Evie Frye could most certainly be the dark horse in the new series by Ubisoft Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. Set within 1868’s Industrial Revolution we meet two new twin Assassins, Evie and Jacob Frye. This is the first time we meet a female Assassin lead within the franchise’s history, unlike Assassins Creed III: Liberation she is the first female lead Assassin to grace us as a main role. On a quest along with her brother to over throw the residing Templars in London, the Victorian backdrop has been recreated immaculately and perfect portrayal of what London could have been like. From the London lingo, fashion, architecture, music, and history according to Judith Flanders a historian consultant hired by Ubisoft for the ACS. Even though the game is massive in size it makes you wonder can it rise from previous triumphs of what Assassin’s Creed use to be? Can we fall in love like we once did with Ezio Auditore? Ubisoft went on a different route this time, perhaps going back to basics and entirely focusing on the storyline. It’s evident that Assassin’s Creed luster has been dulled by other series, but we cannot deny its global success in the past. With Unity, we can all agree that it wasn’t the strongest in its franchise history, but perhaps this was the fire to ignite greatness. Everyone loves a comeback story, and this time you felt the pressure in the room. Most might feel skeptical however, but recreating London in 1868, it’s beyond impressive. This is a strong strategic approach and concept mixed with an incredibly ambitious attitude, at this point I can only see things getting better for the franchise.
Assassins Creed Syndicate can stand on its own with its unique storyline, but having the choice of two protagonist characters you can freely switch from is unlike something we’ve seen before in Assassins Creed. The heart of it all is the story between a brother and sister who are so different individually, but come together to fight and liberate London from the rule of Templar and crime lords overtaking the city. In the first scene as you enter London you get a feel for each’s personality, it is clear that Jacob carries the English wit along with a bulldog humor, yet Evie lives by the Creed protocol and follows everything by the book which brings out many things about their relationship.
Evie might be one of the hardest Assassins I have played with.
Evie might be one of the hardest Assassins I have played with. I added my most of my skills points to her stealth and health abilities during my hands on experience in London last week. Evie’s tactical and stealthier approach naturally slows you down to appreciate the surrounding elements of London, which is every reason to enjoy the open world build of an Assassin Creed game. Exploring with such stealthy abilities and objectives together make the whole feel really rewarding. Jacob on the other hand is in your face brawler with a witty English charm. He’s effective and moves well in game play, and he has one hell of a stagger. The two of them balance combat styles well and having the ability to switch is a great step into keeping things fresh.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is larger than Unity, it covers historical landmarks within London spreading itself among six boroughs: Strand, Whitechapel, Lambeth, Westminster, and the City of London. To gain an upper hand against the Templars controlling the city you will be engaged in a series of actives to overtake the underground criminal system. Evie and Jacob move in to recruit those corrupted by the organized crime and use them to fight against the gangs that have infested the city. The magnitude of the game and the area to cover is extremely massive, focusing on the campaign, Ubisoft has left out the multiplayer entirely giving the player an opportunity to explore this rich storyline. This is a good move for Ubisoft, it allows for more exploration without the pressure to jump to a different game mode. They will have a “Fight Club” area which will allow you to earn loyalty with the associates there. You can also earn gear, XP, and money. The clubs are scattered throughout the city in cool and unique places.
Evie and Jacob’s abilities are different and each gives you chance to try different avenues of gameplay. Having Evie’s cloaking abilities make her completely undetectable to enemies if she’s not moving, this ability works cohesively with doing some aggressive takedowns. Jacob is more face to face combat but can throw some mean blows. The finishing kill cut scenes were some of my favorite moments that stick out, and they didn’t seem repetitive. Traveling within the game is more fluid and faster than ever, with a new zip-line and rope launcher feature moving from building to building feels much faster. Also, the opportunity for unique assassinations can be easily achieved. Parkouring and movements seemed so seamless and the freedom to jump, climb, and flying from spot to spot is what makes an Assassin a pleasure to play with.
The historical figures they decided to use along with their storyline fit in well with the overall story, they could have used many influential people during the time, and picking I imagine must have been difficult. Throughout the game play you will be interacting with iconic characters like Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Darwin, and Florence Nightingale and Queen Victoria. Recently announced at TGS 2015, Jack the Ripper which will be part of their DLC that will be included in the season pass.
I sat down with Senior Producer of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Jeff Skalaki and we discussed many Assassin’s Creed topics, along with the recognition of this being Ubisoft’s most ambitious Assassins Creed projects. He felt that this was their one chance to portray London during this Victorian era filled with iconic and recognizable characters. I asked him to describe Assassins Creed Syndicate in one word and he said, “Fun.” He explained. That it might be weird to say, but the essence to bring humor into the storyline was important, especially between the relationship dynamic of a brother and sister.
This game is stunning from head to toe and it brings things from my favorite Assassins Creed together, the new outlook on this beloved series made time go quickly, in total I had 5 hours of hands-on. The small details like the whistling made Assassins Creed Syndicate feel familiar to play with, along with its razor edge style of movement, take downs, and assassinations kept me entertained constantly. I will touch briefly on my carriage skills as you will see in my video below, not only did I murder everyone on the street I manage to mangle it into a shredded cat post. Not my strongest skill, but I will need some serious practice. I did like fighting on top of the carriages made things very amusing and difficult. You will find many styles of carriages, which all were accurately recreated.
I will not spoil the story, but will suggest that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate will be a definite purchase for myself. At the end of my hands-on I was left clinging to explore Evie and Jacob Frye’s story and their quest to take down the Templars. I also can’t wait to master Evie’s stealth skills, she want to play with. Ubisoft has played close attention to detail, they listened to the fans and made a storyline that will make this series standout. The bugs are something of my concern, but like any game you will encounter them, hopefully this time things will be carefully looked at. Look out for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate coming out October 23, 2015 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Find it on PC on November 19th 2015. Thanks again Ubisoft for sending me out for a hands on preview, for more on my experience and trip listen to the most recent podcast episode!