It was about 30 minutes in to Assassin’s Creed Unity that I decided to break up with the series. I had played every main console entry since the first, well other than Rogue, and while sure I was feeling fatigue, I never felt like these games were skippable. They contained so much scope, and their open sandbox nature allowed for so much exploration of some of the most fascinating time periods in history, that I had to at least try each entry. In truth I think it was 3 where the fatigue really started to set in, and yet I continued with Black Flag, which was a refreshing turn in terms of character, but only further expanded the sandbox to an ungodly amount of checkboxes for the O.C.D. gamers out there. And that became my issue with the series. It is so filled with stuff to do, that I couldn’t help but feel like I lost my purpose, my reason why that is for what I was being asked to do.
All of that being said, it seems as though Syndicate has made tremendous strides in re-establishing the franchise as a solo-ist escapist adventure through history. Who knows, maybe I won’t skip this one – I will simply wait for a period in time where it seems like there is little else to play… which looking at the calendar seems like… umm… never. Here are what the reviewers had to say about Ubisoft’s latest:
Game Informer: For all of the familiar parts of Syndicate, it still feels inventive. It may draw inspiration from previous installments, but features like the zipline and revamped progression system demonstrate a willingness to cut stagnant elements loose. With a cool setting, memorable characters, and a wealth of content, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has all of the hallmarks of a great Assassin’s Creed entry – but it also surprised me by challenging what I previously thought a great entry should be. (9/10)
IGN: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is the most fun I’ve had with an Assassin’s game since Black Flag. In fact, I liked it more. Apart from its ill-fitting conclusion, it never takes itself too seriously and delights in the rich possibilities of its Victorian setting and great new grapple gun. As you explore its contrasting boroughs, you glean some sense of what powered this great city in the 19th century. The story missions capitalise on this by exploring different spheres of influence, which when combined with elements like mass transit, heavy industry, and law enforcement, make this feel like a different type of city than has been featured in the series to date. Best of all, Syndicate asks you to take London back in a way puts the last few games to shame. (8.2/10)
Digital Spy: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is an acrobatic lunge in the right direction for the series. It’s a more stable offering than Unity ever was with engaging protagonists, a monster of a city to get lost in, and some shrewd tweaks to the time-tested formula.Contract killing and taking leaps of faith off famous landmarks hasn’t been this rewarding since the days of the great Ezio Auditore da Firenze. (4/5)
Videogamer: The greatest description of Ubisoft open world games, as noted here, is that they’re about the accumulation of power. It’s true: you feel a pleasing sense of progression as you take territory, peeling the enemy wallpaper from the map and seeing what’s underneath. That still rings true here. Syndicate is a compulsive game, and in places a fine one. When it is good, when the AI is behaving and it’s running well, it’s very good. But Syndicate is so adept at self-sabotage that it’s nearly impossible to enjoy this world, this game. It constantly rips you out of the experience, whether that be from frustration at the mechanics or outright bugginess. You’ll want to forgive it its flaws because it does Victorian London so well, something you just can’t get elsewhere. But leave it a few minutes and it reveals itself to be as utterly flawed as its forebears, a beautiful facade on a rotting core. (5/10)
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