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Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review

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Story:

Jacob and Evie Frye are twin assassins, born to two assassins, so they have grown up with the Creed and the lifestyle that comes with it. Despite that, their personalities and skills often cause them to frustrate at least one other assassin and each other. Evie is intelligent and very pragmatic, always trying to see the results of her acts before making them. Jacob is more inclined to run headlong into situations with a blade out, and worry about what follows later.

After the tutorial missions that introduce you to the twins, they decide to disobey the designs of the Assassin George Westhouse and go to London. For years the Templars have ruled the city and the Assassins have only kept a watch on it, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Henry Green, the assassin charged with watching the city, has been pleading for help and the twins take advantage of this by claiming to be the support he has requested. Curiously this initiative of theirs is never noticed or questioned by any other assassins. If George ever discovered they are missing, he never bothered checking in London, where Templars are spontaneously vanishing, and Henry never reported back on the Fryes' successes, inadvertently informing the others of what has happened.

Maybe it is just me, but I am mildly annoyed by this plot hole for two reasons. One is the fact that it is a plot hole. The other is that there could have been an interesting use for this, but instead it is basically just the twins going rogue and incidentally taking Henry with them. Even as Templars are killed and their plans fall apart, the Assassins are not present to step in and take advantage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once in the city, Jacob and Evie take on different goals that lead to a great deal of friction between them. Jacob is focused on fighting the Templars, stopping their plans and killing them, while also building up his new gang, the Rooks. Evie, however, is exclusively focused on finding the Piece of Eden in the city, and wants to avoid otherwise unnecessary interactions with the Templars. While Jacob is successful with his goals, when something goes awry Evie feels it necessary to fix the problems, and chastise Jacob for acting at all. Though less common, Jacob also admonishes Evie for her apparent lack of action.

Not really surprising for brother and sister, is it? While it may be expected, it does still work well and I did enjoy watching the barbs and quips being exchanged. The writing for Crawford Starrick, the Templar Grand Master, I also found entertaining as it did a good job of getting across how calculating he is. To him, London and the lives within it are like a machine for him to wind and tinker with, and provided the machine keeps working the way he wishes it to, everything is correct.

 

 

This actually comes to the real criticism I have with the story. What I just described for Starrick is standard Templar stuff. They believe order and control is the optimal design for the world, and he just might be a bit more ruthless about it than some other Grand Masters. The problem is not that he fits the mold, it is that this mold is all the motivation we have. At one point I realized I was not all that invested in the story. I thought it might be because I did all of the world's missions before finishing the story, but then I realized that I was not invested in the story because it lacked motivation. It is just Assassins v. Templars.

What is accomplished by defeating the Templars? Yes, the franchise has taught us that the Templars are evil, but it still feels like you are picking the fight this time. They are not moving to kill you and the Assassins. They are not trying to start a war to conquer the world, though of course that is a final goal. They are not even trying to seize more power, until after your attacks weaken them, driving them to grab for more. The best you have is stopping them from getting the Piece of Eden, which just never felt like much to me because you do not know what could happen if you fail. It is just an abstract, 'stop them,' goal which is not very satisfying. This is compounded by the lack of Assassin progress. Sure you build up your Rook gang, but this is separate from your actions to remove Templars and disrupt their plans, and the Assassins do not step up either, as I already described. The world may be a better place without the Templars, but how it is better, in this case, is never explained.

 

 

In a sense it is almost like a 'save the princess' story except for two things. One is that I have come to expect more from this franchise and the other is that you do not get a princess in the end. The queen does thank you for saving her life, but that was not your motivation for coming to London in the beginning, or for doing anything leading up to the end.

As you play you will encounter a number of historical characters, including Charles Dickens, Darwin, and Alexander Graham Bell. You will also run into Juno, the precursor who has survived to modern time and is using the Templars to escape into the real world, but only in the World War I memories.

In the end, the story has several good moments between characters, but I found the plot to be lacking. While this is disappointing, a lacking plot is better than a bad one.




  1. Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review - Introduction
  2. Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review - Graphics
  3. Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review - Story
  4. Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review - Gameplay
  5. Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  6. Assassin's Creed Syndicate Review - Conclusion
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