If you’re planning a trip to London, cancel it. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate presents a Victorian era London that’s so full of action and adventure that there’s no way a tour-guided trip to modern day London will be anything but a disappointment. The latest game in the AC series honed in on the best parts of the open-world historical adventures and polished them to a high sheen while stripping away some of the most frustrating aspects and mechanics that plagued last year’s AC: Unity.
Syndicate’s story begins in a bustling, industrialized London divvied up into neighborhoods that each has their own distinct character, each run by a villain with a particular skill set, all contributing to a big bad templar’s complete control of the city. Throughout the game you control the two main characters, Evie and Jacob Frye, deadly siblings with a terrifically playful dynamic and different motivations to reach the same outcome; undermining Templar control of the city, one neighborhood and one boss at a time.
Like their differing outlooks (Evie is more concerned with thwarting the templar’s plans for world domination, Jacob wants to give London back to the people), they both have different play styles too, with Evie being better at stealth and Jacob being a bruiser in combat. Both can adjust through a skill point system with weapons and combo upgrades helping the cause. However, it behooves you to balance each character because main missions can only be played with one or the other.
When you get to side missions, however, it’s your choice of which Frye to use. Unlike previous AC games, Syndicate’s side missions actually contribute to the overall plot of taking down each neighborhood’s boss as you dismantle their control using a combination of your own prowess, your ever-growing gang of Rooks and a little help from your friends like Charles Dickens, Alexander Graham Bell and even Karl Marx. Syndicate stays true to its historical roots but really tightens up the gameplay and story to feel immersive and fresh. So, even though Syndicate’s sibling duo seems perfectly made for an online co-op, we can’t feel too bad that it’s not there when the game benefits so much from Ubisoft’s laser focus this time around.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is one of the best entries in the series, with the Frye’s quickly rising to the ranks of our favorite assassin like the suave Ezio and the pirate Edward Kenway. It’s nice to see the game rebound so well after the lackluster, bug-plagued AC: Unity. We don’t know where Ubisoft plans to take the AC games next year, but we’ll happily roam the mean streets of London with the Frye’s until then.