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Assassins Creed

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

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

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

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

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 ...

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's London is an exciting and evocative setting

Sep 24 // Alessandro Fillari
Assassin's Creed Syndicate (PC, PS4 [previewed], Xbox One)Developer: Ubisoft QuebecPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: October 23, 2015 (PS4, Xbox One) / Q4 2015 (PC) Set nearly eighty years after the events of Assassin's Creed Unity, Syndicate thrusts players into the gritty and bustling city of London during the Industrial Revolution. With the Assassin Order struggling to rebuild, sibling assassins Jacob and Evie Fyre come to Victorian-era London during a relatively modest mission and find it under heavy Templar control. Witnessing the extent of the corruption in the heart of the Western Empire spearheaded by powerful industrialist and Templar operative Crawford Starrick, the siblings disregard the demands from their Order to abandon the city and take matters into their own hands to dismantle the Templar power structure. Using their Assassin abilities and gadgets, along with their keen eyes for scouting potential alliances with the locals, the Fryes will have to unite the criminal underworld of London in order to overthrow a common enemy, who may be in possession of another Piece of Eden. As one of the most-requested settings for an AC title, the developers at Ubisoft were keen on bringing the series to the Victorian era. London during 1868 was a period of equally great innovation and social unrest. The Industrial Revolution gave way to mass production and advanced technologies, but it came at the cost of humane working conditions, child labor, and poor quality of life for the working class. With factories peppering the city of London and smoke blotting out the sky, urban living was not what it was cracked up to be -- there was a lot of misery for those on the bottom of the social structure. This makes for an evocative setting for Assassin's Creed, and adds a greater connection with the city. While it would sound a bit cheesy to say that the city is a character itself, it does feel that way. I was impressed with not only how accurate the city looked, but also how much life exists within the game. There are several districts to travel to including Southwark, Westminster, Lambeth, Whitechapel, and the City of London (metropolitan area). Travel can be done by train, fast travel via landmarks, or even using carriages, marking the first time Assassin's Creed has an actual traffic and vehicle system to work with while in town. As the first AC title featuring dual protagonists in the same era, Syndicate does a lot to switch things up for players. Both characters serve as the focus for the general narrative. At any time in the menu, you'll be able to switch between the two while out in the open world, and each of them have unique content to tackle. Essentially two sides of the same coin, the Frye twins have varying approaches and mindsets when taking on obstacles but still seek the same result. With Jacob being the more hard-headed, brutish assassin who seems to relish his time getting into brawls and sharing a pint with commoners in the pubs, many of his ventures tend to have a more over-the-top flair to them. Evie, on the other hand, is clearly the more rational and logical twin, focusing on hatching clever plots to accomplish her long-term goals. In the end, a sledgehammer is sometimes more effective than a scalpel, and vice-versa -- so the twins will have to rely on each other to successfully overthrow the Templars. I rather enjoyed the dynamic between the Fryes. It's a change of pace for the series, and it's refreshing to have a female assassin put in the spotlight. Jacob's brash and devil-may-care attitude works well with Evie's stoic and uncompromising demeanor, which often times conflicts with her brother's spontaneous behavior. Essentially, it's a buddy-assassin plot, and it works quite well. These characters are invested, but still manage to find time to make jokes at the expense of their sibling. Given how expansive London is -- more than three times the size of Paris from Assassin's Creed Unity -- the twins will have a lot of ground to cover in the open world. Eventually, they'll gain access to a personal train which serves as a mobile command center for their operation. As the train makes its rounds, they'll be able plan their next move and ride the railway to missions. During their exploits in London, the Fryes will come across many important figures who have their own stake in the city, and they'll come to rely on the two assassins for assistance. From Alexander Graham Bell -- who builds a rope-launcher that allows the twins to scale rooftops and make zip-lines -- to Charles Dawrin, Charles Dickens, and even the infamous Jack the Ripper; the Assassins will come across many allies and foes on the streets, and they've all got their own ambitions in mind. But the twins won't be able to succeed on their own. With the many gangs and factions around London made up of citizens frustrated with feeling powerless, Jacob and Evie will have to win them over in order loosen the tight grip the Templars have over the city. As you retake areas of London from the Templars and gangs, key leaders will make themselves available and offer assistance. In Sequence 3 of the campaign, Evie forms an alliance with Clara O'Dea, the leader of a gang of children who've been used by the corrupt factory supervisors and seek their own way of life away from controlling adults. Each key figure within the different districts of London has a relationship with the Fryes, and doing missions and side-quests for them will strengthen their bond and unlock new gear and valuables. Over time, cash made by your network of gangs will be kicked back to the Fryes. It's a clever way to work key characters into the core progression. In previous titles, most of the advancement was done in menus and general side-missions, so incorporating character growth along with the related content makes the progression feel as though you're having a deeper impact. As always, the assassins will have several areas of the game world to conquer, and completing side-objectives and story missions are the best way to do so. In Syndicate, however, it feels as though there's a much greater level of variety for the side-missions. With the lack of multiplayer and co-op modes, this gave the developers resources to flesh out the world with side-events and points of interests to explore. For instance, instead of going around and tailing contacts, Jacob can compete in local fight clubs to strengthen bonds with allies. As you accomplish missions and side-quests, you'll gain experience to level up and acquire skill points to spend in the universal skill tree. Skills range from buffing melee attacks, eagle vision effective, upgrades to the arsenal, lockpicking, store discounts, and boosts to the economy. When you acquire more resources and control more of London, the assassins can spend their cash on new items, armor, and weapons. Given the era, the Fryes will have to be far more practical in their approach to carrying out their missions and assassinations. With great swords, hammers, and crossbows now considered antiqued in mid-1800s London, and many of which would get people arrested for possession, concealed weapons were a major part of self-defense in urban life. Between the standard cane sword (a short sword hidden in the shaft of a cane), daggers, brass knuckles, pistols and revolvers, bombs, poison, and the tried-and-true hidden blade, the concealed weapons add personality to Syndicate and feature an added level of customization, which also speaks to the increasingly modernized era. As covered in my last article, the combat system has been overhauled. It's now far more active. While Unity experimented with some new ideas, Syndicate advances things quite a bit. Given how easily players could abuse certain skills and rewards during combat, the developers felt it was time to try and switch things up. Here, battles prompt players to go more on the offensive, as enemies now only attack when they seen an opening and guard more frequently. Players will have to use stuns and guard-breaks to open up these defenses, all the while using parries and their side-arms (knives, revolvers, bombs) to manage multiple foes. The combat felt much more challenging this time around, and I was surprised at how tense things got. Heavier enemies in particular take a lot longer to bring down. Unfortunately, I was concerned with the overall technical performance of the game. There were several instances of texture and environmental objects fading in, along with NPC characters popping into view, and some slight frame rate dips throughout my preview session. While this title is in a much better state than Unity was last year at launch, I do hope that the devs can iron out the issues. Given how rich the setting is -- they nailed the atmosphere and tone of the era -- it would be a shame if these technical hiccups persist in the final release. Graphical worries notwithstanding, I was largely pleased with Assassin's Creed Syndicate. This is very much a dream setting for fans, myself included, and to see it all realized so vividly was great. From the bustling streets filled with carriages, to the back alleys full of criminals and roughnecks looking for their next target, the atmosphere in Victorian-era London is the strongest an AC game has had in a long time. I'm looking forward to my trip back to the foggy city, but I do hope they'll fix the kinks. This is one era that deserves the best the developers have got.
Preview photo
City of London, City of London
With October nearly here, it's about that time for Ubisoft to release another entry in its annual time-traveling trek through history. While Assassin's Creed has had highs and lows, no one can deny it's one of the few series ...

Jack the Ripper photo
Jack the Ripper

Assassin's Creed Syndicate is getting Jack the Ripper DLC

It's part of the season pass, too
Sep 15
// Brett Makedonski
Assassin's Creed Syndicate's set in Victorian London, and that seems like a great opportunity to get one of England's greatest villains in a video game. Ubisoft's carpe diem-ing. At Sony's Tokyo Game Show press briefing, a Ja...
AC Council photo
AC Council

Assassin's Creed Council is kind of like reddit, but with points that matter

UbiBlog meets community
Sep 11
// Brett Makedonski
In recent years, Ubisoft has constantly pushed for some kind of web of interconnectivity with Assassin's Creed. There are companion apps, franchise hubs, and forums to tie the community together. Now, Ubisoft's trying someth...
Ausaustin's Creed photo
Ausaustin's Creed

Journey composer Austin Wintory scored Assassin's Creed Syndicate

More than three hours of music
Sep 10
// Darren Nakamura
Since his work on flOw, Austin Wintory has been fairly well-known in the indie game scene. He has since provided the soundtrack for Journey, The Banner Saga, Monaco, and other small titles. All those years of creating unique ...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Newest Assassin's Creed trailer shows the game's best feature

And none of the stabbing
Sep 01
// Brett Makedonski
Without a doubt, the best part of every year's Assassin's Creed game is the setting. It was certainly the case for Unity's Paris. Ubisoft generally does a great job of making these city sandboxes feel lived-in and livel...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's going to be a bit late to the party on PC

Taking precautions
Aug 26
// Brett Makedonski
Almost four weeks after PS4 and Xbox One players have been zipping and stabbing around Victorian London, PC users will finally get their chance with Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Until then, they have to lurk in the shadows, wa...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Ubisoft unveils bonus Assassin's Creed Syndicate missions as pre-order sweetener

Join Dickens and Darwin and fight crime
Aug 26
// Vikki Blake
Ubisoft has revealed bonus Assassin's Creed Syndicate missions will be available for those who pre-order the game. The missions star everyone's favourite crime-solving duo, novelist Dickens and the Theory of Evolution masterm...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Groundhog Day: Has the Assassin's Creed series become too boring?

Aug 20
// Zack Furniss
With Assassin's Creed Syndicate coming out later this year, the series will have another chance to prove that it can shake its current malaise. Will grappling hooks, vehicles, and a (pretty cool-looking, though unfortuna...
Assassin's Creed ZING! photo
Assassin's Creed ZING!

Portland bookstore has sick Assassin's Creed burn

Turns out the books work on launch day
Aug 06
// Jed Whitaker
Long-time reader, first-time tipper and professional stand-up comedian Sarah Maywalt sent me the picture above that she took in the Powell's Books, an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon.  Powell's reminds us that ...

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