assassins creed syndicate best ac game yet
Since 2007, we have been kept enthralled by the Assassin’s Creed games. They have taken us from Jerusalem in the 12th century to the Victorian age of England. The franchise has had its ups and downs, and I was worried after Black Flag and Rogue that the end was rapidly approaching! Last year’s release of Unity brought some of the soul and life back, but something was still missing. Then, just as I was giving up all hope, they announced Syndicate. I was skeptical but decided to take a leap of faith and was pleasantly surprised to be caught not by a pile of hay but by what I think is the best Assassin’s Creed game in the series. Here are some of my reasons why.
NUMBER 5: MISSION VERSATILITY
Where it is true that previous games allowed some deviation from just assassinating target after target in order to take control of areas, Syndicate really amps up game play with their Boroughs and gang fights. If you don’t feel like scaling a building to bring death down upon the leaders of your enemies, you can kidnap them or just put on your brass knuckles and punch them in the face. You also have the options of spending some time in the fight clubs trying your hand as a bare knuckle boxer or racing horse drawn carriages through the streets of London. I never found myself wanting to take a break but still had enough to do to enjoy playing without rushing through.
NUMBER 4: THE SOUND TRACK
My hat goes way off to Austin Wintory for his work with this stunning soundtrack. It completely envelops you and makes you feel as if you might actually be in London in the 1800’s. Not only are the main background tracks beautiful and full of strings, they used a still of song made popular in the dark times of Victorian England called Murder Ballads. They add authenticity to the game by setting the different scenes and moods. If all of this was not enough, Ubisoft decided to make the sound dynamic. There are invisible sound que spots throughout the game that will start and stop different tracks. You could be running down the street to an elegant string instrumental then suddenly find yourself drawn into a pup by the drunken merriment and folk songs pouring through the open door. I know a great soundtrack does not always make a fantastic game but am beyond thrilled the development team did not settle for simple.
NUMBER 3: OVERALL STORY
It is hard to say a game is best in a series without talking about the meat of it. The main storyline is full of twists and turns and beautiful character development. Jacob’s search for power balanced by Evie’s search for knowledge, adds a bit of spice and edge to their relationship. The tension building between them, on top of the power struggle with the Templars, is orchestrated beautifully. I won’t give away any spoilers here as that takes away from the play experience but will say without a doubt the end of the main storyline for Syndicate is the most satisfying and badass in the series. It builds and builds over the last several missions and ends with the perfect cathartic release. I was also happy the time outside of the animus was limited to a few cut scenes and didn’t water down the experience. In earlier games, it almost felt as if they were trying to cram two games into one. It was nice to see the writers were back on their A game and giving us amazing content. I am once again a true Assassin’s Creed fan.
NUMBER 2: IMPROVED GAME MECHANICS
Those of us who have played many of the Assassin’s games know the pain of the ever changing and struggling combat mechanic. We all knew it wanted to be an epic brawl style fight where you, as the hero, overcame unimaginable odds. It sadly always disappointed us with basically being a turned based waiting game. Syndicate took a page from our Darknight friends with the way the combat seamlessly incorporates the tools and weapons you carry. You still have the perk of countering the person attacking, but combat feels fluid and more like an actual fight. They also spent time ironing out the wrinkles in the climbing and free running. Overall, everything seems to run smoother. Some of the changes were subtle such as the improvements to crating and weapons upgrades or the changes with how things load and transition. All and all syndicate has a better game engine which was a much needed facelift for the franchise.
NUMBER 1: EVIE FRYE
Evie Frye and her smart but deadly personality brings a fantastic new flavor not only to Assassin’s Creed but also to gaming in general. We have seen many strong female characters over time: Lara Croft, Lighting, Jill Valentine, but there has typically been an air of sexuality to them. Don’t get me wrong, Evie has her attractive spunk but is also incredibly practical. The outfits she wears still have a feminine feel to them but are practical for what she does as a master assassin. It makes a huge impact on the world of games, which is becoming quite balanced between the sexes, to have a female character who is smart, cunning and beyond deadly. Evie Frye is a such a fantastic character to play! She is stealthy, but that doesn’t mean she is above crawling into a bare knuckle boxing match and punching her way to the top. Even with the side love story with Evie, she is sensible and not made out to be weak or foolish. A huge round of applause to Ubisoft and the development team for creating such a well-rounded assassin who swan dived into not only our hearts but also our nightmares where she can stalk the shadows.
There is much more to talk about with Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, and you could spend hours online reading reviews or opinions about it just like mine. If you have not already purchased it, do yourself a favor. Walk away from the computer, go to the store, and buy it! If you have it sitting on a shelf and are just waiting to play it for whatever reason, put it in and play. This game is best experience flying from rooftop to rooftop in beautiful Victorian London as you head off to assassinate the evil templars.