Master Chief Collection. 
AC Syndicate photo
AC Syndicate

Assassin's Creed Syndicate has a Uplay reward actually worth getting


For once
Oct 31
// Brett Makedonski
Uplay, Ubisoft's digital rights management service and scourge in the eyes of most gamers, had one cool concept once upon a time. When the program launched, it was supposed to reward players by unlocking things through gamep...

Review: Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Oct 28 // Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Syndicate (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft QuebecPublisher: UbisoftMSRP: $59.99Released: October 23, 2015 (PS4, Xbox One), November 19, 2015 (PC) An early sequence concerns itself with getting illegal opiates in medicine off the streets. The player must trace this back all the way up the supply chain from seller to distributor to manufacturer and, eventually, to the doctor who's behind it all. One high-profile assassination, and the city's a little better off than before. That's an evident narrative example of how Syndicate conveys this ever-present march toward improving London, but gameplay elements also support it. The biggest side-task asks that you liberate sections of town. Once enough of those are cleared, there's a gang war to take over the borough. And, once that's done, that particular one-seventh of the city is rid of Templar influence. It's a formula that Assassin's Creed has drawn from before, but it's hard not to feel as if it works best in Syndicate. That persistent slow-burn sense of accomplishment is present, as it usually is when you see the tides turn in an open-world game. But, the way Syndicate connects gameplay to narrative makes everything really come together. Progress is being made and it's apparent in the way the town goes about its business. [embed]315655:60898:0[/embed] A pivotal reason that this effort succeeds is because Syndicate has a cast of characters that are interesting and memorable. Crawford Starrick is easily one of the best villains in the series, as he puppeteers all of the going-ons. A late-introduced person is simply divine in his madness. By the time his arc resolves, he reminds more of Batman's Joker than anyone from Assassin's Creed's lore. Anchoring this effort are the dual protagonists: Jacob and Evie Frye. As siblings are wont to do, they have a bit of a rivalry that escalates throughout the course of the narrative. Their relationship is strung along by things their father used to say, as interpreted by them individually. As such, they have differing opinions on their goals and how to accomplish them, and they're constantly reminding the other of it. It grows tiresome before long. Really, I suspect that the two protagonist formula was a means for Ubisoft to explore divergent intentions within the course of one game. Evie is hellbent on recovering a Piece of Eden that's hidden somewhere in London; Jacob's set on reclaiming the city and fighting for the people's rights (he's surprisingly altruistic considering his brash demeanor). Told within the the arc of a single hero, these interests wouldn't make for a cohesive game. It'd feel schizophrenic in its approach. But, by breaking it up for two people to pursue, it makes sense. Syndicate's better off for having explored both of these angles, thus, it's better off for having tried the tandem protagonists. For all the big-picture stuff that Syndicate does right, almost all of its missteps are in the gameplay. The franchise mainstays like non-notable assassinations work just as fine as they always have (although combat still lacks sufficient impact to prove satisfying). It's the innovative parts that mostly fall flat. Horse-drawn carriages control awfully and are a pain to drive. Kidnapping is mapped to the same button as other post-kidnapping actions, often leading to mishaps with your hostage. The worst sin comes in the form of the game's most marketable feature. The grappling hook, even with its finicky nature, makes traversing London quick and simple. But it comes at the cost of almost completely cutting climbing out of Assassin's Creed. Simply walking up to a building and pushing the left bumper will transport you to the top. The grappling hook actually feels like cheating after spending eight games getting there the hard way. It's easy to appreciate Ubisoft saving you a bit of time, but pulling back and reflecting after several hours of play will lead you to realize that you've scaled just a tiny fraction of what you have in past titles. Climbing is a major mechanic that drew a lot of people to Assassin's Creed in the first place, so it's sad seeing Syndicate relegate it to an afterthought. Assassinations are the other large appeal to Assassin's Creed titles. Syndicate does them better than ever before. Extrapolating upon the "black box" missions in Unity, we're treated to unique, intriguing, and exciting kills of the game's most notable targets. For instance, that doctor mentioned oh-so many paragraphs up? It'd be easy enough to rush in and off him. Instead, I pickpocketed the keys off of a guard to open all the doors in the asylum. Then, I made my way to the basement where I hid the body of a medical corpse, and laid down in its place. I was wheeled up to the doctor, where I assassinated him as he was about to conduct an inhumane experiment on me. This is where Assassin's Creed as a whole is at its very best and most shows its promise. Anyone who's blowing them off is doing themselves a huge disservice and probably playing the game the wrong way. These black box missions are where you get to feel like an actual assassin and get clever with your kills -- even if it's still scripted in a way. It's a nice compromise after we figured out that open-world scenarios lead to more botched attempts than anything else. A game of this magnitude is bound to have its successes and failures, and Assassin's Creed Syndicate definitely has both. But, in most instances, gameplay and narrative are interwoven nicely enough to keep us vested in our pursuit of a better London. As such, it often seems as if the bad isn't all that noticeable. That's a threshold Assassin's Creed has struggled to hit over the years, and this is the first time it has accomplished that maybe since Brotherhood. One of the more poignant moments in Syndicate is a scene where Crawford Starrick is solemnly playing piano. At the conclusion of the slow, heartfelt song, he earnestly sings "In such a moment, I but ask that you'll remember me. That you'll remember me." We remember you, Assassin's Creed. And now, we have hope for what else you can do.
AC Syndicate review photo
Come together
Perched atop some large edifice in Assassin's Creed Syndicate's London, I hesitated. Many slickly-presented columns of light reached toward the sky in all directions -- each one indicating yet another thing to do in an effort...

Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate had the worst UK launch in series history


Only sold more than spin-off Rogue
Oct 27
// Joe Parlock
In case you somehow didn’t notice, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate launched last week. Setting the series predominantly in the UK for the first time (we had a little bit in the opening to AC3), plus being set in the mu...
Assassin's Creed glitches photo
Assassin's Creed glitches

It's no Unity, but Assassin's Creed: Syndicate has some fun glitches


Everything is hard to animate
Oct 25
// Steven Hansen
After stumbling upon an Assassin's Creed: Syndicate video embedded on Facebook wherein an NPC's carriage inexplicably began to shake violently and then erupt into the sky, leaving too stiff horses horizontal in the street, I ...
AC Syndicate photo
AC Syndicate

A poor mechanic is Assassin's Creed Syndicate's greatest feature


First impressions
Oct 23
// Brett Makedonski
The magnitude of Assassin's Creed is as great as ever this year. Syndicate's London is said to be 30 percent larger than Assassin's Creed Unity's size, and it feels every inch of it. Upon unlocking the open world, simply navi...
Assassin's Creed review photo
Assassin's Creed review

Where's our Assassin's Creed Syndicate review?


Let me tell you, friend
Oct 22
// Brett Makedonski
It's very early in the morning and some Assassin's Creed Syndicate reviews just landed. Except ours didn't. So, what gives? Are we the hip slackers who are too cool to turn our homework in on time? Is this our half-heart...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate finally uses 'London Calling' in a trailer


Took long enough
Oct 21
// Brett Makedonski
"London Calling" is a very good song by The Clash, a very good punk band. Through its staccato'd guitars and less-than-frantic pace, it tells of social and political concern in England's capital. There's a feel-good veneer c...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate has teeny tiny day one patch


Yay!
Oct 20
// Vikki Blake
Another day, another OMGLOOKATTHISDAYONEPATCHSIZE post. Shock twist -- this post isn't a negative one! Though Assassin's Creed Syndicate will need a day one patch, redditters and NeoGAFfers have confirmed that the PS4 patch is only 534MB, while the Xbox One patch is just 520MB.
Assassin's Creed Syndicat photo
Assassin's Creed Syndicat

Here's a video of an eagle flying around in London


What the duck?
Oct 15
// Vikki Blake
Ubisoft has flown a bald eagle over London for a bird's-eye view of the UK's capital. The eggciting stunt is to celebrate the release of Assassin's Creed Syndicate later this month and showcase Eagle Vision, a tool enabling players to have "an Eagle-Eyed perspective and vision to locate enemies and key features at distance." Here's the video -- looks incredible, right?
Deals photo
Deals

25% off Star Wars Battlefront PC deal closes in as beta ends


Will totally sell gazillion copies
Oct 14
// Dealzon
Nine million strong was the verdict in the Star Wars Battlefront beta test weekend. By all accounts, the beta seems to be well received as the Internet was flooded with videos/gifs aplenty. Green Man Gaming must have received the memo because during an unannounced sale, it's headlining Battlefront as the deal to grab for the season.
Steam Stealth Sale photo
Steam Stealth Sale

Savvy Steam Stealth Sale sneaks sonto the sinternet


Surprising!
Oct 13
// Mike Cosimano
Today, Steam appropriately dropped a stealth-themed sale on the Internet, comprised of more than 60 games, including games in the Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and Splinter Cell series. You know, it's only when I write that...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed: Syndicate Xbox One file size revealed


Roughly what we expected
Oct 05
// Laura Kate Dale
If you're an Xbox One owner and are planning to get a digital copy of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, the time has come to ensure you've got enough space free on your hard drive. Thanks to the game's digital pre-order page going...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Welp, Assassin's Creed Syndicate will have microtransactions


Oy!
Oct 01
// Chris Carter
Oy bruv, you fancy microtransactions? Ubisoft has announced, that like Unity, the upcoming Assassin's Creed Syndicate will sport microtransactions, which can be used to "save time and accelerate progress." Director Franc...

What does the Destructoid UK Team think of Assassin's Creed Syndicate?

Sep 29 // Laura Kate Dale
Joe Parlock - Somewhat Disappointed I’ve been a huge fan of Assassin’s Creed ever since the first game came out, and I’ve made sure to play every one of the major releases in the series. From Assassin’s Creed through to Unity and Rogue, I’ve played every one of them, and for the most part have enjoyed all of them to varying degrees. Like everyone else ever, I had major problems with Unity: it was buggy, I wasn’t a fan of the weird time-jumping sections, and I thought the game’s combat was ridiculously stacked in the ranged guards’ favour. Unity is one of my least favourite games in the series, but it still had positives. It removed the ship-combat that Assassin’s Creed III had introduced, and felt in a lot of ways more like a historical Watch Dogs or even Splinter Cell than a Creed game. Assassin’s Creed has a habit of every other game being fantastic and improving massively on the one that came before. Assassin’s Creed II took the slightly repetitive and basic gameplay of Assassin’s Creed, put it in a new setting, and gave the missions so much more variety, while Black Flag improved on III’s ship mechanics.  That’s why going into the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate demo at EGX 2015, I was expecting a refinement of what Unity introduced. I was hoping for better combat and fewer bugs, while still retaining that fantastically detailed and crafted world. I was wanting from Unity. Unfortunately, Syndicate is not the refinement I was hoping it would be. The demo I played at EGX put me in the shoes of Evie Frye, the sneakier of the game’s two leads, as she tried to infiltrate a building to kill her target. The area was crawling with Royal Guards, as well as my target’s own personal bodyguards. One of Evie’s tricks, and a new addition to the series, is the new “stealth” button. At the press of a button, Evie will pull her hood up, letting her turn practically invisible as long as she remains still. When it first started, Assassin’s Creed was all about social stealth. Blending into crowds, making sure you’re not too conspicuous in front of guards, making friends and allies in the environment to help you win, that sort of thing. The stealth button really felt like too much of a simplification to me considering the rooftop gardens and huge crowds that mask your approach being such a staple of the series before now. To get in and do the stabby, I was shown a whole load of different approaches: I could use an Assassin disguised as a guard to pretend to arrest me and walk me straight to the target, or I could go and save the captain of the real guards, who would then let me recruit them for my own purposes. So I sneaked my way around to the chief constable, making sure to avoid any Royal Guards along the way. A great new addition in Syndicate is the line launcher, which lets you scale buildings much faster than you’ve ever been able to before. It felt a lot like the lifts and rope pulleys scattered around previous games, but usable whenever I wanted it to. It really added a lot to the movement system, which was already one of my favourite changes made in Unity.   Once I’d saved the constable, I was able to ignore the Royal Guard. They were on my side now, and I could recruit them to walk with me straight to the target. I made sure not to cause too much commotion before making it to her, as I knew I might need my new pals to help deal with her own guards. And that’s when it all got a bit broken. The demo I got to try at EGX is an old one. It’s buggy and the performance isn’t great. Normally for demos at shows like EGX, you accept that the builds aren’t representative of the final product and will have problems that are ironed out come the game’s full release. However, considering the state Unity released in, I think it’s relevant to talk about just how buggy my experience with Syndicate was just over a month before it launches. I managed to make my way to the target on my own, taking out the target’s own guards without too much hassle. Once I was in range of my quarry, I summoned my new Royal Guard friends and triggered what I was expecting to be a huge fight between the factions, during which I could slip through and kill my target. I’d done it before in other Assassin’s Creed games; ever since the first one you’ve been able to hire brawlers to cause distractions for you. As it was, nothing happened. Every single person in that room stood still for a short time, and then a load of them dropped dead. The animations hadn’t played, but the damage was suddenly applied to compensate. All my hard work of saving the constable and making my way to the target had been for absolutely bloody nothing because of a bug, and that was when it hit me that what I saw of Syndicate was the same as anything I’d seen in Unity. The line launcher was a cool new addition, but everything else was the same or worse. The combat was the same, the setting felt nowhere near as detailed as Unity’s Paris (and is also very visually similar to Paris, which only added to the feeling of seeing this all before), and the new stealth system felt like such a step-back for the series. I’m sure I’ll play Syndicate eventually. Victorian London is my dream setting for the series (behind 1960s Mods vs. Rockers, that is), but I’m not expecting it to be the next Black Flag by any stretch. I ultimately walked away from the demo disappointed that it seemed like Ubisoft haven’t fully understood what made Unity as lackluster as it was. Laura Dale - Mostly Positive My thoughts on Assassin's Creed Syndicate were far more surface-level than Joe's, mainly due to my far more casual past experience with the series. The first Assassin's Creed game I played to completion was Assassin's Creed III when the Wii U launched, followed by incomplete playthroughs of most of the other entries in the series. I enjoy the core gameplay loop enough, but I don't need to dedicate the time to complete one of these games every year. For me, if I'm going to play another Assassin's Creed to completion, I'm going to need to be drawn in by something unique. I've been somewhat hoping that the setting and female playable protagonist in Syndicate would be the change up I needed to get back in to the series. From my time with the game at EGX, I'm fairly confident that I will actually play this Assassin's Creed to completion. First up, it's important to note that I did not bump in to any of the bugs that Joe faced in his demo of the game. While this doesn't invalidate any of his criticisms, I left the demo feeling far more confident in the game's level of overall polish and presentation.  For me, the appeal here was all down to setting, tone and character. The cobbled streets of London meshed well with the historical image of the town that a few decades of history lessons in England had instilled in me of the town. From the dingy streets that would have felt at home in Sweeny Todd to the guards at the Tower of London, everything felt tonally where it should be. This felt like an Assassin's Creed setting I actually had some historical context for, and that really added to my connection to the game world. Really, it was the smaller details that drew me in most. Actually seeing a Great British Pounds Sterling icon (£) pop up in game when I collected in game currency was such a novelty that I could not help but smile. When it came to the EGX build of the game, we were given control of the series new female protagonist Evie. While the character was clearly built for stealth gameplay, to the point that their ability to go unseen bordered on narratively ludicrous, I ended up having the most fun ignoring this stealth focus and running in metaphorically guns blazing. Getting to run through the gardens of the Tower of London as a badass looking lady, smacking royal guards around the head with a cane and expertly zipping away to a roof before backup could find me felt simply divine. I know simply changing the gender of the playable protagonist shouldn't make a huge difference to my feelings on the game, but it really did. Getting to be a badass lady assassin is something really blooming cool. While I suspect Joe's breakdown on the mechanical aspects of Syndicate will be of a lot of use to longtime fans, as someone who lightly dabbles with the series the most important thing to me was the change in feel. As a British lady who grew up primarily aware of English, London-centric history, getting to explore that version of London as a badass cane-wielding woman really served to reignite my interest in a series that by all accounts I should enjoy more than I seem to.
Syndicate photo
We Brits have opinions on stuff
At the tail end of last week, UK editor Laura Dale and news team member Joe Parlock both whisked themselves away to the EGX games convention in Birmingham to play a bunch of unreleased video games. Top of their lists? Assassi...

Must be expensive photo
Must be expensive

Assassin's Creed Syndicate features a transgender NPC


Cue the cries of 'caving to SJWs'
Sep 25
// Jed Whitaker
Great news everyone, Assassin's Creed Syndicate will feature the series' first transgender character! Ned Wynert is a trans male NPC who will provide quests to either of the playable characters. This announcement co...

Assassin's Creed producer talks returning to the series' roots

Sep 24 // Alessandro Fillari
I've had an affinity for the AC series all the way back to the original. I remember getting hyped for an action-adventure title set during the Crusades, and then again for its follow-up in the Italian Renaissance period -- two settings that don't get much play from the medium. But ever since its move to the annual release schedule, I sometimes find it hard to get excited about new entries when they can come off as more of the same. While some of these games are off the charts when it comes to fun and offering an interesting setting to explore, Assassin's Creed has missed the mark a few times. Obviously, this presented Ubisoft with a challenge for how to tackle the upcoming jaunt through Victorian-era London. As one of the most-requested settings from fans, the developers felt extra pressure to get it right while making sure not to repeat the mistakes of past titles. As the ninth mainline Assassin's Creed title (yes, already), it's definitely a challenge to keep things interesting, because you can only play as an Assassin so many times without any major shake-ups before things get stale. Senior producer Jeff Skalski spoke at length about their vision for Syndicate, and how they hope the return to basics will reinvigorate the brand. "That's been a challenge for any game that's been a franchise," he said while discussing development. "Whether you're working on the second one or fifth one, but for us, we've been working on this game for two and a half years, so there's a lot of things we know about what Assassin's Creed has done in the past. We have a sense of maybe where it's going, but no one has a crystal ball. So we really evaluate what is important, where do we want to innovate, where do we want to focus, and then we kind of start building that game with that kind of mindset." The elephant in the room when talking about this series is the troubled launch of last year's Unity. While a solid entry in the series featuring  some gorgeous visuals and a stellar recreation of 18th-century France, this unfortunately, and quite understandably, was lost on many gamers who had to wade through technical issues and oddities that put a serious damper on the whole experience. While there are many reasons for how that turned out, the developers at Ubisoft Quebec wanted to ensure they nailed their interpretation and execution of the setting right at launch. "We took a real kind of fine-tooth comb and we looked at the combat, stealth, what do we change that didn't work so well, and we really evaluate it all," stated Skalski. "We've all been fans of the game, we're gamers first before we're actually developers, so these are things that for us is an opportunity. We have one shot of building an Assassin's Creed game in Victorian-era London, and it's almost a dream come true for a lot of us. And we wanted to knock it out of the park." Even though multiplayer and other online components have been present for the majority of the AC titles, this marks the first time since 2009 that a main entry in the series will be strictly single-player. With 2010's Brotherhood introducing multiplayer, along with the annualized release schedule, it set the standard for  titles going forward. So it was especially surprisingly to see that Ubisoft decided to brings things back with its focus on a pure single-player narrative. The studio made the decision early on to create a stronger narrative with denser content to back it up. "When we were conceptualizing the game and figuring out what did we want to build, but more importantly what did we not want to build -- because the more we built in the game, it means we'd have to stretch our resources thin -- we really wanted to go all in on the single-player experience. That's not to say we don't believe in multiplayer, and I think there's a place for that, but for this round we wanted to focus on the single-player. But yeah, we looked at the previous AC titles, and saw the various pillars they were built on, and thought 'How can we improve this?' [...] So it was a very conscious decision, and it was one we made very early on." For me, one of the highlights of playing Syndicate, and I'm sure many will share this sentiment, was the setting. The Victorian era was an evocative period with the old world slowly shifting into the modern era before everyone's eyes. And with the Industrial Revolution in full swing, it created many challenges for those living in the heart of the Western Empire. The devs saw this as not only an interesting setting that stands out among the predecessors, but also allowed them to open the gameplay into new areas and introduce abilities and gadgets not possible from the time period. "There's so much for us to play with in the Victorian time," explained the producer. "As you stated, it was the turning point in terms of the modern society that we live in today, so we felt that was bringing something fresh and something very new, and allowed us to kind of break the rules in places that would be exciting for players. Even today, it's a city that's a melting pot of society, so we were not short on ideas. We had to pick our top-top favorites and realize those as best as we could and work with our writers to make sure it was accurate and authentic." Despite the gloomy atmosphere and depressing subject matter, Syndicate manages to display a lot humor from the characters. In retrospect, many of the AC titles portrayed their stories earnestly with some slight scenes for humor to break up the tension.  Syndicate's dual protagonists, who are brother and sister, share a kind of sibling rivalry and make constant jokes at their expense. I'd imagine with the bleak atmosphere, they had to offer some levity. Which thankfully works quite well. "Humor was very important to us. As we were writing the game, and looking over the scripts, we were laughing, and that was a good sign for us. During mo-cap, I would laugh at lines and still find myself laughing when they came up in the game, so I hope players will enjoy the narrative, the characters -- every one of them is super special -- and the relationships they form with Jacob and Evie, and how they experience London for the first time."  Since the reveal earlier this year, the creators of Syndicate (then titled Victory), had a bit of an uphill battle to get through to ensure they were all in when it comes to creating the next big entry for the series. Fortunately, my several hours with the game got my interest piqued for what's to come. What I enjoyed most about the era is that it felt as though it was stuck between two different periods -- one from the past, the other towards the future. With many of the characters clinging onto the old ways while living in a civilization that has introduced vehicle traffic and gas and electrical infrastructure, Assassin's Creed Syndicate's interpretation of Victorian-era London should be one of the more exciting, visually striking locales the series has seen in a long time. For more info about Syndicate, check out my hands-on impressions. 
Interview photo
In a West End town, a dead end world
As the tenth anniversary for the Assassin's Creed franchise draws closer, it's hard to imagine the series has been around for so long. I was two years out of high school when Altair and Desmond first made their appearance on ...


Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...