Whether it’s a title in Ezio’s classic trilogy, or the cloak and the sword Assassin’s creed 4: Black flag, all Assassin’s Creed fan has a favorite entry in the series. It often depends on what kind of gameplay the fan prefers. For example, stealth fans tend to prefer the original or Assassin’s Creed II, while action / adventure fans often look to newer titles like Origins and Odyssey for the huge array of weapons and vast open world maps.
But there is one Assassin’s Creed title that is always swept away in discussions, the one that we almost never remember with emotion: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. The ninth game in the series, Union came out in the wrong place at the wrong time, passing even die-hard fans of the franchise. However, if fans were to revisit it today, they might change their minds, because Union is actually an excellent Assassin’s Creed game, arguably one of the best in the franchise.
Syndicate: Two protagonists, Twice The Fun
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate follows Evie and Jacob Frye, Assassin twins who take it upon themselves to rid London of its sovereign Templar, an enigmatic villain called Crawford Starrick. The grip on the surface of the game is that it allows players to take control of the two Frye twins, each offering slightly different styles of play; Evie focuses on stealth, Jacob prefers his fists.
While the two playable characters function essentially the same and can both share the vast majority of unlockable abilities and weapons, they do have a handful of unique upgrades that reward the player for progressing through each of their campaigns. . It’s well worth the time players get into each character.
When it comes to upgrades, the game’s surprisingly complex and branching leveling system makes exploring the huge open world truly rewarding. Along with a visually satisfying world map that gradually removes red blocks each time the player takes control of an enemy stronghold, these events also provide the player with tangible in-game rewards such as upgraded weapons and costumes, as well as ‘a range of in-game currencies. These currencies can then be used to improve not only the Frye Twins and their abilities, but their gang’s abilities as well.
As the game progresses, players will be constantly unlocked and upgraded, fueling that sense of progression so important in open world video games. The tangible nature of these upgrades makes this progression even more rewarding, with new allies and vehicles unlocked and observable in the open world, and new weapon upgrades making a noticeable difference during combat. The franchise would continue to use this extensive leveling system and Unionthe emphasis on upgradeable weapons in its modern series of Assassin’s Creed games, which take more Borders-as a loot-based approach.
There’s no place like industrial London
By far the best aspect of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was his frame. Taking place in 1868, in the wake of the industrial revolution, Union takes place in a grimy, dirty and often beautiful city of London. Players have all of key London neighborhoods to explore, using their new grappling hook to scale tall chimneys and explore open factories and iconic train stations. The weather effects and in-game lighting go a long way in making the game feel particularly gloomy but charming.
On a similar note, the game’s stellar musical score, composed by Austin Wintory, also emphasizes the tone and atmosphere of the game. A range of stringed instruments (now somewhat synonymous with London-based Victorian media) used to capture the light nature of the story and the tone of the game.
The narrative itself is a fairly standard Assassin’s Creed deal, with the twins in search of a piece of Eden that will help bring down Starrick, a Templar who has a grip on the city’s major exports. However, it’s the game’s solid performance, witty writing, and endearing characters that help make the story such a fun and engaging adventure. Of course like all good Assassin’s Creed the game should, Union isn’t without its fair share of historic cameos, with Karl Marx, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charles Dickens all leading the Frye Twins on a number of fantastical missions. Union has a lot of unique Assassin’s Creed charm to keep fans of the series hooked with each new mission.
Why has Assassin’s Creed Syndicate been overlooked?
Despite its unique charm, light atmosphere, stellar soundtrack, first-class performance and rewarding gameplay, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate met virtually no fanfare, despite its surprisingly positive critical reception. It seemed like longtime fans of the show were starting to get a little fed up with the same general. Assassin’s Creed formula they had been playing since 2007.
While Union may have used the classic formula to the best of his ability, trying to push the limits where he could, there’s no denying that this was still a classic Assassin’s Creed Game. Despite new combat and stealth mechanics, the game can be boiled down to the same few mission types still present in a game. Assassin’s Creed: Kill someone, follow someone, chase someone.
The failed launch of Assassin’s Creed: Unity is often cited for Unionthe fall of, with many fans believing that the notoriously bugged and broken condition of this game has led gamers in general not to want to buy Union in case it is more the same. The oversaturation of the market also made matters worse, with three main lines Assassin’s Creed games that all come out just two years apart. If players weren’t fed up with the formula before, then this onslaught of Assassin’s Creed experiences may have been the last nail in the coffin.
It took two years to develop the next game in the series, Origins of Assassin’s Creed, which acted as a smooth restart of the game. The gameplay formula, while retaining some essential elements of the franchise, was essentially built from the ground up. While many series fans have grown to love these new games, some still yearn for this traditional Assassin’s Creed experience like experience Assassin’s Creed Syndicate provides.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Stadia, and Xbox One.
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