warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

'Assassin's Creed: Syndicate' Review

Johnny Flores, Jr. |
December 14, 2015 | 12:17 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter


If previous "Assassin’s Creed" games felt like disappointments to the overall series, then more than anything "Assassin’s Creed" Syndicate is a step in the right direction.

"Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag" is a very different entry in the long-running franchise. "Assassin’s Creed: Unity" was generally hated by the majority of the fanbase and quite possibly the lowest point in the franchise. "Unity" is not to blame for a steep in quality, though, as the downhill slope began after the release of 2010’s "Brotherhood." 

The franchise has continually added brand new elements and plot points, however, it has failed to fix issues that have been prevalent since the first game in the series. "Syndicate" by all measures changes that. The game has now become more streamlined and less convoluted. London is as realistic as it is playable. 

Gone from "Syndicate" is multiplayer and cooperative play. I, for one, see this as a good thing. Eliminating something as useless as cooperative play allowed for Ubisoft to spend much more time refining the single-player experience and the world it is set in. The quality is evident from the get-go as the story has much more sound and the world is that much more lively. Along with the absence of multiplayer are the useless chests and bonus features that could only be unlocked by second-screen experiences. The game does feature microtransations, however, they are not forced. I was able to play through the game without ever feeling compelled to succumb to paying for currency. 

The game throws you into the Industrial Revolution as you take on twin assassins Jacob and Evie Frye. These two have come to the city to end the reign of Crawford Starrick, a Templar controlling many of the gangs wreaking havoc upon the city’s streets. In similar "Assassin’s Creed" fashion, you control a person recruited by the modern day "Assassin’s" to play through the memories of Jacob and Evie. "Syndicate" is able to handle both stories very well. Previous entries within the series became too focused on the present day that the overall focus of reliving the memories of the past became forgotten. 

Jacob and Evie spend their time not only cleaning up the 1860s streets of London, but recruiting a large number of allies to help them do so including fictional assassins and not so fictional historical figures such as Charles Dickens. The supporting cast helps bring the story together and coupled with the twins they make for a memorable story along with sharp and often hilarious dialogue.

One aspect I particularly enjoyed most was the distribution of missions. The story missions are very long and have some very unique objectives. At the same time there are various side missions that you can undertake. One minute you’ll find yourself running across rooftops utilizing the rope dart heading over to the next story mission and before you know it you’ll receive a notification about a nearby event that you can undertake. These side missions are great and offer a nice little break in between the main parts of the game. 

Another aspect I enjoyed was that of the assassination missions. They encourage creativity and are a blast to play. These missions encourage you to play carefully, sneak around, find entrances that are otherwise hidden, and use disguises. Never mind, that there is a reward for such creativity as these missions feature unique assassinations. Did I also mention that they take place in some of the coolest locales in London such as the Bank of London and The Tower? There is nothing more satisfying than sneaking around the Bank of London. 

While all of this is fantastic there are a few issues to be had with the game. Some graphical glitches and other bugs can be found, however, they are not game breaking and certainly are not that big of an issue. 

"Syndicate" does not right every wrong that the series has committed. It does not also reinvent the series either. Rather, it takes the familiar formula, fixes many nuances and sets you free to explore the refined London. It is a step in the right direction after so many entries were heading in the wrong direction. It doesn’t fix everything, but is a building block for new entries to go upon. It's a blast to play and new features such as the rope launcher to traverse as well as the opportunity to play as two different unique assassins help make it a must play for avid fans of the series and those who have become disgruntled with the current state of the series. 


Reach Staff Reporter Johnny Flores, Jr. here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.