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Assassins Creed


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Assassin's Creed

Ubisoft announces Assassin's Creed Identity


A new mobile game
Feb 02
// Chris Carter
Ubisoft is bringing out another Assassin's Creed game specifically for iOS. It'll arrive on February 25, and will bring us back to the "fan-favorite" (or as some might say, "overused") time period of the Italian Renaiss...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

The Assassin's Creed movie has wrapped, is actually happening


Set for a December 21, 2016 debut
Jan 16
// Chris Carter
Justin Kurzel, Michael Fassbender, and Marion Cotillard's (the Macbeth Trinity) Assassin's Creed movie has wrapped, as of yesterday. Now the film enters post-production as it gears up for its December 21, 2016 release date. F...

Review: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India

Jan 12 // Chris Carter
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed]) Developer: Climax StudiosPublisher: UbisoftReleased: January 12, 2016MSRP: $9.99 In this tale players will assume the role of Arbaaz Mir -- a cocksure assassin who has just stolen the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a Piece of Eden. The year is 1841, and Arbaaz is caught up in your typical Assassin vs. Templar antics in the brand new setting of India. The narrative mostly takes a backseat, with various puzzles and combat (or rather, the option to avoid combat) challenges to face along the way, and little in the form of exposition or world building. It's...serviceable, much like China, in that the story doesn't really leap out of the screen, but it also doesn't get in the way. India keeps inline with China's unique visual style that looks like it could be housed in an art gallery, but with more vibrant hues and beautiful pastels than the last iteration. Often times I'd stop and ogle at the landscape, which is something I rarely do in recent 2D titles -- but then again, Ubisoft usually nails it in that department (Rayman, Child of Light). In case you're wondering, it's still following the same stealth platformer format from China, so don't expect a whole lot. Levels are very linear in nature, even if specific sections do have a number of different solutions (like whistling to distract guards, going around them entirely with the grappling hook, and so on). Once again the actual platforming mechanics are sound, and the "stealth button/run button" format translates unusually well to the 2D plane. That smoothness starts to grate though once you've made your way through similar looking labyrinthine halls, fighting the same types of enemies over and over. [embed]333470:61826:0[/embed] India still discourages combat and proclaims stealth king, which will probably polarize a few of you out there looking for constant fights. The game punishes you with a low health pool and a limited amount of combat tools, so if you are adverse to stealth you may want to sit out for this series. Personally I revel in the ability to not go in guns (or blades) blazing, so the style suit me quite well, especially with the increased emphasis on the grappling hook. Once the story is all said and done there's a New Game Plus, and a "New Game Plus Hard" option to storm through. Thankfully though Ubisoft added in another element to India in the form of challenge rooms, which are basically in the same surrealistic "VR" style as past entries, with time-based objectives to complete. Sure it's the same old song and dance for Assassin's Creed, but it's nice to have something extra to do, even if there's only six of them. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India isn't a whole lot different compared to China, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on your prior experience. It sports a slightly less interesting character and setting, but the core experience is replicated, and the addition of a few gameplay tweaks as well as the aforementioned challenge mode ensures that it's on the level. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Assassin's Creed review photo
Hide and Sikh
When the Chronicles series was announced, my response was mixed. I mean, it's cool that we're getting to see new settings outside of the usual suspect after all, but by that same token, I'd rather see those new areas in a fully-fledged 3D game. These Prince of Persia inspired 2.5D gaidens (including last year's China) are the next best thing though, albeit with some provisos.

Game Writing photo
Game Writing

The Witcher 3, Pillars of Eternity score Writers Guild Award nominations


Assassin's Creed gets 9th nomination
Jan 12
// CJ Andriessen
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an unstoppable, award-winning machine. While it failed to take home the industry's top prize, the Destructoid Game of the Year Award, it has secured victories from other, lesser organizations ...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Ubisoft provides help for prospective Assassin's Creed cosplayers


Breakdowns of three Chronicles outfits
Jan 08
// Chris Carter
Say what you will about the Assassin's Creed series and Ubisoft's need to annualized it, but one thing's for sure -- the cosplay that's come out of this scene has been pretty awesome. Whether it's the flowing cloaks or t...
Devs Play photo
Devs Play

Devs Play season two has over five hours of game makers chatting


Spyro, Crash, Tearaway, and more
Jan 07
// Jordan Devore
Whether it's games, movies, books, whatever, I love listening to creators talk about their craft. It can be enthralling to hear how the creative process differs between not only mediums, but individuals. One video series I'm ...
Assassin's Creed India photo
Assassin's Creed India

[Extremely Simpsons voice] Assassin's Creed Chronicles is going to India!


'Deep dive' trailer
Jan 06
// Steven Hansen
Ubisoft brought the Assassin's Creed Chronicles series back from the brink with recent confirmation for two new entries, India and Russia, that are coming in hot. The former is out next week, January 12, on PC, PS4, and Xbox...
GOTY 2015 photo
GOTY 2015

Mike Cosimano's personal picks for Game of the Year 2015


The People's Choice(es)
Jan 04
// Mike Cosimano
2015 was a divisive year -- tremendous in terms of media (TV like Master of None and The 100; movies like Spotlight and The Force Awakens; games like...well, keep reading) and a garbage year in terms of my life. Entertai...
Assassin's Creed Empire photo
Assassin's Creed Empire

Assassin's Creed may be taking a break this year, with an Egypt-set game coming in 2017


An extra year of development is good
Jan 04
// Joe Parlock
Ever since Assassin's Creed II in 2009, Ubisoft's popular stab-'em-up series has seen at least one major release every year. 2014 even saw two games, Rogue and Unity. Critics of the series argue that this relentless release s...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

All signs point to Assassin's Creed going back to a present-day protagonist


Goodbye, Initiate
Dec 30
// Brett Makedonski
"Hello, Initiate." Those are the opening words to Assassin's Creed Syndicate. "Initiate" is you, the player, as the last several Assassin's Creed games (Black Flag, Rogue, Unity, and Syndicate) have made you the out...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Michael Fassbender on Assassin's Creed film: 'The fans are really passionate'


You betcha
Dec 28
// Chris Carter
So, the Assassin's Creed film seems to be coming along. Principle photography began a few months ago, and if everything goes according to schedule, it'll be out in December of next year. Although I have no hope for this proje...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

The first Assassin's Creed was originally going to have multiplayer


Local co-op mode possibly?
Dec 23
// Joe Parlock
Here’s a fun little bit of game history for you. According to DualShockers, who attended a talk by Julien Merceron in Paris, Assassin’s Creed was originally going to have a multiplayer mode. While this feature was...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

The Assassin's Creed movie may be launching some sort of ARG


Give Abstergo a nice phone call
Dec 22
// Laura Kate Dale
December 21 2016, just a week after the release of Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, we're going to be watching Michael Fassbender play some hind of historical murder in the Assassin's Creed live action movie. With the movie's release almost exactly a year away, the movie's official Twitter account has started teasing some real world clues to more information on the movie.

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...
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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...

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