Yep, it’s another Assassin’s Creed! It seems like Ubisoft have learned their lesson, after all the suffering they had caused PC-owners last year.
In the latest of the Assassin’s Creed series, Syndicate, we’re hunting in the streets of Victorian London, but this time with two protagonists: Jacob and Evie Frye. This means you’re going to witness a lot of “sibling rivalry” throughout the game.
We’ve grown accustomed to Ubisoft’s scrupulous approach to architecture. The production team demonstrates the same master craftsmanship with Syndicate too, and delivered us the magnificent Victorian London with all of her beauty. Steam engines, factories, baby steps of industrialization, time-defying stately buildings built with red bricks…
It seems like at least the performance issues are gone. Even with my infamous CrossFire setup which usually has problems with new games, I haven’t encountered any extraordinary performance drops. Well, in fact I shouldn’t encounter them; Ubisoft is still using the Anvil engine which is 8 years old, even though it’s rebranded and refurbished a lot. Still, if you have a subpar configuration, I should tell you that it’s not as optimized as GTA V. But nevertheless you won’t have problems like texture pop-ins, disappearing faces or extreme low FPS in some places without any reason whatsoever, like it’s been with Unity.
There are a few developments regarding story and gameplay. The most noticeable of them is being able to switch between Jacob and Evie whenever we like, well, except main storyline missions. I think it would’ve been a lot better if we had the ability to choose in main missions as well. Because the more “stealthy” one of the pair is Evie, yet we have to do most of the important jobs with Jacob.
I’m sorry, but if you were expecting some big changes, you’re going to be disappointed. The combat system is not that different from the first rendition of the series. You can still take on fifty guards and kill them one after another by countering their attacks, and then walk away in peace.
We used to die in games, remember? Unfortunately, it’s not so possible to die in Syndicate either. It’s just another Assassin’s Creed game in that aspect. The only thing that the game offers in terms of “difficulty” is the extra side-missions that you don’t “have to do” to achieve 100% completion. These are comprised of requests like “Don’t be seen by anyone,” just like we’re used to do in the series. But I have to say that there are some flaws with these extra missions too, because from time to time you’re going to experience stuff like being seen from impossible places or angles.
The overall game mechanics are the same as well. I’d expect more, after so many games. While you’re committing mass murder in the streets, the folk just doesn’t seem to care. Even their existence is pointless. You can brutally kill two guards right in front of Aunt Marie and she won’t even lift a finger. You can watch our video to see the indifferent crowd in the factory for yourselves as well.
Let’s see… The graphics… Of course, as I stated before, Ubisoft doesn’t let us down. The level designs and colors are just beautiful. But AnvilNext 2.0, which is based on the original Anvil engine, sadly shows its age. You’re going to feel this especially if you have a “less-then-ideal” configuration, because the engine is very optimization-impaired. You should focus on making your games better, Ubisoft, instead of pushing out another one every year! I’m no graphics-whore myself, but if you’re trying to sell games with Ubisoft’s strategy, you should expect to be criticized when you use such low quality textures in a production like this. Well of course this doesn’t mean that the graphics are “bad,” they’re just lacking in the rich-big-company context in my opinion.
Phew… I know, I know, it was a very negative review. But that doesn’t mean that Syndicate is “not worth playing.” My goal is to let you know what’s missing and what’s flawed, and what you should expect from the game you’re going to buy, instead of being busy with fooling you and creating hype like the “video game journalists.” This way you’ll exactly know what you’re going to get, and you can enjoy whatever’s good in it.
Well, what’s good in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate then, right? It’s a game, which has an immersive story, which you can play without caring that you’re going to fail so much, which looks impressive, and in which you can perform such moves that you simply can’t in other games while having so much freedom. It’s a damn fascinating and creative work of art worth playing, despite all of its flaws and Ubisoft’s laziness.