ASSASSINS CREED SYNDICATE - REVIEW

After last year's disastrous AC Unity, every AC gamer would ask whether they should buy 2015's AC Syndicate.



My answer is - Yes and No. No because it isn't those "A MUST BUY" game and Yes because it a game which is probably the 2nd best in the series.

Story and Setting




The story takes place in Victorian Era London of the Industrial Revolution where steam and egines rule. This is the first of the series to feature 2 main protagonist; both a male and a female. And better yet, they are siblings. Even better yet, they are twins, and to put the icing on the cake, they are both in the League of Assassins.

I trully love London in this game. It is bustling and ever so lively. I spent a good 15 minutes just walking slowly in its street observing how Londoners go about their daily lives. If you sit on a boat on the River Thames, you could see Steam Boats and ships going about their legal or otherwise illegal activities. You often have the chance to board a Templars boat and create a little havoc. Even the streets of London are wide, mainly to accomodate wagons and horse carriage. Yup horse carriages are the main transport now, More on that later. I am just marvelled at how intricate the details of virtual 1800 London is. Maybe i should go for more walks down the streets of Lodon, with the haze situation in Singapore becoming worse.

So the 2 protagonist, Evie and Jacob Frye, sets the stage this time, as you take turns in switching them to complete your missions. Evie is the Ninja and Jacob is the fighter. So any sneaking missions would be suited to Evie and the brawlings and fights should be left to Jacob. And both of them has their own agenda on how to trample the Templar power in London.

Traversing



Moving from one point to another has become one of the main features in a sandbox games. In the past, the AC series have normally used fast travelling points, the parkour building climb as well as horses to get to a point. Syndicate introduces batman like rope launchers to get from one point to another. Climbing up to that high point to do your synchronization takes lesser time. You don't need to figure out how to reach that ledge anymore. While it has taken out the puzzle mini gameplay out of the equation, going all the way up or across to another building is simple. I mean I get it. For a game that requires your 20 + hours to complete, this does help with saving time. But it is not without its frustrations. I mean come on, Assassins Creed and frustrations does walk hand in hand, no? Sometime, the rope launcher icon just won't come out. You might be looking up on a ledge or the roof of a building and that is just it. You are just looking at what you are looking. The rope launcher icon just refuses to come out and play. So sad.

With the horse carriages, you can move from one place to another quickly enough too. I sometimes find it frustrating because there are just too much carriages, moving slowly during the day, like as if everyone is driving Ms Daisy. I just stick to fast travelling and rope launchers.

Combat



Fighting in AC has somewhat been a love hate relationship. Assassins 2 and Assassins 4 came out with good figting mechanics. I actually enjoy going into a fight to slash at my enemies. But overtime, games pretty much tries to copy Warner Bro's Arkham series, but want to feel original about it. And instead of making it good, it just feels weird. I feel that they should just copy directly and the gamers will feel happy about it. In Syndicate, combos are introduced. Any hits more than 10 allows you to do more damage and even finishers. While is sounds interesting, it gets repetitive. Basically, you mash square button on an enemy and when his health bar turns yellow, that is a sign that he is going to attack you, so you press circle to counter. And when his health bar goes grey, it means he is defending and that means none of your attack will get through to him. And that is basically it. Mash - wait to counter - break defense. There is not much strategy to go with it. It feels too simple and bland. Trust me, you will stick to sneaking and stealth kill soon enough.

Stealth



This is one area where I am quite surprised the entire seriies did not put enough thoughts and work in. I mean, you are an assassin for goodness sakes. You assassinate people. It is an art. It requires the most delicate of plannings and the most finesse of executions. The stealth is still very much basic. I am just glad that stealth has been a major component ever since Unity and it continues in Syndicate. But again, theres not much depth in it. It needs more meat.

Beating the Templars



There are altogether 6 boroughs or regions for you to liberate and conquer in Syndicate. In each boroughs are laden with conquest activities - Templar Hunt, Bounty Hunt, Child Liberation, Gang Strongholds and Gang War. To conquer one borough, you need to complete these 5 activities. When I first tried them out, it was kinda fun. But when you mutiply these activities by 6, it gets stale.

Of course they are other items to collect like illustrations, beer bottles, treasures, pressed flowers. But what I would prolly do for now, is just to complete the main missions, then see if there is time to continue with conquering all the other boroughs.

Verdict



As much as i want to really love this game, I can't. I can only like it so much maybe because of the city of London being such a pretty one as well as interacting with historic figures such as Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell or Karl Marx. Being a history buff, I have always wondered how awesome it is to go back in time. Assassins creed has always made this wish of mine come through, sort of. But there are many things for the Ubisoft to improve on. Maybe they should press the brakes a little and instead of doing an annual release, take a step back and really go for the game of the year quality. They have such good ideas and concept and it is a pity when it does not turn out awesome.

But overall, it is a good game, I feel the 2nd best in between Black Flag and Assassins Creed 2. I think the whole experience playing Syndicate is good. I love the rope launcher, I love looking at London and I love interacting with historic figures. I only wish it is more fun.

8/10

Check out the Rooks Edition of Syndicate below. It includes Game Art Book, a map and sound track.

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Khai

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