Following leaks earlier this year Ubisoft announced last week that they would lift the lid on their new Assassin’s Creed game today. They’ve kept that promise, revealing Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate to the world, which takes place in London during the peak of the industrial revolution. This time round you’ll be playing as Jacob Frye and Evie Frye, twin Assassins raised to follow the Creed. Whether there was a playable female assasasin from the very beginning of development or whether she was added due to criticisms levelled at Assassin’s Creed: Unity is an interesting question. IN fact, there’s several women shown throughout the gameplay trailer, hinting that Ubisoft are trying very hard to combat the criticism.
“The ability to lead an underground gang, commandeer any vehicle on hand and use modern tools to take on an expansive and fast-paced Victorian London sets this game apart,” said Marc-Alexis Côté, Creative Director at Ubisoft. “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate has been in development for more than two years and this new modern take on the living open world will please Assassin’s Creed fans and newcomers alike.”
Along with the announcement Ubisoft published a trailer for the game, and some genuine gameplay footage. It looks…well, familiar. In fact, most of it looked exactly like AC: Unity, which isn’t surprising given that they were developed side-by-side and would therefore share a lot of assets. However, given that Unity was a mess in many, many regards the very similar style of Syndicate is likely going to leave a lot of people with a sour taste in their mouths.
Still, there are some minor additions. You hijack any carriage, for example, and there’s a new grappling hook, both tools serving to bring to mind the Batman: Arkham series and GTA. Apart from that a new and improved combat system was mentioned, and there’s now gang wars where you get to partake in street skirmishes with your gang. And…that was it. From nine-minutes of gameplay footage we got to witness the interesting new lead characters, but apart from some minor tweaks it didn’t seem to be very different from Unity. There was even moments of the now standard Assassin’s Creed clunkiness in some of the mechanics and some AI standing on benches for no reason, while other AI failed to react to somebody being killed. The carriage chase looked horrible, to be honest, and the actual assassinating was seemingly forgotten about.
meanwhile because it’s Ubisoft they also announced the obligatory crap-load of special editions. Aside from the standard version of the game you can also snag a Gold Edition for £70 that comes with a season pass (so, that’s a season pass announced too) and the Darwin and Dickens Conspiracy Mission, and exclusive Baker Street outfit. It should be noted that the Darwin and Dickens mission is available for anyone who pre-orders the game, so in fact all that the Gold.
On top of that you can get the Big Ben edition for the pricey sum of £115. This comes with the season pass, Darwin and Dickens mission plus another exclusive mission (Runaway train) which will presumably turn up as paid DLC about five minutes after the game launches. You’ll also get a nifty box, steelbook, soundtrack, art book, hip flask, map of London, lithograph, and a 30cm high statue of Jacob.
Or you could opt for the Charing Cross edition, which gets you a different box, a slightly shorter 26cm high statue of Jacob that is also missing the giant cog seen in the Big Ben version, a map of London, art book and the soundtrack, all for £75. That’s only about £5 more than the Gold Edition. The catch? The Charing Cross edition doesn’t have the season pass included. Cheap bastards. But you do get the Runaway Train mission.
Finally there’s also the Rooks Edition. This one has the map of London, art book, soundtrack, collector’s box and the bonus Runaway Train mission. Price £60.
Ubisoft are continuing their tradition of bombarding people with a stupid array of editions then.
I’m a self-confessed Assassin’s Creed fan. I was far too lenient with Unity, I admit freely, now. Some part of me wanted to like it more than I really did. With that said while I like the new characters and the London setting, Ubisoft have a lot to do to persuade me this new Creed game is anything special. With only a year between Unity and Synidcate has their really been enough time to accommodate the many criticisms leveled at Unity? It’s doubtful. Still, I maintain hope, because between its myriad of promises there was glimpses of something special in Unity.